Vitamins Moundsville WV
Saint Clairsville, OH
Big Bad Buzz on Vitamins
You work hard to maximize your health. Are supplements working against you?
They’re good for you. They’re a waste of money. Good for you. A waste. Good. Waste. Good. Waste. And so it goes—50 years of medical opinion on dietary supplements. Perhaps we should be consoled that scientists are inching their way toward the “truth,” but the ping-ponging of expert advice has left consumers in a predictable state: whiplashed and utterly confused.
The good-waste argument is one thing. But this year brought alarming news that certain supplements—even daily multivitamins—may actually be bad for you. Some may increase the risk of heart attacks. Others are tentatively linked with cancer. And then there’s the alarming finding by a leading consumer group that many supplements contain contaminated or weak ingredients.
With all the ups, downs, reversals, and wild-eyed conjecture, consumers have never been more confused. To understand what’s best for you, let’s look at the potential downside of supplementation and then examine who many actually benefit from them. And finally, let’s work in a few dietary pointers from the experts.
Can’t Hurt, May Help?When a Nobel laureate in chemistry takes megadoses of vitamin C, declaring that it improves health, fights cancer, and lengthens life, who’s to argue—especially when he lives to a spry 92.
Until his death in 1994, Linus Pauling did just that, faithfully gobbling down some 12,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily. When he felt a cold coming on, he upped his daily ante to the equivalent of four hundred 100-milligram pills. At 667 times the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), the nonagenarian was devouring a nearly two-year supply every single day.
Pauling inspired droves of 1980s-era Americans to hop aboard the megadose bandwagon. But lost in the public stampede was this inconvenient truth: Not a single credible study in the last 100 years has shown you can megadose your way to good health. At the time, nutrition experts scoffed at his headline-grabbing claims but had little rigorous data to back them up. Now they do, and they’re turning Pauling’s “more is better” philosophy on its head. But in so doing, they’re going a step further and challenging conventional wisdom about supplementation itself.
Consider vitamins A, C, and E. Die-hard enthusiasts have long hailed this iconic trio for their allegedly miraculous properties, but a raft of recent research raises troubling questions:
• Researchers announced in 2005 that supplemental vitamin E does not reduce the risk of cancer or major cardiovascular events and is instead associated with a higher risk of death.
• In 2007, a massive European study concluded that high doses of antioxidant supplements can cause cancer by inducing gene mutations.
• In 2008, Danish researchers determined that even RDA levels of supplemental beta-ca...
Nutrition and Strength
What do you do if you want to gain muscle strength? Most likely you head to the gym and start lifting weights. Exercising muscles to increase strength is important, but what about eating to develop strength? If you think this type of eating is just for bodybuilders or powerlifters, you’re wrong. Since we all have muscles and use them every day, strength concerns each of us.
Primer on Nutrition
Food is our body’s fuel. We measure food energy in calories, or the amount of energy needed to increase the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1°C. Calories in food are provided by three macronutrients: carbohydrate, protein, and fat. In addition to supplying the energy our body needs to function, each macronutrient also provides raw materials for building the body’s tissues (bones, muscles, organs, blood, hormones, enzymes, etc) and regulating all the activities of the body.
Protein’s Role in the Body
Although protein can supply energy, that’s not its primary job. Instead, it's required to build, maintain, and repair muscles and other body tissues. All macronutrients are made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, but protein also contains nitrogen. The building blocks of protein are amino acids linked in chains—similar to a chain of pearls—in an almost unlimited variety of sequences. It’s these different sequences of amino acids that give each protein its individual characteristics. Our body contains an estimated 50,000 different types of proteins, and each protein has a very specific function.
There are two types of amino acids: essential and nonessential. In the nutrition world, essential means that the substance must be provided by foods in the diet. Therefore, essential amino acids must come from our foods, while the body can make nonessential amino acids from fragments of carbohydrate, fat, and nitrogen.
Think of the body as a factory assembly line. If you’re making cars in the factory, you need all the components of the car to put an entire car together. If one part is missing, the assembly line stops. The same thing happens when our bodies make proteins. The liver can produce nonessential amino acids if necessary, but if an essential amino acid is missing, production stops. We need to provide our bodies with an adequate amount of essential proteins on a daily basis for the processes of synthesis and repair to continue as needed.
The body constantly makes new proteins and breaks down old proteins to reassemble them into something different in a process called protein turnover. Excess nitrogen from broken-down protein is excreted in the urine, feces, and sweat. We can measure nitrogen output and compare that to the amount of nitrogen taken in from foods in the diet. When both are equal, a person is in zero nitrogen balance, or a state of general health. If more nitrogen is excreted than is consumed, a person is in negative nitrogen balance. People who are s...