Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I think you can only read the abstract (I have a magic cookie on my 'puter that dissolves paywalls), but the new JAMA has a brief review of the evidence about anti-oxidant vitamin supplements. These are the main ingredients in your typical multi-vitamin -- beta carotene/vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E -- you know, the classics. These have long been touted as promoting health and longevity, on the theory that oxidizing free radicals in the body cause cell damage. If you enter the term "antioxidant supplement" or similar into your favorite search engine, you'll get pages of ads.

Here's the bottom line, folks. The higher the study quality, the worse these look. In fact, taking Vitamin E, beta carotene and Vitamin A supplements is associated with higher all-cause mortality. Vitamin C and selenium (a mineral not a vitamin but also touted as an antioxidant) don't do anything, except cost you money. In other words, the people who are selling these, including big corporations that advertise heavily on TV, major retail chains including CVS and Walmart, and many more, are lying, stealing, and murdering people. And it's perfectly legal.

It is true that eating foods that are high in these substances is generally good for you. That would be your fruits and veggies. So do that instead. Don't buy any of this garbage.

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