This Opinion piece in The New York Times earlier this month makes some interesting – and disturbing – points on the vitamin industry.
Several studies over the past two decades indicate that some consumers have suffered adverse health effects from the over-consumption of vitamins: In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1994, 29,000 Finnish men, all smokers, had been given daily vitamin E, beta carotene, both or a placebo. The study found that those who had taken beta carotene for five to eight years were more likely to die from lung cancer or heart disease.
Two years later the same journal published another study: 18,000 people who were at an increased risk of lung cancer because of asbestos exposure or smoking received a combination of vitamin A and beta carotene, or a placebo. Investigators stopped the study when they found that the risk of death from lung cancer for those who took the vitamins was 46 percent higher.
If over-consumption of vitamins is as dangerous as these and other referenced studies suggests, what’s the Food and Drug Administration’s stance on regulating intake? Well, in December 1972, the F.D.A. announced a plan to regulate vitamin supplements containing more than 150 percent of the recommended daily allowance. Vitamin makers would have to prove that these “megavitamins” were safe before selling them. However, legislation was introduced preventing the FDA from regulating megavitamins; it became law in 1976. Read more…