Do you really need supplements on a whole food, plant-based diet?
The vitamin supplement industry is a multibillion market – that’s billion, not million! Yet, according to Dr. T. Colin Campbell, “vitamin supplements are not a panacea for good health.” A whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet plus adequate sunlight provides all the vitamins and minerals humans need with the exception of Vitamin B12 – which we’ll explore in this post. However, there are certainly cases where supplements are essential in the short term if you have a deficiency.
Nutrients in our food do not work in isolation but rather as a symphony. Taking a particular chemical nutrient out of context as a supplement doesn’t work for long-term health. And supplements for a single nutrient don’t always work the way the same nutrient present in natural foods do.
Beta Carotene & Vitamin E:
For example, there was a study in Finland where researchers followed cigarette smokers for 8 years. One group took supplements of alpha-tocopherol, a form of Vitamin E, another beta-carotene, another both supplements and another a placebo. The results were surprising. The group that took supplements had an increased lung cancer rate, while those on the placebo had a decreased lung cancer rate. Numerous other studies have found that supplements for Vitamins A & C, folic acid or antioxidants do not impact chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. (more…)