A lot of us in the UK (10million approx.) take vitamin supplements every day, we spend on average of 180 million pounds a year on vitamin supplements. We all understand that vitamins are vital for life and health, we also understand that deficiencies in certain vitamins lead to life threatening disorders such as rickets (vitamin D), scurvy (vitamin C) and pealgra (Vitamin B3). Therefore it must be smart to supplement these vitamins to prevent disorders and illness?

Vitamins are literally sold everywhere, from our supermarkets to our pharmacies and even our petrol stations have stocks of multi-vitamin supplements, vitamin companies make millions a year from consumers and it is one of the most profitable industries in the country and world, most of these companies run on the concept that: “You can never get too much of a good thing”

Now we agree that if you have a deficiency then nothing solves it like taking the vitamin required but many vitamins are just not needed in the vast quantities we take them in at. Unless recommended by a medical professional, from the myInnerGo DNA test or if you are suffering an illness where extra vitamin intake is required we recommend you stay away from supplementing these five vitamins.

Vitamin C

We will start with big one, the daddy of vitamins and the most popular bought across the UK, vitamin C is the vitamin you think of when you hear the word “vitamin”. Vitamin C is found in fresh fruits especially citrus fruits and vegetables, way back in the day of global exploration sailors used to suffer a terrible disease called scurvy which was caused by a lack of vitamin C, then in the 1700’s Dr. James Lind found that citrus fruits could cure scurvy and ships began to stock up on limes and lemons which got sailors the nickname “limey”. Whilst it was discovered that citrus fruits could cure scurvy, vitamin C was not discovered until the 1930’s.

Linus Pauling published a book in 1970 stating that mega dosing vitamin C will prevent the common cold, this book gave rise to a mass increase in vitamin C supplements coming to the market and a mass amount of vitamin C supplements that were bought. Whilst Linus Pauling was a decorated scientist he was incorrect about mega dosing vitamin C for the common cold, after 50 years+ of working on vitamins C and the common cold it has been evaluated that Vitamin C does not prevent the common cold. On the upside vitamin C is not a particularly dangerous vitamin in large dosages, the fact that it is water soluble means you need upwards of 2g a day to start bringing on symptoms which include diarrhoea.

Vitamin E

A supplement that has supposed anti-cancer benefits and skin related benefits, vitamin E has become the second most popular supplement in the UK only beaten by Vitamin C, recently a large study conducted on vitamin E with 35,533 in correlation with prostate cancer showed that those who took vitamin E had an INCREASED risk of developing prostate cancer. A second study backed this stating that there was an increased risk of death of those who took vitamin E.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an antioxidant just like vitamins C and E, and are all touted to have anti-cancer properties. However unfortunately these claims have not been backed up, in fact certain correlations actually go against this, a study produced in the States by the National Cancer Institute showed that smokers who took the supplement vitamin A were more likely to get lung cancer. Vitamin A plays a vital role in vision and skin but it is a fat soluble vitamin and can become toxic and may lead to side effects. Stories of explorers out in the artic who ate the livers of polar bears to survive only to die suffering from far too much vitamin A are true, Douglas Mawson was an explorer who ate his snow dogs liver to survive but became seriously ill from vitamin A poisoning due to this, Mawsons companions all died, the probable cause Hypervitaminosis A syndrome. However vitamin A is commonly taken in from two sources beta-carotene (plants, fruits etc.) and retinol (meat sources), certain genetic variants prevent people from absorbing beta-carotene correctly and this may lead to vitamin A deficiency especially in those who are vegan or vegetarian, it is therefore recommended that you use the myInnerGo SPORT micronutrient add-on test to see your genetic risk.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is a supplement known to bodybuilders and fitness minded people from the stack ZMA, which is a combination of Zinc, Magnesium and vitamin B6. Most of us get enough B6 in our diets and there is no reason to supplement the vitamin, however it may be worthwhile supplementing the water soluble vitamin if you are at genetic risk of deficiency which can be found out using myInnerGo.

Multi Vitamin tablets  

Nearly 38% of all those in the UK take a multi-vitamin on a daily basis and 40% of Americans take a multi-vitamin supplement. A large study which looked 38,772 women over a long period (25 years) showed that the risk of death increased in correlation with multi-vitamin intake.

So what to do with this information, we are not saying vitamins are bad, we are saying that for the majority of us out there vitamins should be gotten through our foods and some of us do have GENETIC deficiency risk as well as dietary requirement risks, before jumping for a multi vitamin it may be worthwhile finding out your genetic risks and better managing your potential deficiencies.

A diet high in the following foods will be beneficial:

  • Spinach
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Peppers
  • Limes
  • Broccoli
  • Beans
  • Lean Meats
  • Dairy