Are Supplements Safe? Why Hippocrates Believes Whole Food Vitamins Are Better
What if just about everything you thought you knew about taking vitamins, minerals and supplements turned out to be bogus? What if it was all a scam?
According to nutrition expert Dr. Brian Clement, director of West Palm Beach's Hippocrates Health Institute, there can be dangers to supplementing your diet with the wrong products. Even more disconcerting: taking synthetic or chemical-based vitamins can be just as bad for your health as eating processed preservative and chemical-laden foods.
"The first red flag for me was in 1976," said Clement, who came across an international 5-year study on supplementation where high doses of vitamins actually caused cancer. "Overnight, supplementation became suspect to me."
From that point on, Clement said he wanted to find honest research done globally on supplements. What he found, he said, was that almost all studies on synthetic supplements revealed the same thing: man-made vitamins and minerals could actually do more harm than good.
The Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health reports that one in three American adults take at least one dietary supplement, and -- on average -- we spend more than $11 billion annually on vitamins and minerals. Of those supplements, 92 percent of them are synthetic -- or chemical based products -- with just 10 percent derived from natural ingredients.
According to Clement, these synthetic vitamins can actually cause illness, not prevent it. Why? A few examples: B-6 can be made with coal tar, while synthetic vitamin E comes from turpentine and petroleum.
"So I decided it was about time somebody pulled the plug on the so-called health supplement industry," said Clement. "Not only do I want to help people save [money], but I also want to keep people from making themselves sick by taking chemical supplements."
To do so, Clement wrote his "buyer beware" book Supplements Exposed: The Truth They Don't Want You to Know About Vitamins, Minerals, and Their Effects on Your Health. In the book, Clement takes a close look at the vitamins and supplement industry, and helps consumers to understand why recommended daily allowances can be confusing and -- more importantly -- dangerous to your health. The book also helps consumers read product labels that can be deceptive, and learn how to choose naturally occurring or whole food, plant-based supplements.