Why You Shouldn’t RELY on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements


In 1978, a six-year-old girl was admitted
to the hospital with a serious gunshot wound. A long series of operations to repair her
abdomen were performed and in the process, more than three meters of her gastrointestinal
tract were removed, leaving her unable to digest food for months. She had to survive on a form of liquid nutrition
injected directly into the bloodstream called total parenteral nutrition – TPN. To avoid essential fatty acid deficiency,
fat had to be supplemented to the TPN. The fat this hospital used in the girl’s TPN
“meal” came from safflower oil, which is very rich in linoleic acid and low in alpha
linolenic acid. Over the following months, she gradually started
to experience various neurological symptoms – the bottoms of her feet became numb, and
this spread to her lower legs along with a dull pain. She experienced episodes of drastic weakness
and her eyesight became blurred. They then switched the girl over to a soybean
oil supplemented TPN – soybean oil has 10 times more of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic
acid compared to safflower oil, and, after the switch, her symptoms slowly resolved. This is one way the importance of omega-3
fatty acids came to light. The funny thing is, this injectable TPN solution
kind of reminds me of the meal replacement Soylent. Silicon Valley entrepreneur Rob Rhinehart
came up with the idea for Soylent sometime around 2013, when he figured you could just
mixup all the nutrients the body needs in a shake and drink that instead of food. The name comes from the 1973 movie Soylent
Green where thanks to overpopulation, this smörgåsbord of food costs 279 dollars, strawberries
are 150 bucks a jar, and Tuesday is Soylent green day, where you can get the miracle nutritious
cracker-like food made of … people! We gotta stop-” Don’t worry, actual Soylent
contains no people. This brings up an interesting question: Is
it OK to rely on a mixture of isolated nutrients to meet our body’s needs? I’m not referring to soylent, but multivitamins
and supplements. Supplements have greatly benefited many people,
helping them reach adequate levels of key nutrients, however
Vitamins and minerals are confusing because there are a lot of complex interactions between
them, and when you look at different supplement labels, you’ll see one lists Folate as Folic
Acid where another lists it as L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate. Then, one might be providing Vitamin A as
beta carotene where another provides it as retinyl palmitate and so on. The point of this video is to educate and
hopefully confuse you enough to get you more curious about supplements so you’ll take
a more organized approach to using them, rather than just taking a multivitamin and calling
it a day. “Want to grow? The calcium in milk helps bones grow.” Let’s start with calcium. It’s supposed to be good for our bones,
so we ought to make sure and get plenty of it. What’s great is dietary calcium has been
shown to be inversely related to heart disease and kidney stones. However, the opposite is true for calcium
supplements. Here is Doctor Ian Reid presenting data on
the effect of calcium supplementation on heart attacks. They were expecting extra calcium would be
preventative of heart attacks, and here we do see a nice statistically significant separation
of the two lines of data for subjects on calcium supplements and subjects on placebo. The only problem is… the lines separated
in the wrong directions. Calcium supplementation increased the risk
for heart attack. As for potential mechanisms behind this, In
the 8 hours after you take a calcium supplement, your blood calcium shoots up. Two important consequences of a calcium supplement
is that it raises your blood pressure and the coagulability of the blood goes up – it
makes your blood clot more. The primary risk factors for cardiovascular
disease – obesity, diabetes, smoking and so on are linked to platelet activation and clotting. Calcium supplements are an example of why
it’s good to rely on food for nutrients by default. Supplementing calcium sounds like a good idea
at first, but it took years of data to find out that it’s not. Similar to the earlier story of the little
girl in the hospital lacking omega-3 fatty acids, Choline, found in things like broccoli
and egg yolks, was another thing missing for a while from intravenously delivered nutrition. Unfortunately the consequence of leaving choline
out of IV nutrition was that the subjects often developed fatty liver. It was found in 1995 that choline deficiency
results in fatty liver and that choline supplementation reverses it. Choline wasn’t officially recognized as
an essential nutrient by the Institute of Medicine until 1998. The point here, is that in nutrition, assuming
we have all the pieces to the puzzle has gotten us in trouble – another reason to rely on
whole natural foods by default because they may contain important substances we are not
yet familiar with. There are some caveats though. “If you eat just one carrot every day, that
provides all the Vitamin A you need to survive.” Derek Muller of Veritasium recently talked
about vitamins in a well produced and very interesting documentary called Vitamania. While he may be correct that you can survive
on the vitamin A from 1 carrot a day, it’s very unlikely that this is optimal. This is because carrots don’t contain Vitamin
A but a carotenoid called beta carotene which is a “provitamin” – a substance that can
be converted into a vitamin. According to this book from the Us Institute
of Medicine Panel on Micronutrients, beta carotene has 1/12 the vitamin Activity of
proper Vitamin A – retinol. This study found that the bioefficacy of beta-carotene
from a mixed diet is only 1:21. This is mostly because the beta carotene is
bound up in a hard to digest fiber matrix. Carrots have other carotenoids, but for beta
carotene, you’d actually absorb about 7 times more beta-carotene if you took it suspended
in oil. So why in oil? Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, you need
fat to absorb and assimilate it properly. So it makes sense that this research from
Ohio state found that avocado is a good way to help absorb carotenoids like beta-carotene
and convert them to Vitamin A. More than 12 times as much vitamin A was formed from carrots
when eaten with avocado than without it. On the other hand, this study concluded that
β-carotene conversion to Vitamin A, even when measured under controlled conditions,
can be surprisingly low and variable. This could be due to genetic differences – In
fact, spitting in a tube has taught me that I don’t convert beta-Carotene very well,
by about 32% or so. This is because of a particular single nucleotide
polymorphism on my BCMO1 gene. One last thing, the absorption efficiency
of carotenoids decreases as the amount of dietary carotenoids increases, so it’s doubtful
that you can just cram down more and more carrots to get optimal Vitamin A levels. Carotenoids like beta-carotene have their
own functions other than just conversion to Vitamin A, so it’s good to have them in
the diet, but you wouldn’t want to rely on the provitamin beta-carotene to meet your
Vitamin A requirements. It would be better to get your vitamin A from
fish roe or cod liver oil, good quality egg yolks, liver, rather than beta carotene. And when you eat carrots, eat them with some
butter or maybe an avocado. Another example of form being important is
when you’re getting your folate. This also comes up in the Vitamania documentary
– it seemed that due to insufficient folate, Kim Robbins was born with a hemangioma on
his back which turned out to be a neural tube defect – effectively a hole in his spinal
column. This leaves him spending most of his time
in a wheelchair. He also has spasm-like back pain give or take
200 times a day. To prevent neural tube defects, mothers need
to have sufficient folate levels before the start of pregnancy. For this reason, In 2009, Australian bread
began being fortified with folic acid. It must be added to all wheat flour for bread
making. A worthwhile effort, it seems, as the rate
of neural tube defects has halved. However, the case on this is not quite closed. As this review points out “a substantial proportion
of women who take folic acid supplements [before pregnancy] [still] give birth to Neural Tube
Defect-affected infants.” Dr. Benjamin Lynch, author of “Dirty Genes”
has done an excellent job explaining why this may be the case. You see, similar to our earlier discussion
with beta carotene and vitamin A, “folic acid” is not folate. Folic Acid is synthetic and must be converted
to 5-MethylTetraHydroFolate or just “methylfolate” to be useful – methylfolate the actual vitamin
that gets things done. And a crap ton of work has to be done to transform
folic acid into methylfolate. It was thought that folic acid would be a
great supplement for humans because of studies done on rats showing that their DHFR enzyme,
the first step in transforming folic acid into methylfolate, works very efficiently. However, the efficiency of this enzyme in
actual humans is way lower. The title of this paper describes the human
DHFR enzyme activity as being“extremely slow and variable.” This leads to the DHFR enzyme being overloaded
and a lot of unmetabolized folic acid is left floating around – but folic acid itself isn’t
useful for anything unless it’s been transformed. And it’s being transformed at a very slow
rate. The downside of this is not just that folic
acid is an inefficient way to up your folate levels, but that folic acid for some reason
is much more rapidly absorbed than natural folates. And, the folate receptor has a much higher
affinity, a much higher preference for folic acid than the actually useful methyl-folate. “So the folate receptor prefers folic acid
getting all stuck to it than methyl folate. Whoa, that’s a huge problem. I prefer methylfolate binding to my folate
receptor, thank you.. I don’t want folic acid being stuck on there,
why? Because it doesn’t do anything! It’s not physiologically active. Folic acid blocks the physiological effect
of methylfolate. You want methylfolate binding to your receptor,
you don’t want that crap sitting on it.” This phenomenon Dr. Lynch is talking about
is echoed in this paper: “The transport of folates into the brain is carried out by
the folate receptor in the choroid plexus, so the folic acid in the blood might inhibit
the transport of methyl-THF into the brain.” This is a complex topic with much more to
be said, but the point is in order to maintain optimal folate levels, you’d want to avoid
folic acid and get your folate from leafy greens, liver or if you need to use a supplement,
make sure the supplement label says something like 5-MethylTetraHydroFolate or 5-MTHF or
methyl-THF or just methyl-folate. Folinic acid is another option I didn’t
have time to discuss, but see the description for more information on that. One last point is that of balance. I think the Omega-6 to Omega-3 balance has
gotten a lot of attention lately. According to this 2002 paper, “human beings
evolved on a diet with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids of approximately
1 to 1 whereas in Western diets the ratio is between 15 to 1 and 16.7 to 1.” So The idea of all these new omega-3 products
on the market is to improve this ratio, but it doesn’t matter if you get a bunch of omega
3 if you keep getting a bunch of omega-6. Another good strategy would be to reduce your
omega-6 intake. Similarly many other things need to be in
balance. For example, Vitamin A and D. This paper found that when giving turkeys
extremely high doses of vitamin A and normal doses of vitamin D the turkeys had symptoms
of hypervitaminosis A, vitamin A toxicity. But When they gave high vitamin D and normal
vitamin A, they got hypervitaminosis D. But when they got extremely high levels of both
vitamins, no symptoms showed up – the results were no different from controls. There are several other examples of this,
but a great example of how complex this can get is the interactions between the various
minerals. Take a look at this little diagram. This shows up in Passwater and Cranton’s
book “Trace Elements, Hair Analysis and Nutrition” and they call it the mineral
wheel. If you have too much of one mineral, it could
cause a deficiency in whatever mineral its arrow is pointing to. So excess cobalt could cause iron deficiency,
excess copper could deplete zinc and so on. The point of this isn’t to scare you, but
just to have you consider things like : look at your copper intake if you supplement zinc
or consider your potassium or phosphorus levels if you want to correct an iron deficiency
and so on. So, to sum all this up,
Pay attention to the form of supplement you’re getting and how it’s absorbed
Look at how vitamins and minerals interact with each other so don’t throw yourself
off balance And, if you can, try to default to getting
your nutrients from whole foods.

100 Replies to “Why You Shouldn’t RELY on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements”

  1. While soybean oil was what was used to reverse the gunshot wounded girl's ailments, I'm not saying you should get your omega-3's from soybean oil. The omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of soybean oil is in fact very poor, but it happened to be good enough to reverse the ailments caused by safflower oil which has an even worse 6:3 ratio.

  2. There are a lot half truths in this video. Synthetic can't be absorbed because it is not alive. It must come from food. And the vegetables we eat now do not have half the nutrition that it once had. Therefore juice a cup to get the nutrition you need. Also try to eat or drink a rainbow of food. Colors in the food represents different nutrition. Chew on that.
    Drink your food and chew your liquids. Let food be thy medicine and medicine be the food. Pharmacy or farmacy.. You pick.

  3. The first two ingredients in Soylent tell you exactly why you should avoid it like the L.A. plague:

    soy,
    canola oil.

    A sure recipe for manhood destruction and inflammation!

  4. Bottom line, you should study everything before you ingest it…..Learn about your body and what it needs and what it doesn't need and everybody is different depending on your health and genetics, your age and other factors. I'm waiting for the day when we can monitor important body functions/chemistry levels at home…. We have a blood sugar test, blood pressure device, body temperature device, 23 and me….I'm waiting for an Insulin device a plague device, thyroid function monitor etc…..I can see these in the future…..more phone apps 🙂

  5. Sorry for the neg but it just doesn't mater what you do or what you take somebody somewhere is gonna come out with information on why it doesn't work. With all said and done thanks for the info anyway.

  6. This really sounds like an american problem where ingredient names aren't subject to heavy regulation and manufacturers can use any name that they come up with.

  7. Very interesting video, but my conclusion is to just eat the natural ancestral diet that we evolved eating. I don't have time to study this and I'm not going to risk getting it wrong.

  8. Wow, fat save that girl life?
    But what about all those ppl that die from fat?
    You're not fooling me, science profesional that appear on TV tell me stay away from fat, salt and water. It kill.
    I survive solely on kit-kats and coffeinated diuretics. No health problem, only feigh and loose consciousness 3 time of day

  9. So… translating data in mice to expected human outcomes can be dangerous as we can wreak havoc on the human body ecosystem out of ignorance.. got it..

  10. gujarati people makes a stue sort of thing with oil and carrots, now i know how it is important to stick to the traditional diet

  11. So i have had an experience with htp5 wich converts into serotonin in your body. What happened is that i took quite a large dose of 300ug acid but the thing is i took about 500mg of tryptophan after i took the acid. I tripped for about a week with full visuals and atm i can still percieve the spectrum in white light after 3months. I wouldnt say it was a bad experience.. although it was a bit more than i expected.

  12. That commercial where Mario drinks milk and gets super huge made me think that there was a way in Mario 64 that you can actually do that.

  13. What I've learned is that one shouldn't take all videos at face value, do your own research , own your own health and of course, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food"…Hippocrates, the Founding Father of ancient medicine who also recommended apple cider vinegar drinks! A man before his time! Don't skip the supplements though, there are many antagonists to vitamin/mineral supplements! Heat, cooking, exposure to artificial lighting, birth control pills etc. I'm 71, have a mild form of MS and have stopped UTIs and a stomach virus dead in their tracks by upping my Vit. C, the healing vitamin and have recently turned a MS relapse around for the better with Vitamin C and garlic supplements! Both buffered Vit. C and Garlic, a natural anti-biotic that ups one's immune system are powerful supplements that protect people not only from colds/flues but other diseases as well. I also drink ACV cocktails again, Vit. C as I call them and drink lemon/water/Vit. C with a little stevia, a natural lemonade every morning! Thanks for sharing from your ends as well~ "knowledge is power"!

  14. Clicked on your vid just to pause it and tell yall this. Rely on herbs and amino acids. Take vitamins only if your short on food types. For instance I am lactose intolerant so I need calcium and vitamin d supplement and gut bacteria. Screw people that tell you how to live

  15. To sum it up, we're damned if we do, damned if we don't, and should focus on good food, but good food is scarce in the USA, so we're damned.

  16. Not only its syntehtic stuff, its always more expensive than actual food with the real thing. Unless you are an elderly person that cant even feed yourself, you have zero reason to take any supplements, unless you are dumb.

  17. Yes indeed! While you may be able to survive on supplements alone, you certainly won't thrive. The body's intricacies rely on a delicate balance of nutrients working synergistically. Many supplements contain synthetic versions of vitamins that don't always assimilate the way their natural counterparts would. It's best to eat a varied diet of whole, unprocessed, nutritious foods and if you feel you need to supplement, find a good quality whole food supplement, preferably organic.

  18. i worked in a restaurant where they were giving out soylent suppliment drinks out front. omg "dragged" is an understatement that shit was embarrassingly bad.

  19. Our soils, water and air are depleted by chemtrails. Nutritional value of food had dropped drastically. So supplements and are needed

  20. Always wondered why they focused on calcium for bones even though its far more important in muscle contraction which you need to move and breath

  21. I've learned in the recent past that the following 2 foods each has an unusual amount of most vitamins & minerals : Beef liver (max 30 grams per day to avoid Vit A toxicity) and parsley root (not the same as parsley). I've not been able to lay my hands on parsley root in South Africa though. These two foods can easily be ingested on a daily basis, if combined each day with various other foods for a diet with enough variety to make it practical. Then identify any shortages, and supplement (that's what the name means) your real food with whatever's necessary. I've also learned that toasted seaweed strips have a high amount of trace minerals and folate etc.

  22. vitamin C is really the only vitamin that is necessary supplementing, cant get enough from food, everything else is so simple to get from beans, fresh red meat and organs its not even funny, it makes me mad how people seems to overcomplicate nutrition

  23. Like with food, there is TV dinner/fast food quality and homemade fresh meal/5 star dinner quality. I’ve had bone issues and muscle spasms fixed from dieting and supplementing. Knowledge is power. Look up soil mineral depletion.

  24. While it felt to me like this was dragging on and getting bogged down in minutiae, the presenter is right. supplements can be dangerous if you don't understand their bio-availability and possible interaction effects, etc. It's best to get your vitamins and minerals etc from whole foods. if you are a busy person and can't seem to get your five fruits and vegetables per day, which have nearly everything your many supplements have, only with the proper carriers, is to use a product like JuiceFestiv. It's whole food and has the right carriers for all the jam packed goodness of many fruits and vegetables – in a convenient capsule. You can take this one product and get rid of all your supplements, except for your omega 3's unless your getting enough in your diet via whole foods like oily fish (salmon and sardines, etc). For calcium I recommend drinking organic almond milk. I'm a big believer in whole foods.

  25. I don't think anyone relies on supplements by using them instead of food, that's just dumb. Personally I take vitamin and mineral supplements, a tablet once every morning with my first meal of the day, and there's only one reason why I do it, because I would rather be safe than sorry. I eat very healthy, wholesome foods daily, but I also go to the gym regularly and do intermittent fasting, so I want optimal results, and a deficiency in a certain mineral or vitamin can hinder obtaining optimal results from your nutrition.

  26. After weightlifting n watching nutrition video for 3yrs…i think the formula for perfect health, though individualized. Is as complicated by design as quantum physics. Figure it out, then the truth hiders will take you out. End of ramble

  27. A bit of a misleading title. Very informative video though. The important thing is knowing what your body needs, knowing the supplement you want to take and knowing if/how it works in the body. If you do, supplements can be a game changer.

  28. proven fact people who take vitamins from well known brands live longer healthy lives ,proven .also no way in this world do foods have the amount of vitamins and minerals in them that you need ,but you must get a known top company

  29. Very interesting presentation. The small details around the metabolism of vitamins and minerals – I didn't know a lot of them. Thanks for that! 🙂

  30. 10% comments are about the actual video

    90% of the comments are millennials dying inside about the woman cutting avacados.

  31. I really enjoy watching your videos. You have showed me a different (and more accurate) perspective of scientific research that sometimes institutions like the University I attend forgets to mention.

  32. Why do I need a PhD, research several theoretical books and make several thesis and then roll dice to be healthy wtf

  33. Having had many conversations with a recently retired NASA dr…he says the only real supplement we need is Vitamin D and its not truly a vitamin . It is pre-steroidal hormone which means that it is a mineral and hormone regulator. The only supplement that NASA gives its astronauts is "D". Why? Why do Muslim women covered head to toe suffer healthwise as time goes on.? Seasonably effected disorder –that winter sadness – goes away under UV lamps as done in Scandinavia? Its D……. Get tested and do your own research. Large food companies and drug companies do not want you educated when it comes to nutrition and health. What major illnesses has the drug companies fixed. Cancer? MS? neuro disorders.? None of that has been cured. And yet we did the Manhattan project and sent people to the moon. Follow the money trail….

  34. So stir frys would be the ideal way to get your veggies? They are stir fried in oil then finished With fresh oil and not over cooked….,. But if betacaretene is fat soluble, what Leach's out of the carrot when you boil it and end up with orange coloured water

  35. Why do I get this in my recommendation as soon as I get a bottle of vitamin and mineral supplement 😐 The timing is scary perfect!

  36. Only supplements I take are systemic enzymes organic Sulfur, magnesium and probiotics.
    Magnesium lowers high blood pressure naturally. No need for pharmsters drugs.
    The low carb(20) grams is best with high fat or carnivore diet.

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