Are vitamins really a salve against the uncertainty of mortality?
They were first named "vital amines" by Polish biochemist Kazimierz Funk around 1912. Other suggestions of the time were "food hormones" or "food accessory factor." Would parents today insist their children get food hormones? Vitamin supplements are taken by half the American population--even though scientists have debunked this idea over and over. (A fascinating history of vitamins is available in Vitamania by Catherine Price.)
PositiveTip: Get your vitamins from the foods in a healthy diet. It is the best way!
Studies of the role of vitamin D in human physiology indicate that vitamin D is involved in bone formation, the growth and development of immune cells, and stimulation or inhibition of blood vessels in cancer. Those who have lower levels of vitamin D are found to have higher death rates from heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and several kinds of cancer. Low vitamin D levels also adversely affect, multiple sclerosis, allergies, asthma, infections, and depression.
The British Medical Journal just published results from a study on how B-Vitamins and fish oil affect several cardiovascular diseases. The outcomes were disappointing.
Researchers studied 2501 individuals who were sick to begin with. All had experienced a stroke, heart attack or unstable chest pains. The study involved over 400 research physicians throughout France.
People were randomly assigned to one of four groups, with various daily treatments:
One risk factor for first-time heart attacks is an elevated blood level of homocysteine. High homocysteine levels can be lowered by administering vitamin B12 and folic acid. The question has been whether or not this treatment would result in reduced disease and death from heart attacks.
Lots of people are urged by their doctors to take Vitamin D supplements to preserve strong bones. But a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports a surprising complication from vitamin D supplements.