Getting Out of the Supplement Mindset

December 10, 2009 in Antioxidants, Diabetes, Health Claims, Nutrition by Joyce Bunderson

Before I forget, I want to be sure that you’ve all seen the new recipe contest that Dr. Grandma’s is sponsoring.  We’re giving away a Blendtec Total Countertop Blender; have you seen the crazy guy, Tom Dickson, grinding up cell phones, golf balls and guns on YouTube “Will it Blend” videos? Seriously, their blenders are the best. Good recipe creation and good luck to you to become the winner. Go to the website and sign up. Don’t worry about adding something to your holiday list; the contest doesn’t end until June 2010.

Now about the Supplement Mindset:
Norwegian researchers are helping the public see that too much of a good thing may not be so good.  In Norway where there is no supplemented folic acid, research was done with supplemental folic acid and vitamin B12 with 6,837 heart patients. After 77 months the supplemental group were 21% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer and 38% more likely to die of cancer. The experts that commented on the findings said, it’s safest to get your nutrients from food, and that high-dose supplements shouldn’t be relied on to prevent chronic disease.

A new multi-national study of 1042 participants found that high blood levels of selenium increases the LDL (harmful portion) cholesterol and total cholesterol, but not the HDL (beneficial portion) and in addition, those with metabolic issues like diabetes, may have additional risk with high selenium status.

Because the supplement industry is promoting the use of selenium for its antioxidant benefits and possible anti-cancer properties many people are adding selenium to their supplement cocktails.  The researchers in the study say, “We believe that the widespread use of selenium supplements, or of any other strategy that artificially increases selenium status above the level required, is unwarranted at the present time.”

There may be a benefit of the natural selenium in food in reducing the risk of cancer, but you may increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes in the process.  Selenium is commonly found in nuts, tuna, beef, cod, turkey, chicken, pasta, eggs, cottage cheese, oatmeal, rice, bread and cheese, to name a few – a fairly widespread availability.

The bottom line is and continues to be: Supplements are not harmless and just because a nutrient in a food is shown to be beneficial, it does not safely translate into taking high amounts of that nutrient.

They don't flock trees for Christmas in the mountain west.

They don't flock trees for Christmas in the mountain west.

Can you see my Canadian-born neighbor walking up the street?

Can you see my Canadian-born neighbor walking up the street?

Why Native So. Californian, Dr. Grandma walks on a treadmill.

Why Native So. Californian, Dr. Grandma Walks on a Treadmill.