poured out before bed
You can fairly readily recognize those in a patient population who fall among the nutters of the medical world. Upon opening their charts, a long (long) list of drug ‘allergies’ with side effects like ‘weakness,’ ‘fatigue,’ ‘fogginess,’ and ‘dizziness’ (my personal ‘favorite’ chief complaint) pop intrusively up in scarlet bold print. Yet, when these patients enter the exam room, it is with a plastic grocery bag chock full of a broad range of ‘health’ supplements, variously acquired online, from television adverts, or – my ‘favorite’ – from close friends who swear by them.
(Those of you in the medical field immediately had one or two such token patients pop intrusively into your mind, didn’t you. You clever, judgy providers.)
Now, vitamins are – well, vital. They are absolutely necessary for human metabolism – both the equally important catabolic and anabolic arms. But, good nutters of the world, too much of a good thing is not necessary. Not vital. Not good. Bad, actually.
There have been a number of very good studies which connect the overuse of vitamins and those hyped-up antioxidants (when you read that, did you hear it in your head in classic infomercial tones? I did…) to increased mortality, to cancer, and to heart disease (those words I always hear in Charlie Gibson’s voice, strangely). Luckily for me, Paul Offit of the New York Times took his New York time to summarize the findings of a few of these original scientific publications in his own recent article Don’t Take Your Vitamins. He also explains just why it is that the FDA cannot legally mandate health warning placements on vitamin and supplement bottle labels – unlike every other pill out there. Those clever, judgy vitamin manufacturers.
Shocking, and disgusting, I know.
So, the next time your buddy ol’ pal touts the newest health supplement on the market, think about the antioxidant paradox (and maybe mention it to your pal). Besides, you don’t really want to be that memorable nutter do you?