- May 24, 2019
Falsehoods of Fitness: Micronutrient RDA's (Episode 7)
Is it possible to meet your RDA’s for micronutrients by eating a healthy diet, without turning to supplements? Research suggests that it is not. Dr. John Jaquish discusses this unexpected conclusion.
What I wanna talk about today is recommended nutrition, specifically, micro nutrients or vitamins, antioxidants and cellfirm are in that same category.
So, we’ve been told ever since we were kids, your mother told you you need your vitamins, you need to eat your vegetables cause you need your vitamins. So the question is, are the recommendations correct? And then the second question is, judged by what? Like long life, disease avoidance, performance. Clearly not performance. We will be measuring performance for the last, let’s say, 100 years really. And a lot of these recommendations are from way before that.
So lemme start off with a study that came out in 2010. Now this is in the journal of The International Society of Sports Nutrition. So prevalence of micro nutrient deficiency and popular diet plans. So they compared the availability of micronutrients in varying different types of plants. So they compared the DASH diet, the South Beach diet, the Atkins diet, which is basically just the ketogenic diet and I believe one other. No, it was it was those three. So DASH and South Beach are heading in, I think DASH is pretty much all vegetables and some meats, in South Beach is somewhere in between, and Atkins is primarily meats and animal products and then animal proteins I should say. And then it’s.
Move the microphone a little closer to me. Yeah.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
And then vegetables. So what was looked at was to the get the recommended daily values, what was required? What was the nutrient value that was required? How many calories were required for somebody to get this level of nutrients from the recommended daily intakes administered by the FDA or published by the FDA. So the answer was 27,000 calories of whole foods would need to be ingested on average to get to the minimum dosages of the 27 micronutrients. 27,000 calories per day.
So my question when reading this now of course, the conclusion in study is, so people definitely need to take a multivitamin. Or the recommended daily intake by the FDA has something wrong with it. Doesn’t make any sense, because last I checked homo sapiens we’re thriving on this planet, and they didn’t, they certainly didn’t eat 27,000 calories per day. And also, you have to consider that just about anybody from just about any place, maybe ate one or two different types of things.
If you were a Native American, you ate bison, and maybe some kind of berries or plants when they were blooming. Like for a couple weeks, that’s about it. And if you’re a Viking you’re eating whale blubber. If you were some Nordic countries, I shouldn’t call the Vikings. I’m not sure that’s offensive or not. Actually they should find that pretty cool because Vikings are awesome.
Let’s see if you were from, you know, Mediterranean you ate fish because that’s what was there. So the idea that these micronutrients are just so required for for disease avoidance is kind of strange, kind of silly. And it seems an awful lot like the people who wrote those recommendations were like in a vitamin sales business, just seems that way. I mean, hey, that’s conspiracy theory and maybe these things were developed out of some sort of responsibility though you know, we don’t really know these came a long time ago.
Scientific studies on the effects of vitamin intake
But then after this, there was a 2011 study from the University of Minnesota, which showed that people that took multivitamins died younger than people who do not take multivitamins. The same year Cleveland Clinic came up with vitamin E being attributed to higher prevalence of prostate cancer. And these recommendations may all go back to actually or at least on the higher levels.
The talk track about vitamins. It became much more popular in the 1940s, when Linus Pauling started saying if you have 10 times the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, you’re never gonna get a cold or you have a cold go away. And that was tested a number of times after he said it and that was found to be untrue. Though, it was exciting and possibly the press picks up on exciting things more often than they pick up on, you know, something that’s not so exciting or bad news. So it was hopeful and then after that was pretty well disproven.
Professor Pauling started saying that vitamin C was also the cure for cancer, which was also very quickly disproven. And the despite winning, I think was two Nobel prizes, he wasn’t very popular after that because he just kinda made these things up.
And the other interesting argument is about antioxidants. So this is really why we talk about antioxidants. Antioxidants are really where electrons are borrowed to stop something that is oxidizing. So again, interesting theory. Now that also is predicated on the idea that if you have inflammation, you’re oxidizing on the inside of your body. When we have an anti-inflammatory diet, like a ketogenic diet or a carnivore diet, well then don’t you have inflammation. So what would you need in antioxidants for if you’re not oxidizing? You wouldn’t.
So also, there’s sort of a logic problem, that you need to have this one thing that comes from vegetables to keep all these other things, which are poisonous, from hurting you. So you have to have derivatives of other vegetables and fruits, the antioxidants to protect you from these things. Which just seems illogical to me. And it’s a bit of an oversimplification but ultimately, even a Harvard School of Public Health has said some pretty strong things about antioxidants and vitamins in general.
And just pointing out it’s not saying “Don’t go and take any of these things,” just saying there’s a lot of hype there and may not be the validity there that you are looking for, that may be protecting you. So hence a Falsehood of Fitness episode on vitamins and micronutrients.
Optimize your health through science
Sign up for our newsletter to get a regular dose of science-backed tips, tricks, biohacks, and more.