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.
Full Transcript #
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
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
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
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.