Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The need to believe

There has been a lot of propaganda about vitamin supplements and, more recently, Anti-oxidants preventing aging. A new study says otherwise:
CHICAGO (AP) -- Antioxidant vitamins, including A, E and C, don't help you live longer, according to an analysis of dozens of studies of these popular supplements.

The new review showing no long-life benefit from those vitamins, plus beta carotene and selenium, adds to growing evidence questioning the value of these supplements.
It might even be worse than that:
When they eliminated the lower-quality studies and looked only at the most trustworthy ones, they actually found a higher risk of death for people taking vitamins: 4 percent for those taking vitamin E, 7 percent for beta carotene and 16 percent for vitamin A. [Emphasis added]
This is consistent with a long line of studies that say vitamin supplements, as opposed to real foods, generally (calcium supplements would be an exception) have no value. There are many people who will simply dismiss such results. There is one example of where the human mind can have a need to believe, in this case, a need to believe that it has some control of its own future, that, through "virtue" (taking vitamins), it will live longer.

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