Austin Zakari Chats with Chia Girl: Cold and Flu Season – Why Some Supplements May Make You Sicker

This week Drink Chia is excited to welcome a post by Austin Zakari! Austin is an adjunct professor of anthropology at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.

Austin ZakariSixty-one billion dollars…that’s the estimated worth of the U.S supplement industry.  Did you know more than half of all Americans take  supplements daily?  And disconcertingly, nearly  a dozen recently publicized studies suggest some vitamins may increase the risk of cancer and heart disease.  That means supplements could actually shorten your life!

You may wonder where home remedies fit into this picture.  For decades, chicken soup and vitamin C have been prescribed by moms and grandmothers for the common cold and flu.  Where does the science stand on this?  Interestingly, there is scientific merit to your grandmother’s remedy of chicken soup!

The Mayo clinic reports that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to speed up the mucus movement. This is important because it lessens the time the viruses are in contact with the nose lining, thereby reducing exposure.

VitaminsStudies have been less positive toward vitamin C.  The myth of vitamin C and colds started in 1970 when Linus Pauling, a distinguished scientist and Nobel Prize winner, published a paper urging the public to take vitamin C.  He claimed that the common cold would soon be history and that 3,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily was a cure all for many ailments.  This dosage is about 50 times higher than the recommended daily allowance.  Over the following decades, studies debunked his assertion, as not only false, but also potentially harmful.

High doses of certain vitamins and supplements have been proven to increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.  Due to this, not a single national or international public health organization recommends them.

Unfortunately, the disadvantages of popping supplements has not seemed to impact sales in the vitamin industry.  Industry leaders report that they just ride out the bad news and rarely see a long-term impact within their industry.

So what’s the bottom line?  Put down the vitamin C and eat your chicken soup! Spend  your hard-earned money on high quality foods that support your body and contain many types of nutrients and phytochemicals that work synergistically to keep you healthy, year round!