[Letters] The best solution is in nature

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[Letters] The best solution is in nature

After an anatomy professor argued that overdosing on vitamin C by taking 6,000 milligrams a day will deliver good health and a long life, many people are overdosing on vitamin C every day.

The daily requirement for vitamin C is about 45 to 90 milligrams. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends less than 2,000 milligrams per day.

Any medication or dietary supplements require chemical and animal tests, as well as clinical trials, to prove their effectiveness and safety. To prove the average of 25 percent effectiveness, about 5,000 people are given placebos for five years to make a comparison.

Giving a few people the medication and evaluating the effectiveness of treating other patients with the same medication is unimaginable. Although many studies took place, with expectations that the vitamins would prevent heart disease, strokes and cancers, no study proved the theory true.

One of the most reliable studies was done in the United States. Researchers at Harvard University published their findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2009.

In the study, a total of 14,641 male physicians in the United States initially aged 50 years or older were tested for the effectiveness of vitamins E and C.

According to the research conducted from 1997 to 2007, the vitamins had no effect on myocardial infarction, strokes, heart diseases or death rates.

The Harvard research team also conducted the same study with 8,172 women for 9.4 years. During the study, 624 had cancers and 176 died. The women who took vitamin C were more vulnerable than the others.

In conclusion, there is almost no evidence that multivitamins and antioxidants prevent heart diseases and cancers. Overdosing will in fact will hurt your body. Vitamins A and E are fat-soluble, thus they do not get out of your system through urine. Overdosing will only accumulate them in your body and eventually hurt you.

In contrast, vitamin C is water-soluble so it will eventually be removed from your system through the urinary system.

The best solution is in nature. Regularly consuming fish and eating fresh fruits and vegetables will prevent cardiovascular diseases and cancers, many studies have said. Instead of relying on artificial vitamins, consuming natural ingredients is the best way to be healthy. Drinking in moderation, quitting smoking and routine exercise are also musts.

*Letters and commentaries for publication should be addressed “Letters to the Editor.” E-mailed letters should be sent to eopinion@joongang.co.kr.


Dr. Lee Jong-koo,

Chief of the Lee Jong-koo Heart Clinic and professor emeritus of the University of Alberta, Canada
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