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Why You Shouldn’t Trust Nutritional Supplements

July 3, 2020
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Simon Persson

​Most ​​nutritional supplements are useless and can't prevent diseases. The best way to get nutrients is from vegetables and sunshine, not pills.

In this ​blog post, you will learn why supplements are not the best source of nutrients. You will also discover some common side effects of taking them. And finally, you will learn more about the corrupt supplement industry and how to get nutrients naturally.


Legal Notice

The information is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, prescribe treat or cure cancer.This information is not intended as medical advice, please refer to a qualified healthcare professional.

​Our Society Is Obsessed By ​Nutritional Supplements

Millions of people in the United States consume ​​nutritional supplements. People are looking for a magic bullet to offset all their destructive health habits.

One way they do that is by consuming supplements or health products. These mixtures either come from pills, nutrition bars, health drinks, and cereals.

Vitamins are organic compounds that the human body can't create. Therefore we need to get them from our diet. Fruits and vegetables are the primary sources of most vitamins.

shelf with many different nutritional supplements

​Millions of people in the United States consume ​​nutritional supplements

Vitamin D comes from the sun’s actions on our skin and B12 from bacteria. Plants are also the most direct source of minerals. Minerals originate in the ground and enter through the roots of plants and then into animals.

Deficiencies often occur in the elderly, alcoholics, and those with chronic illnesses. Or Western populations that don't consume enough fruits and vegetables.

A century ago, deficiencies were a problem. Today these diseases are almost unknown because of better nutrition. People today instead eat excess cholesterol, fat, sodium, and protein. We also overuse supplements which can cause nutritional imbalances.

​Supplements Cause Nutritional Imbalances

Vitamins and minerals come from natural packages called fruits and vegetables. These nutrient-rich foods have been under development for hundreds of millions of years. Their interactions with living animals are proven correct over eons of successful living.

Vitamin manufacturers can't outsmart nature’s design. Lab technicians isolate and concentrate nutrients and package them in capsules. They then sell them to us with claims that they are necessary for good health.

Manufacturing creates severe problems because nutrients do not work in isolation. They need the interaction of thousands of other substances. In concentrated, isolated, forms these vitamin and mineral supplements cause nutritional imbalances.

woman holding pills looking scared

​Vitamin and mineral supplements cause nutritional imbalances

The classic example is beta-carotene supplements for cancer. A study gave elderly people 200 mg of vitamin E supplements. They experienced frequent upper respiratory infections. Those taking vitamins had longer total illness duration and more symptoms.

You can find beta-carotene in yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. Inside our cells are receptors for carotenoids. Supplements flood the cell with beta-carotene. Their receptor sites then get overwhelmed by the competition.

Supplements can result in diseases if taken in excess. For example, vitamin A supplements increase the risk of hip fractures and birth defects. Iron supplementation can cause a fatal liver disease called hemochromatosis.

Magnesium supplementation increases the risk of heart attacks and sudden death. 

​Vitamin D is another important thing we need to be healthy. This hormone ​should come from the sun, not supplements.

​The Sun Is The Best Source Of Vitamin D

Vitamin D supplements are quite powerless. They should only be taken in extreme cases. Some examples include those confined to a nursing home or stuck in the Arctic. 

Vitamin D is a hormone synthesized with the help of sunlight. It's not intended for oral intake or injections. Treating abnormal blood tests with vitamin D supplements may cause more fractures.

It's best to expose yourself to as much sun as tolerated. Vitamin D taken orally either from whole foods or pills don't provide as much benefit as the sun.

woman sunbathing

​The sun is the best source of vitamin D, not pills

Sunlight causes your body to make not just vitamin D but also photoisomers. Photoisomers offer additional health benefits. They are not present in supplements.

Vitamin D from the sun is fat-soluble. You can, therefore, store it in the body’s fatty tissues longer than supplements. Neither vitamin D-rich foods nor supplements will create feel-good substances.

Only the sun or tanning beds can create endorphins. And only the sun can regulate your circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycle. 

​Omega 3 from fish oil is another dangerous health fallacy that many people believe in.

Omega 3 From Fish Oil Does Not Improve Your Health

You have probably heard that you need Omega 3 from fish oil. We now consume over 100 000 tons of fish oil every year. A meta-analysis published in The JAMA looked at the effects of Omega 3.

Fish oil supplements

Fish oil ​does not improve your health

They studied the lifespan, cardiac death, sudden death, and stroke in people. There was no protective benefit by taking fish oil. Fish oil contains dangerous saturated fat and contaminants.

A better source of Omega 3 is flaxseeds. You can get your daily intake of Omega 3 from one Tbsp of ground flaxseeds.

​​One vitamin often misunderstood is B12. Let's learn ​the real facts about this vitamin to ​remove any confusion.

Bacteria Make B12, Not Plants Or Animals

Vitamin B12 is part of the metabolism of all cells in the body. You can see the first effects of B12 deficiencies in the blood and then the nervous system.

Anemia or low red blood count is one result of B12 deficiency. You can often cure it by taking small amounts of B12. Although you can find vitamin B12 in animal foods, plants or animals don't synthesize it.

Only bacteria make active vitamin B12. Cows, deers, and other free-living, grazing animals have vitamin B12 in their muscles. They get it from soil particles that cling to plant roots.

Bacteria at close

​Bacteria make vitamin B12, not plants or animals

The human gut also contains B12-synthesizing bacteria. But the B12 is absorbed in the ileum. Therefore, B12 is not immediately available for absorption. 

In earlier times, humans acquired vitamin B12 in the same way as grazing animals. They ate plant parts without washing them in chlorinated drinking water. Humans harvested plants and drank from streams, rivers, and wells.

As a result, enough B12 flowed through human bodies. But our traditional sources of B12 are almost gone.

​Our Wastewater Treatment Plants Destroy B12 Producing Bacteria

​B12 is almost impossible to get if you live in the city. Root vegetables are now scrubbed and washed with chlorinated water. Few of us drink water from streams or wells.

Wastewater treatment plants also kill B12-producing bacteria. Therefore modern-day vegans must rely on vitamin B12 supplements to meet their needs.

Our lack of B12 is an effect of modern sanitation. It is not proof that humans need to eat animal flesh. You could choose to eat lots of B12-rich animal foods and avoid anemia.

waterwater treatment plant

​Our modern sanitation kills B12 producing bacteria

But this decision puts you at risk of dying from a heart attack, diabetes, or cancer. The human body is efficient in absorbing and conserving this vitamin. By design, we only need tiny amounts of it.

Most people have at least a three-year reserve of this vital nutrient. The long-term consequences of B12 supplementation are unknown. So far, this vitamin appears to be non-toxic and beneficial.

Recently scientists discovered a plant-based source of Vitamin B12 in water lentils or duckweed. So you may get B12 from a whole food source instead of a supplement. 

But what about depleted soils? Don't we need to take supplements if ​the ground is sterile?

​The Truth About Our Depleted Soils

Supplement companies often tell us that we must take ​supplements because of depleted soils. Minerals ​come from the soil, and vitamins are something plants create. If a plant is going to bear roots, seeds, flowers, or fruits, it needs to produce all necessary vitamins.

Mineral deficiency is theoretically possible. But it's highly unlikely to affect anyone living in our modern society. The classic example of a mineral deficiency is iodine. It caused goiters in underdeveloped parts of the world, such as Africa.

farm land without plants

​Our soils contain enough minerals to meet our nutritional needs

There are also some rare cases of selenium and zinc deficiencies in poorer countries. These deficiencies occur because of the limited supply of foods for these people. They eat only foods grown in their local region.

The soil in their neighborhood may be deficient in one of these minerals. But the risk of you suffering from vitamin or mineral deficiencies is small. This is because you eat foods grown from a wide variety of soils.

In the unlikely chance that one food was low in a mineral, another one can contain an abundant supply. ​Nutritional databases also prove that vegetables contain all the nutrients that we need.

Nutritional Databases ​Prove That Modern Vegetables Contain Nutrients

Vegetables are not deficient in vitamins and minerals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a huge database of the nutritional content of products. If our vegetables lacked nutrients, we would see more negative conditions in people.

If you look at the USDA database, you can clearly see that vegetables contain nutrients. The website Cronometer.com uses nutritional data from multiple sources. 

Picture showing USDA's website for raw tomatoes

​A quick glance at USDA's website shows that vegetables contain nutrients

If you go on their website, you can see that fresh vegetables contain nutrients. Supplement companies are the ones that repeat that our soils are depleted. They say that to sell more products.

But nutritional databases prove that this argument is false. Often nutritional deficiencies are because of our lifestyle, not depleted soils.

Our Eating Habits And Lifestyle Cause Nutritional ​Imbalances

Obesity causes more vitamin D deficiency. Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, excess body fat will pull vitamin D out of circulation. The body responds with repair processes that include inflammation.

One of the responses to this inflammation is the lowering of vitamin D in the blood. ​Sunscreens also prevent our bodies from absorbing vitamin D by blocking UVB rays.

Picture showing two burgers, French fries, and two drinks in plastic cups

​Junk food, animal products, and stress can cause nutritional imbalances

Almost all cases of vitamin B12 deficiencies are due to diseases of the intestine. Damage to the ileum prevents reabsorption of B12. 

Many people have low magnesium levels. When we’re under stress, the body uses magnesium. So even if your food has adequate magnesium, you can still become deficient if you worry a lot.

If you drink dairy, you can still deplete your calcium reserve. Milk is acidic. A way for the body to reverse this effect is by using calcium from the bones. That is why dairy can lower your calcium levels. But if you get calcium from plants, this effect is not happening.

​If natural sources are the best way to get nutrients, why do so many people recommend supplements? To ​understand this, you need to follow the money.

​The Supplement Industry ​Is A Multi-Billion-Dollar Scam

​Supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry. ​It doesn't want to give up its cash cow. The validity of research on dietary supplements is questionable. Therefore, we cannot know the composition and quality of ingredients. 

Researchers used DNA fingerprinting techniques to test 44 herbal supplements. Less than half of the supplements were authentic or contained what they said they did.


​Supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry

Most supplements contained plants not listed on the label and product substitutions. Many had contaminants or fillers, not listed on the label. Only two of the 12 companies appeared to be completely authentic.

The remaining ten companies’ products contained fillers, product substitutions, or contaminants. Dietary supplements may: 

  • ​Be mixed with dangerous compounds
  • ​Be contaminated
  • ​Fail to contain the active ingredient
  • ​Contain unknown doses of the ingredients stated on the label
  • ​Be sold at toxic dosages
  • ​Produce harmful effects

​What's worse is that supplement manufactures don't need to prove that their products work.

Supplement Manufacturers Don't ​Need To Prove That Their Products Work

By law, supplements can contain up to 50% more or 20% less vitamin. Or 45% more and 20% less mineral than listed on the label. The FDA oversees medications. But vitamins don’t get regular testing by any government agency.

So there’s no way of knowing outside of independent testing if supplements work. One study estimated that at least 1 in 12 US adults takes ​​nutritional supplements known to cause kidney damage. ​

About a third of calls to poison control centers are due to dietary supplements. They may cause comas, seizures, heart attacks, liver failures, and death. Despite extensive research on ​food supplements, there is little regulation.

person taking vitamin pills

​Supplements undergo little testing

Supplements don't need to prove they are effective in treating the symptom. New supplement ingredients need only limited safety data. Dietary supplements may not claim to treat, prevent, diagnose, or cure diseases.

However, they can contain general health or nutrient content claims. But, there are no established criteria needed to support a claim. ​

Some health experts abuse this loophole. They tell their followers to buy their supplements to be healthy. In that way they can fill their pockets with money while selling useless supplements. 

​Joel Fuhrman ​Caught ​Faking A Study To Sell His Useless DHA Supplement

Many health experts use ​nutritional supplements to earn a steady income outside their book sales. One example is Dr. Joel Fuhrman, a board-certified family physician. He is the bestseller of books such as Eat To Live and The End Of Diabetes.

Fuhrman calls his way of eating a nutritarian diet. He tells his readers to eat nutrient-dense foods like greens and vegetables. But at the same time, he says vegans need DHA supplements.

​There is no real evidence that vegans need DHA supplements to be healthy. He is only using the situation to make more money.

Dr. Fuhrman's front website

​​Dr. Fuhrman got caught hiring a ghostwriter to ​create a study to sell his DHA supplement

Dr. Joel Fuhrman designed and carried out a DHA study for a supplement he sells. His website removed Fuhrman as the principal investigator in the study before he published it. Fuhrman sells his DHA supplement for $56.98 at the time of writing this blog post.

If he can make 17 551 followers buy his supplement, he can earn one million dollars in sales. And if they are repeat buyers, he can earn millions of dollars on a useless supplement each year.

Jeff Nelson of Vegsource made several videos about Dr. Fuhrman's scandal.​ You can watch his video by clicking here.​

If supplements are not that great, then what can you do to get enough nutrients? Scroll down to the last section of this blog post to learn how to get nutrients from natural sources.


​Millions of people in the United States consume dietary supplements

Fruits and vegetables are the primary sources of most vitamins

Plants are also the most direct source of minerals

Vitamin D comes from ​sunshine on our skin ​

Only bacteria make active vitamin B12

Wastewater treatment plants kill B12-producing bacteria

​​Vitamin and mineral supplements cause nutritional imbalances

Fish oil contains dangerous saturated fat and contaminants

​Supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry

About a third of calls to poison control centers are due to dietary supplements

Supplements don't need to prove they are effective

​Vegetables are not deficient in vitamins and minerals

​Nutritional deficiencies are often because of our lifestyle, not depleted soils

Many health experts use supplements to earn a steady income outside their book sales

​How To Get Nutrients ​From Plants Instead Of ​Nutritional Supplements

​1. Limit your use of nutritional supplements

2. Eat a whole food plant-based diet

​3. ​Grow your own vegetables

​4. ​Read our nutrition course

Action Steps

If you want to get enough nutrition, if you have cancer, you will be better off by not taking ​nutritional supplements. B12 is an exception​, and vitamin D pills in some extreme cases. 

Supplements may also be useful if you do specific cleanses such as the Niacin Sauna detox. Or if you use herbs and real whole food mixes.

We need clean air, water, and food, adequate rest, moderate exercise, and sunshine. These are cost-free and side-effect-free. But also profit-free, so that is why few people recommend them.The best source of nutrients comes from whole foods such as greens and vegetables and the sun. 

Another great way to load your body with nutrients is to grow vegetables. If you use the Square Foot Gardening Technique, you can even grow vegetables on concrete.

Get nutrients the way God or mother nature made it, not what humans created. If you're buying supplements, there is a big chance that you’re wasting your money.

If you want to learn how to get enough nutrients, then read our free Cancer Diet And Nutrition Guide. ​Discover where to get minerals and vitamins from plants and not supplements. 


Simon Persson

Simon Persson is a holistic cancer blogger passionate about natural health remedies. When he is not blogging, he enjoys nature, cooking, sports, and learning about the latest gadgets on the market.

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