The Reader's Digest magazine has once more proven itself to be the ally of its advertisers. If you look at a copy of Reader's Digest you'll notice that the majority of ads are for drugs, so it comes as no surprise that in the latest edition of this mouthpiece for the pharmaceutical industry the main article is called "Vitamin Hoax". Yes, the message of the article is that not only are vitamins useless but they are even dangerous.
If you are a person who reads without much evaluation of the information you will be frightened off taking any vitamins or other supplements. For example, vitamin E is toxic and vitamin C is completely useless at helping with a cold. So get out the NyQuil and drug yourself into oblivion while making a nice profit for the drug companies.
If, however, you are a person who pays attention to what you read and you evaluate the information, you will notice a couple of things:
On vitamin E the article doesn't say what sort of vitamin E the tests were done with. This is a huge omission. If you take lots of Alpha-Tocopherol (which is what most vitamin E supplements are) they sure it could be toxic, but it isn't vitamin E. Vitamin E is made up of many tocopherols and the correct sort to take is the vitamin E containing "mixed-tocopherols". So right away we see that the study was a bogus study because it didn't study vitamin E but instead one small part of it. Sort of like studying a tire and making pronouncements about cars.
On Vitamin C the article once more doesn't say what sort of vitamin C. Was it plain ascorbic acid? Did it include bioflavanoids? But what is even more telling is that the tests were done with 200 mg of Vitamin C per day. Wow - 200 mg? That's like going to a burning 3 story building, throwing a glass of water on it and saying that water is useless for putting out fires. Every place I've every looked to see how much Vitamin C to take if you get a cold, it says you take 1000 mg per hour until you get the runs, then you take 1000 mg less than that each day until the cold goes away.
So, if you have the misfortune to be stuck somewhere for a long period and the only reading matter is the Reader's Digest, be warned!