90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Could Vitamins Do More Harm Than Good?

Vitamins and our health. It’s big business. Could the pills do more harm than good?

Vitamins photographed Oct. 27, 2011. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Vitamins photographed Oct. 27, 2011. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Headlines on health should always be taken with a grain of salt. Between the research lab and the web post, a lot can get lost. Even so, the headlines on vitamins lately are head-turning. “Is This the End of Popping Vitamins?” “The case for dietary supplements is collapsing.” “Will Supplements Kill You?”

Millions of people take their morning vitamins and more and go on their way. New research is throwing up warning flags. So what’s up with all the vitamin A, B, C, D, E we’re gulping down?

This hour On Point: vitamin supplements and our health. Plus, the HPV vaccine, for boys.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Sharon Begley, science columnist and science editor of Newsweek.

Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Walter Willett, Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition Chair, Department of Nutrition – Department of Nutrition, Harvard University’s School of Public Health.

C-Segment — Boys And The HPV Vaccine

William Schaffner, Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal “A succession of large-scale human studies, including two published earlier this month in leading medical journals, suggests that multivitamins and many other dietary supplements often don’t have health benefits—and in some cases may even cause harm.”

The New York Times “The dose being studied in the Select trial was 200 micrograms of selenium and 400 international units of vitamin E. By comparison, most multivitamins contain about 50 micrograms of selenium and 30 to 200 international units of vitamin E.”

NPR “We have a lot to learn about absorption (of nutrients). There are genetic and gender differences. For instance, African Americans need more vitamin D because of skin pigment. Older people need extra B12 because they don’t make enough stomach acid, which you need to liberate B12 from food. Iron is another example. The body doesn’t have a good way to get rid of iron except through blood loss, so postmenopausal women, and men, do not need to take an iron supplement.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 19, 2014
Alan Gross, waves as he and his wife Judy leave following his statement at his lawyer's office in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Gross was released from Cuba after 5 years in a Cuban prison. (AP)

Cuba reset. Russia’s rubble troubles. School massacre in Pakistan. Jeb explores 2016. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Dec 19, 2014
Soledad, and from left, Nina Pastori, and Lila Downs perform on stage at the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Tribute honoring Joan Manuel Serrat at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP)

From crossover hits to hip-hop to soul, we look at a big year in the wide world of Latin music.

RECENT
SHOWS
Dec 18, 2014
A poster for the movie "The Interview" is carried away by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP)

A big Sony hack gets weirder and wider. And Hollywood and Homeland Security are on edge.

 
Dec 18, 2014
This handout photo from the Twitter account of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. shows Alan Gross arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The US and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. (AP)

Following months of secret talks the US will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than fifty years.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: December 19, 2014
Friday, Dec 19, 2014

Rage, shortlinks and things you people seem to be into, we guess. Also, Putin.

More »
Comment
 
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

More »
3 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

More »
Comment