Please Explain: Vitamins

Friday, June 01, 2012

Patsy Brannon, Professor of Nutrition, Cornell University explains what vitamins do and which are most important.


Patsy Brannon

Comments [47]

Stan from Canada

Unbelievable, simple vitamin discussion shaked many people to virulent attacks on guest. That shows how people are hungry for facts, real facts. To long we were misinformed until we accepted it as a truth and then if someone comes and put everything what we believed in garbage can, we attack. Guys it's her job to know, in my opinion, she tried to wrinkle out from many questions because of self interest but the interviewer had been very professional and she had to admit, artificial vitamins and minerals, at minimum make expensive urine and mostly they hurt you. We should have a natural food in our supermarkets full of bio available vitamins and other nutrients, not the processed and GMO poisons who masquerade as a food, and that's include milk and many so called "organic" foods.

Jun. 26 2012 09:36 AM
Nick from UWS

Let's face it...nobody has the slightest idea how vitamins work, how much we need, or even if we need them at all. But if there's a buck to be made selling supplements, that will override all other considerations.

Jun. 01 2012 02:48 PM

A lot of misinformation here. I'm disappointed that someone from Cornell would pass on this incomplete data, pablumized for general consumption. For example, the reason that Vit E may have "caused" cancer is that for many years the recommendation was to take just alpha tocopherol; it is now recognized that the other aspects of Vit E are equally important, like the delta and gamma portion - and those are anti cancer. Taking just the alpha, as it turns out, caused an imbalance, a relative lack of the others. Similarly, with the beta carotene -we now know that we need the mixed carotenioids.

Yes, there have been some mistakes in nutritional recommendations over the years, but the science is still growing. Therefore caveat emptor means being continually re-informed.

There are many people out there doing excellent research in nutritional science and little enough good coverage is found of it in the general media. Please try to find some others.

Jun. 01 2012 02:02 PM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

You won't want to eat raw Shiitake mushrooms, they'll make you very sick.

Jun. 01 2012 01:58 PM
Josh Karan from Washington Heights

Invite someone from Life Extension Institute to offer an alternative view.
While this is a company that manufactures and markets supplements, it has an extensive Medical Board of MD's and PHD's supplying the research which it asserts supports the claims that it makes.

Statements, such as from your guest, that there is "no research" to support "such and such an assertion" will thereby be rebutted by others with much more knowledge than Leonard or most of the listeners.

A discussion between contrasting researchers is needed for listeners to gain clarity on this subject, rather than just having one sided assertions, regardless of the position.

Jun. 01 2012 01:57 PM
Roseann Marcus from NYC

I am caretaker for my father, who is 82 years old. He has recently gone through some extensive bloodwork and has been given a prescription for Vitamin D. What is the benefit of him taking Vitamin D at this stage of his life. He has been going for Iron infusions as he is very anemic.

Thank you.

Jun. 01 2012 01:57 PM

Does your guest believe vitamins should be regulated?

Jun. 01 2012 01:56 PM
Ivana from Yorkville

synthetics vs whole food sources, that's the key issue right now

Jun. 01 2012 01:56 PM
Nico from glen ridge, nj

Could she comment on L-carnosine? I'm told, but not sure, if it is in fact a non- animal source of the 8 essential amino acids humans require.

Jun. 01 2012 01:56 PM
Max from Northern NJ

Anything for prostate stones?

Jun. 01 2012 01:55 PM
Michael Feldman from Manhattan

An animal product hocking shill. Suggesting animal products like cow milk because it has ADDED vitamins. So we should drink milk because it has vitamin d added and ignore the fact that milk actually acidifies the body and leeches calcium from our bones? Milk has over 60 active hormones, we should consume it because it has added vitamin d? Oh please. On the issue of vegans and b-12, why didn't the doctor mention b-12 deficiency is universal in both meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans. Around 50% of our population is b-12 deficient...

Jun. 01 2012 01:55 PM
Katherine from West Harlem

When I was pregnant my doctor gave me iron supplements and I was told to take them with fruit juice because the vitamin C helps to absorb the iron. I was also told not to take the iron with milk because the calcium somehow countered the way the body absorbs it. If this is true, how and why is orange juice which is naturally rich in vitamin C have calcium added?

Jun. 01 2012 01:55 PM

My endocrinologist tested my Vit D levels last June (plenty of time in the sun) and found they were well below half the rec'd level and put me on megadoses of Vit D3, 100,000iu per week.

First, I seemed to have more energy, then I developed a recurrence of back pain issues (may actually be SI-hip joint caused perhaps by doing more, still TBD), gradually my hair which had been straight since I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer and had a complete thyroidectomy began to get wavy (but not nice and controlled curly, not thicker) again.

I've since been told to lower my Vit D supplements.

I was wondering if endocrine issues affect how and if Vit D, even other vitamins, are stored or used effectively? When I was on Synthroid I had problems with very low energy; changing to Armour Thyroid, dessicated pig's thyroid, helped; but adding the Vit D meant a big increase in energy. I don't feel quite as much energy since I'm on the lower dose of Vit D. But who knows what is really going on....

Jun. 01 2012 01:52 PM
Nick from UWS

What kind of nonsense is this woman spouting? How can a vitamin company list the necessary daily requirement of each vitamin on their bottles if they have never been able to ascertain the necessary daily requirement of any vitamin? This whole discussion is smoke and mirrors.

Jun. 01 2012 01:50 PM
Shorty from Manhattan

Are there any cultural or dietary factors which routinely deplete certain vitamins or minerals?

Jun. 01 2012 01:50 PM


Jun. 01 2012 01:49 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Wasn't the increased risk of lung cancer w/vit. A(?) supplementation only in heavy smokers?

Jun. 01 2012 01:49 PM
George from michigan

I was taking a women's supplement and totally overdosed on iron - I found I had hemochromatosis - so the iron was poisoning me. Be careful before taking vitamins if you don't really need them.

Jun. 01 2012 01:49 PM

Please discuss Linus Pauling's work with Vitamin C

Jun. 01 2012 01:47 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Some vitamins come in bottles with Expiration dates. Any comment on the reliability of those dates?

Jun. 01 2012 01:46 PM

there are many different types of manufacturing processes to make vitamins. some lower cost vitamins such as the big name brands (centrum) use lower quality ingredients like calcium carbonate. some higher quality companies like new chapter, grow their own plants and make full spectrum extracts. has there ever been any testing between these 2 tier of vitamins to determine effectiveness? What is your guest's opinion of this issue?

Jun. 01 2012 01:42 PM
Nick from UWS

If they still cannot, at this late date, ascertain the function or necessary blood levels of vitamins, what makes anybody think vitamins are important in the first place? What evidence is there...what makes anybody think that vitamins are so essential for our functioning if we can't find the evidence of it? Sounds like a nonsensical dead-end to me.

Jun. 01 2012 01:42 PM
Charlie from Tenafly NJ

ok, this is a nit, but the guest is one of those ppl who begin each and every sentence and response with "So". As in "so yes I do happen to know the answer to everything". Drives me crazy. just had to share that

Jun. 01 2012 01:42 PM
John from Upper West Side

Dr. Deepak Chopra recently wrote that most doctors say vitamins result in expensive urine as micronutrients don't get absorbed. Should we be taking multivitamins?

Jun. 01 2012 01:42 PM
Robert from NYC

Hurray, finally someone who came totally prepared and knows what she's talking about. Try doing this daily.

Jun. 01 2012 01:41 PM

I'm African American. I'll be 50 in a few months. As a result of aging my hair became terriably weak. I take BIOTIN to relieve stress on my hair. It's working wonderfullly! Can you explain the intricacies of BIOTIN?

Thank you
Michele from Washington DC

Jun. 01 2012 01:40 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Do naturally dark skinned people have lower Vitamin D levels?

Jun. 01 2012 01:40 PM
Amy from Manhattan

As a vegetarian, I'm not sure I really want to know this, but what's the source of the vit. D that's added to milk?

Jun. 01 2012 01:40 PM
Capper from Nyc

I understand the oral vitamins we take ends up passing through the body and therefore doesn't make a huge difference.

Jun. 01 2012 01:39 PM
Claire from Queens

I'm a 63 year old white woman in good health. My mom died of Parkinson's Disease as did her father and one of her sisters has the disease. I've been invited to participate in a 5 year clinical trial to study Vitamin D and Fish Oil in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer. In order to participate, I have to stop taking fish oil and take no more than 800 IU of Vit D for the duration of the study. They will supply me with pills (Vit D and Fish Oil or placebo) for 5 years. If I take the 800 IU of Vit D with calcium am I at any greater risk of Parkinson's as I've heard Vit D helps prevent this.

Jun. 01 2012 01:38 PM

Recently a study in the journal Heart was published indicating that taking calcium supplements to help prevent bones from thinning puts people at a greater risk for heart attacks. How can one know how much calcium to take?

Jun. 01 2012 01:38 PM
kathryn from Brooklyn

Can your guest explain why Vitamin D3 is more bioavailable to the body over Vitamin D2? And why Vitamin D2 is given by prescription only in high doses up to 50,000 IU, but Vitamin D3 is only available up to 5,000 IU and can only be gotten over the counter?

Jun. 01 2012 01:37 PM
Bruce Hoover

Have their been many scientific double blind studies for supplemental vitamins?

Jun. 01 2012 01:37 PM
Gary from Port Washington

Are taking Vitamins from supplements helpful or a waste - since we just wash them out when we urinate. Recently, some scientific people have said taking vitamins only diminish your wallet and doesn't do anything to help you.

What is your opinion and what is the basis for your hypothesis or answer.


Jun. 01 2012 01:36 PM
Dan K from Washington Heights

Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin. Vitamins are enzymes; D is a hormone. The misnomer occurred because there was a race to name vitamins, which were a new discovery.

Jun. 01 2012 01:36 PM
jenny from great barrington ma

In taking 600 iu's of calcium citrate, i also take about 400 iu's of Magnesium citrate and 2000 iu's of Vit D

any thoughts on the best source of calcium? I calcium citrate.

Jun. 01 2012 01:35 PM
ruth from Portland

Lately I've been hesitant to take my vitamins because they upset my stomach, is there any thing to do to help with this problem?

Jun. 01 2012 01:34 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Humans make vit. D w/our skin, but most other mammals have fur covering their skin. What are their sources of vit. D? Are they different for herbivores, omnivores, & carnivores?

Jun. 01 2012 01:33 PM
David from the Upper West Side

I take a supplement for Vitamin D - two questions

1. I am told that there is a disagreement as to the proper level of Vitamin D should be - I have heard over 20 is enough, but some say 30. Which do you think is right?

2. Is there any different absorption of different types of vitamin d, such as D2, D3 and dry vitamin d? Do you recommend one over another?

Jun. 01 2012 01:30 PM
sandra from nyc

Are EXPENSIVE multi-vitamins worth the cost?
What do you more or less do you get?
Is it all just marketing and hype?

Jun. 01 2012 01:30 PM
Elaine from Baltimore

Does stomach acid destroy pro-biotics?

What is the new recommended daily does of vitamin D? If it's only 600 IU, why does the body manufacture approx 10,000 units of Vitamin D from 20 minutes full body sun. Doesn't the body know better than the FDA?

Jun. 01 2012 01:29 PM
Peter Dworkin from Philmont, NY

I hope you have time to discuss the difference between obtaining nutrients from food (or from the sun) and from supplements.

Jun. 01 2012 01:28 PM
Elaine from Baltimore

Does stomach acid destroy probiotics?

What is the new recommended daily does of vitamin D? If it's only 600 IU, why does the body manufacture approx 10,000 units of Vitamin D from 20 minutes full body sun. Doesn't the body know better than the FDA?

Jun. 01 2012 01:27 PM
Ellen K from Manhattan

Recent studies said that calcium supplements increase the risk of heart attacks. Many doctors now recommend getting most calcium from food. How much calcium is considered safe to take from supplements?

Jun. 01 2012 01:27 PM
kevin from upper LS


pro-biotics work...take them in non-dairy liquid form for optimal effectiveness. don't take my word,or any other singular persons word for that matter. do some research.

Jun. 01 2012 01:00 PM
kevin from upper LS

given your history at PRN and WNYC, around the reporting of health and vitamins,i'd bet good money, that this woman is some institutional conservative grind,who knows next to nothing, about cutting edge holistic medical practice. are we gong to hear silly RDA's, for basic mutiple vitamins,that were obsolete a generation ago? will she have ever heard of carnosine,phosphytidyl serine,resveratrol,co-Q10. not vitamins in the strict sense,but extremely important. i'll really laugh or go nuts,if she's one of the vitamin C kidney stone faction. no,there really is no santa clause,but vitmin c can't give you kidney stones. and it can't...

Jun. 01 2012 12:53 PM

I hope you will also address probiotic supplements, please.
Assuming it is effective at all, does it matter whether it's a liquid capsule vs. a dried powder capsule?

Jun. 01 2012 11:21 AM

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