Please note: the opinions expressed in this article only count as medical advice if you're extremely gullible and have a simple mind that is easily swayed by anecdotal evidence and a lack of scientific basis. A belief in magic pink unicorns probably helps.
Ah, the miracle cures of homeopaths and what's nowadays called "complementary and alternative medicine". For the last few months I've been taking vitamin pills in an effort to reduce my regular as clockwork winter ailments. Every single year I suffer from regular colds and flue. I seem to be particularly prone to these and in fact I know no one in my circle of close friends or colleagues who are ill as often as I am. (If this sounds like some sick kind of pride maybe it is.) While I do know that anecdotal evidence is worth shit
(danger! highly detailed linkage, stuff with long words, but somehow worth it) I will hereby recount my experiences.
First of all let me tell you why I did decide to take supplements: a year or 4 ago I spoke to my doctor and he told me that while I did appear to eat fairly healthy I might want to take vitamin supplements, on an it certainly wouldn't hurt you basis, as I dislike fruit with a passion (HA, there's a joke in there, somewhere
This year I decided to bite the bullet in the interests of science and got myself a bottle of a well-known brand (I have one of these 100000 bottles
), I was ill a lot last winter and wanted to see if taking supplements would help me this year. With the winter almost gone it seems time to recount my experiences.
These pills are absolutely fricking HUGE and contain about 400 times the recommeded dose of vitamins B, C and whatnot. (Despite my drinking a lot of beer so I really don't need all those Bs but it's either that or nothing at all it seems.)
I've never had a winter in which I've been ill more. I've had to stay home from work 4 times due to severe cold, flue and sinusitis. The Miracle Pills™ also failed miserably to prevent a recent horrible and very painful nerve infection in a molar. I had to have a root canal treatment for that which hurt almost as much as the real thing as it cost me 291 euro 70 as I have no dental insurance (hooray for the new universal medicare in Holland, soon we'll be like America!!!).
As horrible as this winter has been for me I cannot really fault the vitamins pills, I knew full-well going in that by eating regular good meals made from fresh vegetables almost every single day of the week the likelihood of my actually having vitamin deficiencies is small. But "zat which does not kill us makes us stronk" as Otto von Chriek
says in The Truth. Well it didn't kill me and it didn't make me stronk so I guess mr. Pratchett has to turn in his medical license if he's got one, which I'm beginning to doubt.
What the pills did do is make my urine a really vivid orange/yellow which is fun in it's own right but I'm not sure that's worth .25 euro a day. Really, I cannot describe how yellow it is, it's a sight to see. To be fair, the salesman at the apothecary did warn me about this so I wasn't scared shitless when it happened the first day after.
Today I ran across Crap Based Medicine
(funny stuff in the comments here, read it!) which asks people to participate in a homeopathic remedy finder and I entered my extremely yellow urine in the symptoms field. It suggests I might benefit from Kali Carbonicum
(sounds like simple KHCO3
, a common ingredient in chemical reactions of highschool level chemistry) which appears to be a cure for potassium shortage, which is odd as probably the only fruit I do
like is bananas
which have an abundance of potassium, in fact they contain so much it's almost a crime. I don't eat bananas much of course, as I dislike fruit, but that's beside the point, merely liking them should be enough
So, anecdotal evidence of a completely non-scientific sample of one suggests: do not take supplements, as they're all crap and will not help you in any way whatsoever. In semi-related news I also bought a packet of condoms from the same apothecary and I have yet to get laid this winter so maybe there's something wrong with my particular vendor?