(frequently attributed to P.T. Barnum)For normal healthy people there's no evidence that vitamin supplements are necessary, or helpful, in any way [Good Food, Bad Food]. Megadoses of vitamins may be harmful [A bad week for the nutritional supplements industry].
So, why would anyone fork out good money for vitamin supplements?
Biochemistry instructors should make sure students understand the difference between science and pseudoscience. That's why I inserted boxes like this one in the latest version of my textbook.
Whatever happened to vitamin B4 and vitamin B8? They are never listed in the textbooks but you’ll often find them sold in stores that cater to the demand for supplements that might make you feel better and live longer.
Vitamin B4 was adenine, the base found in DNA and RNA.We now know that it’s not a vitamin. All species, including humans, can make copious quantities of adenine whenever it’s needed (Sections 18.1 and 18.2). Vitamin B8 was inositol, a precursor of several important lipids (Figure 8.16 and Section 9.12C). It’s no longer considered a vitamin.
If you know anyone who is paying money for vitamin B4 and B8 supplements then here’s your chance to be helpful. Tell them why they’re wasting their money.