Too Much Of A Good Thing
New Zealand Listener|March 23 -29 2019
Too Much Of A Good Thing

The shocking outcomes of two studies into beta-carotene show that supplements can’t easily mimic nature.

Jennifer Bowden

Question: Your column on supplements for age-related macular degeneration (“Supplements in focus”, February 16), referred to beta-carotene as a cause for concern as it increases the risk of lung cancer among smokers. Could you please explain this further?

Answer: ‘Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes,” said philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey, who advocated a hands-on approach to learning. Sadly, in the case of the beta-carotene clinical trials, that learning came at the expense of many human lives – reverberations of which were felt for many years.

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March 23 -29 2019