Do you object to supplementation in general via a basic multivitamin/mineral product?
I recall [reading in the Center for Science in the Public Interest's] Nutrition Action Healthletter that adult males [should] avoid iron supplementation (perhaps due to a possible link between excessive iron intake and the development of a certain type of cancer?).
Is iron something that adult males should indeed avoid in a supplement?
[Lastly,] do you see any merit to taking curcumin or cumin supplements (especially for someone with an inflammatory disease such as asthma)?
Obviously, a whole food is preferable, but I think that massive amounts of curry would need to be ingested in order to derive any possible benefits.
-- Rob White
My stance on supplementation varies depending on context.
I despise the notion that as long as you take a multivitamin once a day, you don't need to worry about the nutrient composition of what you eat the rest of the day.
Multivitamins do not offer the vast amount -- literally THOUSANDS -- of healthy phytonutrients and other compounds naturally found in foods.
Additionally, absorption from multivitamins is often lower -- and less effective -- than if that same nutrient is derived from actual foods that contain those nutrients.
I do, however, fully support the supplementation of Vitamin D. Unless you live near the Equator, your body can not synthesize this nutrient from sunlight between the months of October and April.
For the record, I recommend supplementing 2,000 International Units of Vitamin D a day.
I also don't have a problem with individuals supplementing a specific vitamin or mineral that they would otherwise be deficient in (i.e.: vegans without access to fortified foods and B12).
The issue of iron supplementation and men can also apply to post-menopausal women. Since iron is very hard for the body to excrete (menstruation being the exception), supplementation in these two populations raises the risk of a condition known as iron overload.
Iron overload can cause a variety of symptoms and problems, from heart arrhythmia and hypothyroidism to impotence and arthritis.
This is why, if you examine the label on a "men's formula" multivitamin, you will find that iron is MIA.
As far as curcumin supplements in regards to asthma, it gets complicated. There is very little data on the efficacy of these supplements. Consequently, dosage values have not been clearly determined.
Additionally, certain individuals (those with weakened immune systems, diabetes, and stomach ulcers) are advised to steer clear of these supplements, as they can aggravate those conditions.
I think you are better off implenting more curry-spiced dishes into your diet. After all, populations that are believed to benefit from this spice include it in their recipes, not swallow it in pill form.