Herbs / Vitamins / Drugs / Supplements

VITAMIN PROPAGANDA – Do Vitamins Really Shorten Your Life?

Are you dismayed by recent news reports that tell you not to take vitamins, because they may shorten your life? I can't tell you how upset I have been by this disinformation campaign.

The article I read in The Sunday London Times (4/27/2008) by Lois Rogers claims that taking vitamins is dangerous to your health. She represents everyone who takes vitamins as a dissolute, high-living, burn-the-candle-at-both-ends sort; someone who is taking vitamins to offset an unhealthy lifestyle.

She then makes reference to the hoary, old standby "recommended daily allowances." As though that means something! I wish she had done her research; she would have discovered that the RDAs were established after World War II. They were specifically designed to determine the minimum quantity of a nutrient that would prevent a deficiency disease. The RDAs have never measured what is necessary for health.

Even more disturbing to me is that she cites as her experts dieticians who know less than nothing about nutrition. In general, dietetics is the medical subsidiary that is concerned with caloric intake. In the hospital, they design meals to contain adequate calories, and they are not too concerned about how this is achieved. I remember when my nephew was hospitalized; flour was added to the orange juice to "increase its nutritional value". Trouble was: he is extremely gluten sensitive. The results weren't pretty. In addition, dieticians routinely instruct diabetics to take sugar cubes to raise their blood sugar! One of our textbooks when I was in chiropractic school was a dietetics text. Believe me, dieticians are totally clueless when it comes to optimizing your health via adequate nutrition.

But, you may ask, what about those "studies" that show that vitamins are bad? Surely there is good data behind these claims. Actually, no. Most of the studies in the peer-reviewed medical literature are funded by drug companies and designed to fail. Remember the vitamin E study from 2004? See my article

Another example is the Finnish study on anti-oxidants. It is continually trotted out and cited. This study was deeply flawed. [See my article on its shortcomings on my website, under the newsletter archives. "Finnish Antioxidant Study" A more complete discussion is on the Vitamin page of the web site – access it through the site map – and is entitled "Sorting Out the Antioxidant Controversy".]

Then there was the study that claimed to "prove" that vitamin C damaged DNA! The only problem: it was conducted in a test tube and the pH of the vitamin C (it is slightly acidic) denatured the DNA molecule. How this correlates to real life escapes me. And, the study is seldom cited any more because the fault is so glaring.

So, what is this latest published "study" based upon? The study was issued by The Cochrane Collaboration – an organization ostensibly devoted to assessing the effect of different medical treatments. However, their methodology is suspect. According to their self-description, they simply review the peer-reviewed medical literature to come up with their conclusions. So, these deeply flawed studies are included in their "findings." They simply assert that vitamins are harmful, after collating all of this bogus information. The problem – you can't return to the source papers and analyze their shortcomings.

This latest analysis is being touted because of the huge number of participants, 233,000 – a total of all the numbers of all the studies reviewed. That's not really a "study" since there is no consistency in participants, nor any controls over what nutrients were given. The number is meaningless, because the parameters are practically random. So, now, we are substituting quantity for quality. Remember "GIGO" – "garbage in, garbage out." You can't have good data if the studies don't have good guidelines.

So, what is really behind all of this? I did some digging and came up with some telling information. The Cochrane Collaboration is touted as being conducted by an "unbiased" source.

However, when you look a little deeper, this isn't exactly true. It turns out that the founder of the group is Iain Chalmers, M.D. When I researched his bio, I discovered that he now heads up The James Lind Library, a project of the World Health Organization (WHO). Pretty good credentials, yes? Actually, no. The kicker in this information is that the WHO and the UN – after more than 20 years of lobbying by the drug companies – have enacted the Codex Alimentarius. [Download the flyer from one of our suppliers. For more info on the Codex, visit my blog www.DrRichardsTalksBack.com. And, there is now under way a full-scale public disinformation campaign to accustom the public to the notion that vitamins and herbs are dangerous and need to be by prescription only.

Actually, the article in the London Times lets the cat out of the bag in its statement: "The findings add weight to the growing anxiety over the unregulated sale of dietary supplements, which are more widely available in Britain than elsewhere in western Europe. Many dieticians say the pills should be treated as medicines; they are calling for a reporting system for adverse reactions similar to the ‘yellow card' system used by doctors to monitor unexpected reactions to drugs." If you'd like, read the article in its entirety.

I am not much for conspiracy theories, but the evidence is overwhelming. For almost 10 years now, we have received an increasing barrage of bogus studies designed to condition us to believe that vitamins are bad for us. I find this alarming because, as I enter my 60's, I am counting on being able to continue taking my nutrients to maintain my ability to work and be productive. I have hundreds of examples from my own practice that prove this point. Don't let the drug industry's propaganda dissuade you from doing what is best for yourself and those you love.

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