Five doctors decry vitamins as waste of money
By Roni Caryn Rabin THE NEW YORK TIMES
One in two adults takes a daily vitamin pill, and Americans spend tens of billions of dollars each year on supplements. Now, a small coterie of physicians writing in a leading medical journal has offered this blunt advice: “Stop wasting money.”
In an unusually direct opinion piece in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the five authors said that for healthy Americans worried about chronic disease, there is no clear benefit to taking vitamin and mineral pills. And in some instances, they may even cause harm.
The authors made an exception for supplemental vitamin D, which they said needed further research. Even so, widespread use of vitamin D pills “is not based on solid evidence that benefits outweigh harms,” the authors wrote. For other vitamins and supplements, “the case is closed.”
“The message is simple,” the editorial continued. “Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided.”
“We have so much information from so many studies,” Dr. Cynthia D. Mulrow, senior deputy editor of the Annals and an author of the editorial, said in an interview. “We don’t need a lot more evidence to put this to bed.”
Officials at the Natural Products Association, a trade organization that represents supplement suppliers and retailers, said they were shocked by what they called “an attack” on their industry, pointing to a study last year that found a modest reduction in overall cancers in a long, randomized, controlled trial of 15,000 male doctors.
Demand for vitamin and mineral supplements has grown markedly in recent years, with domestic sales totaling some $30 billion in 2011. More than half of Americans used at least one dietary supplement from 2003 to 2006, up from 42 percent from 1988 to 1994, according to national health surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The most-popular products are multivitamin and mineral supplements, which are consumed by some 40 percent of men and women in the United States, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Whether regular, long-term use prevents heart disease and cancer has never been clearly established.
The Cochrane Collaboration, which publishes reviews of medical evidence, also has concluded that taking vitamins does not extend life. An updated review of the evidence by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force likewise concluded that there was limited evidence that vitamin and mineral supplementation could prevent cancer or cardiovascular disease.
The task force pointed out, however, that two clinical trials had found slight cancer reductions in men who took multivitamins. Yet, other studies found that beta-carotene supplements actually may increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers, the task force review noted, and that high doses of vitamins A and E may increase the risk of death.
The editorial in the Annals is accompanied by two new studies reporting dismal results for multivitamins in helping to preserve cognitive function and prevent heart attacks. In one study of nearly 6,000 male physicians 65 or older, participants who took a multivitamin for more than a decade were no more likely to retain cognitive function than similar doctors who took a dummy pill.
One can only beat the drum so long, after which it becomes stale or redundant. The 2000+ posts here with few exceptions are all about natural, organic, wholesome foods and surroundings and being very cautious and guarded regarding anything of a synthetic nature which of course includes pharmaceuticals (laboratory-made from chemicals rather than from the flora of the fields). This would of course also include synthetic vitamins and toxic minerals (even tho from nature,)
There is no question that certain factors of a plant can be isolated out from it’s source, analyzed in a lab, identified and copied per it’s essential components, manufactured, bottled and presented to the buying public as a natural product. But that doesn’t make it so. Lab-made vitamins are never the same as one would receive from ingesting the plant in the first place from which the isolate is found, recognized and derived.I’ve kinda understoood about this concept since the 50’s when I was fortunate to have a very knowledgeable doctor living next door to us who tried to help me see why one brand was superior to another. And that the better or best stuff costs more for very good reasons. Stuff changes; today, we don’t have a lot of producct which is acturally grown by the producer with stringent requirements on being natural and organic but toxin-free, with processing without heat or destructive processes which alter the essential requisite within the plant. Nature has combined plants with magical chemistry unique to each plant’s nature; to isolate any part leaves it without harmonious components which make the magic work. This does not happen in a laboratory.
Early last century, Dr Royal Lee founded Standard Process wherein he grew and processed his foodstuff into remarkable supplements which were in fact the very supplements I raised my granddaughters on. They are 19 and 20 now and had nothing worse than chicken pox (first one, then the other). You shouldn’t be surprised to learn they rarely saw a doctor and they lacked for little.(except of course,their natural, birth mother) Jordon Rubin’s stuff called Garden of Life was started and developed in much the same way. Good stuff. There are a few remarkable lines here and there but one must search for them.
This is all condensed version as I’ve done most of this stuff before. And there have been many doctors speaking of the validity of dietary needs and organic and natural methods So many physicians have spoken of the preference of natural methods and healthy food and yes, the importance of supplementation– especially because of our poorly regulated food industry which allows food with no labeling, GMO’s and the presence of toxic chemicals from manufacturers and the farm itself. Jonathan Wright, Joel Fuhrman, Mark Hyman, Andrew Saul, Stephen Sinatra, David Wolfe, Donna Gates, the Gerson Therapy, Hulda Clark . . . too many to recount. Can all these successful, acclaimed people be wrong? There are controlled studies up the kazoo going back a century at least.
A prominent doctor whose patient list some of whom we would all know is here for you now. Dr Russell Blaylock. From some of his newsletters, I’ve learned enough to direct my own care so that I need no pharmaceuticals for my heart at all. He is really so good. Listen to him speak of vitamins and minerals. It can almost make you wince to consider the ridiculous claims made by the lady doctor in this article. Not our concern though. . .our informed understanding is what should concern us. Enjoy: Jan)
Dr. Russell Blaylock explains one of the most important connections between nutrition and our health, how …