Vitamins: A Whole New Level of Bogosity
Well, there's bogus, and then there's not having any connection with reality whatsoever. As an example of the latter, I refer you to the September 2012 edition of Consumer Reports-with a cover that reads "10 Surprising Dangers of Vitamins and Supplements."
Vitamins and Minerals
Point #1 wants to prove the aforementioned dangers, so it pulls a laundry list of supposed problems out of thin air and states them as fact. You want facts? In the forty years they've been keeping records, vitamins and minerals haven't killed a soul. Zip, zero, nada.
On the other hand, "properly prescribed and properly taken" prescription medicines routinely kill more than 100,000 people a year in the U.S. alone, making them a leading cause of death.
Are supplements prescription drugs?
#2 says some supplements are really prescription drugs. Excuse me? Pharmaceutical companies twist, bend and otherwise torture an innocent natural substance until it's different enough to get a patent, and what little relationship the original substance has with the end product is incidental. If they still looked alike, there'd be no patent, hence no big bucks.
#3 says you can overdose on vitamins and minerals, and that's true. Theoretically, at least-but you'd have to chug down a lot of supplements, and you'd probably puke before you got the job done.
But Consumer Reports stacks the deck to make their point. In their eyes, anything more than a teensy-tinesy amount (and too small to be helpful) is an overdose.
One exception is calcium. More later.
Warning labels and encyclopedias
#4 says you can't depend on warning labels. Warning labels are different from encyclopedias, and I would hope you'd make the effort to find out what you're taking before you take it-including meds.
Cure major disease
#5 insists no vitamins or minerals are proven to cure major disease. I BEG YOUR PARDON!?! "Curing the Incurable," a book by Thomas E Levy, MD, JD, goes on and on for 463 pages listing studies about all the dread diseases Vitamin C can cure-including such things as cancer.
And it beats back heart disease, too.
And that's just vitamin C! I have shelves of books, plus file cabinets full of research, that show vitamins and minerals are where the healing is.
Well, I could go on and on and on, but let me just mention that in 1996, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a 10-year study that showed the mineral selenium reduced the risk of cancer by nearly 40% and, if you already had cancer, selenium reduced your risk of dying by 50%. Sadly, the JAMA editors added a note that there was nothing to see here, so move along, burying the study. And dooming patients-with no accountability.
Dangers of supplements
#6 talks about a biased test CR set up to prove the so-called dangers of supplements. And they claimed nobody needed vitamins and minerals for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or impotence because medicine had effective treatments for these diseases. Wrong, wrong and wrong. Medicine "treats" them (notice there's no mention of cures), but with profound side effects accompanying each so-called treatment.
For instance, a study (ACCORD) on lowering blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetics had to be stopped because they were bumping off too many participants. It turns out that forcing blood sugar lower is a very bad thing to do. Well, now, there's an oops.
Then they quote doctors worried about the trustworthiness of supplement sources. That takes chutzpah, what with the constant flood of prescription drugs getting pulled off the market because they kill people and the billion dollar fines being paid by pharmaceutical companies.
Vitamins and cancer
#7 claims there's no proof that vitamins and minerals protect against cancer or heart disease. Oh, please. See point #5.
They did hit on one truth, though. If you take a lot of calcium-as doctors insist that we do-it increases your risk of heart disease. Our bodies dump excess calcium, and it can end up in our arteries and heart valves where it has no business going. Don't get on the calcium bandwagon.
Then they go on to quote a study that used a doctored fish oil supplement (to get the results they wanted), and conclude fish oil doesn't work.
#8 worries that you might choke on supplements. But not prescription drugs?
What is natural?
#9 reveals not all 'natural' products are actually natural. Well, those watchdogs of health, the FDA and the FTC, allow anybody to call anything 'natural,' so what did they expect? But it's why I check things out before I mention them. Information is a wonderful thing.
Need of supplements
#10 ends the list with the idea that you probably don't need supplements at all. Wrong. Our food supply is so pitiful nowadays, we need supplements to fight back.
Icing this fallen cake, Consumer Reports offers a chart with a few vitamins and minerals and their recommended levels. Calcium's way high; apparently they didn't read point #7. And they say we need 4700mg of potassium a day, without mentioning that your government in action won't allow supplements to contain more than 99mg per. They talk about zinc without mentioning copper, which the body will balance even if you don't. Vitamin A gets a mention, but not whether it's the beta carotene that most of us can't use or natural. And so it goes. This is not a chart to live by.
See, now, this gets my goat, but it's what doctors are taught. Big Pharma took over medical schools in the 1960s, so doctors-to-be learns pharmaceuticals, not healing. Continuing education comes courtesy of Big Pharma, too. And Big Pharma sales reps visit doctors regularly, bringing free lunches, closed-circuit TVs, computer stuff, etc., etc., etc.-along with more indoctrination. And here's the kicker: Doctors risk their medical licenses if they deviate from the party line.
Why should I entrust my health-my life-to that?
My bottom line is vitamins and minerals gave me my life back while medicine did nothing, so I'm sticking with supplements.
But taking vitamins and minerals without any idea of what your body thinks of them or does with them isn't much of a plan.
My focus, then, is providing information people need to understand what they're doing. The rest is up to you.
God is good,
Copyright by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved
P.S. Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be She's a patient who's been studying and successfully handling her own endocrine problems for more than 30 years. She offers introductory teleseminars and an in-depth 12-month subscription program, "Moving to Health" about living well with endocrine issues. She explains how things work-or don't, discusses what things to avoid as well as the things that help, and she provides a lot of well-researched nutritional information. Subscribe to her free e-zine at Information is power.