Vitamins are deadly! ...and other nonsense
you will hear in the mainstream press
A new wave of anti-vitamin hysteria is making waves in newspapers,
magazines and news networks around the world. You have may have
seen some of the headlines that say things like, "Deadly
side effects of vitamins," and imply that vitamins will kill
you. Many conventional doctors and critics of nutrition are jumping
on the bandwagon with this one, coming up with all sorts of distorted
headlines that gleefully claim people are not just wasting their
money by taking vitamins, but they're actually killing themselves
by doing so. According to the reports, this is all based on a
scientific study that proves vitamins kill you. But let's take
a closer look at the real story here, and find out why there is
so much distortion going on, and what the study results actually
First of all, realize there are several steps of distortions taking
place here. What you're reading in the press is "...all nutritional
supplements will increase your rate of mortality." That is
such a broad and distorted statement as to be laughable. A slightly
more accurate statement, but still highly distorted, would be
that vitamins, not all nutritional supplements, are increasing
the mortality rate -- that is, vitamins only.
you see, most people don't distinguish between vitamins and nutritional
supplements. To most consumers, minerals like calcium and magnesium
are also considered vitamins. But in the study there were certain
vitamin chemicals that were studied, not other nutritional supplements,
such as mineral supplements or superfood supplements.
in reality, the study isn't even saying that vitamins are going
to kill you in the first place. The study was conducted only on
cancer patients, so the conclusion that was drawn really only
indicated a slightly increased death rate among cancer patients,
not among the entire population. Furthermore, it wasn't all vitamins,
it was only certain vitamins; that is, a combination of vitamins
A and E increased the death rate very slightly among certain cancer
a critical review of these studies indicates that the vitamins
actually studied here were almost universally synthetic vitamins,
meaning they weren't actually natural vitamins at all. These are
man-made chemicals that don't appear in nature. This is especially
true of vitamin E, which, in its synthetic form, has the opposite
molecular structure of natural vitamin E.
the correct statement here is that, "Synthetic chemicals
were found to slightly increase the death rate among certain cancer
patients." That is the conclusion of this study. It is such
a weak conclusion, in fact, that the very authors of the study
said there was "no convincing proof of hazard" for taking
vitamin supplements. They also pointed out that the conclusions
drawn from this study were of borderline statistical significance,
and that many more studies would be needed to draw any conclusions.
that's the reality of where the study comes from, yet critics
of nutrition and vitamins and the popular press have leaped to
ridiculous headlines like "Vitamins will kill you,"
or "Vitamins have deadly side effects." These headlines
are entirely unsubstantiated by the research that has taken place.
It almost seems as if certain members of the press and the conventional
medical community are just waiting to pounce on news like this
-- and then exaggerate it in order to discredit the vitamin and
nutritional supplement industries. No doubt the FDA will be using
this highly distorted conclusion to attempt to regulate vitamins,
and by doing so, to ensure that more Americans stay diseased by
being unable to treat and prevent diseases through the use of
nutritional supplements that really work.
important note here is that there are far more studies that actually
show positive statistical effects of taking antioxidants. In fact,
there are probably well over 500 such studies that have been published
in the past 30 years. That's versus one study that says there
is a slight increase in the death rate among certain cancer patients
who use synthetic chemicals.
if you're actually looking at a review of the available evidence,
the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the safety of antioxidants
and vitamins, even in their synthetic form. Now, if they were
to take these studies and use natural vitamins, the kind that
appear in nature (such as in plants and microalgae like spirulina),
there's no question whatsoever that the results would be not only
statistically significant, but extremely positive. That's because
antioxidants are health-enhancing ingredients, and they are part
of the natural food chain that humans are supposed to consume.
thing I do agree with in all of this is that people shouldn't
be taking isolated vitamin nutrients in the first place. And if
you are taking supplements from a bottle labeled "Vitamin
A" or "Vitamin E," chances are you could be getting
a synthetic form of that vitamin in your system, which, I agree,
may not do you any good whatsoever.
as human beings are supposed to be getting our vitamins from natural
food sources; that is, plants you find in nature or that you can
grow in your home garden. If you're getting your vitamins from
superfoods and fresh produce, fruits, and vegetables, then you
are going to be a healthy human being. Yet, at the same time,
it's important to understand that it is impossible for any human
being to get sufficient nutrition just by eating three meals a
simply can't consume enough fruits and vegetables each day to
get the nutrition your human body needs in order to effectively
prevent chronic disease. That's because so many of the foods available
today are nutritionally depleted. Thus, many consumers are turning
to vitamin supplements. But that's a mistake -- what they need
to be turning to are superfood supplements. These are supplements
made from green foods, especially spirulina and astaxanthin. They
could include green foods made from chlorella, broccoli sprouts,
or wheat grass juice. These superfoods have very high nutrient
density, and are absolutely loaded with vitamins and minerals
in their natural, organic forms.
superfoods exhibit an astounding positive impact on human health
and have even been known to help reverse chronic disease conditions
like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, mental disorders, and even
bone diseases such as osteoporosis. You can't get that kind of
positive effect from an isolated nutrient. It's impossible to
reverse chronic disease by taking one pill a day that's made from
a synthetic substance that happens to be labeled Vitamin A or
the popular press is doing here, and I think what the conventional
medicine critics are attempting to do, is to blur the line between
synthetic vitamins and natural vitamins -- that way they can discredit
all of them at the same time. They're fond of using synthetic
vitamins in clinical trials, and then saying, "See? These
synthetic vitamins didn't work; therefore, all vitamins are bad."
in fact, that is the kind of distorted logic that has taken place
in this case. The press has been leaping to unjustified conclusions
and dreaming up scary-sounding headlines that essentially deceive
consumers and could scare people away from using nutritional supplements
that actually enhance their health. The bottom line here is that
vitamins won't kill you, but listening to the popular press probably
supplements increase the death rate of people taking them, medical
researchers have found - but they don't know why.
About one in three women and one in four men in Britain take dietary
supplements to boost their health.
But a review of 14 trials of vitamin pills taken by 170,000 people
found they increased the death rate.
The researchers, writing in British medical journal the Lancet,
say 9000 of every one million people taking the supplements will
die prematurely as a result.
Dr Goran Bjelakovic, of the University of Nis in Serbia, who led
the review, said: "We could not find evidence that anti-oxidant
supplements can prevent gastrointestinal cancers.
Professor David Forman, of the University of Leeds, and Douglas
Altman, of Cancer Research UK, say in the Lancet: "The prospect
that vitamin pills may not only do no good but also kill their
consumers is a scary speculation given the vast quantities that
are used in certain communities."
Professor Forman said yesterday that supplements could be useful
for people such as pregnant women and the elderly who might be
unable to get adequate vitamins from their diet, but they were
not a short-cut to better health.
"If someone has a good reason for taking these supplements
other than to prevent cancer, they should continue to do so.
A huge trial of beta carotene (pre-cursor of vitamin A) and Vitamin
E in male smokers in 2000 found it increased the lung cancer rate
18 per cent and the death rate 8 per cent.
The Lancet study researchers acknowledge that they did not look
at all trials of vitamin supplements in preventing death and say
their results are preliminary.
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