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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Vitamin hype and big business

Cargill response today -

Cargill verified what I suspected by admitting that CoroWise, their plant sterol product found in Centrum Cardio, is made from vegetable oil. The source is soy with some corn, sunflower and rapeseed (canola). They advise that the products are GMO and not organic.

They do have non-GMO /organic but it is NOT specified for this product.

EU countries have refused GMO products so I guess the US consumer is the dumping ground...

Original post
All over the TV you see the silly ad for Centrum Cardio. While the need for high quality vitamin and mineral supplementation is critical for health, I'm very clear on my view that I can't support or endorse these products from Big Pharma.

I'm not sure about the studies that led the FDA to approving the claims of this product except that it is something manufactured from synthetic ingredients by Big Phara. In my mind this is the only reason Centrum is allowed for coverage under the Big Pharma Payola Program otherwise known as Medicare part D.

Being curious I looked up Centrum Cardio to find out exactly just what made it possible to improve your HDL score.

Centrum Cardio claims to have more of select B vitamins, vitamins C and E (synthetic form dl), plus calcium and folic acid, all to improve your health.

Some of the other ingredients in this generally synthetic product include Sodium Benzoate which is known to be carcinogenic in the presence of citric acid and vitamin C.

The tablets include iron which, especially after menopause, increases the risk of heart attack substantially for women and slightly for men. Iron supplements should be used only in the presence of clinically diagnosed anemia.

‡ Foods or dietary supplements containing at least 400 mg per serving of free phytosterols taken twice a day with meals for a daily total intake of at least 800 mg, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. Calcium carbonate and magnesium oxide are the very inexpensive and poorly absorbed form of these two minerals in less than the optimum balance. Most of the B vitamins listed are well below what you need for heart health if you take any statin drug. Gnerally you are paying a lot for little.

Cargill's(Big Ag) phytosterol product CoroWise is included at 400mg per tablet, two tablets required daily. A daily serving of Centrum Cardio® (2 tablets) contains 800 mg of CoroWise® phytosterols.

Cargill's CoroWise information tells little about what it is other than vegetable oil or flour, depending on the form (there are two). It isn't specifically identified. Cargill has not answered my query about this product.

Peanut and soy are listed as ingredients. These are two very allergenic foods. Soy is often genetically engineered.

Their BHT petroleum based preservative is usually considered very toxic. PEG (polyethylene glycol)is another suspicious and toxic ingredient.

In my mind, based on decades of nutrition and medical research, the amounts of nutrients in this product probably aren't worth the price. And knowing what I know about the negatives of soy I'll pass. I'll pass on the price too, looks like it runs about $22 for a bottle of 120 tablets or a two month supply. Pricey for synthetics and vegetable oil with toxic preservatives.

INGREDIENTS: Phytosterols, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Dibasic Calcium Phosphate, Croscarmellose Sodium, Potassium Chloride, Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C), Magnesium Oxide, Silicon Dioxide. Contains < 2% of: Acacia, Anhydrous Citric Acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Beta-Carotene, Biotin, Boric Acid, BHT, Calcium Pantothenate, Calcium Stearate, Cholecalciferol (Vit. D3), Chromic Chloride, Colloidal Silicon Dioxide, Corn Starch, Cupric Sulfate, Cyanocobalamin (Vit. B12), dl-Alpha-Tocopherol, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate (Vit. E), FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake, Ferrous Fumarate, Folic Acid, Gelatin, Hypromellose, Lecithin, Magnesium Stearate, Manganese Sulfate, Medium-Chain Triglycerides, Modified Food Starch, Niacinamide, Nickelous Sulfate, Phytonadione (Vit. K), Polyethylene Glycol, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Potassium Iodide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vit. B6), Riboflavin (Vit. B2), Sodium Ascorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Metavanadate, Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenate, Sorbic Acid, Stannous Chloride, Sucrose, Talc, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vit. B1), Titanium Dioxide, Tribasic Calcium Phosphate, Vitamin A Acetate (Vit. A), Zinc Oxide. Contains: Peanut, Soy.

Suggested Use:
Adults – Take one tablet twice daily with meals or snacks. Not formulated for use in children.

As with any supplement, if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking medication, consult your doctor before use.

Sitosterolemics: Contains Phytosterols (Sitosterols).

Accidental overdose of iron-containing products is a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6. Keep this product out of reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, call a doctor or poison control center immediately.

Important Information:
Long-term intake of high levels of vitamin A (excluding that sourced from beta-carotene) may increase the risk of osteoporosis in adults. Do not take this product if taking other vitamin A supplements.

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