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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Fool is Born

I took some time this morning to motor about 12 miles down the road to my service dealer for my rig's regular 3000 mile checkup and service.

I carried a book with me to pass the time while I waited in the showroom of the once Chrysler dealer, now showcasing a 66 Dodge Charger while the used cars of their trade fill the lot.

I read my fascinating book, written in 1892, for a while then picked up a few of the magazines for perusal.

In the rack was an April 2010 issue of Reader's Digest. Featured on the cover was this article about vitamins you'll find below.

The first myth of this writer is the falsity of being able to get adequate nutrition, vitamins and minerals, from today's food, even if it is organic.

The "tooth fairy" reference is insulting and I have to wonder who is this woman's audience, really!

She further denigrates multi-vitamin-mineral caps as almost like taking poison.

This woman must not know that if people with diabetes took a daily multi of good quality it would go far to help offset the problems of the dis-ease.

Once Upon A Time real science found that vitamin E prevented and reversed heart disease.

Once Upon A Time real science found that vitamin A, not beta carotene alone, helped prevent and reverse pneumonia.

Once Upon A Time real science found that not only did vitamin C prevent colds but it prevented and cured many health problems.

Once Upon A Time real science found that vitamins have a major role in preventing and booting recovery from mainstream cancer therapy today.  There is even a PhD researcher that spends all of his effort at his university studying vitamins for cancer.  Plus he IS a published author!

Oh, and yes, vitamin D is really a helpful hormone and yes, too many are deficient, and 1000 units a day might not be enough to build up your reserve.

Fortunately for me I know that drugs may not always help you and the truth and lies about them are often hidden so you won't think that might not be your best choice.

Fortunately for me I know that there is real science behind the use of orthomolecular medicine for health.

And hopefully you'll now be a bit wiser that to believe in the following hype.
5 Vitamin Truths and Lies

Are you still relying on vitamins to keep you healthy? Learn the truth about which supplements help and which ones you can toss.

Once upon a time, you believed in the tooth fairy. You counted on the stability of housing prices and depended on bankers to be, well, dependable. And you figured that taking vitamins was good for you. Oh, it's painful when another myth gets shattered. Recent research suggests that a daily multi is a waste of money for most people—and there's growing evidence that some other old standbys may even hurt your health. Here's what you need to know.
Myth: A multivitamin can make up for a bad diet
An insurance policy in a pill? If only it were so.
Last year, researchers published new findings from the Women's Health Initiative, a long-term study of more than 160,000 midlife women. The data showed that multivitamin-takers are no healthier than those who don't pop the pills, at least when it comes to the big diseases—cancer, heart disease, stroke. "Even women with poor diets weren't helped by taking a multivitamin," says study author Marian Neuhouser, PhD, in the cancer prevention program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Seattle. 
Vitamin supplements came into vogue in the early 1900s, when it was difficult or impossible for most people to get a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables year-round. Back then, vitamin-deficiency diseases weren't unheard-of: the bowed legs and deformed ribs of rickets (caused by a severe shortage of vitamin D) or the skin problems and mental confusion of pellagra (caused by a lack of the B vitamin niacin). But these days, you're extremely unlikely to be seriously deficient if you eat an average American diet, if only because many packaged foods are vitamin-enriched. Sure, most of us could do with a couple more daily servings of produce, but a multi doesn't do a good job at substituting for those. "Multivitamins have maybe two dozen ingredients—but plants have hundreds of other useful compounds," Neuhouser says. "If you just take a multivitamin, you're missing lots of compounds that may be providing benefits."
That said, there is one group that probably ought to keep taking a multi-vitamin: women of reproductive age. The supplement is insurance in case of pregnancy. A woman who gets adequate amounts of the B vitamin folate is much less likely to have a baby with a birth defect affecting the spinal cord. Since the spinal cord starts to develop extremely early—before a woman may know she's pregnant—the safest course is for her to take 400 micrograms of folic acid (the synthetic form of folate) daily. And a multi is an easy way to get it. 
Myth: Vitamin C is a cold fighter
In the 1970s, Nobel laureate Linus Pauling popularized the idea that vitamin C could prevent colds. Today, drugstores are full of vitamin C–based remedies. Studies say: Buyer, beware.
In 2007, researchers analyzed a raft of studies going back several decades and involving more than 11,000 subjects to arrive at a disappointing conclusion: Vitamin C didn't ward off colds, except among marathoners, skiers, and soldiers on subarctic exercises.
Of course, prevention isn't the only game in town. Can the vitamin cut the length of colds? Yes and no. Taking the vitamin daily does seem to reduce the time you'll spend sniffling—but not enough to notice. Adults typically have cold symptoms for 12 days a year; a daily pill could cut that to 11 days. Kids might go from 28 days of runny noses to 24 per year. The researchers conclude that minor reductions like these don't justify the expense and bother of year-round pill-popping (taking C only after symptoms crop up doesn't help).
Myth: Vitamin pills can prevent heart disease 
Talk about exciting ideas—the notion that vitamin supplements might help lower the toll of some of our most damaging chronic diseases turned a sleepy area of research into a sizzling-hot one. These high hopes came in part from the observation that vitamin-takers were less likely to develop heart disease. Even at the time, researchers knew the finding might just reflect what's called the healthy user effect—meaning that vitamin devotees are more likely to exercise, eat right, and resist the temptations of tobacco and other bad habits. But it was also possible that antioxidant vitamins like C, E, and beta-carotene could prevent heart disease by reducing the buildup of artery-clogging plaque. B vitamins were promising, too, because folate, B6, and B12 help break down the amino acid homocysteine—and high levels of homocysteine have been linked to heart disease.
Unfortunately, none of those hopes have panned out. 
An analysis of seven vitamin E trials concluded that it didn't cut the risk of stroke or of death from heart disease. The study also scrutinized eight beta-carotene studies and determined that, rather than prevent heart disease, those supplements produced a slight increase in the risk of death. Other big studies have shown vitamin C failing to deliver. As for B vitamins, research shows that yes, these do cut homocysteine levels …but no, that doesn't make a dent in heart danger. 
Don't take these pills, the American Heart Association says. Instead, the AHA offers some familiar advice: Eat a varied diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. 
Myth: Taking vitamins can protect against cancer 
Researchers know that unstable molecules called free radicals can damage your cells' DNA, upping the risk of cancer. They also know that antioxidants can stabilize free radicals, theoretically making them much less dangerous. So why not take some extra antioxidants to protect yourself against cancer? Because research so far has shown no good comes from popping such pills.
A number of studies have tried and failed to find a benefit, like a recent one that randomly assigned 5,442 women to take either a placebo or a B-vitamin combo. Over the course of more than seven years, all the women experienced similar rates of cancers and cancer deaths. In Neuhouser's enormous multivitamin study, that pill didn't offer any protection against cancer either. Nor did C, E, or beta-carotene in research done at Harvard Medical School. 
Myth: Hey, it can't hurt
The old thinking went something like this—sure, vitamin pills might not help you, but they can't hurt either. However, a series of large-scale studies has turned this thinking on its head, says Demetrius Albanes, MD, a nutritional epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute.
The shift started with a big study of beta-carotene pills. It was meant to test whether the antioxidant could prevent lung cancer, but researchers instead detected surprising increases in lung cancer and deaths among male smokers who took the supplement. No one knew what to make of the result at first, but further studies have shown it wasn't a fluke—there's a real possibility that in some circumstances, antioxidant pills could actually promote cancer (in women as well as in men). Other studies have raised concerns that taking high doses of folic acid could raise the risk of colon cancer. Still others suggest a connection between high doses of some vitamins and heart disease. 
Vitamins are safe when you get them in food, but in pill form, they can act more like a drug, Albanes says—with the potential for unexpected and sometimes dangerous effects.
Truth: A pill that's worth taking
As studies have eroded the hopes placed in most vitamin supplements, one pill is looking better and better. Research suggests that vitamin D protects against a long list of ills: Men with adequate levels of D have about half the risk of heart attack as men who are deficient. And getting enough D appears to lower the risk of at least half a dozen cancers; indeed, epidemiologist Cedric Garland, MD, at the University of California, San Diego, believes that if Americans got sufficient amounts of vitamin D, 50,000 cases of colorectal cancer could be prevented each year.
But many—perhaps most—Americans fall short, according to research by epidemiologist Adit Ginde, MD, at the University of Colorado, Denver. Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin: You make it when sunlight hits your skin. Yet thanks to sunscreen and workaholic (or TV-aholic) habits, most people don't make enough.
How much do you need? The Institute of Medicine is reassessing that right now; most experts expect a big boost from the current levels (200 to 600 IU daily). It's safe to take 1,000 IU per day, says Ginde. "We think most people need at least that much."
So here's the Reader's Digest Version of the truth about vitamins: Eat right, and supplement with vitamin D. That's a no-brainer coupled with a great bet—and that's no lie.

What a panel of doctors and others have to say about the RD nonsense...
"From start to finish, the Reader's Digest article, '5 Vitamin Truths and Lies' was one of the worst bits of propaganda I ever saw. There was not one word in it discussing the benefits of multivitamins, vitamin C, and studies supporting the use of vitamins for preventing cancer and heart disease. Not once was a single dose mentioned. This alone makes the entire effort a farce aimed at a readership that is relying on the publication for accurate information."
Allan N. Spreen, M.D. (Mesa, AZ)
"Vitamins are among the safest substances known. They have the most minimal side effects, even in large doses, compared with the death rate due to conventional drugs taken according to the manufacturers' advice. Vitamin C is among the most powerful immune modulators if given in large doses. Scare stories against the use of vitamins do the public no good."
Erik Paterson, M.D. (Vancouver, BC)
"This is not the first time Reader's Digest has written about "bad" vitamins, and they always seem to manage to put it on the front page. But look at their advertising: so much of it is for pharmaceutical drugs. No wonder the article states virtually nothing of the thousands of positive results with vitamins."
James A. Jackson, Ph.D. (Wichita, KS)
"The author of the Reader's Digest article has not understood the articles used to support her arguments. For example, with vitamin C and the common cold, the article appears to refer to the 2007 Cochrane report. However, this report has been updated frequently since 2007. The last update was on February 2nd of this year. Either the reporter did not read the up-to-date review, or she was unable to understand its content. The review applies only to low intakes, and contains major objections that studies of large doses and orthomolecular intakes were not included. All the data were for intakes far below the levels actually claimed to be effective. The summary of the paper does indeed give a misleading impression, but people might expect an intelligent reporter to check the rest of the report before giving advice."
Steve Hickey, Ph.D. (Manchester, UK)
"The material was not well-researched, and a bias was clearly in play. 15 pages of drug advertisements in that issue of Reader's Digest is very telling, indeed."
Thomas E. Levy, M.D. (Colorado Springs, CO)
"What a poor job! Reader's Digest needs to review the literature. Haven't they read any articles by Dr. Bruce Ames? Do they know what quantities of vitamin C ascorbic were used in the cold studies mentioned in their one-sided report? Do they know of the high doses that showed benefit? Do they know of the many studies that have reported benefit from vitamin E and carotenes? It's easy to be ignorant but biased. Before a magazine does such a public health disservice, first get the all the facts."
Michael J. Gonzalez, Ph.D. (San Juan, PR)
"As a family practitioner who has prescribed vitamins for many reasons, with beneficial results over the past 25 years, I have removed Reader's Digest from my waiting room. Unless there is a follow-up article disclaiming most of what was written, I will discourage my patients from reading Reader's Digest because of their biased and misleading information."
Stephen Faulkner, M.D. (Duncan, BC)
Owen Fonorow of The Vitamin C Foundation adds:
"Why did Reader's Digest deem it appropriate to publish unbalanced opinions about the value of vitamins in the April 2010 issue? A balanced report would have quoted experts from both sides of the argument. The negative studies of vitamins are biased, utilizing too small amounts, especially of vitamin C, to fairly evaluate the therapeutic use of the vitamins. There is a 70-year-long history of vitamin C research (now more than 80,000 papers) that consistently shows therapeutic results at higher dosages of many thousands of milligrams. Linus Pauling recommended at least 5,000 mg of vitamin C daily for reversing heart disease. It is a serious public health mistake for Reader's Digest to recommend against a multivitamin."
To give Reader's Digest one more chance at the truth, send your thoughts directly to the people responsible:
To learn more about how high doses of vitamins safely and effectively fight disease:
the above article is with thanks to a loyal reader!

Upper Respiratory Infection (URI) and Vitamin C
Naama Constantini, MD, DFM, FACSM, Dip. Sport Med. (CASM) Director-Sport Medicine Center, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, The Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem 4 Ha'razim St., Jerusalem, Israel

"The Effect Of Vitamin C On Upper Respiratory Infections In Adolescent Swimmers: A Randomized Trial,"
Eur J Pediatr, 2010 August 6; [Epub ahead of print]. 48142 (10/2010)

Yes, it worked! 

a beneficial role for vitamin C in sepsis
Research conducted at the University of Western Ontario and Lawson Health Research Institute has uncovered a beneficial role for vitamin C in sepsis, an immune system reaction to bacterial infection that results in the formation of blood clots, impaired blood flow and potential organ failure. The condition occurs mainly in infants, individuals with impaired immune systems, and older men and women. The current study's findings were reported in the November, 2010 issue of the journal Intensive Care Medicine.
Severe sepsis carries a mortality rate of 40 percent, according to University of Western Ontario Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry professor Karel Tyml. Capillaries that have been blocked by blood clots, caused by oxidative stress and activation of the blood clotting pathway, are the cause of multiple organ failure and death in septic patients. "There are many facets to sepsis, but the one we have focused on for the past 10 years is the plugging of capillaries," he noted. Dr Tyml's laboratory was the first to discover this phenomenon via the use of intravital microscopy.
In experiments with three strains of mice, Dr Tyml's team demonstrated that vitamin C administered intravenously early in the development of sepsis prevents capillary blockage as well as reverses the condition by restoring blood flow if administered later. Reversal of blood flow blockage by vitamin C appeared to be dependent upon the production of nitric oxide, which dislodges platelets from the capillary wall.
"Our research in mice with sepsis has found that early as well as delayed injections of vitamin C improves chance of survival significantly," Dr Tyml remarked. "Furthermore, the beneficial effect of a single bolus injection of vitamin C is long lasting and prevents capillary plugging for up to 24 hours post-injection."
"Vitamin C is cheap and safe," he added. "Previous studies have shown that it can be injected intravenously into patients with no side effects. It has the potential to significantly improve the outcome of sepsis patients world-wide. This could be especially beneficial in developing countries where sepsis is more common and expensive treatments are not affordable."


Anonymous said...

Nice blog with useful information. I like how you have presented your information in excellent detail. Thanks for sharing this wonderful and useful information with us.

pharmacy reviews said...

It's hard to belive that vitamin D by itself can prevent a lot of diseases since our body is composed of a variety of vitamins and minerals. If further studies can support it though, who am I to argue right?

- Mamie Eldridge

Anonymous said...

Well I agree with one part of that article and it's the importance of vitamin D. If you take the right kind of D it can help prevent flu as well or better than the vaccine!

Buy Vega said...

Very interesting blog. Thanks for sharing those truths and myths about vitamins. Although there are certain beliefs about vitamins, it's still important for us to take them.

Buy Clomid said...

Capillaries that should prefer to been blocked by blood clots, caused by oxidative stress and activation of the blood clotting pathway, are the genesis of multiple organ failure and death in septic patients. Reversal of blood superabundance blockage by vitamin C appeared to be dependent upon the production of nitric oxide, which dislodges platelets from the capillary immure.