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"Vitamins a Waste" — Fake News or Fact?

Written by Wellness Club on August 23, 2017 – 2:31 pm -

By Dr. Dana Myatt

 

Gotta’ love the media. They are more concerned with entertaining us than with actual journalism. We call this "info-tainment." Please don’t bet your life on this kind of reporting.

They’ve done it again, this time with the recent report that "most vitamin supplements are worthless." Here’s what a recent mainstream news article said:

"The idea of a pill that can improve your overall health is an appealing one.

Unfortunately, no matter how colorful their packaging or hopeful their messaging, most vitamins and supplements fall prey to the same problem: We simply do not need them to be healthy. Some supplements — particularly those marketed for physical enhancement — can cause real harm."

While its true that there are unproven and over-hyped supplements, it is also true that many —- multi vitamins, fish oil, vitamin D and a number of herbs—-  have significant proven medical benefit.

 

Here’s what "they" (the Lamestream Media) said versus what the preponderance of scientific evidence shows.

  1. What the Headline said: "Vitamin Pills a Waste of Money"

    What the research actually said:

    To quote the article directly: “Two large trials [with 27,658 individuals] reported lower cancer incidence in men taking a multivitamin for more than 10 years. High quality studies were scant…" (meaning: not enough data to draw good conclusions about the rest). (1)

    Dr. Myatt’s comment: It should be noted that the "multivitamins" examined in the study were low-potency ("one a day") supplements, something that has never been proven to be of much benefit to anyone except those who are severely deficient.

  2. What the Headline said: "Multivitamins of no benefit to seniors."

    What the research actually said:

    To quote the article directly: "Multivitamins and mineral supplements were found to reduce the mean annual number of days spent with infection (three studies) by 17.5." (2)

    Dr. Myatt’s comment: Again, the "multivitamins" examined in the study were low-potency ("one a day") supplements, something that has never been proven to be of much benefit to anyone except those severely deficient. But even at low potency, there was a decreased risk of infection in the elderly.

  3. What the Headline said: "Vitamins are linked to increased risk of death."

    What the research actually said:

    The study (if you can call it that) — asking folks to report from memory what supplements they had taken years previously — in fact found the following:

    B complex vitamins were associated with a 7% reduction in mortality
    Vitamin C intake associated with a 4% reduction in mortality
    Vitamin D intake associated with an 8% reduction in mortality
    Magnesium intake associated with a 3% reduction in mortality
    Selenium intake associated with a 3% reduction in mortality
    Zinc intake associated with a 3% reduction in mortality

    Dr. Myatt’s comment: This study was so poorly done, and the "findings" so misreported, that I wrote an entire article about it here: Vitamins Linked to Increased Risk of Death?

Now for the Positive Studies Your May Not Have Seen

  1. Multivitamins Decrease Women’s Heart Disease Death.

    According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the "multivitamins don’t help" argument is far from over. Women who took multivitamin-mineral supplements for three years or more were significantly less likely to die from heart disease. (3)

  2. Multivitamin users have lower risk of dying from stroke.

    To quote the article directly: "Conclusions— Multivitamin use, particularly frequent use, was associated with reduced risk of total and ischemic stroke mortality among Japanese people with lower intake of fruits and vegetables." (4)

 

The number of studies showing positive benefit in multivitamin use are so overwhelming that we have written about them numerous times. Please see the following articles with multiple references.

 

Dr Myatt’s Bottom Line and Summary

The preponderance of evidence is far in favor of taking a multiple vitamin/mineral supplement for health.

"One a day" multiples are of limited value in improving health. Please see "Maxi Multi" for a discussion of optimal potency multiple vitamin formulas.

Regular users have far more benefit than casual users. Take your multiple every day.

While conventional medicine and newspaper headlines continue to preach that nutritional supplementation isn’t important, the results of medical research shows just the opposite. Here are some medical findings that should convince you to keep taking a high-quality, optimal potency multiple vitamin/mineral supplement. If you’re not sure what an “optimal potency” formula consists of or what you should be taking for your age and sex, refer to The Wellness Club web site’s nutritional supplements page for an up-to-date ingredient list and optimal dose recommendations.

Harvard researchers have found that sub-optimal levels of folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12 are a risk factor for heart disease and colon and breast cancers.

(Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) June 19, 2002)

A six-month study showing that folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 helped prevent recurrence of blocked arteries in patients who have undergone coronary angioplasty.

(Journal of the American Medical Association, August 28, 2002)

Vitamin K is a critical nutrient for skeletal integrity, with evidence of vitamin K supplementation reducing bone loss in healthy postmenopausal women and a significant positive relationship between vitamin K status and indices of bone health in men.

(24th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research, September 20 – 24, 2002, San Antonio, Texas)

Alzheimer’s disease: Association with zinc deficiency and cerebral vitamin B12 deficiency.

(Journal of Orthol. Psychiatry (CANADA), 1984, 13/2 (97-104))

Supplementation of the elderly with vitamin E has been shown to enhance immune response, delay onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and increase resistance to oxidative injury associated with exercise.

(Proc Nutr Soc. 2002;61:165-171)

Vitamin E intake, from foods or supplements, is associated with less cognitive decline with age.

(Arch Neurol. 2002;59:1125-1132)

Researchers at Cambridge University in England looked at serum vitamin C and how long people lived. People who had the lowest levels of vitamin C were twice as likely to die compared to those with the highest serum vitamin C levels. This study was based on the findings from over 19,000 people.

(Lancet 2001; 357:657-63)

26.4% of esophageal and gastric cancers are attributable to low selenium levels.

(Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Mark et al., 2000)

Calcium supplementation is associated with a significant – though moderate – reduction in the risk of recurrent colorectal adenomas. The effect of calcium was independent of initial dietary fat and calcium intake.

(N Engl J Med (United States) Jan 14 1999, 340 (2) p101-7.)

Data from the Nurses’ Health Study conducted at the Harvard Medical School showed that long-term supplementation with folic acid reduces the risk of colon cancer by 75% in women! 90,000 women participated in the Nurses’ Health Study, making this an especially significant finding. The authors of this study explained that folic acid obtained from supplements had a stronger protective effect against colon cancer than folic acid consumed in the diet.

(Annals of Internal Medicine (1998; 129:517-524)

Regarding asthma, the lowest intakes of vitamin C and manganese (a trace mineral not to be confused with magnesium) were associated with more than five-fold increased risks of bronchial reactivity. Decreasing intakes of magnesium were also significantly associated with an increased risk of hyper-reactivity.

(Thorax (United Kingdom), 1997, 52/2 (166-170))

Antioxidant supplements reduce the risk of cataract. One study evaluated 410 men for 3 years to ascertain the association between serum vitamin E and the development of cortical lens opacities (cataracts). The men with the lowest level of serum vitamin E had a 3.7 times greater risk of this form of cataract compared to men with the highest serum level of vitamin E.

(American Journal of Epidemiology Sept. 1996)

Encouraging moderate exercise and dietary supplementation with calcium and vitamin D are the major nonpharmacological management measures used to prevent and treat osteoporosis.

(Drugs and Aging (New Zealand), 1996, 9/6 (472-477)

Nutrient intake of patients with rheumatoid arthritis is deficient in pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), zinc, copper, and magnesium.

(Journal of Rheumatology (Canada), 1996, 23/6 (990-994))

Bottom Line?

Despite the breathless pseudo-reporting and claims to the contrary, vitamin and mineral supplementation is not only NOT a “waste,”  it is essential for restoring, maintaining, and improving health – and countless studies have proven this to be true.

So, who are you going to believe? Me and the respected medical researchers and scientists that I’ve quoted in this and many other articles, or lamestream media ‘infotainment” produced by misreading and misquoting biased or poorly conducted pseudo-research?

That’s it – I knew you would go with the real science! Good for you!

References:

1. Fortmann SP, Burda BU, Senger CA, Lin JS, Whitlock EP. Vitamin and mineral supplements in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer: an updated systematic evidence review for the US Preventive Services Task Force. Ann Intern Med. 2013 Dec 17;159(12):824-34.

2. El-Kadiki A, Sutton AJ. Role of multivitamins and mineral supplements in preventing infections in elderly people: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.BMJ. 2005 Apr 16;330(7496):871

3. Bailey RL, Fakhouri TH, Park Y, et al. Multivitamin-mineral use is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease mortality among women in the United States. J Nutr. 2015 Mar;145(3):572-8.

4. Shigeki Yamada, MD; Akio Koizumi, MD; Hiroyasu Iso, MD; Yasuhiko Wada, MD, et al. Risk Factors for Fatal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: The Japan Collaborative Cohort Study.

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