Friday, August 31, 2007

The Big Vitamin Scare

Originally published February 28 2007

The latest round in conventional medicine's ongoing attempts to discredit (and ultimately outlaw) nutritional supplements is found in a highly questionable study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which claims that vitamins actually increase the risk of death.

The study claims to have analyzed a collection of previous studies on Vitamin A, beta carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and selenium, concluding that most of the nutrients are actually dangerous to human health. Of course, this is research from conventional medicine – an industry that promotes patented chemicals as perfectly safe, even though FDA-approved pharmaceuticals are killing 100,000 Americans each year. (Imagine the uproar if vitamins killed even a fraction of that number…)

To avoid getting hoodwinked by questionable research on "vitamins," you have to strongly consider the financial interests of the source of this research. JAMA accepts millions of dollars in advertising from drug companies each year, and its pages are absolutely packed with drug ads. The American Medical Association, for its part, has long worked to discredit alternative medicine and has even been found guilty by U.S. federal courts of engaging in a conspiracy to destroy chiropractic medicine. The AMA, which is largely considered a joke by anyone familiar with natural health, is hardly a credible source for publishing scientific f indings on nutrition. To protect the multi-billion dollar drug industry, the AMA would say practically anything, I believe.

How to fake a vitamin study

Faking a vitamin study to show supplements as harmful is extremely easy to pull off, by the way. All you have to do is use synthetic forms of the vitamins and avoid using natural, food-sourced vitamins . These synthetic vitamins – which are really just industrial chemicals – may be called "Vitamin E" or "Vitamin A" or even "Vitamin C" but they have no functional resemblance to the real vitamins that occur in nature. Every single study over the past two decades that has sought to discredit Vitamin E, for example, focused on using synthetic Vitamin E in order to show harm. It is curious that no researcher from the world of conventional medicine will ever test the natural, full-spectrum vitamins, nutrients and phytochemicals that appear in nature. You know why? Because they would discover a universe of natural medicine that makes patented prescription drugs obsolete.

A second way to fake a vitamin meta-data study is to simply cherry-pick the results you want to include in your meta-data analysis. This is a routine trick used by dishonest researchers who have an agenda of discrediting nutritional supplements. To pull this one off, they simply eliminate all previous studies that showed positive results for vitamins, and include only previous studies that showed negative results. Then they run a statistical analysis on all the studies they hand-picked and declare – surprise! – those vitamins are dangerous! Many of the studies on vitamin E, by the way, were conducted on dying heart patients who were only expected to live two weeks, regardless of what they took.

And yet, it is curious that when conventional medical researchers report the results of mortality risks for their prescription drugs, they always use absolute risk. They say things like, "Well, this drug only increased the risk by one percent." But what they are not saying is that it may be a 200% relative increase in mortality risk, depending on the baseline absolute mortality numbers. So i f only 0.5 people out of 100 normally died from heart disease during a particular study, but 1.5 people died when taking a drug during that study, the relative risk increase is 200%. But the medical journals and the mainstream media will report is at a "one percent increase."

You see how the game is played? Here's the con:

• All statistics on the dangers of prescription drugs are reported as absolute risk to make the numbers seem smaller (and make drugs seem safe).

• All statistics on the dangers of synthetic vitamins are reported as relative risk to make the numbers seem larger (and vitamins seem dangerous).

And this is how conventional medicine lies with statistics. It's only one of the many tricks used to disinform the American public about the dangers of pharmaceuticals or the benefits of nutrition.

This research published in JAMA does remind us of one important point, however: synthetic chemicals are harmful to human health. If you take cheap "vitamins" made of these synthetic chemicals, you are doing yourself more harm than good. These cheap vitamin manufacturers, by the way, are usually owned by pharmaceutical firms. I would personally never take vitamins purchased at common retailers such as Wal-Mart or Walgreens. I only recommend and consume vitamins from high-end nutritional supplement companies


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