"The problem with the study on vitamin E is that it simply not good science" Aileen Burford- Mason,PhD
Read total comment at site address given at the end of article previously posted.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, May 22, 2006
EXPERT PANEL SAYS VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS ARE SAFE
(OMNS, May 22, 2006) An independent panel of university faculty,
medical researchers, and physicians experienced in nutritional therapeutics
says that vitamin supplements are exceptionally safe for the public. A
new report by the expert Vitamin Safety Review Panel rebuts a recent US
National Institutes of Health report that attempted to cast doubt on
food supplement safety.
"Over half of all Americans take vitamins every day," said Andrew Saul,
Assistant Editor of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. "One cannot
help but ask, where are the bodies? The NIH panel ignored
pharmaceutical drug dangers, while concentrating on unfounded concerns over your
daily multivitamins. This indicates bias.‚ÄĚ
According to statistics compiled annually by the American Association
of Poison Control Centers (1), multivitamins kill no one. Gross overdose
of iron (not a vitamin) has been associated with perhaps two deaths per
year. On the other hand, in 2003, there were 59 deaths from aspirin
alone. That is a death rate nearly thirty times higher than that
attributed to iron supplements. There were still more deaths from aspirin in
combination with other pharmaceutical products. In 2003, two people died
from caffeine. Three people died from dishwashing detergent. There was
also a death from "Cream/lotion/makeup," a death from granular laundry
detergent, and one death from table salt .
On the other hand, says the Vitamin Safety Review Panel, there is not
one death per year from any vitamin in the alphabet. Not from A, B‚Äôs,
C, D or E. Michael Janson, MD, said, ‚ÄúIn decades of people taking a
wide variety of dietary supplements, few adverse effects have been
noted, and zero deaths as a result of the dietary supplements. There is far
more risk to public health from people stopping their vitamin
supplements than from people taking them.‚ÄĚ
Another Vitamin Safety Review panelist is Abram Hoffer, MD, who also
has a PhD in nutritional biochemistry. Dr Hoffer said, ‚ÄúVitamin
supplements are extraordinarily safe and effective. This is based on fifty
years of clinical experience without seeing any life-threatening side
effects and no deaths. It is pharmaceutical drugs that are dangerous.
Perhaps the US Food and Drug Administration is getting tired of all the bad
news about drugs, so instead they are going after nutritional
Carolyn Dean, ND, MD, agrees. ‚Äú784,000 people are dying annually,
prematurely, due to modern medicine,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúThese are statistics
from peer-reviewed journals and government databases.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúFocusing on so-called ‚Äėvitamin overload risks‚Äô is lot of
prattle,‚ÄĚ commented consumer Nancy Watson Dean of Rochester, NY. ‚ÄúWhat is
risky is not taking vitamins. I take lots of supplements every day, and
absolutely no prescriptions at all. I have no ailments, and I will be
91 next month.‚ÄĚ
For a copy of the Vitamin Safety Review Panel‚Äôs draft report, please
1. Watson WA, Litovitz TL, Klein-Schwartz W, Rodgers GC Jr, Youniss J,
Reid N, Rouse WG, Rembert RS, Borys D. 2003 annual report of the
American Association of Poison Control Centers Toxic Exposure Surveillance
System. Am J Emerg Med. 2004 Sep;22(5):335-404.
What is Orthomolecular Medicine?
Linus Pauling defined orthomolecular medicine as "the treatment of
disease by the provision of the optimum molecular environment, especially
the optimum concentrations of substances normally present in the human
body." Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy
to fight illness. For more information: http://www.orthomolecular.org
The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit
and non-commercial informational resource.
"HSI Jenny Thompson"firstname.lastname@example.org
Commenting on the study in the e-Alert "The Purest Bunk" (11/15/04), HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., noted that the Hopkins conclusion "flies in the face of decades of research, using doses up to 2,400 IU." And a representative for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) added that it was inappropriate for the researchers to draw conclusions for the entire population based on studies of subjects who were "already at grave risk with existing diseases including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and kidney failure."
But never mind these glaring flaws - the mainstream media certainly didn't mind them! The AOCS moderator, University of Arizona professor Ronald Watson, Ph.D., specifically cited "poor journalism" as a key factor in discouraging consumers "from taking advantage of this beneficial nutrient."
Form & function
This can't be said often enough: When vitamin E is evaluated, the form of the vitamin is crucial. Too often we've seen vitamin E intervention studies (including some in the Hopkins research) that used a synthetic form or an inferior form of the vitamin. Dr. Spreen: "No one should be taking the synthetic form of the nutrient (dl-alpha tocopherol) - it should be d-alpha tocopherol at least. Even better is to take 'mixed' tocopherols (alpha, beta, delta, gamma). Also, vitamin E functions better when it's mixed with selenium."
It's SO SIMPLE! As with all vitamins, there are different forms. Use the wrong form and you get poor results. Use the proper form and you get good results.
Back on track
Let's complete vitamin E's makeover by addressing an e-mail I recently received from an HSI member named J.L.: "Is there any truth to a recent article about anyone taking 50 IUs of vitamin E is at greater risk for a stroke?"
J.L. didn't include specific information from the article, and I haven't been able to pinpoint any studies with those results, so we'll have to assume that the study in question either: A) examined subjects already at risk of a stroke, and/or B) used an ineffective or synthetic form of the vitamin.
Of course, we should never "assume," so let's go back a few years to a time when vitamin E still looked pretty spiffy.
In a 1993 Harvard study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers examined eight years of medical records for more than 87,000 women between the ages of 34 and 59. At the outset of the study, none of the subjects had been diagnosed with either cardiovascular disease or cancer.
The results: Women who took vitamin E supplements (at least 100 IU daily) for two years or more reduced their heart disease risk by more than 40 percent compared to women who didn't take E supplements. And in this same group, risk of ischemic stroke was reduced by nearly 30 percent. In the lowest-risk group, the average intake was 200 IU per day.
There's your makeover, Vitamin E. In spite of all the undeserved hits you've been taking, you look MAHvelous!
"Vitamin E Symposium Reacts to Negative Press" NutraIngredients USA, 5/12/06, nutraingredients-usa.com
"Meta-Analysis: High-Dosage Vitamin E Supplementation May Increase All-Cause Mortality" Annals of Internal Medicine, Vo. 142, No. 1, 1/4/05, annals.org
"Vitamin E Consumption and the Risk of Coronary Disease in Women" New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 328, No. 20, 5/20/93, content.nejm.org
"Deep-Fried Candy Bars: Scotland's Worst Food?" James Owen, National Geographic News, 12/28/04, news.nationalgeographic.com