Saturday, March 03, 2007


Boy do the medication spinners love this dubious news fragment! They're all over it like green on a dollar. I haven't seen this much coverage since Thalidomide. In obviating the need for pharmaceutics, vitamin supplements (when used intelligently) must've cost the medical industry a fortune in potential patients over the years. Not to imply that there aren't big scams going on in the supplement business, but that's another (and newer) story, in a similar vein.

However, I must admit that, even when taken wisely, supplements can be dangerous; as a 66-year-old who lives and moves like a much younger person (and hasn't been in a hospital for 61 years), I am put at greater risk in a way by such things as lumberjacking, partying and motorcycle speed, thanks largely to judicious vitamin supplement use blended with only occasionally extreme dietary and otherwise hedonistic behavior.

On the other hand, I doubt if I'd be this way if I'd taken just about any prescription drug every day for the past 40 years. As to the ardent anti-vite spin on this, note these new headlines from among the over 400 today, with another take at the end (all emphases mine):

Research questions vitamins' usefulness

Vitamins 'could shorten lifespan'

Antioxidants Don't Help You Live Longer

Antioxidant Vitamins May Not Prolong Life

Antioxidants Flunk Big Test

Use Of Some Antioxidant Supplements May Increase Mortality Risk

Caution urged in use of antioxidant supplements

Vitamins could increase risk of death, study says

Antioxidant supplements tied to death risk

Study says antioxidant pills can kill

JAMA Says Antioxidant Supplements May Increase Mortality

Researchers Say Some Vitamin Supplements Increase Risk of Death

Docs Warn on Vitamins A and E

But there were some rays of skeptically clear light:

Antioxidant study ignores scientific evidence

Researchers water down vitamin fear


And as a little actual-factual sidelight to all this maybe, could and death:

"A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good. The number of people having in-hospital, adverse drug reactions (ADR) to prescribed medicine is 2.2 million. Dr. Richard Besser, of the CDC, in 1995, said the number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections was 20 million. Dr. Besser, in 2003, now refers to tens of millions of unnecessary antibiotics.

"The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million. The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million. The total number of iatrogenic deaths shown in the following table is 783,936. It is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States. The 2001 heart disease annual death rate is 699,697; the annual cancer death rate, 553,251."

Death by Medicine, Part I
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Winston said...

When I first read of the ill effects of multi-vitamins and supplements a few days ago, Roomie and I had a discussion of it. We concluded the studies must be flawed. It never occurred to us that perhaps the med industry was up to no good...

I pledge allegiance to Centrum Silver...

(btw, tribute to you, Mick, and couple of other word merchants on my site today)

Robert Brady said...

Thanks for the generous review, Winston. I look forward to your own next tale...
As to the medical thing, I don't mean to be strident/repetitive about it, it's just that I remember vit/mineral supplements being mocked by doctors whom I consulted regularly back in the early sixties for various illnesses until I started changing my nutritional lifestyle; result like night and day. The pharmacomed industries have been trying for decades to be our ONLY health choice, as reflected in medical insurance costs... too few are yelling about other than the cost of it all, when good nutrition and judicious supplementation would cut the need for docs and drugs by 3/4 or more, anathema to the med/drug lobby...

Anonymous said...

I was a bit surprised to read all this about antioxidant supplements, I didn't even know they existed. Wouldn't it be simpler just to drink a cup of green tea every day?