“Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements”. Does this title published in Annuals of Internal Medicine, sound like it is objective? This sounds like a title you might find in the National Inquirer. What I find curious is why vitamins make doctors who are researchers so very angry.
One of the authors an epidemiologist at John Hopkins University School of Medicine is quoted in an article on CNN. His opinion is that taking vitamins is anecdotal, and people take a vitamin and feel better. First of all what is wrong with that? If I take a vitamin and feel better is that a bad thing? Is it bad to feel like I have more energy and concentration?
What I like about this article is CNN went to the effort to find Gladys Block, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at University of California Berkeley. At least Dr. Block points out some of the weaknesses in many of the studies. Dr. Block points out that in most of the studies; the test group is physicians who are all well-nourished and well fed. This group does not represent the normal American. Dr. Block points out that most Americans don’t have a healthy diet. She states that, “two thirds of us are overweight, a quarter over 50 have two or more chronic conditions, so there is a substantial population that one would hesitate to call healthy”.
Then the other day I saw an article in Medical News Today, titled Most Clinical Studies on Vitamins Flawed by Poor Methodology. This article states that most clinical trials of vitamin supplements have no value in them as they have a flawed methodology. They state that many of these studies are actually useless in really determining any value of vitamins and nutrients.
Balz Frie, who is a professor and the director of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, published a review in the journal Nutrients. He states that the findings will continue to be flawed until we change the way we study micronutrients. People around the world continue to have poor diets and do not have an adequate intake of many vitamins and minerals. There are many who might benefit greatly from simple multiple vitamins.
It should be obvious that vitamins and minerals will help those people with the most inadequate diets. Frie states that “more than 40% don’t get enough vitamin C, and half aren’t getting enough vitamin A, calcium and magnesium. Smokers, the elderly, people who are obese, ill or injured often have elevated needs for vitamins and minerals”.
One thing we can all agree on is that we all should eat better. But saying that doesn’t make it so for most people. It is crazy to think that a multiple vitamin is a bad idea.
Frei said that, “the largest and longest clinical trial of multivitamin/mineral supplements found a total reduction of cancer in cataract incidence in male physicians over the age of 50”. It suggested that if every adult in the U.S. took such supplements it could prevent up to 130,000 cases of cancer each year. Frei accurately states that if a drug did this it would be unethical to not give it to the general public.
But again we have a prestigious medical journal saying, “enough is enough”. On top of that the press is all too happy to exploit these specious conclusions and jump in with more sensationalist headlines. I feel fortunate as our customers seem to know better. Our customers are smart and well education and innately feel an underlying agenda.
What I know is that I feel great on my multiple and my daily supplement and enough isn’t enough for me.