Why Would Anyone Believe Vitamins are Bad for Your Health?
I read the original JAMA study when it came out, and I knew it was a piece of garbage then. Now experts have chimed in and explained why my initial impression was correct. 68 out of 815 is not "meta:"
“Instead of causing harm, the totality of the evidence indicates that antioxidants from foods or supplements have many health benefits, including reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, eye disease and neurodegenerative disease,” he said. “In addition, they are a key to an enhanced immune system and resistance to infection.”
The “meta-analysis” published in JAMA, which is a statistical analysis of previously published data, looked at 815 antioxidant trials but included only 68 of them in its analysis, Frei said. And two of the studies excluded – which were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and the prominent British medical journal Lancet – found substantial benefits and reduced mortality from intake of antioxidant supplements.
“If these two large studies had been included, none of the reported effects on increased mortality would have been significant, with the exception of the effects of beta carotene,” Frei said. “And the research showing a higher incidence of lung cancer in smokers who take supplements of beta carotene or vitamin A is old news, that’s been known for many years. Very high doses of vitamin A are known to have multiple adverse health effects.”
All the new study really demonstrates, Frei said, is a bias toward identifying studies or research that show harm caused by antioxidants, and selective removal of research that shows benefits.
I've been taking vitamins for years now, and I will get on my soapbox to anyone who listens. There is a supplement combination that is right for every person, and I wish I could say, "talk to your doctor to find out what's right for you." But I can't. The physicians in my family are an exception, and still, even today, far too many physicians are taught a hostility to all things in the world of "alternative" medicine, even when actual scientific research by peer reviewed experts suggests otherwise. Why is this? Because of an unholy alliance between Big Pharma and mainstream medicine, one that starts in medical school and lasts through a physcian's last round of comped golf. Both those groups will make less profit if you can improve your health simply by modifying your diet to include a higher content of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function well and fight disease. Trust me when I say the collusion is literally is sickening you.
There are certain risks to taking more than RDA levels of certain supplements. But as one professor of medicine once reminded me, "those levels are what your body needs to survive, and not starve to death. In truth, a healthy body needs much higher levels of certain vitamins than what the government recommends to stay healthy and functional." But it would make our industrial foods look bad, if you read on the side of the package that a bowl of sugar encrusted ceral is not only going to give you diabetes if consume it daily, but also that it offers so little in nutritional value as to require ten bowls just to get 1/3 of your RDA for a handful of the vitamins you need. And the AMA once thought it was a good idea to endorse certain brands of blenders, which should tell you how cheaply they are willing to sell their "good name."
Bleh. I won't preach on this, but I will offer some reading which will explain it much better than I can. Go to any health store and read the latest copy of that book. I don't know if my link is the latest addition, but you'll find pages and pages of discussion about what suppliments can and cannot do, who should be taking them, what ailments they can help you with, and all based on research the corporate whores at JAMA would rather ignore.
I thumb my very fit, very healthy body at those losers, who to the best of my knowledge, still dismiss the ancient medical sciences of India and China as 'experimental,' despite those two branches and practices predating this country, let alone a bunch of stuffy whitecoat know-it-alls, by thousands of years.