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Antioxidant Vitamins and Selenium in the news. Let the truth be told

3rd March 2007 by Arrow Durfee Posted in Uncategorized

A very interesting read. Notice that the report comes from University of Queensland professor Luis Vitetta. Supplements in Austraila are now under siege and strick government regulation.. (Wonder if he is bucking for some government grant?) and he is from the Centre for Complementary Medicine and Research. HA! In the US we have the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) which IMHO is a organization not in the best interest of alternative health practitioners or alternative health users. They are backed by pharmaceutical interests. What this organization says I give little credit to. and neither should you. Find other sources to base your alternative healthcare decisions on …….. Arrow


Posted: 06 Jan 2009 05:05 PM CST
“Millions of needless deaths” is the title of an editorial by Life Extension Magazine’s Bill Faloon.

“. . . If vitamin D’s™s only benefit was to reduce coronary heart attack rates by 142%, the net savings (after deducting the cost of the vitamin D) if every American supplemented properly would be around $84 billion each year. That’s enough to put a major dent in the health care cost crisis that is forecast to bankrupt Medicare and many private insurance plans.”


Vitamins could be killing you
By Tamara McLean

March 01, 2007 12:00

VITAMIN supplements designed to prevent disease might actually increase the risk of death, a landmark global study has found.
Vitamin A performed worst in the 68-trial review and is said to increase mortality risk by 16 per cent.
The closely-related nutrient beta carotene increased risk by 7 per cent.
And vitamin E supplements were associated with a 4 per cent increased risk, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported.
Danish researchers found the top-selling vitamin C had no effect – positive or negative – on survival.
The researchers also cleared trace mineral selenium of increased risks.
They concluded “the public health consequences may be substantial” with 10-20 per cent of Western adults swallowing vitamin supplements regularly in the belief that they’re preventing disease.
The review examined the effects of beta carotene, vitamins A, E and C and selenium in the deaths of more than 230,000 adults involved in trials.

When looking at both low and high-quality studies, they found no significant link between vitamin use and death.

But high quality results analysed alone showed an average 5 per cent increase for the three supplements vitamins A and E and beta carotene.

University of Queensland professor Luis Vitetta, from the Centre for Complementary Medicine and Research, said the results were “very concerning” and added strength to evidence vitamins can do more harm than good.

“There’s a billion dollar vitamin industry based on this idea people can prevent disease when they’re actually just putting themselves at extra risk,” he said.

Supplement makers claim these products have an antioxidant effect, essentially eliminating free radical “messenger molecules” responsible for the so-called oxidative stress which has been linked to disease.

Critics doubt whether oxidative stress even exists, with this research suggesting that killing free radicals only interferes with some defensive mechanisms affecting survival.

Professor Vitetta said smaller studies had shown that those who “mega-dosed” on vitamins had the most heightened risk and called for “very, very prudent” consumption.

He said doctors need to be able to offer better advice on vitamin intake, a call supported by the Australian Medical Association’s John Gullotta.

The Complementary Healthcare Council (CHC), however, said the results were based on old data and included trials which allowed doses of vitamins not accepted here.

Executive director Tony Lewis would not comment on the claims but said the evidence was “weak”.

Antioxidant Vitamins and Selenium in the news. Let the truth be told.

By Allen S. Josephs, M.D.
President, 03/02/2007

You are probably aware of a study that came out earlier this week in JAMA from Denmark indicating that in a meta-analysis of 68 randomized trials involving over 200,000 people, vitamins A, E and beta-carotene may increase mortality risk by up to 16%. The study indicated vitamin C did not have any clear effect on mortality and that the anti-oxidant mineral selenium was actually associated with a 9% decrease in all cause mortality. I read the full text of this study just published and must say that it is quite a mish-mosh. The authors of the study combined a large series of different studies using all different levels of nutrients, quality of nutrients (synthetic versus natural), and so on. The methodology in this meta-analysis I feel was terribly flawed. Dr. Stampfer, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health told the Associated Press that the studies reviewed were too different to be able to pool them together. I couldn’t more strongly agree with Dr. Stampfer’s impression1.

The authors of this paper further seemed to stack the deck against vitamins. They had reviewed a total of 815 different trials but included only 68 of them in their final analysis. There were over 400 trials that they reviewed in which the mortality rate was zero in both the vitamin group and the control group. They decided to exclude these over 400 trials because there was zero mortality. If indeed they were trying to determine is there was truly some increased risk of mortality associated with vitamins, why not include the over 400 trials that showed no mortality whatsoever. Furthermore within the 68 trials they decided whether they were low bias or high bias trials based on the way each study was conducted. When they looked at all 68 trials together they reported no significant effect on mortality. However when they selected out the 47 trials that they considered low bias (involving over 180,000 participants) that is when they saw some increased risk of mortality with some of the vitamins.

As I read through this meta-analysis I could not help but feel that there was tremendous bias in putting together this paper. It is important to point out Denmark is in the European Union and their doctors and government tend to be very anti-vitamins and biased against supplements based on their absurd regulations. And of course the main stream press picked up on this study making the sweeping comment that vitamins will kill you. The press is not interested in reporting the fair and balanced facts but rather sensational headlines. I do not believe that anyone in the vitamin/nutrition business is advocating that you take only vitamin A, vitamin E and beta carotene as your nutritional supplements. Some of the best nutrients available were not analyzed in this paper such as alpha lipoic acid, coq10, omega-3 essential fatty acids, ginkgo, green tea, grape seed just to name a few. At the present time there are many cancer centers throughout the United States including the National Cancer Institute that are studying nutrients like soy, green tea and curcumin for their health benefits.

A great example of media bias is a recent 2007 study they ignored entirely that was conducted in San Francisco, CA regarding vitamin D. This study is available on the National Library of Medicine which is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. I have provided the full abstract below2:

“Solar ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiance and/or vitamin D have been found inversely correlated with incidence, mortality, and/or survival rates for breast, colorectal, ovarian, and prostate cancer and Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Evidence is emerging that more than 17 different types of cancer are likely to be vitamin D-sensitive. A recent meta-analysis concluded that 1,000 IU of oral vitamin D per day is associated with a 50% reduction in colorectal cancer incidence. Using this value, as well as the findings in a multifactorial ecologic study of cancer mortality rates in the US, estimates for reductions in risk of vitamin D-sensitive cancer mortality rates were made for 1,000 IU/day. These estimates, along with annual average serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, were used to estimate the reduction in cancer mortality rates in several Western European and North American countries that would result from intake of 1,000 IU/day of vitamin D. It was estimated that reductions could be 7% for males and 9% for females in the US and 14% for males and 20% for females in Western European countries below 59 degrees. It is proposed that increased fortification of food and increased availability of supplements could help increase vitamin D intake and could augment small increases in production of vitamin D from solar UVB irradiance. Providing 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day for all adult Americans would cost about $1 billion; the expected benefits for cancer would be in the range of $16-25 billion in addition to other health benefits of vitamin D.”

There are those of you who may say that I too cannot be objective since I am deeply involved with this vitamin company. My interest with vitacost/NSI developed over time as I came to understand and appreciate the incredible benefits of proper nutritional supplementation. Obviously this negative vitamin study is likely being hailed in the halls of the pharmaceutical companies who spent over $800 million the last seven years lobbying congress and the FDA not to mention tens of billions on marketing. They see the vitamin industry as a clear and present danger to their over $200 billion per year monopoly that is bankrupting Americans and our government. The fact that it is well known that over 100,000 people die every year in this country from the proper use and administration of drugs does not seem to get much press. Oh well, I’ve known about that double standard for a long time.

1Skibsted LH, Dragsted LO, Dyerberg J, Hansen HS, Kiens B, Ovesen LF, Tjonneland AM. Antioxidants and Health. JAMA. 2006 Aug 21;168(34):2787-9.

2Grant WB, Garland CF, Gorham ED. An estimate of cancer mortality rate reductions in Europe and the US with 1,000 IU of oral vitamin D per day. JAMA. 2007;174:225

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