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Herman Munster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 05:26 PM
Original message
Vitamin tablets 'may do more harm than good'
Vitamin supplements do not work and may do more harm than good, experts have warned.

The tablets taken by millions of health-conscious Britons each day do nothing to stave off illness, they said.

In fact, Vitamins C and E - compounds known as anti-oxidants - may actually cause some illnesses.

While vitamins may ward off disease in the test-tube, they do little to protect in everyday life, this week's New Scientist reports.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/h...
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 05:30 PM
Response to Original message
1. That stuff about vitamin C's a hot topic.
It's too soon to say it's bad for you. The discovery that it promotes the formation of artheriosclerosis inducing compounds serendipidously led to the discovery that vitamin C might be even more beneficial than thought previously.
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KurtNYC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 05:42 PM
Response to Original message
2. Many people are taking excessive amounts of Vit A
which can be lethal in doses over 100,000 iu. Even at the levels in many multi-vitamin tabs (5,000) it can cause headaches and other symptoms.

People would be far better off spending the same money of good food. At best vitamins are a flase sense of benefit, at worst deadly.

Several human studies have suggested an association between chronic high intakes of preformed vitamin A and bone loss potentially leading to osteoporosis. Studies of Arctic people, whose intake of preformed vitamin A is traditionally high, suggest that vitamin A does affect bone health. Furthermore, the incidence of osteoporosis appears to be highest in populations with adequate calcium and vitamin D intakes and where the intake of preformed vitamin A is the highest.

http://www.scenta.co.uk/health/features.cfm?cit_id=5935...
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OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:28 PM
Response to Reply #2
15. Selenium can also be dangerous
Its a myth that "natural" substances and supplements are harmless, they aren't.
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 05:47 PM
Response to Original message
3. Because doctors don't study them and
pharmaceutical companies make no money from them?
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smirkymonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #3
17. Ding, ding, ding!
We have a winner! :applause:
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KurtNYC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 09:17 AM
Response to Reply #3
25. So ephedra was just fine?
Was it only taken off the market because it wasn't studied or made by Merck?

And of course supplements are studied, extensively. The Harvard Nurse study is an ongoing study which began in 1976 and involves over 122,000 nurses who document virtually everything they put in their bodies. The researchers look at what habits and intake are related to disease, osteoperosis, etc. Such research has been highly valuable in assessing what is and is not effective in preventing chronic conditions. A list of their findings is here:
http://www.channing.harvard.edu/nhs/publications/allpub...

Another study: 3,341 women taking calcium supplements showed:
The Director of YTU, Professor David Torgerson, who led the research, said: "There is no conclusive evidence that calcium and vitamin D supplements, which can be prescribed or obtained 'over the counter' at pharmacies, are effective in reducing fractures for people living in the community.

http://www.research.hyms.ac.uk/metadot/index.pl?id=2328...

From crap like Hoodia and ephedra to unregulated, un-proven stuff like St. John's Wart and ineffective supplements -- there is a danger in playing pharmacist with bottles of pills.

There is no substitute for real spinach, broccoli, almonds, blueberries, oatmeal and dozens of other real foods loaded with real nutrients in the form that your body can absorb and use. There is no lethal dose of broccoli and no need to experiment with pills when Nature has a safe, proven cure for any of our nutrient defficencies.




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Chemical Bill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #25
27. Was it only taken off the market because...
>So ephedra was just fine? Was it only taken off the market because it wasn't studied or made by Merck?

Oddly enough, psudoephedrine was not taken off the market when ephedra was. Does that answer your question?

Bill
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KurtNYC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #27
29. Not really - Ephedra = unregulated
"dietary supplement" which caused a disproportionate number of calls to poison control centers when it was sold as a weight loss aid.

Pseudoephedrine = regulated and controlled medication which is ONLY sold for "short-term treatment of asthma, bronchitis, and allergic reactions."

It is like the difference between white lightning and Budweiser. While there is danger and potential for abuse with either, the first is far more dangerous.
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Chemical Bill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. Psudoephedrine = OTC n/t
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 09:39 PM
Response to Reply #25
38. I'll refer you to Dr. Sydney Wolfe, re: Dangerous prescription drugs.
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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 09:48 PM
Response to Reply #3
39. Oh there's *plenty* of money to be had in dietary supplements
Any industry that can sustain a magazine called "Nutrition Industry Executive" is making buck. http://www.vitaminretailer.com/index.htm
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stellanoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:08 PM
Response to Original message
4. Yup vit's A, D, & E have levels of toxicity
but the water solubles (C & B's) are not. This is pharmaceutical propaganda at best (or worst depending how you look at it.)
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jean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:08 PM
Response to Original message
5. bull. This is big pharma talking. Can't have folks buying vitamins
or supplements that might improve their health - that will cut down on pill buying.
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KatyaR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:27 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. It's not bull. I know at least one physician who has had a
patient die because of excessive amounts of vitamins. This person basically overdosed on vitamins.

Vitamins and herbal supplements are fine, but not in the amounts that some people take. If you look at many websites/catalogs that sell them, the manufacturers recommend taking WAY over the amount that's recommended for a normal diet. Prolonged dosages like that can cause organ failure and death--I'm not saying it WILL, just that it CAN.

I know I've taken certain herbs in the "recommended dosages" and had all kinds of adverse reactions because of them. Once I stopped the supplements, I was fine.

I just think you need to proceed with caution, that's all.

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Chemical Bill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #7
28. I know someone who died...
of acute alcohol poisoning. That doesn't mean I want alcohol banned. But you can be sure the drug companies want total control over vitamins and herbs. Look at cannabis.

I somehow wonder if your doctor's tale is all there is to the story. And how far do we go to protect people from themselves?

Bill
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KatyaR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #28
31. Well, I can tell you I almost died of alcohol poisoning, and
I don't want alcohol regulated either. I'm just saying that sometimes some regulation or control is better than none at all.

As for my doctor's friend's patient, he expressed his concerns to her about her excessive vitamin usage, and it didn't do any good. Yes, there's only so much we can do to protect people from themselves--I'm a perfect example. I just happened to have been lucky to be coherent enough to dial 911.

I don't think the drug companies should have total control over anything, but some regulation, probably through govermental laws, is not a bad idea.

I don't know what the answer is.
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A-Schwarzenegger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 08:51 PM
Response to Reply #7
35. "This person basically overdosed on vitamins."
This would seem very unusual, no?
Was it reported anywhere that can be read?
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SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:14 PM
Response to Original message
6. But the B vitamins can give you awesome vivid dreams!
I can never sustain a vitamin regimen, but once in a while I take B12 for a few days and wow! Neat dreams!
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yorkiemommie1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #6
14. weird because i've been taking B12 the last few days
and commented to DH this morning that i have been having some cool dreams!

I hadn't taken it in months.
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SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:28 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. I think the effect wears off in a week or so.
But it's fun while it lasts.
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yorkiemommie1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. then i wake up and remember
who's still in the WH!
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:30 PM
Response to Original message
8. Bah! I want more zipfizz!
:rofl:
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flygal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:02 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. Oh no - I graduated with the guy who invented that stuff
He was just at my reunion acting like quite the jerk. Drove his hummer all the way from Seattle, he and his wife looked as plastic as can be and were pretty show-offy. I guess it's cool we have someone successful, but he was a real piece of work.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #11
18. LOL! Rich maybe, but still trifling....
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tinfoilinfor2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #11
40. Never heard of it.
I guess I wouldn't impress him very much, or vice versa.
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gulfcoastliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:30 PM
Response to Original message
9. Google Coenzyme Q10- many peer reviewed studies
Edited on Thu Aug-03-06 06:31 PM by gulfcoastliberal
But no doc recommend it cause it'snot a patented drug with all the accompanying hummers from cute pharma sales reps and all expense paid trips to tropical islands. COQ10 is a great treatment for those with congestive heart failure.

Check it out on pubmed.

Edit: Who discovered coq10? Your taxpayer funded NIH cardio dept!
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:52 PM
Response to Original message
10. Dosage is everything.
Too little does nothing, too much is bad for you.
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PBass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:14 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Supplement industry is pretty much unregulated...
a lot of hokum, exaggeration, and junk science, in the interest of sales.

All you need is one shoddy study, that suggests a certain vitamin does something, and the next day you will see that product on the shelves. Who cares if the dosage is all wrong, or the form of the nutrient is all wrong. or that the effects were not seen "in vitro" and only seen in a test tube, or that the study was conducted by the manufacturer, etc etc etc. There's money to be made!!!!

Don't get me wrong, I think Vitamin C and B Complex vitamins are useful, and I take them every day. There are many valuable vitamins and supplements. There is a ton of CRAP for sale, too. Buyer beware!
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:18 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Medicine has alway been a fertile field for bullshitters.
Buyer beware is right.
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greguganus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:42 PM
Response to Original message
19. I live in the US so it doesn't affect me! n/t
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Make7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. Me either. Thanks for pointing that out. ;-) eom.
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 10:35 PM
Response to Original message
22. I chose to go to a naturopath as I trust her education, experience, and
skill with nutritional supplements rather than go to a physician who may be pushing the pill du jour that the pharmaceutical rep told him/her to push.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 12:04 AM
Response to Original message
23. I don't believe the "Vitamin C + Colds" BS.
I've never heard a biochemical explaination for how Vitamim C is supposed to make colds better. Vitamin C has 2 biochemical functions, as an antioxidant and as a catalyst for the production of the protien collagen.

People have been mislead by snake oil salesmen getting people ignorant of biochemistry into treating vitamins as magical elixers. Vitamins are simply co-enzymes (biomolecules that help catalyze enzymes) that heterotrophs (organisms that get thier food from other organisms) have lost the abillity to make themselves because they can just get them from what they eat. if you have a half-way decent diet you don't need vitamin suppliments.
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KT2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 12:26 AM
Response to Original message
24. Not buying it
there are few things that can compare to the side effects of "GOOD DRUGS" that are sold on tv:
heart attack, stroke, anal leakage, kidney & liver damage, muscle diseases, death! and lots lots more.
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prolesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 09:37 AM
Response to Original message
26. And we all know how *safe* prescription drugs are
More than 2 million Americans become seriously ill every year because of toxic reactions to correctly prescribed medicines taken properly, and 106.000 die from those reactions, a new study concludes. That surprisingly high number makes drug side effects at least the sixth, and perhaps even the fourth, most common cause of death in this country. The analysis, the largest and most complete of its kind, suggests that one in 15 hospital patients in the United States can expect a serious reaction to prescription or over-the-counter medicine. and about 5 percent of these will die from it.

If the findings are accurate, then the number of people dying each year from drug side effects may be exceeded only by the numbers of people dying from heart disease cancer and stroke. and may be greater than the number dying from lung disease, pneumonia or diabetes. Experts said the study, which appears in today's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, is stronger than previous ones because it looks only at cases in which drugs were taken correctly. Previous hints of similarly high side effect rates had been attributed in large part to people getting the wrong medicines or taking them in the wrong doses.

Only one quarter of the reactions were due to patients being allergic to the drug in question.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 07:18 PM
Response to Reply #26
32. I'm sure the Alternative "medicine" scams never kill anybody...
...because that what it seems the anti-medicine people think. :eyes:
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prolesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 08:29 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. I'm not anti-medicine at all
In fact, I take several medications on a daily basis to control things I have been unable to through diet and exercise and am thankful for the quality of life that they ensure me.

I was merely pointing out that BOTH sides have their problems. Patients really need to be proactive and be careful whether they use traditional or alternative medicine or a combination of the two.

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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 09:24 PM
Response to Reply #33
37. Ah, sorry, I've just heard too many people use that explaination...
...to explain why they use that snake oil. ;-)
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Mythsaje Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 08:42 PM
Response to Original message
34. I'd like to add that many vitamin tablets
don't break down in the body and end up choking the sewers.
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Rosemary2205 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 09:01 PM
Response to Original message
36. For some people vitamins are life and death.
Perhaps for the vast majority of well fed people in the west vitamins are unnecessary, but in developing countries and for people with certain illnesses vitamins make the difference between life and death. They should be treated like any other medical product. They have a purpose, they can have side effects if abused.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #36
41. People in the West eat foods which are nutritionally deficient
many of the processed foods that make up a substantial part of the standard American diet are nothing but empty calories. Like many people with fibromyalgia, I can't eat processed foods. I also can feel a huge difference between eating a salad made with conventional vegetables and eating an organic salad. I can't help but wonder what the long term effects of GM crops and additives in the American food supply will be. I feel fairly certain that many people are depleted of some essential vitamins when they eat a large amount of convenience foods. America is not a healthy place compared to most industrial countries; we have one of the highest rates of depression anywhere, and many of those cases can be traced back to a vitamin B deficiency.
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