Friday, March 28, 2014

Are Your Vitamins Killing You? Uh....NO!

My wife was somewhat alarmed on receiving what I regard as a predatory marketing email, whose title blared: 'ARE YOUR MULTI-VITAMINS KILLING YOU?'

She asked me what I thought, and I immediately replied: "It's total recycled horse manure from another shyster out to make a quick buck! In fact, not taking vitamins is what's leading too many to an early death!"

She accepted that, and continues to take her vitamins, which I believe have helped in making her look ten to fifteen years younger than her actual age. (As everyone who encounters her says.)

Anyway, this absurd email went on to claim:

Jaakko Mursu, a nutritional epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, recently published a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine showing that women who took multivitamins were 6% more likely to die than those not taking them.

Wow! 6 percent. So how did Mursu et al come up with this figure anyway? The fact is anyone can play games with statistics and show whatever he wants. It reminds me of the old statin claim:

"Statins reduce risk of heart attacks by 33%".

 Later found to have been based on comparing a statin-taking sample of 1,000 with a control group of 1,000 where the first experienced 1 cardiac event, and the latter experienced 2 - hence the drug marketeers stat "wizards" computed (which anyone even without a statistical background can see is wrong):

(2 - 1) /3 x 100% = 1/3 x 100% = 33%

And Voila - a 33% improvement! Which was duly reported by the hobbled, semi-competent corporo-media and which had many people thinking: 'Wow! I need to get statins!"

Not appreciating the actual stats disclosed an insignificant difference. So, one was no more likely to have a cardiac event taking them than not doing so. I suggest the same mumbo jumbo could form the basis of the "6 percent" difference here. Say looking at a population of 1,000 vitamin takers, versus a control group of the same number, with 994 survivors in the first group vs. 1,000 in the second.  Of course, to single out a vitamin (or 2, or 3 or 4)  as the unique cause of death is something no one can prove in any case.

Nevertheless the email blurb went on to say:

According to TIME magazine, scientists have suspected for some time that vitamins and supplements may not be as beneficial to health as previously believed: "In recent years, studies have shown that vitamins such as A, C and E, which were supposed to lower risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer, didn't provide much benefit.  But many patients kept taking them anyway, and few doctors actively discouraged it...

The problem here is that no serious independent researchers ever made such claims, though megadose Vitamin C was briefly linked to interferon production in the 1980s, but later retracted.  Vitamin A, meanwhile, has always been a vitamin one needs to be wary of, and most vitamin takers are cognizant of its risks in even "low" doses.

The email goes on to claim:

Not only are multivitamins linked to a higher risk of death among a group of 38,000 women, average age 62, who were studied for nearly two decades, but Mursu's team found higher odds of death associated with several other supplements, including: 

  • Vitamin B: 10% higher risk of death, compared with nonusers
  • Folic acid: 15%   
  • Magnesium: 8%
  • Zinc: 8%

None of which is valid. Indeed, vitamin B is uniformly found beneficial by specialist researchers such as John Phillips, e.g.

who've found it essential in combating the drastic loss in nutrients from the presence of glyphosate permeating our food supply via GMOs. Magnesium and B-complex, as he notes, are essential supplements for life extension, as well as warding off Alzheimer's.

The vitamin scare mongers also are uninformed about the loss of phytonutrients over the decades, and the general loss of nutrients even in organic foods or 'wild grown' foods.  Particularly over the past 100 years, we've altered the way we produce food so radically that we've actually removed too many vital nutrients that once, yes, were staples of our ancestors diets. And I should add, was a major reason they've not have had to take vitamins.

Actual RELIABLE studies published (not the bollocks cited by the snake oil salesmen)  only in the last few years show our current produce selection is remarkably devoid of phyto- nutrients. These are the compounds that reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The reason? With the advent of Corporate agriculture, we've systematically stripped phyto-nutrients from our diet and replaced crops bearing them with diluted GMO substitutes.

Research on nutrient decline by biochemist Bruce Ames shows the following:

- Over the last 50 years, the amounts of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin, and vitamin C in conventionally grown fresh fruits and vegetables has declined by 50% or more.

- Wheat grown 100 years ago had twice as much protein as modern versions.

- Most of our agri-food crops, from lettuce, to broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, beans, peas, cabbage, etc. are so diluted that one would have to eat two to three times the amount daily to obtain an equal nutrient value to what one had in the 1960s. Thus, to do totally without vitamins, get set to eat four cauliflowers, three whole broccoli heads, eight oranges, five bananas (for potassium), ten tomatoes and three pounds of peas or beans!

In other words, in order to replace the nutrients, vitamins you're not getting you'd have to consume vastly larger quantities of veggies - and to absurd proportions! Who the hell is going to eat ten tomatoes, or three pounds of peas or beans in a day, or drink two gallons of milk? Give me a break! 

Part of the problem also has been corporate PR luring American tongues away from the earlier varieties of plants-crops with the highest amount of phyto-nutrients. A lot of this has to do with the other development, the emergence of fast food especially laden in sugars. The contra-indicator? Some of the best produce bearing highest phyto-nutrient content have bitter tastes!

As one example, take a look at corn.  Today,  we're conditioned to eat (and indeed only find available) the white and yellow varietes, so no blue corn is to be found. The crap we consume today (yellow and white corn) has from 1.54 mg to 70.2 mg of anthocyanins per 100 mg dried corn, compared to 99.5 mg of anthocyanins per milligram of dried corn available from blue corn.

If you're still not convinced, check out greens   . Most people into diet wholesomeness believe spinach is the healthiest food around today, but is it really? In fact, there are only 0.89 mg of anti-oxidants in fresh spinach compared to ordinary dandelion greens (which the Germans use in their salads) which had 6.89 mg anti-oxidants per 100 mg.

Still skeptical, then  look at apples .Most 'Muricans gravitate to a Granny Smith or Red Delicious apple - which contain 205 mg and 108 mg of phyto-nutrients per liter of juice, respectively. But the fact is the Siberian crab apple delivers 4,606 mg of phyto-nutrients per liter. If you really want to stay healthy and do away with vitamins, it's dandelion greens and Siberian crab apples you ought to be consuming - along with blue corn!

But since we aren't eating these things, we're not consuming anywhere near the level of anti-oxidants and phyto-nutrients we need - hence the ongoing need for vitamins.

This brings up the question of why the anti-vitamin lobby and medical-industrial complex is so determined to try to convince people to stop taking them. Well, dismissing the profit motive of the ones who sent Janice the email, which ended up advertising "super foods" - as if such could really exist in our GMO-contaminated, nutrient depleted environment-  there is one plausible reason: a determined effort to reduce life span so too many people aren't around to collect social insurance benefits via Medicare or Social Security. Get most people to stop taking them, scare them into it if you must, and watch the life expectancy of those non-consuming groups diminish, leading them to croak before they can even collect Social Security at 62.

In terms of Medicare, it would relieve thousands of medical practitioners having to be faced with provider cuts completing mounds of paper work for every elder patient. It also removes the social stigma  of refusing to treat older patients, or having to ask them to look for charity clinics because the doc is too busy or miffed to deal with the bureaucracy. Finally, it would relieve them of having to tell a terminal patient 'hasta la vista' because there is nothing more the practitioner (e.g. oncologist) can do to help - so why continue a futile effort?

In other words, if people just croak years younger it saves all that grief.

Oh, and let's not forget the biggest economic tidal wave of all: the coming onslaught from Alzheimer's disease expected to explode in the next twenty years to leave 15 million Americans affected. Most of these will contract the disease after age 70. If people die younger, say at age 60 or 63 from refusing to take vitamins, than a whole lot fewer people will get Alzheimer's and the budget won't be shattered from the costs of care.

Never mind, as John Phillips showed, vitamins can actually help stave off Alzheimer's.

Fortunately, Janice has deleted her "super foods, not vitamins"  email and returned to packing next week's supply of vitamins in her container!

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