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Coordinated attack on your health

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:38 pm    Post subject: Coordinated attack on your health Reply with quote

New Studies Claim Popular Nutritional Supplements Don’t Work

Spurious Conclusions Confuse But Influence the Media, Policy Makers,

and the Public as Government-Centered Health Care Looms

© By Peter Barry Chowka

(March 1, 2007) As the move towards a government-controlled, allopathic medical monopoly for all Americans continues to gain unprecedented political momentum, a corollary development is the ongoing denigration of primary alternative medicine methods at the highest levels of official science and public policy. Recently, another round of negative studies has been published in the scientific literature. Typically, the studies’ conclusions are widely reported in the mainstream media and become influential in the government-media-public policy matrix.

JAMA February 28, 2007

In the last week of February, only two days apart, two leading journals of the American Medical Association (AMA) published negative studies on two classes of popular nutritional supplements, garlic and antioxidants.1 The antioxidant study, published in the February 28, 2007 issue of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, is “Mortality in Randomized Trials of Antioxidant Supplements for Primary and Secondary Prevention.” The garlic study, in the February 26th issue of the AMA’s Archives of Internal Medicine, is “Effect of Raw Garlic vs Commercial Garlic Supplements on Plasma Lipid Concentrations in Adults With Moderate Hypercholesterolemia.” (The full text of the latter study is accessible without charge online.)

Typical of the headlines in literally thousands of news stories that followed were “Antioxidants Don't Help You Live Longer” and “Study: Garlic Won’t Lower Cholesterol.”

The story was also big news in the national broadcast media. On February 28th, CNN ran two feature reports on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. In introducing reporter Mary Snow’s taped piece, Blitzer said: “Let’s move on to something else, a very important story we are following. It involves what a lot of us take every day, namely vitamins. ‘Take vitamins and live longer.’ Lots of people believe that equation and regularly use the supplements. But there’s some surprising new research that is just coming out that could force a lot of us to rethink what we do about vitamins.” After the segment, Blitzer commented, “Talk about being confused. I'm totally confused right now. . . the notion of vitamins actually hurting – I’ve heard over the years they might not help but they certainly won’t hurt. This study says they actually, at least some of these vitamins, could actually hurt you.”

For one thing, the basis of almost all of the reporting on the garlic and antioxidant studies is news releases issued by the AMA journals’ public relations offices, e-mailed to favored influential reporters and editors several days in advance of the studies’ publication. (The cooperative mainstream media agree to hold, or embargo, their articles and reporting until an exact hour predetermined by the source.) One wonders how many of the reporters who wrote the stories (or the editors and producers who packaged them) actually read the original journal articles, or know enough about science to evaluate the studies critically and objectively.

In the broader picture, there is nothing new under the sun here. The difference is that the stakes today are higher than ever before as the studies’ outcomes will undoubtedly serve to limit the acceptability or inclusion of alternative therapies, particularly nutritional approaches (both preventive and therapeutic), in any forthcoming national (or state-run) government medical plans.

It is increasingly clear that these and other similar studies will provide the excuses and cover for medical bureaucrats and power hungry policy makers to go slow on approving all but the most harmless complementary or integrative therapies – therapies that can be used along side, and not threaten the supremacy, of expensive (and profitable) conventional treatments – in order to keep effective natural medical options out of the hands of consumers and instead centralized in government databases of officially approved (“cookbook” or coded) treatments.

Negative studies like the recent ones have been published in the past, going back decades. With for-profit medical insurance and private clinical care options about to be replaced by mandatory and monopolistic government-run, socialist medical systems, however, and freedom of choice potentially constrained like it never has been before, consumers may soon find their options to use nutritional supplements, even if they are willing to pay for them out of pocket, extremely limited if not prohibited outright by government decree.

Proponents of so-called “evidence based medicine,” or EBM, which is fast emerging as the key determinant in the availability – or potentially even the very existence – of all health and medical treatments in the United States, are citing these kinds of studies of supplements and other alternative modalities as the basis for their critiques of alt med. Shockingly, even many CAM (complementary alternative medicine) leaders have bought into the false god of EBM.

But what kind of “evidence” do these studies that evidence based medicine worships really provide?

Kathi Head, N.D. is the editor-in-chief of Alternative Medicine Review, a peer-reviewed, Medline-indexed journal of natural and nutritional medicine. She reviewed the JAMA study on antioxidants and offered the following analysis.

First of all, this is not a new study. It is merely a look at numerous studies that have been previously conducted – a meta-analysis.

The outcome that was measured was mortality rate. But all of the studies that had no deaths in either the treated (with antioxidants) or untreated group were excluded from the meta-analysis. I suspect that including them would have diluted the results in such a way as to eliminate the statistical significance of the increased mortality allegedly caused by the antioxidants.

In addition to throwing out the studies without any mortality, even studies that had been originally included were excluded in order to get the “increased mortality from antioxidants” results. The excluded studies included ones with weaker designs (the “high-bias” studies – such as smaller study numbers, inadequate follow-up, etc. But if they were such weak studies, why were they initially included?) and also the selenium studies (the most positive studies analyzed). The authors never do say why they excluded the selenium studies in the final analysis. And really, it’s the final analysis that matters because that BOTTOM LINE that is reported to the media becomes the reality. None of the other results – the fine print, as it were – matters.

If you look at each study individually, very few would have shown increased mortality rate. What this shows is that results (particularly in a meta-analysis) can be manipulated in order to arrive at any predetermined or desired outcome. The authors of this JAMA study seem clearly biased. An example of a biased statement in the Comments section of the study: “We lack evidence to refute a potential negative effect of vitamin C on survival.” Huh? Their analysis found no evidence of an influence of vitamin C on mortality – so why not just say that?

This “study” was convoluted and would take a statistician a year to effectively analyze and deconstruct. In addition, one would need to review the full text of all of the original studies included in order to thoroughly assess the analysis of the JAMA authors. Meta-analyses usually examine studies with similar protocols. These studies, however, were all over the map.

For more information,

“The big vitamin scare: American Medical Association claims vitamins may kill you (opinion)” by Mike Adams February 28, 2007

“Study links antioxidant supplements to increased mortality” (a February 28th supplement industry critique)

"Study Citing Antioxidant Vitamin Risks Based on Flawed Methodology" by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, February 27, 2007

1The American Medical Association has a long history of opposing alternative medicine. In 2001, after decades of opposition, it changed policy on another key issue, endorsing government-guaranteed health care for all (a.k.a. socialized medicine). As a trade organization that protects the financial and professional interests of its membership – U.S. Medical doctors – the AMA is undoubtedly acting here (in publishing anti-nutritional therapy articles in its influential journals) to protect the continued hegemony of conventional physicians, whose preferred therapies – allopathic, invasive, and expensive – will soon be enforced by government dictum after monopolistic socialized medicine becomes the law of the land.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 1:34 pm    Post subject: From Jessica Fraser--more outrage Reply with quote

The idea of health freedom is one Americans likely never consider. Certain freedoms in this country are taken for granted -- like the freedoms of speech and religion -- so freedom to choose a method of health care seems a given. Unfortunately, recent cases have brought to the public's attention the startling truth that the government can (and does) make medical decisions for Americans, whether or not they agree.

This is especially the case concerning parents' decisions to treat their children's diseases with alternative therapies over traditional, and often harmful, treatments. The most recent in a host of such cases involves a 16-year-old Virginia boy named Abraham Cherrix, who was diagnosed in August 2005 with Hodgkin's disease -- a cancer of the lymph nodes. After his initial diagnosis, Abraham submitted to chemotherapy, which made him feel sick and weak. His cancer went into brief remission before returning earlier this year, when he decided he would not undergo more chemotherapy, but rather try alternative herbal treatments. Abraham's parents supported their son's decision and began taking him to the Hoxsey Clinic in Mexico for treatments involving cancer-fighting herbs and an organic diet.

The story should end there. Abraham and his parents should be taking their son to the clinic in Tijuana, with no interference. However, the Virginia Department of Social Services decided to get involved, and asked the state court to require Abraham's parents to return him to a hospital in Virginia for conventional treatment, which would include stronger chemotherapy than he'd previously undergone, as well as radiation therapy. The court agreed and ordered Abraham's parents to give consent for their son to be treated with harsh chemo treatments at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk.

That's right: The court ordered his parents to give consent, which flies in the face of the spirit of "consent," which by definition involves a willing agreement between the consenting parties. Fortunately for their son's health, Abraham's parents refused, and an ongoing court battle began -- but for how long can Abraham's family fend off the courts seeking to subject their son to a "therapy" that comes with side effects ranging from pain and hair loss to vomiting and infections?

Does the state own your body?
Americans should be disturbed by Abraham's ordeal, regardless of whether or not they believe alternative treatments work. As Abraham's family lawyer put it: "This is not a case about what treatment is best. It's a case about who gets to decide." Other recent cases of health authorities revoking parents' rights to treat their children with natural therapies eclipse even Abraham's nightmare.

Take, for instance, the case of 13-year-old Katie Wernecke, a Texas girl diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in January 2005. After her parents took her to the hospital for what they believed was pneumonia, she was treated with chemotherapy, and doctors also wanted to give her radiation therapy. Her parents declined, citing possible complications such as stunted growth, an increase in breast cancer risk and learning difficulties. They opted to try an alternative therapy involving high doses of intravenous vitamin C, but before they got to try the much safer therapy, Texas Child Protective Services intervened.

Unlike Abraham's case, Katie was taken away from her parents after they were labeled "neglectful" by the state, and her mother was arrested and thrown in jail for taking Katie to hide at a family ranch to avoid the ordered "treatment."

On a June 9 episode of NBC's "Today Show," viewers saw a videotaped statement from Katie, who said, "I don't need radiation treatment. And nobody asked me what I wanted. It's my body."

Apparently, the state of Texas disagreed with the ownership of Katie's body -- a district court judge eventually ruled that the Werneckes would be allowed to treat Katie with the vitamin C treatments, but only after she underwent five days of court-ordered chemotherapy. What's worse, her parents weren't allowed to be with her during the chemo they'd fought so hard to avoid.

Outrage at medical terrorism is compounded by efforts of medical establishment to silence cancer cures
People might be justifiably outraged to hear of Abraham's and Katie's trials, or they might believe that the government acted in the best interest of the young patients in attempting to force on them the only known "treatment" for cancer. Hold the phone, though. What would Americans think if they heard that traditional cancer treatments are not the only therapy, and that safe, effective cancer cures have been around for decades? Moreover, what would they think if they heard that trusted medical establishments charged with protecting the health of Americans -- such as the American Medical Association -- have waged a decades-long battle against such cancer cures in an attempt to keep them from the public?

Enter Harry Hoxsey, founder of the "Hoxsey Method" with which Abraham Cherrix is attempting to treat his cancer. Hoxsey is the great-grandson of John Hoxsey, an American physician who discovered a remarkably effective cancer cure in 1840 by watching horses with cancer cure themselves by foraging for certain rare herbs.

Harry Hoxsey, a coal miner with no formal medical training, began promoting his great-grandfather's cancer formula -- which contained a number of herbs, including bloodroot, burdock, red clover, licorice root, pokeroot, barberry root, buckthorn, prickly ash, stillingia root and cascara -- in the 1930s. He also marketed a salve for external cancers, called an "escharotic," which essentially burns off external cancers. His treatments proved amazingly effective at curing cancer, and word of his cancer treatments spread. People from all over the country -- including "terminal" patients conventional doctors had given up on -- sought out his treatments, no matter where he was practicing, and a high number of them were successfully cured.

Hoxsey was not a doctor, and could not legally practice medicine -- even if he was offering genuine cancer cures -- so to stay in business, he partnered with various MDs throughout his life, letting them do the official "treatments" while he acted as "technician." Though he never claimed to be a licensed physician, he was arrested hundreds of times over the course of his life, mostly for practicing medicine without a license -- including 119 arrests between 1926 and 1931 alone. According to Ralph W. Moss' "Herbs Against Cancer," Hoxsey had even taken to carrying $10,000 in cash every day to bail himself out of jail.

At the height of his popularity in the 1950s, Hoxsey was operating a chain of cancer clinics in Texas, and had seven licensed physicians working for him. He'd earned a Doctorate of Naturopathy in Texas, and helped tens of thousands of patients cure their cancer without surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, using herbal treatments and escharotic therapies.

Organized medicine's campaign to eradicate cancer cures
People may wonder why the American public hasn't heard of Hoxsey, if his treatments were so effective and cured so many. The answer is because large-scale, vicious attacks by U.S. health agencies eventually sent Hoxsey packing to Mexico, where he could finally practice herbal healing in relative peace. One might also wonder what "health" agency would ever knowingly drive a cure for cancer out of the country. The American Medical Association (AMA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) would, just to name a few.

Why? Cliché as it may sound, they did it for political power. The AMA has historically been considered the "gold standard" of Western medicine -- a privilege that comes with vast control over what is and is not considered genuine medicine. Efforts to preserve and gain such political power have garnered the AMA a shady history rife with efforts to suppress natural and alternative treatments. For example, a small group of chiropractors won a landmark antitrust suit against the AMA in 1990 in the U.S. Court of Appeals 7th circuit, which ruled the AMA had violated the Sherman Act by "conducting an illegal boycott in restraint of the trade directed at chiropractors generally, and at the four plaintiffs in particular," This demonstrates the association's willingness to target entire alternative fields, as well as individuals within them.

Though a large part of the AMA's stated mission is to be "an essential force for progress in improving the nation's health," it was without a doubt Hoxsey's biggest enemy, and is largely responsible for driving him and his treatments out of the country. Morris Fishbein, editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) -- the AMA's flagship medical journal -- from 1924 to 1949, particularly targeted Hoxsey and his therapy, labeling Hoxsey a "quack" while simultaneously refusing to study his therapies or their efficacy. Fishbein went out of his way to sully Hoxsey's name in JAMA publications, and was eventually found guilty of libeling Hoxsey in two 1947 suits. "Fishbein had written an 'excoriating editorial' in JAMA titled 'Hoxsey -- Cancer Charlatan.' He also co-authored an article in the Hearst newspaper chain's weekly newsmagazine, titled 'Blood Money,'" writes Moss in "Herbs Against Cancer." Without evidence, Fishbein's JAMA articles attacked Hoxsey's treatment, claiming it "ate into blood vessels" and killed patients, Moss writes.

The FDA used money and corrupt political influence to chase Hoxsey out of America, state by state
The FDA, for its part in the Hoxsey debacle, used its influence to get courts in the states in which Hoxsey tried to practice to revoke the licenses of the physicians he worked with. "The FDA had limitless financial and publicity resources," writes Moss. "When Hoxsey employed physicians to give his treatment, Texas courts revoked their licenses and forbade him from operating a clinic. When he turned the clinic over to someone else, FDA secured a court order requiring the Hoxsey clinic to write individually to all patients and inform them that the treatment was no longer available. The final blow came on October 29, 1958 when the FDA simultaneously padlocked his clinics in a single day." Hoxsey's longtime nurse and current operator of his clinic in Mexico, Mildred Nelson, said, "In no way did Harry have the money to fight that state by state."

The NCI helped eradicate the Hoxsey method from U.S. soil in a somewhat different manner -- by giving him hope that the government would finally investigate his treatment, only to let him down on more than one occasion.

In 1945, Hoxsey met with three congressmen at the NCI offices in Maryland, where NCI director R.R. Spencer laid out the details of what the institute would need to review Hoxsey's method. Hoxsey went back to Texas and compiled above and beyond what the NCI had asked for, only to be told that his information was too incomplete and fragmented for investigation. However, in 1947, the NCI asked him to resubmit the information he'd sent before, for reconsideration by new staff members at the institute. He sent it, and soon received a reply that his records were still inadequate for consideration, and no government investigation would occur.

However, Hoxsey's cancer cures were not entirely without government approval. Dr. John Heinerman writes in "Natural Pet Cures" that: "A Dallas judge ruled in federal court that Hoxsey's therapy was 'comparable to surgery, radium and x-ray in its effectiveness, without the destructive side effects of those treatments.' (Hoxsey) faced unrelenting opposition and harassment from a hostile medical establishment. The AMA, NCI, and FDA organized a 'conspiracy' to 'suppress' a fair, unbiased assessment of Hoxsey's methods, according to a 1953 report to Congress."

In spite of that court's approval, Hoxsey's clinics in Dallas were shut down in the 1950s, and he moved his practice to Mexico. Hoxsey died in 1974, and his nurse, Mildred Nelson, has carried the torch at the Tijuana-based Bio-Medical Center ever since, caring for patients such as Abraham Cherrix.

Hoxsey's cancer cures really work
Though the government agencies that drove Hoxsey from the United States never bothered to test his therapy and called him a "quack" out of hand because he did not have a medical license, research has proven the efficacious effects of the herbs in his formulas.

For example, red clover has long been used as an herbal remedy for cancer, infections, tumors and menopause symptoms. It also supports the immune system and the blood. Burdock fights skin disorders and cancer, and supports the liver, skin and immune system. Licorice root is used for a myriad of health conditions ranging from inflammation and arthritis to cancer and heart disease. It supports the immune system, the blood, and the function of the spleen.

Pokeroot has shown anti-cancer properties, especially for breast cancers. Similarly, bloodroot is a powerful fighter against skin cancer. Cascara is a natural treatment for leukemia and liver disorders, and supports liver and gallbladder function. Stillingia root also treats skin conditions and acts as a blood purifier.

Though Hoxsey's formula often uses broad combinations of powerful herbs such as red clover and bloodroot, as well as many others, his formula is adapted to specially fit each individual patient, adding or removing herbal components case-by-case. The Hoxsey method also incorporates a healthy organic diet, along with vitamins and immune stimulation. While official government studies have never been performed, other forms of honest evidence support the benefits and success of Hoxsey's method.

"Today substantial laboratory data indicates that the Hoxsey herbal tonic could have genuine value against cancer," writes Kenny Ausubel in "When Healing Becomes A Crime." Ausubel continues, "Thousands of patients believe it saved their lives. There is no dispute that the Hoxsey remedies for external cancer are effective. Over the course of this century, numerous prominent figures including senators, congressmen, judges, and even doctors have affirmed Hoxsey's reputed cures and repeatedly called for an investigation. Why, then, has it taken so long? The answer is buried in medical politics. It revolves around a fierce trade war fought over money as well as fundamental conflict of medical opinion. Its consequence has been the exclusion and outright suppression of Hoxsey as well as numerous other unorthodox cancer therapies."

Alternative practitioners suffer from medical establishment's meddling, but patients suffer more
Unfortunately, Hoxsey's therapy is far from the only alternative treatment to be railroaded by conventional medical authorities. Unorthodox medical therapies have been forced to relocate to Mexico and other countries free of the red tape surrounding American medical politics.

Who suffers most from such medical bias and political lust? Sure, the alternative practitioners suffer, but so do countless Americans who are kept in the dark about natural, effective, safe treatments for diseases traditional practitioners treat with toxic chemotherapy and radiation -- which seem to kill the patients more often than save them. What's worse, the U.S. medical establishment seems to have convinced much of the country that its poisonous cancer "treatments" are the only option, and anyone who does not subject themselves or their children to it are criminals who must be punished.

"Since the early 1970s when President Nixon declared the War on Cancer, two trillion dollars have been spent on conventional cancer treatment and research, with the result that more Americans are dying of cancer than ever before," writes Walter Last in "The Natural Way to Heal: 65 Ways to Create Superior Health."

That's $2 trillion down the drain studying dangerous treatments that likely cause cancer as often as they temporarily delay its symptoms. Meanwhile, how much money does the FDA, AMA and NCI waste forcing holistic therapies like Hoxsey's out of the country? Today, such agencies have the public convinced that anyone seeking alternative therapies for serious diseases like cancer is misguided, uninformed and naive, and must be forced to submit to conventional treatments ostensibly for their own good, even if it is against their will.

A foundational principle of the United States is the freedom of its citizens to choose what is best for them, including how best to treat disease. With cases like Abraham Cherrix and Katie Wernecke seeing increasing media coverage, perhaps Americans will begin to realize how close they are to losing their health freedom. Medical agencies have already won many of the health freedom battles by successfully driving alternative therapies from U.S. soil, but it is far from too late for such offenses to be reversed. Americans may yet re-win their right to be in charge of their own bodies, regardless of the medical political scheming of the AMA, FDA and NCI.

Perhaps Abraham Cherrix says it best: "I think it's my body. I can choose what's best for my body. If I don't have the right to do that, then I don't have any rights at all anyway."
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JAMA - 'vitamins kill' - no they don't!

Last week we saw headlines around the world that told people that 'vitamins kill'. ANH provides insight into how, it would appear, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) resorted to massaging previous studies to stop people taking vitamins.

By the ANH team

5 March 2007

On 28th February we saw headlines around the world once again condemning vitamin supplements. The stimulus? A Serbian doctor, Goran Bjelakovic, who was involved in an earlier canning job on vitamins – in 2004 on vitamin supplements for reducing risk of gastrointestinal cancers (Lancet 2004; 364: 1219–2Cool – somehow found himself doing it all over again. This time he published in the US-based Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). On both occasions, his papers triggered headlines around the world which appeared to have just one purpose: getting people to stop taking vitamin supplements.

Interestingly, in a bout of apparent schizophrenia for JAMA, Bjelakovic and colleagues’ views are fundamentally opposed to those of Fairfield and Fletcher published in the same journal some two years earlier (JAMA 2002; 287:3116-3126). Fairfield and Fletcher broke the long-standing anti-supplement agenda of the JAMA by supporting supplementation as a means of reducing risk of key chronic diseases. But it seems it’s now back to business as usual for JAMA.

On the top of the Serbian’s hit list were the favourites: vitamin E and beta-carotene. Dr Bjelakovic, given his previous work, appears to have a bit of thing for antioxidant supplements which he considers to be beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium. From the point of view of any informed scientist, this is a peculiarly narrow perspective on what is meant by ‘antioxidant supplements’. First of all the vitamins in question are not automatically antioxidants. In certain forms (especially as synthetic, isolated forms) and dosages, they can actually have the reverse effect – and act as pro-oxidants. Secondly, the dose and form of the vitamin are critical to determining how the vitamin will behave in the body, as are the other nutrients which are consumed at the same time.

To give an example, high doses of vitamin E (the very forms that have swayed Bjelakovic’s analysis) actually reduce the body’s absorption of the more important antioxidant form of vitamin E, gamma-tocopherol, the predominant form in foods and high quality vitamin E supplements.

It was seriously remiss of Bjelakovic and his team to not emphasise that; a) the studies they used to condemn these vitamins were nearly all performed using synthetic forms of the vitamins that behave in the body in remarkably different ways to the natural forms and b) to not make clear the effects their study selection approach would have on the final results.

Looking further at this second, crucially important point, Bjelakovic’s team found 815 trials that were potentially relevant. But they culled out a massive 747 (yes – a jumbo jet load!) of these trials, leaving just 8% of the total number for the number crunching! The most important reason given by the authors themselves for the exclusion of studies (responsible for 50% of the exclusions – a total of 405 trials) was “mortality was 0 in both study groups.”

Consider what effect this might have on bias. If you remove 50 % of the studies because they didn’t cause any increased risk of death – how can you say that vitamin supplements overall cause a 5% increase in risk of death….it simply beggars belief that the JAMA can tolerate this type of science.

This is just one of the stunning problems with Bjelakovic’s study. Dr Steve Hickey (of the ANH Expert Committee) and colleagues reveal more reasons for the flawed nature of the Bjelakovic’s meta-analysis – click here to view their rebuttal submitted and approved for publication in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine.

Bjelakovic’s specialty appears to be meta-analyses (statistical study of studies). The application of a lot of statistics to a given data set does not change the quality of the data set. In fact it can often magnify inherent problems in the data. Bjelakovic’s data set is poorly selected and severely compromised – and the results of his analyses do not provide any reflection on the risk of supplementing with vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E or selenium, the targets of the meta-analysis. In fact, the results tell you absolutely nothing about taking, either the natural forms of these supplements, or the effects of taking all these nutrients together, the common way they are taken by most people – as multivitamin/mineral supplements.

Newspaper headlines on 28 February were as dire as “Supplements ‘raise death rate by 5%’” (The Times, UK), “Vitamins ‘could shorten lifespan’” (BBC News, UK), “Des vitamines dangereuses pour la santé?” (Le Soir, France) and “Another knock on antioxidants” (Los Angeles Times, USA). But they may not have had the impact that was hoped for by certain interest groups. Judging by the vehement and often irrational hatred for vitamin supplements shown by elements of the orthodox medical profession closely aligned with the pharmaceutical industry, it seems likely that the main objective both of Bjelakovic’s meta-analysis and the resultant articles was to stimulate a turn-around in the increasing numbers of people who are side-stepping pharmaceutical medicine in their quest for health.

Just like all the other factors Bjelakovic and his colleagues failed to consider, clarify or include in their meta-analysis, it seems that another important factor has been ignored. And that’s the millions of people who have derived benefits from taking supplements, combined with other aspects of a healthy lifestyle. These people will need a little more than a computer-generated, reductionist, flawed analysis of past studies of pharmaceutical forms of vitamins to put them off.

So will we.
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