Gary Moller: [DipPhEd PGDipRehab PGDipSportMed(Otago)FCE Certified, Kordel's and Nutra-Life Certified Natural Health Consultant]. ICL Laboratories registered Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis and Medical Nutrition Consultant.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Updated: Are the vitamins you're taking actually making you healthier?

"Are the vitamins you're taking actually making
you healthier? Inside New Zealand: Are Vitamins Killing You?, screening on Wednesday, October 28th at 9:30pm on 3, explores this question by making eight volunteers - mostly high vitamins consumers - go cold turkey for six weeks.

Many New Zealanders believe the way to good health and longer life is through the daily use of vitamin supplements. But not everyone agrees. Professor Rod Jackson of Auckland University says the scientific evidence is clear - people who pop vitamin pills die younger.

"The best evidence is a review of over 60 randomised trials of almost a quarter of a million people worldwide - and the evidence is that those who take vitamins have an increased risk of death compared to those who don't," Professor Jackson explains."
Gary Moller comments:
I totally agree that taking megadoses ofvitamins; especially where the individual need is not established is wrong and has the potential to cause illness.

However: The study Professor Rod Jackson refers to is flawed and since been widely discredited.

"The problem is that this JAMA article was a flawed hatchet job not worth the paper it was written on. Out of 748 vitamin studies, the researchers selected only 67 focusing on high dose synthetic vitamins, and excluded all the others showing benefit. This called selective sampling."

Here is the best explanation I have read of why this study is rubbish :

And here is the same author, Dr Dach, explaining Natural Medicine 101:

Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and more are essential for life, including preventing and combating disease. Where there is an identified deficiency, then supplementing with those items that are deficient to bring these levels to their optimum balance is totally justified.

However; taking additional vitamins and minerals where no deficiency is identified is not justified and may contribute to relative imbalances alongside other nutrients.

I hope that Professor Jackson and other experts who are going to be in the series explain this and do not use the series as little more than an opportunity to bag the natural health industry. I hope they explain that vitamins and minerals do promote good health, combat disease and prolong life and its quality - where their need is identified.

I hope they explain there is a health difference between many natural vitamins and their synthetic counterparts. I do agree that megadosing on any vitamin where there is no need is not a healthy practice; especially if the vitamins are synthetic.

I dispense vitamins and minerals to promote health and well-being but do so on the basis of evidence of need. The most robust forensic tool is the Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) for determining what foods to favour, those to avoid and, also, which vitamins and minerals to take and which to avoid. This can be ordered through me and I will send you details.
28th October 2009
Well, the programme aired last night. I was very disappointed with many aspects of it. To view the programme in full, please click here and please read the comments below about the programme.

There was fearmongering by calling vitamins dangerous. So, taking vitamins is as dangerous as passive smoking! You have to be kidding! There has not been a single death in New Zealand from vitamin overdose.

There was no distinction made of the differences between synthetic vitamins and their natural counterparts. They did not tell us that we can safely prescribe natural dietary beta-carotene which is a powerful anti-oxidant that also provides provitamin A that is converted into vitamin A in the body as required.

They did not help the subjects in the programme other than to tell them not to take vitamins and to eat a balanced diet. It was obvious from the body language of the participants that most of them were unconvinced. The least the two medical experts could have done is to use their access to testing services and nutritional expertise to assist them with working out the most proactive nutrition programme for each individual's actual needs.

Sadly, both of the experts, including the epidemiologist Professor Jackson, lacked the most essential ingredient: Training in Human Nutrition, beyond the little that is taught while at Medical School. What is formally learned is heavily influenced by the most influential "other" in medicine - the pharmaceutical industry which would love to see vitamins dispensed by prescription only. Was this the real purpose of the programme: A cynical softening up of the public for the crushing of the Natural Health industry? I think that may be going too far; but there are people on both sides of the argument who sincerely think this is happening!

All-in-all, the programme was rubbish.

I would much rather have seen a programme that does some proper testing, including blood tests and a HTMA for:
  • An osteoporotic woman, then weans her off her osteoporosis drugs, then follows her progress on a tailored natural health intervention.
  • A middle age man with high cholesterol, weans him off his drugs and sets about correcting his health issues with the help of natural therapies.
We could do the same for say, a child with ADD or autism. Or how about attempting to reverse Type II diabetes?

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