Tuesday, August 16, 2005

America: An Allergic Nation?

A report on a new study at WebMD states:

A nationwide health survey shows that 54% of Americans aged 6 to 59 had a positive skin allergy test to at least one of 10 common allergy triggers, known as allergens.

And

People who had a positive skin allergy test to one allergen had allergies to an average of three to five allergens in total.

So, more than half the population of the U.S. showed allergic reactions to an average of three to five substances. Whenever a health issue is so widespread my first inclination is to ask “what is it about our modern society that is different from our heritage that might give a clue to this problem?” An allergic reaction is an exaggerated immune system inflammatory response. And what is lacking in our modern diet that could quench this inflammatory response? You’ re ahead of me here, aren’t you? It’s vitamin C in adequate quantities.

This correlates well. Most everyone is deficient in their vitamin C intake and allergic reactions are extremely common (especially when you, correctly, include asthma).

So take your C and increase your dose whenever you get an allergic reaction.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Vitamin pills don't prevent infections in elderly

This is the title of a story on Yahoo! this morning reporting on a new study in Britain that showed:

"We found that in a group of older people who are mostly living at home and in their 70s, a typical vitamin and mineral supplement didn't have an effect on the number of days of infection they had over the course of a year," said Alison Avenell, of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

The article continues:

In research reported in the British Medical Journal, Avenell and her team studied 900 people over 65 years old. Half were given a multivitamin and mineral supplement and the remainder took a placebo, or dummy pill, daily.

After comparing the number of infections over a year and their quality of life, the researchers found no difference between the two groups

So, what can we learn from this study. Most would say that this proves that supplements do little or nothing to prevent infections. And they would be right AT THE DOSES TAKEN BY THE STUDY PARTICIPANTS.

To study the value that vitamin C might have for preventing and curing infection the dosage needs to be in the range of therapeutic effect. A study properly done could use the "multivitamin and mineral supplement" used in this study as the placebo!

This study adds nothing to our understanding of the value of high-dose vitamin C to prevent and cure infection.