Saturday, May 13, 2006

Yahoo Health "Are Supplements Safe?"

Yesterday on the Yahoo! Featured Health Story was a video interview with two nutritionists discussing the safety of supplements. Who they were doesn’t matter, at least to me. The discussion was the standard blather focusing on the risks associated with supplements, mostly herbs. It went something like this:

Supplement makers make wild claims, blah, blah, blah…few studies, blah, blah…no regulation, drone…ephedra…must be careful about vitamin E with Coumadin and aspirin, blah, blah, blah

It all boiled down to:

All this stuff might be dangerous
It not regulated by the FDA
It’s all probably worthless anyway

You’ve heard it all before. Let’s talk about each one of these, specifically in relation to vitamin C:


There has not been a reported case that I’ve heard of of anyone dying of a vitamin C overdose. The closest thing to this is a patient in Pauling and Cameron’s cancer study that died from an overload of necrotic tissue, probably as a result of the vitamin C therapy killing cancer cells. This man was close to death at the time the C therapy started, but he did take large doses of vitamin C and died, at least to some extent as a result.

How about aspirin? According to J.S.Hochman, MD, 
Executive Director 
National Foundation for the Treatment of Pain in an article NSAID deaths these “safe” over-the counter drugs account for more deaths than AIDS!

FDA ensures safety?

How about prescription drugs? In my “In The News” section, I discuss a study that shows that 100,000 people a year die of drug reactions while in the hospital!


One of the nutritionists mentioned a site, Supplement Watch. On their vitamin C overview page the standard fare is laid out about vitamin C and the common cold. Then they discuss some studies using higher doses (now we’re talking!) The most dramatic of these is discussed:

“In one large study (over 700 students), vitamin C (1000 mg per hour for the first 6 hours followed by 3000 mg per day), reduced cold and flu symptoms by 85%.”

And if that weren’t good enough, how about:

“At least 3 controlled studies have shown an 80% reduction in the incidence of pneumonia among vitamin C users.”

All these discussions about supplements, the lack of regulation, the discussion of interactions with drugs and the constant mouthing of “not enough study data” infuriates me and ignores the 800-pound gorilla in the room, which is “this stuff is safe and vital to health”.


At 7:13 PM, Blogger Richard A Morgan said...

The health "experts" are so ignorant of the benefits of dietary supplements in the resolution and prevention of so many diseases that, for all intents and purposes, they are practicing medicine without a license, and their arrogance is awe inspiring.

At 4:10 AM, Blogger Tim said...

This is a great article - and very useful Blog. Could you create an RSS feed for it though, so that I can check your news posts? Find out how here:

At 6:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for you article on c.
i have a question to ask you after reading your this article. when you talk about vitamin c complement taken in high doses is dangerous, is it possible for someone to take much fruits having vitamin c and have an adverse effect?
waiting for your reply.
have a blessed day,


At 5:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I receive a regular web/email update from a 'reputable' site that I purchase supplements from.

There is a question posed regarding the safety of vitamins etc see the link and the answer

I was hoping that people like yourselves with credibility and knowledge would write to this site and put the author rght!

QUOTE: Now, in the case of Vitamin C you shouldn't take any more than 400mgs a day in ascorbic acid form unless you are sick. This is because excess ascorbic acid reacts with your stomach acid and will actually produce free radicals instead of 'absorbing' them.

High doses of Vitamin C should only be taken intravenously for serious illnesses.

I have sent them some information and links to follow also.

Cheer's from Mc

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Ventrical said...

Hi Rusty,

I posted on the old message board and now I am here. Great blog site. I wanted to leave a message about a personal testimony concerning Vit C topcial application.

In short , I had accidently cut myself yesterday and used it as an opportunity to try topical home made vit C. It was quite a cut. Simply , I just wanter to point out results that there was no inflamation and that the wound sealed quite well. Original message is on the other message board.


At 11:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recently I have started to use Vitamin C crystals topically for cuts and abrasions. A few days ago, I cut my thumb; it bled a lot (a good thing to clean out the wound). Normally this type of cut would take a long time to heal. In this case, I washed it with soap and water. I then dusted the wound with Vitamin C crystals (it stung for about 1/2 hour) and applied a band aid to hold the crystals in place. Within two days the wound had closed up and no more pain. Before using Vitamin C on the wound, it would have taken at least two weeks to heal. It was really amazing!!


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