Friday, August 24, 2007

Vitamins, Vitamin C, and Niacin Complement Mainstream Medicine

High potency vitamin supplements have only been available to the consumer for 30 years. The benefits of vitamins are difficult to perceive, and tend to be long-lasting (bad things only happen on rare occasions when vitamin supplements are stopped). The side effects are readily perceived, and can cause intense discomfort. Side effect thresholds vary widely between individuals. Side effect thresholds can also vary widely for an individual changing with age and state of health. It will take a long time for society to optimize the use of vitamins.

If this weren’t enough, vitamin optimization faces political challenges. Despite the fact that vitamins were among the greatest scientific discoveries of the twentieth century, and the fact that numerous Nobel prizes were awarded, vitamin optimization is overseen by the alternative medicine community instead of the mainstream medicine community. This makes vitamins appear unscientific and greatly reduces the funding available for controlled clinical trials.

My view is that vitamins and mainstream medicine are complementary. Vitamins and drugs are usually safe to use together. This is not always the case, so people who want to take high potency vitamins and drugs are strongly advised to consult with their physicians.

I believe that my view is gaining ground. Science has proven the benefits of vitamins in doses well above the RDA as a treatment for five conditions: vitamin deficiency diseases (today that means eating disorders including anorexia and bulimia); colds; heart disease; burns; and skin damage from the sun. Physicians have shown a remarkable lack of interest in the effectiveness of vitamin C for fighting colds. This single topic is of great interest to both the medical community and the public, and attracts far more media attention than any other vitamin-related topic. This leads to the impression that mainstream medicine is not changing its view of vitamins. This is not the whole picture. Cardiologists and cosmetics company scientists have embraced the benefits of vitamins and are developing combinations of vitamins and drugs that clearly combine the benefits of both. This is a promising sign that more and more people will be using more and more combinations of vitamins and drugs to improve health and wellness around the world.

2 Comments:

At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Charles said...

After reading the latest issue of Reader' Digest (November 2007)"The Vitamin Hoax- 10 Not to Take" by Neena Samual, I hold out little hope of Vitamins being part of Mainstream Medicine. It boldly states "Do Not Take Vitamin C and Niacin". This one magazine article will reach millions of people and cause them to stop taking vitamins. The power of the Big Lie repeated over and over again cannot be understated. I admire your effort to change attitudes but your web site is like a pop gun against an atomic bomb. Please keep up your efforts but it will take a miracle to change Mainstream Medicine. Have you ever had a doctor recommend that you take any vitamins? I have never had a doctor tell me to take a vitamin.

 
At 9:48 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Charles,

Thanks for pointing me to the Reader's Digest article. I'm glad to see niacin singled out alongside vitamin c. This is a step up in the world for niacin.

I have two relatives with cholesterol problems whose physicians recommend niacin.

I'm hopeful that pediatricians will pay attention to the potential for vitamins to protect children from heavy metals. The OMNS has just published an impressive news release on this topic.

 

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