Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Multivitamins and Vitamin C Prevent Anorexia – Prove It Isn’t True

I believe that more than 90% of the cases of anorexia and other eating disorders are caused by vitamin deficiency. If you are looking for good doses to start with, click here. I believe the simple act of ensuring that all children get plenty of sunshine without sunblock and take at least 500 mg/day of vitamin C and a multivitamin will prevent most cases of anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders. I challenge the health care community to provide statistics comparing the prevalence of eating disorder in teenagers getting plenty of sunshine and taking at least a multivitamin and 500 mg/day of vitamin C vs. teenagers who don’t take any vitamin supplements. In the long run, I believe that >99% of eating disorders will be prevented in children who get regular sunshine without sunblock and take at least 500 mg/day of vitamin C, at least 250 mg/week of time release niacin, and a daily multivitamin. I can't even ask for statistics because giving time-release niacin supplements to children is an almost unknown behavior. Read more here, and here.

Here’s what the health care community would have parents believe. I took this from a specific website, but I found similar words at most healthcare websites dealing with eating disorders:

“Eating disorders are typically precipitated and perpetuated by a combination of genetic, developmental, and psychological factors, requiring a multidisciplinary team approach (physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, dietitian) to treatment. Anorexia Nervosa is particularly difficult to treat, often necessitating repeated episodes of hospitalization to prevent extreme weight loss. Bulimia Nervosa is usually not life-threatening and may respond well to cognitive-behavioral therapy, medication or a combination of the two Binge Eating Disorder often responds well to behavior modification-based weight-loss strategies alone. Family members can render assistance by providing regular, well-balanced meals and emotional support.”

Where in that paragraph does it say that eating disorders are a known symptom of pellagra and beriberi. How does the healthcare community justify not linking the fact that eating disorders are caused by vitamin deficiency in the minds of parents? This behavior must stop. It undermines the credibility of the mainstream medical community.

For some teenage girls, problems absorbing thiamine may contribute to causing anorexia. The form of thiamine in multivitamins requires special proteins to be absorbed into the bloodstream and other special proteins to be absorbed into certain cells. Easily absorbed forms of thiamine exist. Incredibly, these forms have not yet been added to common multivitamins. So, the 99% prevention rate that I believe is possible will likely require this recommended change in multivitamin formulation in addition to adoption of niacin as a regular supplement. Read more about thiamine and anorexia here

I’ll end this column with the same words I used to end my last column on eating disorders. Anorexia is difficult and expensive to cure. Roughly 5% of the teenage girls in America struggle with eating disorders. Every parent should be afraid that their daughters might fall victim. Vitamin deficiency causes anorexia. Even for healthy children, the benefits of vitamin supplements at or below the government’s safe upper limits far outweigh the risk of any harm. What do parents and physicians of children with eating disorders say when asked why they didn’t insist that the children in their care take vitamin supplements as a preventative measure? For some unlucky children, a one RDA vitamin won’t be enough to prevent eating disorders. What do the parents and physicians of these children say when asked why they didn’t insist that these children take vitamin supplements at the safe upper limit? If, God forbid, my children develop eating disorders, I’ll know it had nothing to do with vitamin deficiency.

It has now been 8 months since I first wrote this column. A substantial amount of evidence has emerged supporting this hypothesis, and I have written several more columns on this topic. Read the most recent one here.

9 Comments:

At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Vilash said...

Vitamin deficiency to me can cause a number of things but I don't think that it can cause the true psychological flux associated with these eating disorders. As your eating disorder intensifies, you are likely to become deficient in vitamins, which can cause anemia, pernicious anemia, etc. However, I don't think that supplement your diet with vitamin will alleviate the internal anguish or pain. Also, there could be undo pressure on maintaining slim size as the root cause. Either, way the best the solution is to consult with a reputable psychiatrist or psychologist, supplement your diet with necessary vitamins, and eat quality food while maintaining a health lifestyle. But, your point was well taken.

 
At 7:08 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Vilash,

Thanks for visiting the site. I completely agree that taking supplements will not swiftly reverse internal pain and anguish. I'm arguing that children who take time-release niacin (say 125 mgs, once per week), 2000 mg/day of vitamin c, and a daily multivitamin will not develop the pain and anguish that causes anorexia in the first place (Pain and anguish, yes. That's part of the human conditions. But healthy kids will find the pain and anguish of hunger over riding the pain and anguish of being normal weight). Healthy kids aren't thinking about seeing a psychiatrist - they are worrying about how to get into the best universities.

The point of the column is to stop having this be about opinions. Vitamin supplements in the doses I recommend are extraordinarily safe. There is good reason to believe that they can prevent anorexia. Therefore, all kids should take the vitamins until the statistics are available that prove that the vitamins will not help.

 
At 1:27 AM, Anonymous Margaret said...

If anyone out there is reading this, I want to say that this man is far from crazy. He really knows what he is talking about. There have been tests on animals who's vitamin supply was removed from their food. They stopped eating!! Since when is a bunny concerned with its wieght? I am fully and perhaps too aware (being a teenage girl myself) of the social pressures these days. Being fat is worse than anything else. But I take vitmins (even more than recommended) and i have never had any problems, am healthy, and most importantly, happy. I have tried to diet and even stop eating but the pain of hunger is simply far worse to me than the idea that i will get the body i desire.

I took the time to read these articles and even write a response with all the projects and studying I have to do because I CARE. I care about the many kids i know who have developed eating disorders. I believe that there is a prevention to this life-absorbing and horrible disease. I know that they may not be a definite cure but everyone knows that anorexia has been linked to beriberi...So vitamin deficiency MUST have something to do with it. The fact that many doctors who truly are trying to help do not know this enrages and scares me.

Even if you don't believe they help, the vitamins do not hurt in any way. Why not just try them? It is worth the extra 10 seconds in the morning to take the vitamins that may prevent a disease that is swallowing up my generation and our future.

 
At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anyone out there is reading this, I want to say that this man is far from crazy. He really knows what he is talking about. There have been tests on animals who's vitamin supply was removed from their food. They stopped eating!! Since when is a bunny concerned with its weight? I am fully and perhaps too aware (being a teenage girl myself) of the social pressures these days. Being fat is worse than anything else. But I take vitamins (even more than recommended) and I have never had any problems, am healthy, and most importantly, happy. I have tried to diet and even stop eating but the pain of hunger is simply far worse to me than the idea that I will get the body I desire.

I took the time to read these articles and even write a response with all the projects and studying I have to do because I CARE. I care about the many kids i know who have developed eating disorders. I believe that there is a prevention to this life-absorbing and horrible disease. The fact that many doctors who truly are trying to help do not know this enrages and scares me.

Even if you don't believe they help, the vitamins do not hurt in any way. Why not just try them? It is worth the extra 10 seconds in the morning to take the vitamins that may prevent a disease that is swallowing up my generation and our future.

Margaret

 
At 1:10 PM, Anonymous JT said...

I disagree with you. From when I was young, I took multivitamins and we always had vitamin C around. I used to take more vitamin C than recommended all the time and I still developed an eating disorder. And I know several other individuals suffering from anorexia or bulimia and other eating disorders who do take vitamins and are careful about the amounts.
In my opinion, taking vitamins has little to no impact on whether a person develops an eating disorder.

 
At 10:27 PM, Blogger Steve said...

JT,

Thanks for coming and leaving your comment. In the long run, humanity will gain a clear understanding of the causes of eating disorders. Perhaps you will be proven right and I will be proven wrong.

I'm very sorry that taking vitamin supplements didn't prevent your eating disorder.

I'd be surprised to learn from you that you took niacin supplements as a child - almost no one does. Finally, I've been studying thiamine recently because anorexia is a clinical marker for beriberi. As I mentioned in my column, the most common forms of thiamine require special transport proteins to be distributed throughout the body. Special forms of vitamin B1 called allithiamines do not. Again, I'd be surprised if the multivitamins you took contained allithiamines (TTFD and benfotiamine are the two I've found available from internet vendors) which is why I'm recommending reformulation.

There's no harm in trying allithiamine supplements now. Unfortunately, I learned from my reading that damage to the nervous system caused by thiamine deficiency is often irreversible.

 
At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

usa6246
I had a minor cold and always heard that vitamin c helped. their was a add on my computer for Euromitsu vitamin supplements,so I decided to try a little vitmin c. To my suprise it made my cold go away pritty fast. You can find this product at Euromitsu.com

 
At 12:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sniffing/breathing hot steam from a boiling of water on your stove will knock out colds and viruses quickly...and no side effects,,,imagine that! these things can't survive high temp, that's why your body heats up when you have fever. it's trying to cook the virus to death.

 
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