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Are vitamin supplements safe to take?
There is a lot of scaremongering in the media that taking vitamin supplements can be dangerous, even potentially fatal. But it's important to read the studies quoted very carefully. Luckily, the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service has done that for us. Take a look at their findings.
The vitamin E report: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v07n11.shtml
The multivitamin report (which actually showed benefit from supplements apart from Iron);
NEW RESEARCH is showing that the form of vitamin B12 called cyanocobalamin (and the one up till now that is most readily available in the US), might actually promote cancer. We advise anyone taking a B12 supplement NOT to take one containing cyanocobalamin. The best way to take vitamin B12 in supplement form is through oral drops. Biocare do a good one, using the form of B12 called hydroxocobalamin.
Other research has also found that the synthetic version of folic acid found in supplements may also have cancer-promoting properties. To get good quantities of folic acid, instead of taking a folic acid supplement, eat lots of dark green leafy vegetables ever day. (you can juice them if your appetite is poor.)
NEW study information about the safety of vitamins:
Negative news stories cause doubt and confusion among supplement users.
In the past few weeks press has reported on two negative studies on nutritional supplements that may cause concern for many consumers.
The first study, entitled Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women, suggests that women taking multivitamins (and other supplements) had a greater risk of death from disease. Many other studies have shown no such correlation.
The study, published in the Journal Archives of Internal Medicine, was an epidemiological (population) study, in which participants filled out a survey about their eating habits and use of supplements, rather than a placebo-controlled, randomised, cross-over study. In other words, it is impossible to determine cause and effect from simple observation of outcomes. Furthermore, what the researchers and editors fail to acknowledge, is that older women in general have a greater risk of death from disease merely as a result of their age. They are also more likely to have health-conditions for which they take pharmaceutical medication (which are known to have side-effects).
The study actually reported that taking supplements of vitamin B-complex, vitamins C, D, E, and calcium and magnesium were associated with a lower risk of mortality. This was not emphasised in the abstract, leading the consumer to think that all supplements were associated with mortality. The report did not determine the amounts of vitamin and nutrient supplements taken, nor whether they were synthetic or natural.
Contrary to the headlines, the study cannot show that vitamin supplements cause early death. It is possible and likely, that women were taking dietary supplements in response to an illness that could have caused their early death. In particular, many women take iron for anaemia, which is associated with chronic disease, injury and major surgery - factors that could have affected the results.
The second study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that men who had taken vitamin E supplements had a greater risk of developing prostate cancer, compared with men who did not take the vitamin.
The vitamin E used in the study was dl-alpha-tocopherol, the synthetic form of vitamin E. This alone could account for the findings.
Prostate cancer is a very slow-growing cancer that may be undetectable (PSA or no PSA) for years before it becomes clinically detected. In this study participants at HIGH-RISK for prostate cancer were randomly assigned to one of the following four arms of treatment; two placebo pills, one vitamin E pill plus one placebo pill, one selenium pill plus one placebo pill, or one vitamin E pill plus one selenium pill. In men at high risk for prostate cancer, there is no way of telling how many or which men already have undetected prostate cancer at the time of enrollment in the study.
The new study claims that there is an absolute increase in the risk of prostate cancer of 1.6 cases per 1,000 person-years.* Yet, there was no increase in prostate cancer in the men given the same amount of vitamin E along with selenium. This study claimed that selenium alone did not affect prostate cancer incidence.
Duffy MacKay, ND, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), said in a written statement. "Interestingly, when vitamin E was combined with selenium, the risk was reduced to a non-significant statistic, perhaps even the result of chance. This reinforces the theory that vitamins work synergistically and that drug-like trials of nutrients, when used in isolation from other nutrients, may not be the most appropriate way to study them.
"Because the results of this study are different from other studies, they are not a reason for men to stop using their vitamin E. The authors acknowledge other research has demonstrated the benefits of vitamin E for Alzheimer's disease and age-related macular degeneration."
MacKay also wrote that even regarding prostate cancer, the researchers cited a study that demonstrated a 35% risk reduction for prostate cancer in men taking 75 IU vitamin E daily for six years, and another study that resulted in no effect on risk.
"Even taking the results of this SELECT research at face value, although 'statistically significant' to a statistician, one wonders if an absolute increase in the risk of prostate cancer of 1.6 cases per 1,000 person-years is really a 'significantly increased risk of prostate cancer' as noted in the article," MacKay wrote.
* The product of the number of years times the number of members of a population who have been affected by a certain condition (years of treatment with a given drug).
Warning: Survive Cancer is concerned that some cancer nutritionists may place an unnecessary economic burden and psychological stress on patients by prescribing a vast array of supplements, at great financial cost - and patients often place unnecessary burdens on themselves. We therefore recommend Dr Quillin's Immunopower as probably the most cost-effective, good quality, therapeutic and easy to take product. Please compare costs and ingredients, before over-complicating your treatment regime! Bear in mind, however, that really cheap supplements may mean compromised quality and dosage.
For some very comprehensive articles about research and trials into nutritional supplements and cancer, visit the Life Extensions website: www.lifeextension.com
For a wide range of supplement suppliers, go to `Resources'.
ImmunoPower: An essential resource
ImmunoPower is a unique powder form nutritional supplement recently devised by Dr Patrick Quillin to maximise the cancer patient's chances against cancer. It contains everything known to science that affects the course of the disease for the better. Its primary attractions apart from this are ease of consumption and best value for money anywhere available for a comparable regime. It is not cheap, but we would agree with Dr Quillin's claim that it is 75% cheaper than buying all the necessary supplements individually.
Dr Quillin has also written a small book on ImmunoPower:
ImmunoPower, Full Spectrum Nutritional Protection, by Patrick Quillin, PhD, RD, CNS, Nutrition Times Press Inc, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74170, USA
Tel/Fax: +1 918 495 1137.
Full information on ImmunoPower:
(US toll-free order: 1-888-741-LIFE) or: www.4nutrition.com
International orders tel: +1 954 766 8433, or fax +1 954 761 9199.
ImmunoPower is also available from the Life Extension Foundation.
Customer service: email@example.com