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Enough Already! The Great Dietary Supplement Scam

Posted by Jerry De Luca on Thursday, December 15, 2016



Every day dietary supplement manufactures and marketers are literally rolling around on their plush carpets laughing hysterically at the millions of people they’ve duped. The public has been hoodwinked by clever snake-oil marketers into believing that dietary supplements like multivitamins, Vitamin E, folic acid, and other magical pills can help prevent certain cancers, heart disease, heart attacks and cognitive decline. The evidence speaks for itself.

From the Annals of Internal Medicine:

Question: Do multivitamins help prevent cancer and heart disease?

Study: Twenty-seven trials with more than 400 000 participants.

Conclusion:  “After reviewing 3 trials of multivitamin supplements and 24 trials of single or paired vitamins that randomly assigned more than 400 000 participants, the authors concluded that there was no clear evidence of a beneficial effect of supplements on all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, or cancer.”

Question: Do multivitamins help prevent cognitive decline?

Study: 5947 men aged 65 years or older over a 12 year period.

Conclusion: “There were no differences between the multivitamin and placebo groups in overall cognitive performance or verbal memory. Adherence to the intervention was high, and the large sample size resulted in precise estimates showing that use of a multivitamin supplement in a well-nourished elderly population did not prevent cognitive decline …..  None of the supplements improved cognitive function.”

Question: Do multivitamins help prevent heart attacks?

Study: 1708 women and men who had at least one myocardial infarction over 4.6 years.

Conclusion:  “There was no significant difference in recurrent cardiovascular events with multivitamins compared with placebo.”


From PubMed (US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health)

Question: Do Vitamin E supplements help prevent cancer and heart disease?

Study:  135,967 participants in 19 clinical trials.

Conclusion:  “Experimental models and observational studies suggest that vitamin E supplementation may prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer. However, several trials of high-dosage vitamin E supplementation showed non-statistically significant increases in total mortality ……  High-dosage (> or =400 IU/d) vitamin E supplements may increase all-cause mortality and should be avoided.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15537682

Question: Can folic acid supplements prevent cardiovascular disease?

Study:  A meta-analyses (1966 to 2009) of randomized controlled trials of folic acid supplementation to prevent cardiovascular disease

Conclusion:  “Folic acid had no effect on cardiovascular disease or stroke. However, analysis of within-trial results stratified by baseline homocysteine suggests potential harm in those with high homocysteine at baseline. This interaction may have important implications for recommendations of folic acid supplement use. In the meantime, folic acid supplementation should not be recommended as a means to prevent or treat cardiovascular disease or stroke.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20691310

Question: Can omega-3 supplementation prevent or reduce all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, myocardial infarction, and stroke?

Study:  Twenty studies of 68,680 patients, reporting 7044 deaths, 3993 cardiac deaths, 1150 sudden deaths, 1837 myocardial infarctions, and 1490 strokes.

Conclusion:  “Overall, omega-3 PUFA supplementation was not associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, myocardial infarction, or stroke based on relative and absolute measures of association.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22968891

Mass Confusion - Berkeley Wellness

“Supplements are only lightly regulated by the FDA. Manufacturers don't have to prove efficacy or safety. Federal law limits what kind of health claims can be made on labels, in ads, and on the Internet, but many marketers make illegal, unsubstantiated claims for months, even years, before the FDA cracks down on them. Still, some supplements are clearly beneficial and come in standard doses. No wonder people are con­fused. It's the Wild West out there.”

Side Effects - Berkeley Wellness

“Just because supplements are sold without a prescription, are often touted as ‘natural,’ and come with no warnings on their labels, that doesn’t mean they are safe. Adverse effects are seldom reported, so safety remains a question. Supplements can have a powerful and unpredictable impact on the body, possibly affecting blood sugar, blood clotting, blood pressure, hormone activity, liver function, and more. What’s more, many supplements (particularly herbs) can interact with prescription or OTC medications. If you experience side effects from a supplement, report it to the FDA as well as to your health care provider.”


The Bottom Line

“The large body of accumulated evidence has important public health and clinical implications. Evidence is sufficient to advise against routine supplementation, and we should translate null and negative findings into action. The message is simple: Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided. This message is especially true for the general population with no clear evidence of micronutrient deficiencies, who represent most supplement users in the United States and in other countries.

“In conclusion, β-carotene, vitamin E, and possibly high doses of vitamin A supplements are harmful. Other antioxidants, folic acid and B vitamins, and multivitamin and mineral supplements are ineffective for preventing mortality or morbidity due to major chronic diseases. Although available evidence does not rule out small benefits or harms or large benefits or harms in a small subgroup of the population, we believe that the case is closed— supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful. These vitamins should not be used for chronic disease prevention. Enough is enough.”    

http://annals.org/aim/article/1789253/enough-enough-stop-wasting-money-vitamin-mineral-supplements      

The FDA Safety Reporting Portal

“The Safety Reporting Portal (SRP) streamlines the process of reporting product safety issues to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Whatever your role, (manufacturer, health care professional, researcher, public health official, or concerned citizen), when you submit a safety report through this Portal, you make a vital contribution to the safety of America's food supply, medicines, and other products that touch us all.” https://www.safetyreporting.hhs.gov/fpsr/WorkflowLoginIO.aspx?metinstance=E635C2609126EEC9B26E202536499D6A8DE73650















The IV Vitamin Therapy Scam

“Over the past few years, the popularity of intravenous (IV) vitamin therapy has grown dramatically. It is marketed as a way to recover from hangovers, strengthen the immune system, alleviate jet lag, help people lose weight, ‘extinguish fatigue’ and increase energy. But there’s no evidence it does any of these things…..

“IV therapy is just the most recent and intense version of the illogical ‘more-vitamins-the-better’ mentality. Let’s be absolutely clear: there is no evidence to support the idea that IV vitamin therapy provides any of the health benefits promised by its purveyors. Moreover, there is no evidence that getting vitamins faster, or bypassing the digestive system, provides any health benefits. Unless you have a fairly serious condition that has caused a severe clinical deficiency, the best way to get your vitamins is through the food that you eat.”      http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/timothy-caulfield-the-iv-therapy-myth

Additional Resources

8 Alarming Truths That Make Supplement Marketers Squirm http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2016/08/8-alarming-truths-that-make-supplement.html

19 Vitamin & Mineral Supplements: What Works And What’s Bogus http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2014/09/19-vitamin-mineral-supplements.html

9 Quick Ways to Detect Online Supplement Scams http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2015/06/9-quick-ways-to-detect-online.html    

Dr. Oz and The Doctors: Assessing Exaggerated Health Claims http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2014/12/dr-oz-and-doctors-assessing.html   

Photo: http://ei.marketwatch.com//Multimedia/2016/01/21/Photos/ZH/MW-ED773_supple_20160121144306_ZH.jpg?

Jerry De Luca is a Christian freelance writer who loves perusing dozens of interesting and informative publications. When he finds any useful info he summarizes it, taking the main points, and creates a (hopefully) helpful blog post.

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