[ExI] Once again: Some vitamins don't help in large doses

Michael LaTorra mlatorra at gmail.com
Fri May 15 23:30:05 UTC 2009

Hi Bill,
I said that "most supplements do not work" and by that I meant the many
large dose supplements that have been tried as purported preventatives or
treatments aimed at reducing morbidity and mortality rates from heart
disease and cancer principally (and secondarily from diabetes and other
diseases), as well as those supplements purported to slow the degenerative
effects of aging.

A few -- a very few -- supplements have been shown work. As you mentioned,
fish oil (and flax seed) containing Omega-3 has shown positive results for
heart disease.

However, the much-touted megadoses of vitamins C and E and Betacarotene have
either shown no positive effects or, as in the case of Betacarotene, harmful

Please don't try to squeeze me into the box of simple opposition to all
supplements. What I am arguing is that too many people are wasting too much
money on supplements that have not been proven to have any value.

I would think that people on this list, of all places, would put high value
on the results of scientific studies, almost all of which have disconfirmed
the supposed value for supplements .

But the history of discussion of this topic has shown that most people who
care enough to post about it do not really believe in the scientific method
as much as they claim to.

Am I being too harsh? I don't believe so.

Consider this: How much money would you -- this means YOU, dear reader,
whoever you are -- save each year if you only bought a simple one-per-day
multivitamin and perhaps some Omega-3 capsules?

If you are like I was from the 1970s through the 1990s, you would save on
the order of $300 to $1,200 per year.

What could you do with that kind of money?

Think about that.


On Fri, May 15, 2009 at 4:10 PM, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 5/15/09, Michael LaTorra wrote:
> > Please remember that the most powerful advocacy group for the use of
> > supplements is comprised of those who sell them. Researchers who do not
> sell
> > supplements or receive financial support from those that do -- in other
> > words, people who stake their reputations on the quality of their
> research
> > -- have conducted truly disinterested research and found little value to
> > most supplements.
> And, on the other hand, the pharmaceutical industry is behind much of
> the anti-vitamin/supplement messages we see and hear.
> Which group of shills do you believe more?
> I agree that evidence is accumulating that *large* doses of vitamins
> and supplements can be harmful.
> And I also agree that regularly eating a balanced diet, including
> fruit, vegetables, nuts and fish should mean that you have no need for
> supplements.
> But it is not that easy for everyone to have the perfect diet. For
> example, the selenium content is US wheat is too low. A low dose
> multi-vitamin tablet should correct any deficiencies without causing
> overdose problems. Fish oil capsules also help if you don't eat enough
> oily fish.
> Another problem is aging. Older bodies start failing to process food
> as well as they did when younger and some supplementation can correct
> deficiencies. As muscle mass starts to dwindle, this can be helped
> also. Again, you have to be careful not to overdose.
> So you are successfully arguing against overdosing on vitamins, but
> not against taking any supplementation at all.
> BillK
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