[ExI] Once again: Some vitamins don't help in large doses
dan_ust at yahoo.com
Mon May 18 14:10:03 UTC 2009
--- On Fri, 5/15/09, Michael LaTorra <mlatorra at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Dan,
> Sorry to say this, but your response looks like just
> another baseless complaint against the overwhelming
> evidence that most supplements do not work, either in animal
> studies or in human studies.
It does? How so? I started with:
"I would like to read the specifics of research."
How is this just "another baseless complaint"? Expressions of a desire to know more about the actual work -- as opposed to what's been reported in the newspaper -- is a "baseless complaint"? I'm not sure I follow you here. Isn't the habit of mind for those interested in being scientific one of being a bit skeptical, of seeking out evidence? Or does that not apply when one has an axe to grind?
> I say this as someone who took supplements for over 20
> years. All I got was kidney stones.
I don't know the specifics of your case -- what you took in what doses and what else was relevant here. So, such a statement just thrown out means little here. Probably thousands of people have mega-dosed on some supplements, too, and did not get kidney stones. Without knowing the specifics of each of these cases, this tells us nothing. Let me make an analogy. It's like you telling me you ate food and got a stomach ache tones and me pointing out lots of people eat food and don't get stomach aches. Well, what food did you eat? What food did they eat? Is there any evidence the specific food you ate gave you a stomach ache?
> Please remember that the most powerful advocacy group
> for the use of supplements is comprised of those who sell
I agree that people who sell anything want to make you think you need that thing. Who would disagree on this? However, it seems to me you're assuming that anyone who questions newspaper reports must be unfamiliar with this incentive -- surely, not the only incentive -- to bias research.
> 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.
I don't know if that's so -- that "[r]esearchers who do not sell supplements or receive financial support from those that do... have conducted truly disinterested research and found little value to most supplements." I doubt you do either. I also don't know that "[r]esearchers who do not sell supplements or receive financial support from those that do" are completely unbiased and their research must not be scrutinized. In my view, all research should be scrutinized -- even if it is done by people acting from the noblest motives, completely untainted by avarice, and who steadfastedly passionate only about a dispassionate search for the truth. Hence my statement about wanting to "read the specifics of research."
Apparently, though, this set off alarm bells. How dare I question the article! How dare I ask for more details! How do I not accept what's reported without question!
By the way, regardless of how pure the researchers are, the NY Times, I believe, exists to sell newspapers. Articles are printed there based on, I believe, a pecuniary motive. Why not question that? (For the record, I don't know what the reporter's motives were or why the story ran. I'm actually more interested in the study it's reporting on.)
> This is what the science -- also known as
> "evidenced-based" investigation -- tells us.
I'm asking for evidence -- for an '"evidence-based" investigation.' Apparently, for some, this only applies to research they don't agree with.
> you prefer "faith-based" belief systems, or simply
> accepting what industry shills tell you, then fine, believe
> whatever you like.
Please read what I wrote. I didn't ask anyone to blindly accept the view that all supplements work or that all studies in support of them are valid while ones against them are not. Nor did I claim only what "industry shills" says should be accepted. (And believe you me, I think a lot of the pro-supplement reporting is biased.) In case you missed it, here's the sum total of my previous post:
"I would like to read the specifics of research.
"From the article, they mentioned "moderate doses." Since I'm not sure what exactly they mean, I think it's premature to just to the conclusion of "[o]nce again: Some vitamins don't help in large doses." Without knowing more details -- were the young men in good health? what were their ages? how often did they exercise? how long did the study last? what were the doses and how often? what types of C and E were used? -- this looks like more little more than another typical hit-and-run attack on supplements. I mean most people will trust the NY Times, but this story lacks the context where an informed person might judge whether the claims made are valid and whether to stop using these two micronutrients."
> But don't raise a bunch of niggling quibbles
> as if you had some greater knowledge on the topic
> than the scientists who researched it.
I made and make no claims of greater knowledge. I did ask some fairly simple and concrete questions: "were the young men in good health? what were their ages? how often did they exercise? how long did the study last? what were the doses and how often? what types of C and E were used?" I submit, without knowing these, one can't say much about the study.
As should be obvious from my post, this was not an attack on the researchers; I haven't read their work, so I don't know what they conclude, what their methods were, etc. All I know, at this point, is what the newspaper article states. I'm sure the actual study would answer some of these questions, but you cited the newspaper article -- not the study. I usually avoid citing articles written in the popular press on supplements, drugs, etc. because they tend to follow a pattern that runs from one day seriously reporting that this supplement cures everything to another reporting that it fails to cure anything to still another saying it's dangerous and should be avoided like the plague.
> If you want to read their report to verify their
> protocols and so forth, then by all means do so
> and report back to us. But this is not what
> you have done.
Actually, I'll try to find it, but I find it strange that a person who supposedly advocates 'science -- also known as "evidenced-based" investigation' is not the one to do so first. I mean, from my perspective, I'd expect you'd have already read the study. Apparently, though, you haven't. In other words, you seem not to be following your advice.
> You've snidely impugned their work in the
> very manner of the "faith-based" industry shills
> who earn their living selling the modern equivalent
> of snake oil.
I wasn't impugning the researchers per se, but the reporter for not giving enough details. Hence my line: "I mean most people will trust the NY Times, but this story lacks the context where an informed person might judge whether the claims made are valid and whether to stop using these two micronutrients." My view is that most people are not going to weigh all the research, attempt to sort which is biased much less which is valid and correct (note, again: unbiased does not mean valid or correct; sometimes even honest, well meaning, hard working, seasoned researchers get it wrong), and then adjust their regimen according.
Instead, they're going to read the NY Times, the paper of record for the nation, and accept this as basically true. My fear is that it might not be true. If it isn't, then the article has the potential to lead many people down the wrong path. (This is, of course, aside from what the researchers said or what conclusions might actually be drawn from their work. It could be that the article misinterprets their research.)
You also failed to show how the article itself actually talks about "moderate doses" -- not "large doses." You mention the latter in your subject line. Why? Do you know what doses were used? Were these "large"? How large? Why then do you not mention that the article talks about "moderate doses"? Don't tell me you don't know! After all, you've chastised me about not being "evidence-based."
I'll ignore the rest of your insults.
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