/ Food & Drink, Health

Your view: do you feel the need for food supplements?

Vitamin pills exploding

You had a lot to say about our research which concluded that people are wasting money on unnecessary food supplements. Do you buy into food supplements?

A third of adults regularly take supplements, despite government advice recommending that most people should just eat a balanced and varied diet. Wavechange made his opinion clear:

‘I will continue to eat a healthy diet, rather than paying for supplements and supporting the companies that make them.’

James takes multivitamins:

‘I take the cheap multivit supplements from the local supermarket because I am on low income and can’t afford a balanced healthy diet. The healthy food you buy is always more expensive than the unhealthy food, so us people on minimum wage don’t have much of a choice.’

However, Alan Henness thinks James should rely more on the food he eats:

‘Healthy food can be cheap – I suspect you may well be getting enough from the food you eat – perhaps ask your GP or a Dietitian?’

Moving away from food supplements

Stephen has since moved away from food supplements:

‘I used to take garlic tablets, cod liver oil, glucosamine and vitamin c. As an experiment I stopped them all at the end of last year, as far as I can tell it has not affected my health.’

L2 is similarly sceptical:

‘My grandmother took cod liver oil for her whole life as she thought it would be good for her joints, but it did her no good. She is crippled with arthritis.’

Does gulcosamine work?

A debate about glucosamine soon took hold. In our research, 94% of people who took this said they thought it supported healthy joints. Even though this health claim has been rejected by the European Union, commenter Michael G feels it helps him:

‘I tried glucosamine and chondroitin and have used it successfully for 12 years, thus avoiding any operation. I’ve tried many times to stop taking it to see what happens and my knees within two weeks start to click and buckle. Evidence or no evidence… it works for me.’

Rosalind also takes glucosamine and can apparently feel its effects:

‘I was told by several orthopaedic surgeons to take glucosamine and choindroitin, as I have traumatic arthritis in my ankle from an old sports injury and had to have my ankle replaced. I find that if I don’t take it for a couple of days, I definitely feel less supple and stiffer.’

However, Maurizio had a different experience:

‘I used to take glucosamine & chondroitin, I stopped two years ago, I didn’t find any improvements in my joints when I took it or a worsening when I stopped. If it works for you, whether is the placebo effect or not, if you think it works, carry on and take it. We all respond differently, it seems.’

Malcolm M lays it on the line for glucosamine and other unproven supplements:

‘When I see properly-derived scientific evidence that particular medicines work – conventional or alternative – I’ll believe the claims made. Until then I’ll be sceptical. However, if other people believe a medicine does them good, then it may be they are in the right mindset to help themselves. However, where I believe unproven medicines are dangerous is when you have a potentially serious condition that is not properly treated by a proven drug, in favour of a so-called alternative.’

Don’t believe the hype

Guy Chapman thinks it’s about time the spotlight was on the supplement industry:

‘The supplement industry has been getting away with misleading claims for as long as I can remember. Even now, US websites will still be carrying essentially unregulated claims for these products, entirely due to industry lobbying. I support a level playing field for health claims: no robust evidence, no advert, no exceptions.’

John Ward, who gets our Comment of the Week, thinks Brits need better health education:

‘It seems to me that there is a powerful case for much better health education on diet and well-being to combat the influence of commercial promotion. I am concerned that too many people who can ill afford, or might be at risk from, unprescribed supplementation do not realise how much they could do to help themselves without synthetic preparations.’

So, what do you think about the comments above? Do you buy into food supplements or are you sceptical of their efficacy?


I do currently use Vitamin D3 and Vitamin C. The C is apparently useful for reducing the incidence of gout attacks. The D3 is taken in an attempt to reach [ the low] British standard for D3 in the blood. I hope later this week to report on the difference/effect since we started taking them last July after having the specific blood test taken; and failed.

These excerpts of views stated in the original thread perhaps does not provide a full picture of the arguments and data offered which is a shame.

However during that thread I think there was a consensus that some supplements are probably hogwash and that others, particularly those recommended by the Government are sensible. One thing not resolved was why the UK recommendations are always lower than other countries!

I had just come to the conclusion that some supplementation we do not really think about such as iodised salt and fluorided water so to an extent we all take supplements. And talking of chemicals we unwittingly imbibe I wonder at the lack of regulatory hoops that drinks do not go through despite being bad for your health.

I am curious that if sodas/pop/cokes were described as supplementing normal diet whether they would be subject to more scrutiny than they are. It seems very much that they add actually nil value to diet and on balance are harmful which begs the question why what has become established as a “drink” has no standards to cross.


This article below talks of water fluoridation being forced upon a population to lower dental requirements. Consider the consumption of soft drinks and effects on teeth and then wonder if perhaps we are intent on treating effects rather than causes.


Apparently the average person drinks 107 litres per annum of carbonated water up 7 litres over 7 years and I would be surprised if this were not an inverse relationship to milk consumption.

Interesting reading especially taken in context with:

“One of the most consistent and powerful findings is the link between soft drink intake and increased energy consumption. Fully 10 of 12 cross-sectional studies, 5 of 5 longitudinal studies, and all 4 of the long-term experimental studies examined showed that energy intake rises when soft drink consumption increases. The effect sizes for these studies, respectively, were 0.13, 0.24, and 0.30.

The available literature also supports the observation that people do not adequately compensate for the added energy they consume in soft drinks with their intake of other foods and consequently increase their intake of sugar and total energy. ………”

Anyway in the next few days the before and after of high dose Vitamin D3 over 13 months.



You have been tested to see if you require additional vitamin D, which is a sensible approach.

I do not understand the basis of the assumption that because some other countries recommend a different daily intake of certain vitamins that they are right and the UK recommendations are wrong.

If drinking soft drinks is discouraging us from drinking milk or decreasing our consumption of wholesome food, then perhaps that is the problem that we should address and not by taking vitamins to compensate.


My Vitamin D3 results are in

July 2012 49.3 nmol/L
August 2013 89.3 nmol/L

So taking 5000iu’s almost daily for a year has moved me to borderline inadequate to adequate. Now the interesting thing here is looking at this research below the geometric mean for the participants was 72.9 nmol/L in September without supplements but falling to what looks like
sub 30 nmol/L in February.
“Vitamin D status has a linear association with seasonal infections and lung function in British adults ”

My suspicion is that taking daily high iu levels of vitamin D supplement in the summer, even an English one , is perhaps redundant and that perhaps the point is to take them commencing the autumn until say March. Given the levels I take perhaps less than daily. However when we receive my wife’s results we will arrange different regimes and have further tests at the beginning of January.

Just to note that the British recommendations for the over 65’s does not mention seasonal effects whatsoever.
“people aged 65 years and over and people not exposed to much sun should also take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms (0.01mg) of vitamin D “


Wife’s results in:
July 2012 46.8
Aug 2013 87.3

SO we will give it a rest until the end of sSeptember and I will go to one 5000IU per week and she will go to two per week and we will re-test the first week of January.


It is not just the daily intake that can differ. What counts as an essential nutrient in one country may not be recognised as such in another.


Perhaps we should consider foods with added vitamins and minerals. Cornflakes are an early example. The processing removes vitamins that are naturally present in the grain, and these are added after the cooking process. Addition of vitamins is used to help market the product, though I see it as a way to compensate for the loss of nutritional value caused by processing.

Another example is margarine. This was introduced in the UK because of the shortage of butter during the second World War. Vitamins A and D were added because it was recognised that butter was an important dietary source of these vitamins. In the UK it is not mandatory to include these vitamins in the spreads that have largely replaced margarine, but these blends of fats, water and emulsifiers often contain various vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients including omega 3 fatty acids.

Processed food is an important part of our diets and I believe that there is a case for adding vitamins etc. to compensate for loss of nutritional value during production. I am certainly NOT supporting processed foods (and believe that we should cut down consumption of it) but we must acknowledge that it is a major component of most people’s diets in the UK.


According to my 1950 copy of Law’s Grocer’s Manual the advent of margarine , invented 1869/70, was largely due to WW1 and consequent shortages. : )

I am in complete agreement about the downsides of processed foods. I also have doubts about the usability of Vitamins and additives added to these foods. I can make a bold claim of adding but what is really available at the end of the processing? And for some items they are cooked again.

The food in Maidstone Hospital, Kent is prepared in South Wales. One has to wonder. I looked at Wiltshire Foods to see some information on Vitamins not a whisker but at least they do break down the fats proteins etc.

This looks a very interesting read: Maximizing the Nutritional Value of Fruits & Vegetables

This is old [1968] but very interesting looking at it from a growers angle:


There are so many factors affecting the vitamin content of food that perhaps the only things we can be sure of are useful sources of vitamins and that storage and processing are generally detrimental. It is not all negative. We have a wider choice of fruit and veg available and more people avoid overcooking vegetables than in previous generations.

I stand to be corrected on the history of margarine, and your book was written before I was born. Butter was certainly rationed in WW2.


I am a fan of history, geography, and food [amongst other interests] hence the old books. It is also older than me. : )

This is a very fine study designed to show how Vitamin D has effects far beyond bone health and well worth reading to get a gist of what is going on. The measurement they use multiply by 2.5 to get the European equivalent of Vitamin D in blood in mol.



The Introduction of this article starts: “Vitamin D deficiency defined as a serum concentration of 25- hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D],20 ng/ml is the largest pandemic in the world” and cite a couple of their own papers. I wonder if the authors understand the convention that writing for scientific journals requires an objective approach, unlike the tabloid newspapers, and that the term ‘pandemic’ is generally used to describe a widespread epidemic of an infectious disease. PLoS ONE is available to the general public as an open access journal, but is primarily intended for use by scientists, so perhaps the editor should try harder to maintain standards.

Maybe we should be supporting the use of testing to determine whether people do have vitamin deficiencies. I have just had a load of blood tests done in addition to the routine annual tests, but these did not include vitamin D or any other vitamins. In the meantime, I will enjoy the summer sunshine and the fact that the blood tests have revealed nothing to worry about, which is very reassuring. If I remember, I might have a test done in January or February. I need to take advice on whether this is something I should ask my GP about (on the basis that many adults do have vitamin D deficiency in the winter months) or if I should pay to have this done privately. If the latter, where can I trust to do the test. I would not consider any company that sells supplements, for obvious reasons.


Ah well writing for Americans not totally surprised at misuse though I am perplexed as to what a more correct alternative would be.

I use :

You should be aware that laboratories do not all report the same results as it is equipment dependent. Someone I know has had his tested at this and another lab with a 40% discrepancy and he feels this NHS facility under-reports. Fine by me as it may mean we are over 100nmol.
This would be good for the US Endocrine Society values.

Certainly get some testing done come Jan/Feb to see where you are in terms of sufficiency. I feel incredibly confident you will be insufficient or inadequate – score wise that is : )


Thanks. I had already found looked at the Cityassays site. Offering a pin-prick test is obviously convenient for DIY use, but I do wonder how the results compare with conventional tests using blood samples. It is ridiculous to report values to 3 significant figures when – as you say – the results tend to be rather variable.

When testing vitamin D and other analytes, we look for readings within a reference range that has been identified as normal or desirable, based on current knowledge at the time the range was established. Within that range, higher is not necessarily better. For example, when I test my blood glucose concentration, I’m rather glad to see that it is not at the upper end of the reference range. I will have a look at unbiased reviews but unless I see a convincing case that my vitamin D concentration should be >50 nM, I will let my body get on with the job rather than taking the largely unknown risk of swallowing supplements.


Very relevant as to maximising the value of the food you eat.


Came across this at the Beeb from December last year – what is rather chilling is the final piece that in the land of sunshine Australia there is a Vitamin D deficiency!!

“Unfortunately, there is limited national research on the true extent of vitamin D deficiency in the UK population.

But we do know that there has been a four-fold increase in admissions to hospital with rickets in the last 15 years and that some groups are more ‘at risk’ than others – namely children, pregnant women and certain ethnic minority groups.

Pilot studies and regional monitoring suggests that vitamin D deficiency is likely to affect at least half the UK’s white population, up to 90% of the multi-ethnic population and a quarter of all children living in Britain.

A recent study in Australia revealed that a third of under-25s are vitamin D deficient – perhaps surprising in a country blessed with plenty of sunshine.”



The obvious reason is that Australians have become wary about the sun, as a result of the high incidence of skin cancer. Various friends who have visited Australia have come back very pale, so I wonder if there has been a major change in lifestyle.


Interesting conversation and input, but no one seems to have considered the nutritional content of our foods, which by most all accounts has deteriorated over the years.

This is esp’ true concerning minerals.

The main factor here is the reporting of nutrient-depleted soils, which produce nutrient-depleted crops and therefore nutrient-deficient people.

So is supplementation really necessary?

“You could trace every disease and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.” Dr Linus Pauling.

The body can utilize minerals without vitamins, but vitamins and most other nutrients are basically useless in the absence of minerals.


The problem with quoting Pauling is that he was wrong.

Just saying.


If the twice winner of the Nobel Prize (Pauling) was wrong Guy, you will have to prove it.

I suppose you also think that the scientific report of 1936: “U.S. Senate Report: Soil Depleted, 99% of Americans Nutrient Deficient”, is also incorrect as well?

Senate Document No. 264, 1936.
These are Verbatim Unabridged extracts from the 74th Congress 2nd Session………………….

“Certainly our physical well-being is more directly dependent upon the minerals we take into our systems than upon calories of vitamins or upon the precise proportions of starch, protein of carbohydrates we consume. This discovery is one of the latest and most important contributions of science to the problem of human health.”


You don’t understand this science business do you?

It doesn’t matter how many Nobel prizes Pauling won, he still bears the burden of proof for any claim he makes.

Alexis Carrel (Physiology or Medicine, 1912) supported eugenics and N**i racial theories. Pierre Curie (Physics, 1903) was outspoken in support of a “psychic medium”. Ivar Giaever (Physics, 1973) is a climate denialist. Louis J. Ignarro (Physiology or Medicine, 1998) supports a pyramid scheme. Brian Josephson (Physics, 1973) believes in psychic and paranormal phenomena and cold fusion. Philipp Lenard (Physics, 1905) believed in the Deutsche Physik. Luc Montagnier (Physiology or Medicine, 2008) believes in homeopathy and promotes vaccine hysteria. Kary Mullis (Chemistry, 1993) is an AIDS denialist who also believes in alien abduction, astrology, conspiracy theories, cosmic raccoons, global warming denial and ozone denial but at least he has an excuse, as he admitted to being a heavy user of LSD back in the day. Linus Pauling (Chemistry, 1954, and Peace, 1962) believed in vitamin C quackery and orthomolecular medicine generally. Charles Richet (Physiology or Medicine, 1913) believe din ESP, the paranormal, and ghosts. William Shockley (Physics, 1956) was into eugenics. John William Strutt, Lord Rayleigh (Physics, 1904) was a paranormalist. Nikolaas Tinbergen (Physiology or Medicine, 1973) is into crank theories of autism. James Watson (Physiology or Medicine, 1962) was a racist.

It’s common enough that there’s even a popular culture term for it: the Nobel disease.

Science, unlike SCAM, does not judge claims on the eminence of the claimant, but on the strength of the evidence. I’ll leave it at that, long experience shows that you and I have fundamentally different views of what evidence means; I prefer the normal scientific definition of course.


if I do not understand this “science business” then you must have overlooked the science that I have reported on, and that which I have researched over the years.

That’s quite a list of scientists who were mistaken, but then we should consider that no one is infallible. However, some of them were quite right in their assertions, and esp’ Linus Pauling who you say believed in “Vitamin C quackery” and “Orthomolecular Medicine quackery” generally.
Re’ Orthomolecular “quackery” as you call it means you have ignored the science on Vitamin C that he advocated, so here is a short list of a much longer one on its science and health benefits….

The National Library of Medicine, in fact, contains thousands of studies demonstrating vitamin C’s ability to significantly improve health, and treat disease successfully.

A study published in 2008 showed that higher plasma vitamin C levels are associated with a significantly reduced risk of stroke. Scientists from the clinical gerontology unit at Addenbrooke’s University Hospital in Cambridge, UK, tracked 20,649 men and women aged 40 to 79 years, between 1993 and 1997. The group was followed through March 2005. Individuals who had the highest vitamin C levels showed a 42% reduction in stroke risk! If you compare this with Plavix’s 8.7 – 9.4% risk reduction, and the profound side effects drugs like these generate, one begins to understand why the media projection of “vitamins are toxic” propaganda serves only the interests of the drug companies……..
Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Jan ;87(1):64-9. PMID: 18175738

Here’s quite a few more studies to be getting on with…………..

“Modern science is now eagerly embracing vitamin C’s enormous potential as an antioxidant capable of preventing and, in some cases, reversing a host of human ills. Helping to maximize the beneficial effects of exercise while minimizing the impact of destructive toxins like tobacco smoke, vitamin C also acts at the most fundamental levels to prevent endothelial changes that lead to atherosclerosis, while also blocking harmful DNA degradation that triggers malignant change and sets the stage for cancer. And as scientists learn still more about the vital role of oxidative damage in diseases ranging from asthma to stomach ailments, vitamin C’s importance is growing literally by the day. There is no doubt that future research will uncover even more astonishing findings on the health benefits of vitamin C.”…………………………………..


Chris, I have not overlooked “the science that you have reported on”, I have in fact repeatedly pointed out to you where you are going wrong in quoting this science.

1. You quote the science as cherry-picked by sites whose agenda you support.

2. You quote cherry-picked studies against reviews that already encompass those views but form very different conclusions based on the cumulative weight of evidence.

3. You cite things that absolutely are not science, alongside fringe science and the occasional bit of mainstream science, and don’t appear to be able to tell the difference.

You’ll know you’re getting it right when your reviews lead you to conclude that homeopathy and colloidal silver are quack remedies, and vitamin megadoses are not indicated unless you’re running marathons in the Arctic. Because that’s what independent, dispassionate reviews conclude.


The research by WHICH concluded that people are wasting money on unnecessary food supplements. So does anyone buy into food supplements?

Well here’s some scientific proof that Multivitamins are good for you.

For example: the Iowa Women’s Health Study demonstrated that women who supplemented with vitamins C, D, E and calcium had significantly lower risks of mortality………………..Mursu J, Robien K, Harnack LJ, Park K, Jacobs DR Jr. Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women: The Iowa Women’s Health Study. Arch Intern Med. 2011 Oct 10;171(18):1625-33.http://www.lef.org/featured-articles/

Benefits of Vitamin B6 supplementation………….

The Harvard School of Public Health recommends taking a Multivitamin/Mineral……………

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN)……………………

Also Tuesday, October 15, 2013. The journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment published an article this month which reported a lower risk of mortality from invasive breast cancer among patients who used multivitamin/mineral supplements. “Our study offers tentative but intriguing evidence that multivitamin/mineral supplements may help older women who develop invasive breast cancer survive their disease,” commented lead author Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, PhD, who is a distinguished university professor emerita of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

Dr Wassertheil-Smoller and her associates analyzed data from 7,728 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer following enrollment in the Women’s Health Initiative. The subjects’ use of nutritional supplements was ascertained upon enrollment and at the visit closest to the time of diagnosis. The women, who were between the ages of 50 and 79 years at enrollment, were followed for 7.1 years after diagnosis, during which 518 deaths were documented.

Adjusted analysis of the data uncovered a 30% lower risk of dying from invasive breast cancer among women who used multivitamin/mineral supplements in comparison with those who did not report their use. Further adjustment for additional factors failed to significantly modify the association. “Controlling for these other factors strengthens our confidence that the association we observed – between taking multivitamin/mineral supplements and lowering breast-cancer mortality risk among postmenopausal women with invasive breast cancer – is a real one,” stated Dr Wassertheil-Smoller. “But further studies are needed to confirm whether there truly is a cause-and-effect relationship here.”

Also considering the prevalence of diabetes and pre-diabetes, research shows that a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement does indeed offer real health and quality-of-life benefits for people with type 2 diabetes. In a study reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2003, supplementation with a multivitamin and mineral supplement reduced infection and illness-related absenteeism in diabetic patients by startling numbers. Only 17 percent of diabetic patients who took a multivitamin and mineral supplement experienced an infectious illness – such as an upper respiratory tract infection or influenza-like illness – compared to 93 percent of patients who took a placebo. Equally impressive, no diabetic patients who took the supplement reported one or more absentee days from illness during the 12-month study period, compared to 89 percent of diabetic patients who received the placebo…..
Barringer TA, Kirk JK, Santaniello AC, et al. Effect of a multivitamin and mineral supplement on infection and quality of life. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2003;138:365-371.

“Scientific evidence in support of the health benefits of nutritional supplements has grown dramatically in recent years,” said Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., a professor in the School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston. “We must now work to translate this knowledge to health care providers, policy makers and consumers so the simple actions people can take to promote their health and prevent disease can be more fully realized. The impact of a rational use of dietary supplements can also help reduce health care costs which escalate every year as our population grows older.”

Dr. Dickinson noted that while all people should strive to eat a healthy and balanced diet — no matter what their age or health circumstance — few in reality do. “While the overall improvement of dietary habits has been the focus of much research on health promotion and disease prevention, the medical and scientific communities are increasingly recognizing that nutritional supplements have a critical role to play. Too many studies have shown that most diets — even fairly healthy ones — fall well below the Recommended Dietary Allowance for many nutrients. Supplements are a proven bridge between what we should eat and what we actually eat,” she said.

Dr. Annette Dickinson, Ph.D. is an expert on the benefits of vitamins and minerals who has worked in the field since 1973. In 1995, President Clinton appointed Dr. Dickinson to the Commission on Dietary Supplement Labels, and in 2002 she was named to the Food Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She is the author of numerous papers and is frequently asked to speak on the topic of dietary supplements to policy-making, scientific and other audiences.


Astonishingly* all those sources seem to be committed to promoting the supplement industry. Unlike the independent research cited by Which?.

* No, not really.


It is better to focus on eating a good diet than take supplements to compensate for a poor diet.

Look at the shelves of supplements in any supermarket and you will have some idea of how the British public is being persuaded to spend a fortune on pills they don’t need.


Chrisb mentioned the Council for Responsible Nutrition. It is a US organisation with a vested interest. According to their website, ‘The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) is the UK trade association representing the leading manufacturers and suppliers of food supplements and their ingredients’. In this country we have the Natural Hydration Council, a trade association promoting sales of bottled water, another product that we don’t need. NHC has even posted on Which? Conversation.


Correct. And let’s not forget that much of “big herba” is just “big pharma”. The companies manufacturing the “natural” dose of vitamin C recommended by Pauling (the equivalent of eating 25-30 oranges a day, which of course everybody has done throughout human history) are often the same companies who turn out drugs.

The most bizarre thing about the “health freedom” lobby, to my view, is the fact that they seem to be in denial that they are a lobbying organisation for a big, profitable and highly industrialised business.

I don’t know, maybe people prefer the unregulated supplements made by non-industrial makers instead. I don’t, since there’s god evidence that these are even more variable and even more heavily contaminated, but whatever.


I found a picture of the machinery used to make “natural” supplements.


yes I have mentioned the Council For Responsible Nutrition which is the leading trade association representing dietary supplement manufacturers and ingredient suppliers, but you are implying that they are biased in their reporting of the science behind the consumption of nutritional supplements.

The same could be said for pharmaceutical companies in promoting drugs and other organisations or trade associations who represent their own members.

The science that CRN publish on nutrition and its benefits is hardly likely to be published by pharmaceutical companies, so this role is left to them. Whether their findings are biased or not depends on the science that they publish for scrutiny by anyone, so any bias in favor of nutrition could be discovered in this way.

Bear in mind that the science on nutritional supplements is also published in reputable journals such as JAMA and so on, so publication could be censored or edited at source if found to be incorrect.

It is certainly advisable to eat a good diet Wavechange, but you have missed the point entirely here: food grown today is far less nutritious than it has been in decades past, and I allude here to Senate Document No. 264, of 1936, where minerals in the soil were severely deficient at that time. Nothing has been done since to rectify this crisis.

Nutrient-depleted soils produce nutrient-depleted crops, and therefore nutrient-deficient people, leaving the way open for the development of disease.
These are verbatim and unabridged extracts from the 74th Congress 2nd Session……

Health consequences of Global mineral deficiencies………………….


So what is the solution to a nutrient-depleted diet and regardless of how good that diet may be?: nutritional supplements.


your comment…………

“The companies manufacturing the “natural” dose of vitamin C recommended by Pauling (the equivalent of eating 25-30 oranges a day,”……………..

you may be surprised to hear that to obtain the same nutritional content of eating one orange grown a decade ago, you would have to eat 8 oranges today, so at least you are on the right track; and the two scientists who have verified Paulings work with Ascorbate (Vitamin C to the uninitiated) are Dr Steve Hickey (a Medical Biophysicist at Manchester University) and Dr Hillary Roberts PhD who co-wrote: “Ascorbate: The Science of Vitamin C”, which contains a wealth of unbiased science regarding the Orthomolecular use of the same.

Your interpretation and opinion as to the aims and intentions of the health-freedom lobby Guy, couldn’t be further from the truth, and based on little except the aforementioned. It is in fact about the rights of individuals to make their own choices in healthcare, and esp’ from the monopoly of mainstream medicine; these rights are gradually being eroded by corporations who DO have a “vested interest” in maintaining the status quo of exclusive drug-therapy.

You have yet to answer my post on another WHICH forum regarding the book and comments of Dr Peter C Gøtzsche, head of the Nordic Cochrane Centre, and a co-founder of evidence-based medicine’s standard-bearer, the Cochrane Collaboration, who has described the pharmaceutical industry as akin to the mafia, in his recent book: “Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How big pharma has corrupted healthcare”.

In the opening pages he writes: “In the United States and Europe, drugs are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.”

If this is what you are defending, then really you do not have a leg to stand on.


Nice picture Guy of the machinery used to make “natural” supplements, but this is only part of the “picture”, so for example, manufactured Ascorbate or Vitamin C is chemically identical to that found in Nature.

In addition, still taking ascorbate as an example, most all animals manufacture their own which was lost in the eons of time to humans.

The amount manufactured by animals is approximately proportional to their body weight, and, converted to the weight of a human being, ranges from about 20.00 to 20,000 milligrams per day. Irwin Stone concluded that human beings with an average diet are accordingly all suffering from hypoascorbemia, a deficiency of ascorbate in the blood and tissues.

Hickey and Roberts set out to prove that Pauling was a quack regarding Vitamin C but came to this conclusion instead………………………


Chris, why do you keep citing websites that exist to advocate crank and alternative ideas, as if that somehow validates them?


Try not to evade the issues Guy, which you are.

The websites I have posted do not advocate “crank and alternative ideas”, so they ARE valid.

Your views on them are obviously borne out of a biased and prejudiced belief-system, rather then the actual science that they report.
This was recently evidenced by your unfounded opinions on Rife: a reiteration of what you have been told to believe without recourse to any independent viable research of your own.


Chris, the unreliability of your sources has been shown many, many times.

A reliable source on supplements looks like this: http://www.nhs.uk/news/2011/05May/Pages/supplements-special-report.aspx

You’ll notice that the don’t profit from selling them, but would profit (in reduced budgets) by recommending routine supplementation if it actually worked.


A reliable source on supplements Guy does not derive from the conservative NHS.

These for example would be far more accurate:

How Dietary Supplements Reduce Health Care Costs…………………

“New research from the Lewin Group has shown that spending pennies a day on a few key nutritional supplements can dramatically reduce sickness and chronic disease — and greatly decrease healthcare expenditures as a result”.
“The Lewin Group looked only at rigorous scientific studies that documented the benefits of nutritional supplements. They used the Congressional Budget Office’s accounting methods to determine the economic impact of supplements. And they kept their analysis specifically to Medicare patients and women of childbearing age”.

(i) The Lewin Group. (2006). An evidence-based study of the role of dietary supplements in helping seniors maintain their independence. Prepared for: The Dietary Supplement Education Alliance.

(ii) Fairfield K.M., and R.H. Fletcher. (2002). Vitamins for chronic disease prevention in adults: Scientific review. Journal of the American Medical Association. 287:3116-3126.

(iii) Willett W.C., and M.J. Stampfer. (2002). What vitamins should I be taking doctor? New England Journal of Medicine. 345 (24):1914-1916.




here’s a bit of science you can chew on for a while………….




Here is a suggestion, Chrisb. Rather than trying to push us to swallow supplements, why not promote testing to see if there is a need?

Perhaps we should also focus on the UK situation, rather than what is happening in the US.


Sorry – my suggestion promoting testing the need for supplements was not intended as a reply to your comment to Guy.


well believe it or not I am not trying to push anyone into swallowing supplements, as all I am pointing out is the need for optimum nutrition which we used to be able to receive from our diets, but are unable to today; this is because of a variety of reasons as I have mentioned previously, not least of which are the state of our soils.

Other reasons for inadequate nutrition would include consuming processed foods which lack nutrition, and have more or less become a staple of our diets in the West.

Testing is a good way forward I agree with you, but many current parameters for testing, fall woefully short of the ideal for optimum health and freedom from disease. I refer here to Vitamin D levels as an example, or even Vitamin C RDI’s which are largely outdated by orthodoxy.

Supplementation should not really be necessary, but in the real World a pragmatic approach would act as a prophylactic against disease, and allow us to achieve an optimum state of health with boundless energy at any age.


Chris: Your definition of “optimum” is drawn from cranks. The definition of optimum as promoted by those who are (unlike most cranks) medically qualified to comment, is that most people do not need supplements. Hence the article.


Let us agree then that testing is a good idea. Let us agree on the importance of a good diet. Perhaps we could agree that home-made food using locally produced ingredients is a good option, and something that should be promoted.

If there is sufficient evidence that an RDI is too low (or too high) it will be changed.

Despite the problems that you mention and the perils of pharmaceuticals you have mentioned on many occasions, life expectancy in Britain is rising. The Chancellor is likely to announce that younger people will have to wait longer for their pensions. If my GP recommends that I take supplements I will do so, but – as with taking pharmaceuticals – she will need to convince me of the need.


my definition of “optimum nutrition” is drawn from the science which you have yet again ignored.

Since when did your average medically qualified personnel have any or much knowledge of nutrition?
This is old ground, so you had better re-read my posts to re-educate yourself on this topic.


Chrisb – You recently told us that you used to be a driving instructor and made some points that are reasonable and might have been made by any driving instructor.

As someone who has spent his working life in scientific research, training others in experimental design and interpretation of data, writing papers and reviews, and reviewing papers I have some idea of scientific method. I have read many of your posts and it is fairly evident that you have not worked in a scientific discipline or received scientific training. You would take exception to anyone who claimed that mum and dad could be as good at teaching their child to drive as a trained driving instructor. I take exception to being told to go and read articles that have been selected to ‘prove’ a particular point. As a scientist, albeit retired, I want to see all the evidence.


I used to be a “driving examiner” employed by the DSA and not a “driving instructor”. Driving examiners are considered to be experts in driving behaviour.

No scientific training? I hold a BSc in one of the sciences, so I do have scientific training, and my articles are posted as accumulated evidence supporting my views shared by many.


wavechange – There is testing on vitamin supplements and depending on the vitamin and the quality of studies it is a minefield. I only look at Vitamn D and the work on it.

I appreciate your scientific background but I also realise that scientists are not necessarily any better at quantifying risks/benefits against how much information is really required to make a decision. I personally would love 100% proof on everything but in the real world that is a very rare beast.

Sometime ago you asked why my opinion of the NHS on Vitamin D supplementation seemed less important than that of the US and Canadian government health services. I could say it is just the odds, or more likely that they throw more money at the investigations, or the NA lifestyle choices seem to presage ours by the odd decade.

More probably the NHS is cautious as it does not want to take on more costs. Neither of my in-laws who are in their 70’s have been tested for Vitamin D sufficiency though there is a NHS recommendation …….

However ultimately I think we are all in agreement that you are what you eat – more prosaically we are a chemical factory with inputs and outputs of life and waste products. The human body is flexible to a degree and can work on inferior products however perhaps behaviours and some illnesses become more apparent with diet :

“Probiotic Therapy Alleviates Autism-Like Behaviors in Mice”

This taken into account with the other work on gut flora, makes one think perhaps the input side has a bigger effect on humans than Western medicine has acknowledged to date.



As I have said before, I hope that the recommended daily intake of vitamin D will be reviewed. Because of the fact that exposure to the sun and diet both have a contribution, it is a rather special case. Rather than spending time outdoors, many of us are staying in our comfortable homes for longer than is good for us and many are taking sensible precautions to avoid skin cancer.

What concerns me is when people cherry pick information that suits their argument, disregarding the majority view, the classical example being those who promote homeopathy.

I do not discount that modifying the gut flora could be useful. Intact bacteria excrete many chemicals and if digested in the gut, many more will be released. During my PhD and postdoc work I did some analytical work, albeit not on gut bacteria. Of course we need to see other studies and to establish what effects probiotic therapy would have on gut function.

I am still planning to have a vitamin D test in February, as I mentioned some time ago. It it indicates that I have a deficiency, I will discuss this with my GP and ask to be tested periodically in future.

Some will say that taking supplements cannot do any harm, and that if a little of something is good, a lot may be better. It is fairly well known that overfilling a car engine with oil can cause serious problems. At the present time I am not sure that we know if taking a handful of supplements will cause problems in the long term. What I fear most of all is acceptance of a mediocre diet because taking supplements will compensate for this, when what we need is a good diet and a healthy lifestyle.

It’s a nice sunny day and I’m off to boost my vitamin D level. 🙂


yes I also hope that RDI’s of Vitamin D are reviewed to match the current science which the NHS website has overlooked; bearing in mind that the current RDI’s for Vitamin D are 800ius for men and 600ius for women. So when direct UVB rays are exposed to the skin, this produces up to 20,000ius of D3 in one half-hour of exposure.
We also know that the body will not allow overdosing of Vitamin D from sunlight and produces this on a “need” basis, so when the NHS recommends the above RDI’s, this falls woefully short of what the body actually needs when we are unable to avail ourselves of the benefits of the Sun. The advice of Dermatologists over the last couple of decades in avoiding all sunlight exposure, for the fear of skin cancer, reveals that they have much to answer for.

I am also not in favor of cherry-picking information that suits any particular argument either, but if you are referring to my own sources, these are usually supported by a wide consensus within the nutritional sciences, and in particular with Prof’ Michael Holick, Dr Cedric Garland and Prof’ Veith and others, who all came to the same conclusions, independently of each other regarding Vitamin D intake in the prevention of disease and cancer in particular.

Prof’ Veith has stated: “In summer, sunbathing for 10 minutes on your front and 10 minutes on your back makes about 10,000 units of vitamin D. This is the equivalent of 100 glasses of milk or 25 vitamin pills – and enough for most people to produce the desired 75 nmol/L of vitamin D in their blood. We require – and are designed to survive – a certain amount of sunshine. People just need to remember to cover up before they burn”.

I am pleased to learn that you are having your Vitamin D levels checked in February, but make sure it is the correct test 25(OH)D, and that blood readings should ideally be 50ngml or even slightly higher in acting as a prophylactic.

You may be surprised to learn that I am not in favor of taking all and just any supplements, but where there is a specific need (as with Vitamin D) and other nutrients not obtainable from even the best of diets, then I am in favor.

What I am in favor of is the use of “Nutraceuticals” which in many a case can replace pharmaceuticals with far less if any harm, and do not have the toxicity and harm/dangers associated with them.

There is little to be concerned about with “overfilling the car engine” as Vitamin C (for example) taken to excess, results in what is known as the “bowel-tolerance-level” with no harm; in fact this is how we perceive an actual bodily need until the BTL is reached, and this can take up to 40,000mg or more per day, and even more than this when taken therapeutically during illness.

It can be prudent to have an extra health-insurance-policy of supplementing a good diet with a good multivitamin/mineral to make up any shortfall from a Western diet and the dominance of processed foods.


chrisb – I apologise for referring to you as a former driving instructor. The comments you did make were not radically different to what the majority of driving examiners or driving instructors might make, whereas your views on nutrition are radically different to those that are generally accepted.

On various occasions you have been accused of cherry picking information. You may not be, but the effect is the same if your sources have already done the cherry pickling. I would not expect any science graduate to be able to critically evaluate information unless they had worked in a research environment. Many of the websites you have provided links for are highly biased and perhaps the only use is to illustrate the extent of the bias in information presented to the public.

However hard you try, I don’t think you will bring about a radical change in nutrition because we need to review all the available information, taking into account the quality of studies and confidence in the data and its interpretation. Health recommendations usually evolve based on mainstream understanding.

I saw your username mentioned in another Conversation today and thought it would be good to invite you to join in on some of the other topics, since you are very regular contributor if only in a narrow area. I am sure that many of us would support your views on processed food. Have a good Christmas.


Do we feel the need for food supplements?

If one of the world’s top medical experts gave you a golden nugget of advice, you’d probably sit up and take notice, wouldn’t you?

Especially if that advice virtually assured that you could live a long, vibrant life without spiralling into chronic illness and medicine dependency…

Well, this week, Professor Kefah Mokbel MB BS MS FRCS, one of the top 25 breast cancer experts in the world, did just that when he revealed:

‘I give Vitamin D to all my women patients at the clinic because the higher the levels, then the greater the protection from breast cancer.

All women from the age of 20 should take Vitamin D because it is effective in protecting against breast cancer,’ he said.

‘It is established science that women who have higher Vitamin D levels have a better chance of beating the disease.

‘Studies also show that women with higher Vitamin D levels are significantly less likely to develop breast cancer in the first place,’ he concluded.

Back in 2008, a Canadian study showed breast cancer patients with high Vitamin D levels were about half as likely to die from the disease as those with a serious deficiency.

And, according to the Harvard School of Public Health in the United States, being deficient in Vitamin D ‘increases the risk of a host of chronic diseases — including bone loss and osteoporosis… heart disease… some cancers… multiple sclerosis… infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and even seasonal flu’.

Professor Mokbel estimates that supplementing with Vitamin D — which costs a paltry 12 pence per day — would save the lives of 1,000 women every year in the UK… and save needless suffering to thousands more.

But, apparently, not everyone agrees…

A spokesperson for Cancer Research UK believes ‘there is insufficient proof’ to support what Professor Mokbel, the Harvard School of Public Health, the Canadian Cancer Society and literally hundreds of other conclusive studies are all saying about the benefits of Vitamin D.

So, let me ask you one question: who would you choose to trust…?

…Professor Kefah Mokbel MB BS MS FRCS, the lead breast surgeon at the London Breast Institute of the Princess Grace Hospital, an honorary consultant breast surgeon at St George’s Hospital, Professor of Breast Cancer Surgery at The Brunel Institute of Cancer Genetics and Pharmacogenomics (London, UK)… who is ranked among the top 25 breast cancer experts in the world and among the top 5 breast cancer experts in the UK… and who has NO commercial self-interest in promoting the use of Vitamin D?

…or would you choose to trust Cancer Research UK, a Cancer Industry stooge, who despite receiving hundreds of millions of pounds in charitable donations, tax breaks and Big Pharma sponsorship, has made precious little progress in preventing the shocking escalation in breast cancer rates over the last 50 years?

I’ll leave it up to you to draw your own conclusion…

Matthew says:
6 December 2013

Great posts chrisb1
So many overlooked for comment of the week.
There’s great money to be made fighting cancer, they wouldn’t want to help stop that cancer industry cold with a study that finds a cure. They just want to patent some medicine to continue making billions and if they end up killing people on top which the estrogen industry has been doing for 40 years then so be it.


Thank you Matthew.
It has been a lone isolated battle here until you posted, so your comments are very welcome.

Wavechange is the usual epitomy of impartiality and diplomacy, and I admire him for that, unlike one or two others here who are unable to accept the evidence or the science that I have illustrated.

I don’t think for one moment that any of my posts would make the grade of “comment of the week” as this may upset the status quo as to how things are accepted and measured generally.

Matthew says:
6 December 2013

Another great article for them to chew on.


Citing Patrick Holford? You fail, big time.


“citing Patrick Holford is a “fail, big time” only in your mistaken opinion, and nothing to do with the facts.
Please try and get your facts right before making outlandish and incorrect comments.
Thank you.

Matthew says:
6 December 2013

Are food supplements good for your health. Far more research than than Lisa Barber has done on her article

Matthew says:
8 December 2013

They need to listen very carefully to doctors like Thomas Levy MD.
“Modern medicine through the popular press, through the scientific literature, just lie. They lie and they misrepresent and they withhold the truth.”

An example.

Vitamin C has no known toxic dosage.
Thomas Levy MD.
“How many antibiotics, anti-inflammatory agents, calcium inhibitors, any type of prescription drug can you think of, can you say there is no known toxic dose,
you just can take as much as you want of it and you are not going to hurt yourself, this is pretty much the case with Vitamin C.”

A person with normal kidney function can successfully kill himself with excess water ingestion. There is no established dosage at or beyond which such a person can reliably kill himself with vitamin C. Is water more toxic than vitamin C?
(2005) Hayashi T 12 15

Have you seen what happened tof this New Zealand fella.


So because someone who has an extreme position advocating something (which, incidentally, he sells) says there is no toxic dose, so we should believe him an not the scientific consensus? Sorry, that’s not how it works.


Magnesium or Aspirin Therapy.?

New research sounds a clear warning about the dangers of daily aspirin therapy… even if it is ‘baby aspirin therapy’.

The latest study is touted as the “most comprehensive review” ever of the benefits and risks of daily aspirin therapy. And at first it looks like good news.

Researchers found that a daily low-dose of aspirin apparently does have life-saving benefits. But your chances of reaping those benefits are about as likely as winning the lottery.

Results show that about 40 fewer heart-related deaths occur for every 100,000 people who follow the baby aspirin routine.

Not great odds, but worth a shot, right?

Actually not.

Researchers also found that about 100 of those aspirin users experience gastrointestinal bleeding. And many of those cases will result in death. Also, about 10 will suffer from an aspirin-induced stroke.

This study also doesn’t mention another danger of aspirin therapy.

Earlier this year it was learnt that aspirin use could lead to blindness through age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In one study, those who took a daily low-dose aspirin were twice more likely to develop wet AMD — a leading cause of blindness.

If you want to do something every day to keep your heart healthy, then discard the aspirin bottle and take another pill instead — a daily magnesium supplement.

A recent study shows that just 250 mg of magnesium dramatically reduces heart disease risk. Magnesium helps keep arteries elastic, while also helping control blood sugar — two things your heart thrives on.

Magnesium also causes no side effects. That’s something nobody will ever be able to claim about the “wonder drug” aspirin.

“Review of Daily Aspirin Dosage Highlights Concerns About Side Effects” Science Daily, 10/24/13, sciencedaily.com


Top Dementia Expert Speaks Out on Alzheimer’s – We’ve Wasted Billions ($40 billion) on Drugs When All We Needed Was Prevention with diet and supplements…..

“Professor David Smith, a top dementia expert, states that there are things that can be done to improve the situation right now — but governments, charities and other research bodies need to make a long overdue switch to a new strategy: preventing the disease.”

A controlled trial ran in Oxford three years ago showed brain shrinkage was cut by an impressive 90 percent in people with memory problems after they took high levels of B vitamins.
Scientists in the U.S., Germany and Australia have also shown that supplements of omega 3 fatty acids, as well as exercise, may cut the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Researchers at the Georgetown University Medical Center’s Memory Disorders Program found high-dose vitamins reduce levels of the amino acid homocysteine in people with Alzheimer’s. Previous research has found a link between homocysteine and the mind-robbing disease.


By Dr Al Sears MD.

Big Pharma giant Merck has been trying to re-package one of Nature’s most potent heart health allies and sell it to you as a heart “drug.”

They heavily lobbied the FDA to get it approved in the U.S. But a few weeks ago they had to pull it from the approval process.1

Why? Because their drug didn’t quite have the effect they wanted it to.

In a clinical trial, they gave half the people this new drug – a combination of a synthetic form of a vitamin and a synthetic molecule that reduces facial “flushing.” The other half got only a statin drug.

They wanted the combination of statins and their new drug to work … but it didn’t go so well. In fact, Merck suggested the side effects were worse than expected.

What they don’t tell you in any of their press releases is that people taking only the new “drug” had skin and stomach side effects and experienced flushing.

On top of that, when they added a statin to the mix, people got myopathy which is nonfunctional and painful muscles, and rhabdomyolysis which is the painful disintegration of muscles.2 These are typical statin side effects.

So what was in the new “drug” Merck was trying to create? It was a synthetic form of good old fashioned vitamin B3.

It’s also called niacin. You can remember it with a handy phrase to remember the names for all the B vitamins: “Teddy Roosevelt Never Painted Pyramids Blue in Fancy Clothes.”

This contains the first letter of all the B vitamins in numerical order: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, inositol, folic acid and cyanocobalamin.

I can see why Merck wants to patent niacin. It’s an amazing nutrient. And now that raising HDL has become such a big topic in the heart health world, they’re trying to capitalize on a proven, safe, inexpensive solution that’s been around for years by making a drug out of it.

Well I’m glad their drug failed. You can get all the benefits of niacin safely… without lining Big Pharma’s pockets.

I’ve been prescribing niacin for years. I have tested its effectiveness in thousands of patients in my 25 years practicing medicine. And as usual, standard medicine has forgotten just how effective a natural solution can be at improving heart health.

One study gave over 1,000 people either niacin or a placebo and followed them for 15 years. It found that niacin did reduce heart attacks. But what’s really incredible is that 10 years after the end of the trial, doctors followed up and found that niacin was still working. It had reduced the people’s chance of dying from any cause by 11%.3

And in a breakthrough study from the prestigious journal Atherosclerosis, niacin improved heart health markers across the board, including:

24% increase in HDL—the heart-healthy “good” cholesterol

35% increase in adiponectin, the hormone that melts fat away

12% decrease in triglycerides, the real culprit behind clogged arteries

Niacin also improves nitric oxide activity. Nitric oxide release causes the linings of your blood vessels to relax and open up, improving circulation, and helping your body to deliver oxygen in the blood more efficiently.

The key to niacin is using the right amount and the right kind.

Unfortunately, 20 to 30 years ago, very slow-release niacin was used and caused liver toxicity in some people. This scared some doctors away from it, and most never learned how to administer niacin properly so they are afraid to recommend it.

I use sustained release niacin (sometimes referred to as extended release). It doesn’t act as slow as slow-release niacin which makes it much safer.

First, start by eating foods that boost your intake of natural vitamin B3. As always, stick with grass-fed meat, free-range chicken, and organic produce and nuts.

Here are some foods rich in B3 (niacin).4
Food Source

Mg of Niacin
Beef Liver 3.5 oz

Chicken White Meat 3.5 oz

Peanuts (1/2 cup)

Salmon 3.5 oz

Ground Beef 3.5 oz

Mushrooms – raw (1/2 cup)

Barley – cooked (1/2 cup)

Lentils – cooked (1/2 cup)

Almonds (1/2 cup)


Second, supplements are a great way to go. In this case, it’s crucial you take the right dose – and limit how much is in your body at any given time. I recommend taking 500 mg of “sustained release” niacin. Start by taking it every other day and slowly work up. In my clinic, I often gradually increase to up to 2 grams per day.

And, if you want to make niacin work even better, add a potent omega-3 supplement in phospholipid form. This will work with niacin to help reduce Lp(a), a dangerous marker for heart disease and heart attacks.5

To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD

1. “Merck Provides Update on Next Steps for TREDAPTIVE.” January 11, 2013. Retrieved Aug 2, 2013.
2. “HPS2-THRIVE randomized placebo-controlled trial in 25 673 high-risk patients of ER niacin/laropiprant: trial design, pre-specified muscle and liver outcomes, and reasons for stopping study treatment.” Eur Heart J. 2013 May;34(17):1279-91.
3. Canner P, Berge K, Wenger N, Stamler J, Friedman L, Prineas R, Friedewald W. “Fifteen year mortality in Coronary Drug Project patients: long-term benefit with niacin.” J Am Coll Cardiol. 1986;8(6):1245-55.
4. “Nutrition Fact Sheet – B3”, Northwestern University Department of Preventative Medicine. http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu. Retrieved Dec 9, 2013.
5. Helmbold A, Slim J, Morgan J, Castillo-Rojas L, Shry E, Slim A. “The Effects of Extended Release Niacin in Combination with Omega 3 Fatty Acid Supplements in the Treatment of Elevated Lipoprotein (a).” Cholesterol. 2010;2010:306147.


Vitamins, Minerals Reduce AIDS Mortality: Ignoring Supplements Means Unnecessary Deaths.

by Andrew W. Saul PhD.

Twenty-six years ago, I worked with a client (woman, late 20s) who was HIV positive. She was a heavy drinker and drug user, a smoker, had a terrible diet, and a series of bad personal relationships. Her health was deteriorating. Desperate, she decreased her drug and alcohol use. She still smoked, ate a poor diet, and was under great stress. She took multivitamin/multimineral supplements irregularly. But she took a lot of vitamin C very regularly, for over two decades.

Twenty-six years later, doctors cannot detect HIV in her system. They now say that she never had it. She did. She probably still does. But they cannot find it. She has no symptoms.

Robert Cathcart, M.D., in California treated AIDS patients with up to 200,000 milligrams of vitamin C a day. He found that, with very large intakes of vitamin C, even advanced AIDS patients lived significantly longer and had far fewer symptoms. [1]

Dr. Cathcart published in 1984, some 30 years ago. This clinical finding is very important. So important that it is hard to believe that the entire Wikipedia entry for Dr. Cathcart was deleted. His work was arbitrarily judged “too unsubstantial to provide notability.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia%3AArticles_for_deletion%2FRobert_Cathcart

Perhaps even Wikipedia might find it difficult to ignore this research:

A 1993 study at Johns Hopkins demonstrated that larger-than-RDA multivitamin supplements slow AIDS, and even help halt it. The seven year long study of 281 HIV positive men showed that those taking vitamins had only about one half as many new AIDS outbreaks as those not taking supplements. [2]

In 2004, a Harvard study by Fawzi et al found that vitamins cut AIDS deaths by 27% and slow the progression to AIDS by 50%. The study authors said, “Multivitamins also resulted in significantly higher CD4+ and CD8+ cell counts and significantly lower viral loads. . . Multivitamin supplements delay the progression of HIV disease.” [3]

Here you have something truly interesting: In 1984, 1993 and 2004, studies showed that HIV patients taking vitamins are 50% less likely to develop full-blown AIDS, and that vitamin-taking AIDS patients live considerably longer, with far fewer symptoms.

Have you heard anything about this on TV, or in a newspaper or magazine? Or a college course? Or from your healthcare provider?

And now, in 2013, a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms it yet again. In HIV-infected adults, “supplementation with a single supplement containing multivitamins and selenium was safe and significantly reduced the risk of immune decline and morbidity.” [4]

Yes, that was with a single multivitamin supplement with added selenium.

Harold D. Foster, PhD advocated the use of selenium and amino acids, plus antioxidants, for HIV/AIDS a decade ago. [5-7] But the new JAMA study does not appear to mention his work at all.

Yet the public has been told, for months and years and decades, that they do not need multivitamins or other dietary supplements, told that supplements do no good, told that supplements are harmful, and told that supplements even increase death rates.

In short, the public has been lied to. For decades. How many lives have been lost that could have been saved?

(Andrew W. Saul is author or coauthor of twelve books, including four with Dr. Abram Hoffer. He is a member of the board of the Japanese College of Intravenous Therapy and has been inducted into the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame.)

To Learn More:

A good introductory article by Dr. Foster: http://www.doctoryourself.com/news/v4n12.html Interviews with him: http://www.doctoryourself.com/fosterinterview.html Dr. Foster’s book: What Really Causes AIDS. Trafford; 2006. ISBN-10: 1553691326 and ISBN-13: 978-1553691327. Download the pdf version for a donation at http://www.hdfoster.com/publications

Brighthope I and Fitzgerald P. The AIDS Fighters. (Out of print but available on the used book market. Note the date of publication.) Keats Pub, 1988. ISBN-10: 087983482X and ISBN-13: 978-0879834821.


1. Cathcart RF. Vitamin C in the treatment of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Medical Hypotheses, 14(4):423-433, Aug 1984. http://www.doctoryourself.com/aids_cathcart.html

2. Tang AM, Graham NM, Kirby AJ et al. Dietary micronutrient intake and risk of progression to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected homosexual men. Am J Epidemiol. 1993 Dec 1;138(11):937-51. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7903021

3. Fawzi WW, Msamanga GI, Spiegelman D et al. A randomized trial of multivitamin supplements and HIV disease progression and mortality. N Engl J Med. 2004 Jul 1;351(1):23-32. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15229304

4. Baum MK, Campa A, Lai S, et al. Effect of Micronutrient Supplementation on Disease Progression in Asymptomatic, Antiretroviral-Naive, HIV-Infected Adults in Botswana: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2013;310(20):2154-2163. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.280923. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleID=1785464

5. Foster HD. Why HIV-1 has diffused so much more rapidly in Sub-Saharan Africa than in North America. Med Hypotheses, 2003 Apr;60(4):611-4.

6. Foster HD. How HIV-1 causes AIDS: implications for prevention and treatment. Med Hypotheses, 2004;62(4):549-53. Review.

7. Foster HD. A role for the antioxidant defense system in preventing the transmission of HIV. Med Hypotheses, 2007. 69(6), 1277-1280.

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information: http://www.orthomolecular.org

Find a Doctor

To locate an orthomolecular physician near you: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v06n09.shtml

The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource.

Editorial Review Board:

Ian Brighthope, M.D. (Australia)
Ralph K. Campbell, M.D. (USA)
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (USA)
Damien Downing, M.D. (United Kingdom)
Dean Elledge, D.D.S., M.S. (USA)
Michael Ellis, M.D. (Australia)
Martin P. Gallagher, M.D., D.C. (USA)
Michael Gonzalez, D.Sc., Ph.D. (Puerto Rico)
William B. Grant, Ph.D. (USA)
Steve Hickey, Ph.D. (United Kingdom)
Michael Janson, M.D. (USA)
Robert E. Jenkins, D.C. (USA)
Bo H. Jonsson, M.D., Ph.D. (Sweden)
Peter H. Lauda, M.D. (Austria)
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D. (USA)
Stuart Lindsey, Pharm.D. (USA)
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D. (Puerto Rico)
Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada, M.D. (Finland)
Erik Paterson, M.D. (Canada)
W. Todd Penberthy, Ph.D. (USA)
Gert E. Schuitemaker, Ph.D. (Netherlands)
Robert G. Smith, Ph.D. (USA)
Jagan Nathan Vamanan, M.D. (India)
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The study has already been debunked…………..

I looked at the study. They looked at the effect of vitamins on cognitive functioning in adult men 65 years old + and another part of the study looked at people ALREADY WITH heart issues and saw no improvement in either one of these categories. Ummm, why didn’t they look at the worst possible groups of people. That is hilarious. In order to see the effects that vitamins have on a person’s health you would have to have two people with the exact same genetic make up and health issues, etc. and give one vitamins and one not and follow them over the course of their life. This would be pretty close to impossible, not to mention unethical. For those who want to believe studies like this, keep in mind, traditional medicine DOES NOT look for cures or ways to prevent illness, they only treat the symptoms.

The first study cited was a review of 27 studies, but only 3 were on multivitamins; the rest were on singular nutrients. Second paper was on physicians – probably the best-nourished demographic in America. And in America, only about an estimated 5% of the population gets a nutritionally satisfactory diet, meaning there is much room for multivitamins to fill in nutritional gaps. In the third paper, the “nonadherence rate” was more than 50%! The authors themselves said any “interpretation is very difficult.” Also of note in this commentary, when a vitamin study was found to be successful (hint: there are many), it is characterized as an “enormous controversy.” The bias is clear: The mainstream American medical establishment wants people to be unhealthy so they can dispense profitable pharmaceuticals to treat people once they are sick, and they are not interested in keeping them well in the first place. As the Chinese proverb goes, “The superior doctor prevents sickness; the mediocre doctor attends to impending sickness; the inferior doctor treats actual sickness.”


A Murdoch paper for a balanced view ….. : )

Have they printed a link to the research you can share?

I add the adjoining Times teaser articles they have carried. Its incredibly interesting that the top two articles I have copied are actually about different things which shows how stupid the media is in how it presents studies.

Last updated at May 24 2012
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Mothers’ vitamin D ‘does not help bone health in children’
Pregnant women taking vitamin D supplements to improve the bone health of their children may be wasting their money,…
Last updated at March 19 2013
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Vitamin D from sun may improve pregnancy chances
Scientists believe that vitamin D provided by the Sun might help embryos to establish themselves in the womb
Published at October 25 2012
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Millions of people are vitamin D deficient
A woman reads a book in the sunshine in Victoria Tower Gardens on September 2, 2011 in London, England
Almost every cell in the body has receptors for D and we now realise that it does far more than maintain the…
Published at April 24 2012
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There is a long history of poor reporting of science in the press, but different articles can support different views, giving a very crude balance. Ignore the popular press and look at articles in New Scientist, Scientific American and other publications that aim to provide the general public with good quality information in a comprehensible format.


Yes there is a link dieseltaylor and referenced at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, but am not able to locate it at the moment even from my browser history.
I shall keep on searching.


Some simple lifestyle changes confer such remarkable benefits for the prevention of disease, that if they were pills, they would be called “miracle” drugs.

As we approach an epidemic in the number of newly diagnosed cases of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, irrefutable evidence continues to emerge supporting the science behind following simple lifestyle modifications to dramatically lower the risk of developing memory-robbing illnesses and most other chronic diseases as well. Based on the current trend, experts fear that as many as one in three Americans over the age of 65 will suffer from some degree of dementia by the year 2050. Not more than 50 years ago, Alzheimer’s disease was virtually unknown to the average person, yet it now threatens to directly or indirectly impact the life of almost every man, woman and child in the US. Fortunately, there are some very simple lifestyle changes that we can adopt to change the current course of this explosion in new dementia cases.

Publishing in the journal PLOS One, a research team from the Cardiff University School of Medicine in the United Kingdom has identified five lifestyle behaviors that have been shown to reduce the risk of cognitive decline, and researchers say these healthy habits are more beneficial than medical treatments or preventative procedures.

Researchers identified exercise as the most important lifestyle factor to lower dementia risk

The researchers followed a cohort of 2,235 men aged 45-49 from 1979 to 2004 in the UK. During this period, incidences of diabetes, vascular disease, cancer and death were recorded, along with an examination in 2004 to determine cognitive state. After a detailed analysis of all available data, the scientists identified the following five healthy behaviors as being essential for the best chance of living a disease-free life: performing regular exercise, not smoking, maintaining a low body weight, following a healthy diet and having a low alcohol intake.

Additionally, the study demonstrated that the individuals who adhered to four or five of these behaviors had a 60 percent lowered risk of dementia and cognitive decline, and there were 70 percent fewer cases of diabetes, heart disease and stroke, compared with individuals who followed none of the behaviors. As far as reducing the risk for dementia, the scientists noted that regular moderate-intensity exercise was the strongest factor.

“What the research shows is that following a healthy lifestyle confers surprisingly large benefits to health,” the lead study author, Dr. Doug Brown, concluded. “We have known for some time that what is good for your heart is also good for your head, and this study provides more evidence to show that healthy living could significantly reduce the chances of developing dementia.”

Many natural health enthusiasts already understand the importance of adhering to the five identified factors to lower disease risk, while many other people are on a direct collision course for dementia and declining health by ignoring these simple lifestyle modifications.

Sources for this article include:


John Phillip, who is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life.


A balanced diet and moderate exercise will benefit almost everybody (except the vitamin peddlers, and I don’t care about them).


Further to the mention of Vitamin D.

Prof Norman Ratcliffe, from Swansea University, recently said that a record number of people in the UK are suffering with a vitamin D deficiency. Adequate levels of the sunshine vitamin are necessary to prevent common cancers, heart and autoimmune diseases, rickets, osteomalacia (bone pain and muscle weakness), diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and depression.

The truth is, vitamin D deficiency is slowly becoming a ‘major public health concern’ and some experts claim that Britain is heading back to the 1920s — a time when large numbers of children suffered bone pain and bowed legs from the effects of rickets.

Professor Nicholas Clarke, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Southampton General Hospital, said that all children at the hospital with musculoskeletal pain have their vitamin D levels tested and most of them are deficient. Children as young as two are being diagnosed with full-blown rickets with the classic Victorian symptoms of bowed legs that may require surgery.

According to Prof Clarke, pregnant women are not routinely informed that they should be taking vitamin D, and vitamins for children are not being promoted at all. Much as the vitamin is present in some foods, most of it is synthesized by our bodies when exposed to sunlight.

Alternative health expert, Dr. Jonathan V. Wright, recommends cod liver oil as a good source for vitamin D. It packs in 1,200 to 1,500 IU per tablespoon. When supplementing with vitamin D, Dr. Wright recommends 5,000 IU daily if you are an adult and 2,000 to 3,000 IU for children.

However, after saying that, it is important that anyone should work with a doctor skilled in natural medicine to find your body’s optimal level of vitamin D and remember to take extra vitamin E if you supplement with fish oils, as it will help keep them from oxidizing too rapidly in your body.


Just as a matter of interest I would like to ask if you have had you vitamin D levels checked and whether they are insufficient or optimal?

If insufficient, and in the absence of sunlight here in the Winter, I wonder how you think you could solve this issue unless you take vitamin D supplements.?


Looking at a source for the original editoral, I see a much repeated phrase in the article around the world for the Murdoch papers. Google does show how a particular phrase fills the web and is quoted by others.

Anyway from one of the three papers in the Journal

Multivitamin Studies

We identified 4 good-quality trials (n = 28 607) (19–22) and 1 good-quality cohort study (n = 72 337) (23) that evaluated a multivitamin’s effect on cardiovascular, cancer, and mortality outcomes or harms (Table and Supplement) (47–55). Two of the 4 multivitamin trials were large (n = 27 658): SUpplementation in VItamins and Mineral AntioXidants Study (SU.VI.MAX) and the Physicians’ Health Study II (PHS-II). SU.VI.MAX was conducted among 13 017 men and women living in France and examined a 5-ingredient multivitamin (19). PHS-II tested the efficacy of a 30-ingredient commercial multivitamin among 14 641 U.S. male physicians (21). Neither SU.VI.MAX nor PHS-II reported that supplements affected all-cause mortality after 7.5 and 11.2 years of follow-up, respectively (Figure 1). A third trial, the Roche European American Cataract Trial (REACT), reported more deaths in the intervention group (n = 9) than in the control group (n = 3) after 3 years, but this difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.07) (20). We found no effect on all-cause mortality when we pooled the results of these trials (Figure 1).”

Couple of points here. Rather like bee populations if you are only looking for mortality as the measure are you possibly missing the point as to quality of life?

Don’t get me wrong I am not a multivitamin fan boy but I am a skeptic, and I do believe studies which show incontrovertible links for Vitamin D and reduced health problems. Notice I am not saying people lived longer taking D I am just commenting on the Manchester study showing people suffered less colds etc in winter when they had higher Vitamin D compared to those with low Vitamin D.

Which leads to the question – do Vitamins have an effect … and is being cold free a worthwhile objective.

More from the quotable study on its limitations :

“Our analysis has some limitations. We considered only primary prevention interventions in generally healthy people and excluded secondary and tertiary prevention trials and treatment studies. Thus, our results do not apply to the targeted use of nutrients in deficient or higher-risk individuals. Only 2 trials of multivitamin supplements were included for efficacy, even though we broadly defined a multivitamin as 3 or more ingredients. Those 2 trials studied very different supplements (19, 21). Because the only multivitamin trial to include women used a supplement with 5 ingredients (19), it could be argued that there are no data on a “true” multivitamin in women. Most of the included vitamin trials provided less than a decade of follow-up, and vitamin effects on CVD and cancer may take longer to manifest. The small number of studies in each pooled analysis made it difficult to evaluate between-study heterogeneity. We limited our examination of harms to fair- and good-quality trials and observational studies and thus may have underestimated harms. In addition, we did not assess harms from higher doses of vitamins and minerals than the upper tolerable limit set by the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board.”



It is well worth trying to avoid viral infections such colds and flu, since the latter can very serious.

My approach is to avoid the virus by keeping away from people with colds and hygienic measures such as hand washing because the virus can be transmitted by contact. The last time I had an infection was during the swine flu epidemic a few years ago.


I think the evidence that older people might need vitamin D supplementation is reasonably sound. The evidence that everybody needs it, is absent, as is the evidence that almost anybody needs the massive levels promoted by extreme advocates.

What’s interesting is to compare the modest and cautious claims of the carefully designed studies, with the inflated claims of the unreliable studies preferred by the more extreme advocates.

Skepticism is the default i the scientific method. It’s the correct approach. Applying skepticism leads you to request a blood test to check for vitamin D levels, ignore virtually every claim around vitamin C, and so on. The only advantage of supplements is that they are probably less harmful for those who are determined to medicalise normality than other classes of drugs.

Much better to eat a balanced diet, take moderate exercise, and stop worrying unless you actually have symptoms. And of course never believe any claim made by a salesman, without independent corroboration. I analysed some of the criticisms of the ASA’s regulation of supplement claims.


indeed there is a perceived need for Vitamin D supplementation in the elderly, but we all need the vitamin, so lack of our main source from sunlight exposure (esp’ in the Winter) means that it is not only the elderly who have a need.

There is nothing remotely extreme in supplementing with Vitamin D of 5000ius to 8000ius per day in the Wintertime in the absence of sunlight, when in the Summer months, when we are lucky enough to receive exposure, sunlight will produce up to 20,000ius of Vitamin D within the skin, and within half an hour of mostly full body sunlight exposure.
According to your own reasoning this makes the Sun an “extremist”, so well done on that score.

BTW, Vitamin D is not a drug but a hormone precursor found in Nature essential for bodily health..

I agree that it is a wise choice to eat a “balanced” diet (plant-based) and take regular exercise as well, but you should have realized by now that our crops are nutrient-deficient, and therefore some supplementation (although not the ideal) is a prudent way of making good this shortfall.

In addition the website WDDTYDTY is such a scam it isn’t worth reading the nonsense it contains.