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34 comments

Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

Posted March 08, 2010 12:00 AM by Jaxy

For years, multivitamins have served the single purpose of providing the body with the nutrients that don't come from the daily diet. It seems like an easy way to get the daily recommended amounts of vitamins, just take two seconds to swallow a multivitamin. The alternative of being vigilant about eating healthfully and conscientiously is often discarded because of the ease of popping a pill.

Multivitamins Are Ineffective

It used to be that a large number of people used to have nutritional deficiencies, which warranted the use of multivitamins. Today, many of the foods we eat on a daily basis are fortified with extra nutrients; this includes flour, milk, salt, cereal, juice, and more. A 2009 study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, suggests that many of the children who take vitamins in the United States don't need to.

It is believed that a big reason multivitamins are so effective is due to the placebo effect. In a 2008 survey, 38% of doctors stated that they had recommended the taking of vitamins because of the placebo effect. In a study done in 1975, it was shown that it didn't matter whether a vitamin C pill or a placebo (inert lactose tablet) was taken to alleviate colds, they both worked about the same. In the end, it was what the subjects thought they were taking that mattered most. Those who believed they were taking vitamin C concluded with fewer and milder cases of the cold than the people who thought they were just taking lactose pills.

Vitamins Are Important

Even though multivitamins aren't as effective as was once thought, it doesn't mean that vitamins aren't important; in fact, they are critical for a variety of bodily functions. It is still recommended that everyone get certain levels of an assortment of different vitamins to keep your bodily functions running smoothly.

Since your body can't create vitamins, the best way to get them is the way that nature intended, by eating a variety of foods with nutrients. Unfortunately, the modern American diet of processed foods with little nutritional value may express a need for an effective multivitamin now more than ever before.

Subsequent blog entries will start to question whether popping a multivitamin may be more than ineffective, but downright toxic!

Resources:

http://www.slate.com/id/2240688/

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#1

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/08/2010 3:36 AM

Whew! It's good to learn this; I haven't used vitamin pills, and maybe I haven't missed anything. A good diet with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies no doubt helps, as does mostly home meal preparation.

As I recall, vitamin A can be a problem in excess, though C can be guzzled, but the others...? I'll continue to follow the thread.

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#2

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/08/2010 11:51 PM

Your post said nothing to answer the initial question. What a letdown.

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#3

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/09/2010 5:26 AM

No they are not ineffective. The degree to which 1/ they are effective and 2/ essential, will depend on a bunch of factors. Short of a thesis here's a few reasons that may influence you thoughts on taking them.

Firstly we need to establish why some work better than others. No doubt that vitamins and all supplements that have a natural organic origin are more readily absorbed into the body and utilised at cell level, than chemically engineered vitamins. Also remember that the depletion of the resource needed in the bloodstream most often stems either from the digestive system's inability to extract it from the food containing it, or you are not taking in the nutrients required. That because of a chemical deficiency already existing in the body, and/or an organ that is no longer capable of manufacturing the enzyme or protein, or as is the most common cause....the preservatives you are eating in the food masking the nutrients, making it impossible to digest the food to extract the nutrient AND get it into the bloodstream. Another factor is that in food processing many nutrients are actually destroyed or worse, deliberately removed to sell at a higher price. Storage of foods also leads to the degradation of the nutrients. Foods straight out of the garden, preferably from non genetically engineered seed, without use of insecticides, will be first prize.

Ideally you would want to target a specific need with the most appropriate supplement, eg. Vit. B complex for stress. The real value of a multivitamin is its scatter-gun effect providing a ready supply of a broad spectrum to address any particular shortage as it occurs. This ready availability of any supplement's advantage is addressing the problem before it escalates into a notable disorder.

In the real world we live in it has become impossible to a/get all the nutrition our body needs from our diets and b/crazy to not protect yourself with natural nutrition in supplement form that is available in favour of paying a fortune to your doctor who in many cases is more interested in the state of your medical insurance than in your state of health. Don't believe me: Check your doctors next time you see them.......tell them you are sick now but will only be able to pay when you are well again and back at work for two months. Let me know their response.

And I doubt that your doctors will spend much time explaining the value of nutritional supplements to you. Nutritional science is the one coarse that pharmaceutical companies don't support much, if at all, at med schools. I wonder why?

A good rule of thumb when you are ill (or to reduce the incidence of illness) is try to avoid foods that will last for longer than three days in the refrigerator. That would include bought ketchup, jams, jello, ice-cream, long life milk, cold meats, pies, ready meals, the list goes on and on, all containing preservatives. Rather make your own from fresh produce when you want some. Freeze excess, but use it within three months. Eating a cabbage with a few fresh worms is a heck of a lot healthier than one without worms, but covered in insecticide.

Don't tell me you or your kids don't like vege's. No one likes the taste of antibiotics, but you eat them and make your kids eat them!! Rather not get sick in the first place.

What happened to the old Chinese principle of paying your doctor to keep you healthy and firing him if you got sick. Now that would change the face of modern Western medicine. Until that happens, better you take your multivitamins.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/09/2010 5:30 AM

Sorry Guys and Gals, this is the old Bushdriver that did not log in again...... You guessed it, Nutrition is one of my hobby horses. Thanks Jaxy for this one.

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/09/2010 8:16 AM

"A good rule of thumb when you are ill (or to reduce the incidence of illness) is try to avoid foods that will last for longer than three days in the refrigerator."

Really? What doesn't last longer than 3 days in the fridge? I bought a head of lettuce a week ago and it's still in there and still good. I thought the original purpose of the refrigerator was to preserve foods longer kind of like salt.

I'm not saying some of the other junk I have in there doesn't have lots of preservatives, but I don't own a farm or garden so I'm going to eat something.

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#6

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/09/2010 8:19 AM

I have to strongly disagree with the Original Posters position.

While some suppliments don't do much...take for example CaCO3 (Calcium Carbonate) as far as relieving calcium deficiency....others like Calcium Ascorbate actually do quite a good job.

In studying nutrition and supplements, one must also study chemisty and how the body goes about absorbing nutients.

Some multivitamine and mineral supplements bought at your local drug store or walmart may not do you much good. The reason is they are often denatured, mixed with insoluable carbonates, sulfates or hydroxides, are pressed by tonnes of force into pills and have no enzymes with them. People take them once a day on the standard american diet and often the pills just get pooped out...especially by older people.

Unfortunately, americans don't research these aspects much and are susceptible to the crap mentioned in the above article (The original posters comments).

Nutrition is about what you get and how you get it. You can't ignore chemistry....other co-factors and how the body assimulates nutrients and expect to understand or benifit from supplements.

Point in Fact.....almost all minerals your body needs are assimulated into the body with Vitamin D used in conjuction with Magnesium and Calcium. If you don't have enough Vitamin D (Think many 1000's of IU and not the RDA of 400 IU) and get enough magnesium and calcium (1-2 grams) in the right form (not in carbonates)...........you WILL NOT ASSIMULATE the other minerals properly !!! Period

Then you will be wasting your time and the money you spend on these supplements.

You need to do your research otherwise you will be pissing and pooping your supplements down the drain.

But to say we have fortified food and that is good enough ?? I mean that is gross disinformation.

The human body needs 66 vitamins and minerals not to mention enzymes, essential oils and freindly bacteria. If you don't supplement, you will take years off your life even if you eat all the "best" foods we have to offer. And you will take decades of healthy life off if you eat the standard american diet and use standard multivitamines from walmart or CVS.

Now I will never say you can find the right vitamin and mineral supplements and say you can still eat all the wrong foods. Without good foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, you will also be missing hundreds of "unrecognized" enzymes and other compounds that facilitate good absorption of other nutrients.

"YOUR fistful of supplements will never counter a diet of hamburgers, taco's and french fries !!!!"

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#7

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/09/2010 8:39 AM

"One of these days, all these health nuts will be lying in the hospital dying---of nothing"

"Be careful while reading those health magazines, you could die of a misprint"

-Mark Twain

Just think:You eat right, live clean, run 5 miles a day, don't drink, smoke or do drugs, and are run over and killed by a bus at a young age.

Look at all the sinful pleasures you could have enjoyed.!

Eat drink and be merry! Don't worry, be happy!

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#8
In reply to #2

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/09/2010 9:11 AM

I've heard a lot about multi-vitamins not being as nutritional for you because many of the vitamins that are in the one pill cancel each other out. It's better to take vitimins individually so you can take different ones at different parts of the day to get the most value from them.

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#9

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/09/2010 10:02 AM

"many of the vitamins that are in the one pill cancel each other out"...

I think you meant Elements? Anyway, it's like this...You go to the Bank first thing in the morning, not knowing how much money you will need for the day, you withdraw one thousand dollars and head out for the day. Now considering how your day went, when you get home you find that you have three hundred dollars left, so you head for the bathroom, deposit the money into the toilet and flush with the thought in mind, at least I had enough...

Welcome to the wild world of supplements!!

When was it the last time you had Rickets?

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#10
In reply to #3

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/09/2010 10:24 AM

Hi Guest,

I just took my oil soluble vitamins after my breakfast. Earlier, when I get up, after my shower, I take on empty stomach 18 grams of ascorbid acid = vitamin C. I follow Linus Pauling's recommendations for over 24 years. I visited a doctor 4 years ago with an minor skin accident. Before that it was for my second marriage, 12 years ago. I have a cold every 3 or 4 years for two days, that's all. Other problems? Like everyone at over 70s! My principle for a healthy life: Cook Chinese with "one" part by weight of fresh fish, chicken, pork, and lamb at choice but never eat beef. Eat "4 to 5" parts by weight of veggies, including broccoli, Chinese or not, green onions, peppers, celery, cabbage in any colour, and others on hand. Also, I eat "1 to 3" parts by weight of beans and lentil. I try to balance all together in at least two meals a day. I eat around half of a kilo at each meal. I have to eat outside for business but Chinese and Japanese is on the menue. I try to eliminate everything with Glycemic Index higher than 50. I don't take multivitamins. I take individually each vitamin because the control on the quantities are better. Multivitamins are made for people take everything once a day and hope they are protected against every disease. It's a good seller but not the most efficient. Every individual needs different level of each vitamins and practically every day to adjust daily variations of our health and exterior exposure and its influence on our health.

Everyone needs some vitamin daily because our eating habits doesn't supply them and our environment is deficient (vitamin D). I double vitamin D during winter.

Your recommendations must be followed by 80% of our population but with that, I start to dream, Gil.

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#11

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/09/2010 3:22 PM

Deciding when and who should use multivitamin supplements (orally) is a complex issue that must be examined by a multitude of variables . Obviously when citing a study like the Archives of Pediatrics, it inherently biases the outcome to a target population in the pediatric and adolescent age groups. We know that besides the pediatric population, two other large target populations have been encouraged and even mandated by "good practice policies"( it's malpractice if a physician doesn't) to take multivitamins.

1. Women who are pregnant or are of child bearing age

2. Senior citizens, with certain chronic diseases.(heart and vascular disease, diabetes, certain brain and nerve disorders).

Recently, negative outcomes from certain patient populations taking multivitamins has resulted in large class action lawsuits, specifically, the Bayer Pharmaceutical Company was cited with aggravating or promoting prostate cancer from the selenium( actually a mineral additive to multivitamins) in senior adult males, however, the selenium was found to reduce the likelihood of fractures in osteoporotic senior women.

Rather then using the "shotgun method" of multivitamins, a better approach would be to take selective vitamin supplementation that reduces the effects of certain diseases or actually prevents the development of certain illnesses.

A vitamin deficiency has re-emerged in the 21st Century which caused the debilitating disease known as ricketts in past centuries due to Vit D deficiency. Vitamin D is an additive to all milk products and most other massed produced food products- from canned goods to wheat and grain products… SO what caused the new wave of Vitamin D deficiency?

Two Factors:

1. Vitamin D in the blood stream, requires sunlight exposure of the skin to become metabolically active. The increase in the use of sun screens to prevent skin cancers, has resulted in VIt D deficiency despite sufficient intake,

2. Vitamin D deficiency at levels not sufficient to cause ricketts has been attributed to nerve dysfunction and other more subtle illnesses such as chronic pain in extremities and bone, as well as reduce the incidence of colon cancer and depression.

The Heart disease populations require supplementation with folate and the Vit B's to reduce cholesterol levels and prevent vascular damage.

SO in summary: multivitamin supplementation, is truly a "shot gun" approach, except for the pregnant female population, and can be unnecessary in some cases or result in outright toxicity/or disease in other cases. The use of individual vitamin supplementation is a safer method and is warranted and indicated in certain disease populations and age groups.

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/09/2010 6:23 PM

Hi Tom,

I agree that each person must take individual vitamins as need, depending of seasons or lack of them. I double my vitamin D intake during winter time. However, I don't drink milk for over 45 years. After my understanding, Finnish are consuming the most milk per capita, and they are the most vulnerable to "osteoarthritis" and other bone troubles. Also, it was demonstrated that milk was an excellent solvent for vitamin D from bones. They measured before drinking milk and after a certain period of milk consumption. Placebo was conducted on half of the population tested. I have friends, drinking milk regularly and they have all have some problem with bones. What's the reason? No one explain this surprising phenomenon.

I already said that doctors conduct tests on certain population but never get positive results for those population. Just make recommendations to take that or this.

What's "good practice policies"? Every single day, we have some recommendation: How to eat well! What medication to take! What food doesn't produce bad cholesterol! The following day, week or month, we get another explanations from someone else but different. Where or who is the good or bad suggestor? What's the interest of telling that "we have to ask" the doctor or "we have to talk" to her/him? When the first time I said to my doctor, some 15 years ago, that I take at that moment 10 gram of ascorbic acid, she jumped off from her chair and said to me: I waste the major part of the vitamin C within a few hours and it's too much. She told me that 250 to 300 milligram will be sufficient. Four years later, my next visit, she told me that she read documents and she takes 4 grams every day, and pushed me to continue my daily dosage of 18 gram as do up to today. Opinion can be changed when we want to understand deeply and catch it, at place of judging.

Honestly, I don't appreciate combinations. If something doesn't work with one item in the cocktail, the whole cocktail has bad taste. Same with electronics. Computer, fax, telephone, and many other functions "in one" never made the buyer happy.

Linus Pauling had explained why each vitamin has this and that function, simply. Why is not followed by others? I have admiration for his profitless and helping opinion, Gil.

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/10/2010 12:22 AM

"SO what caused the new wave of Vitamin D deficiency?"

Could be the milk. See this site.

When my second son was a baby he had frequent ear infections after he stopped breast feeding and was on "formula". The doctor said to change to soy formula, but that was no better. We found a man who had a goat, and bought goat's milk from him for our son. The ear problems went away quickly. After the man sold his goat we bought goat's milk at the store. It was expensive, but much cheaper than doctor bills.

I have taken vitamin supplements for over 40 years, but now I seem to have developed allergies to some of them especially vitamin C. My dad didn't believe in vitamin supplements so never took any, but raised his own garden. He died at 86.

-S

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/10/2010 1:41 AM

Hey Gil,

Truly your experience with the Vitamin C dialogue is common place and I hope to explain.

Your pick up of my use of the term "good practice policies" is very discerning and astute on your part. It is my use of a pejorative to describe the scientific method, at least as it applies to the medical field. In the 21st Century practice of medicine and the social sciences, "legitimacy" in clinical practice is being established through "evidence-based" practice guidelines that are being standardized globally by the UN's World Health Organization and by each country through its' respective government health departments or agencies. The evidence is quantified from Level I Evidence, the strongest, to Level IV the weakest. I submit the following:

· Level I: Evidence obtained from a systematic review of all relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs)

· Level II: Evidence obtained from at least one properly designed RCT

· Level III: Evidence obtained from well-designed pseudo-randomized controlled trials (alternate allocation or some other method); comparative studies with concurrent controls and allocation not randomized, cohort studies, case-control studies, interrupted time series with a control group; comparative studies with historical control, two or more single arm studies, interrupted time series without a parallel control group

· Level IV: Evidence obtained from case series, either post-test or pretest/post-test

The common standard in science is based on adequate "peer-review" of scientific studies and strengthened by the number of "eyes" conducting the review. Unfortunately the "systematic review" of even Level I Evidence, has been subjugated to the discernment of one or two individuals who conducts the review of a particular "societal journal". Even worse, a Level II Evidence score is all too often given to a single randomized clinical trial (RCT) published in one peer reviewed journal with the discernment of two individuals.

It is no wonder in the United States the legal profession has derived for usage in the courts, the legal term, "Standard of care" to define a diagnostic or treatment process that a clinician should follow so that an adequate degree of prudence and caution has been demonstrated by the clinician.

The issue at hand, of multi-vitamins, falls into Level II Evidence, at best and the great majority is what I would

describe as LEVEL V Evidence or simply "anecdotal experience", such was the case for your first encounter with the physician over the matter of Vitamin C.

I would encourage those reading this post to Google the difference between water soluble versus fat soluble vitamins. The water soluble vitamins are the most critical because of their short half-life in the human body and we see the evidence by the yellow discoloration of our urine after consumption… chow TOM

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#15
In reply to #13

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/10/2010 8:12 AM

"My dad didn't believe in vitamin supplements so never took any, but raised his own garden. He died at 86."

There's a lot more that goes into determining someone's life expectancy than whether or not they take vitamins.

My grandfather is 90 right now and he eats a sandwich and chips every day for lunch. Cereal every morning and occasionally a big breakfast. However, he still works on his farm every day. He cuts trees, repairs farm equipment, and sharpens chainsaw blades.

For him, an active lifestyle and genetics are, in my opinion, what keeps him going. I say genetics because his mom lived to be 100, although he's 90 he only looks like he is in his late 70s, my dad is 60 but looks 50, and I (and my brothers) have always looked much younger than our actual age. I guess we just age really well.

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#16
In reply to #13

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/10/2010 9:52 AM

Hi -S,

I blame the influence of our marketing and advertising society which distords human thinking from normal and logical to ridiculous. My former wife with my third daughter was convinced by other women that breast-feeding deform or alter negatively her perfect body. So, she went to "formula" feeding and she get allergy for life.

The actual life and eating habit imposed by restaurants oblige us to take some vitamin supplements. I follow Linus Pauling's recommendations with some variations, mainly with the seasons.

Wish you good luck, and join me in 22 years when I will be 94, Gil.

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#17
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Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/10/2010 10:03 AM

Hi Cingold,

You are right that each individual is different and need different quantities of vitamins necessary to stay healthy or just alive.

People out of towns, I want to say, modern towns with millions people working, eating, and getting together, allocate these people a very different life. Constant pressure, smoking, drinking, and eating prepared food the most often. The quality of health for these people are totally different from farmers and people living in the bush. The home grown veggies and spices give those real food daily. They stay healthy for more years than people in big agglomerations. Farmers are very rarely overweight, in towns, we have the most.

Eat healthy and less, take some vitamin supplements to get better, Gil.

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#18
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Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/10/2010 11:38 AM

Hi Tom,

Thanks for the detailed explanations. Personally, I am not believer of any tests or polls made by organizations. Finally, everything is biased and the results don't help ordinary people. I can see and hear heavy advertising: "Talk to your doctor" or someone tell that "It was proven that eating or taking this or that will change the life of the user". These sentences are like many, profit making words and were figured out by big organizations.

There are no government regulations what to put in prepared food, bread, or any other things made to sell to eat. I made bread for years during family vacations with only "five" ingredients, including water. On the labels of most bread we can count from 13 to 21 different items (counted!) to make a vital food.

No one explain clearly why people talk about cholesterol. Half of people tell menues or meat preparations through recepices are themselves fat or overweight. How this person, obese by itself, can explain to others what's good? We eat all kinds of oils, fats, meats made in non-controlled conditions that doesn't fit to our health. Chinese and Japanese cook in front of the eating people but many other restaurants are with hidden kitchen, or hamburger makers, pre-preparing everything in big heavily guarded manufactures.

I already explained milk is a perfect solvent for vitamin D. Why the Finnish, highest consumer of milk are the way they are with osteoarthritis and other bone related problems "much more" than other people? Concerning milk as solvent for vitamin D; measured the level of vitamin D before and after in bones. After a certain period we have milk drinkers and others drinking other than milk, and we discover at the end that milk drinkers lost large part of vitamin D from bones but remained same for the people did not consumed milk. I understand that cow business is important but why against human beings?

When I cook my food, I don't need to add vitamins and other "chemicals" to make my food appetizing and delicate to palate.

Also, no one explain that water soluble vitamins must be taken to empty stomach, and oil solubles after meals but never into empty stomach. Never drink alcohol for 2 hours before and after taking vitamins!

Please, let me know ther is some good in this comment, Gil.

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#19
In reply to #2

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/11/2010 9:05 PM

My blog was suggesting that multivitamins aren't as effective as many people think. A lot of people I know think that taking a multivitamin solves all vitamin problems. To say that 'all multivitamins are ineffective' or 'all multivitamins are effective' would be a generalization that I do not have the resources to assert. Instead of taking an absolute stand, I decided to present information on reasons why it may be ineffective. A lot of other bloggers have weighed in with their opinions which makes for a well rounded blog entry.

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#20
In reply to #13

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/11/2010 11:54 PM

Hey S,

I found your posted website very interesting for multiple reasons

1. As a child growing up next to a dairy farm, we had a constant supply of non-pasteurized milk and I agree with the articles assessment of "drugged" dairy cattle that have enlarged pituitary glands, so that the cattle will produce more prolactin, the hormone both in humans and cattle that induces milk production.

2. I am familiar with Dr. Joseph Mercola, who penned the article, but lost contact with him.

3. You and your families experience with ear infections after cessation of breast feeding is a comon occurrence and many have the same testimony concerning goats milk, especially common in the EU.

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#21
In reply to #16

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/12/2010 12:25 PM

Hello Myself,

I have to correct something! My former wife has no problem with allergies or any other things after my third daughter was born.

My third daughter get the allergy and she take multi-vitamins but the allergy stays with her! The big and visible difference is that she is the shortest of the family by over 20 cm! It's inbelieveable; How does allergy influences lifes!

Personally, I don't take multi-vitamins but take all kinds of vitamins; A, Bs combined, C (18 grams a day), D ( more in winter), E, and some PP.

Each of us has different needs, so multi-vitamins don't fit to the process of daily vitamin in-take.

If someone doesn't like vitamin supplements, avoid them but don't complain to us who are fidel vitamin consumers, Gil.

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#22
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Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/13/2010 2:26 AM

Hi Cingold

You are absolutely right; three days is a gross generalization on my part. You got the point, its preservatives I was aiming at, and then the "effective nutritional life" of the fresh produce. Each has limits affected by time; oxidation rate, accelerated ripening by chemical, gas, or temperature..... The real world dictates our lives. We live in it!

I have a tiny veggie and herb garden at home that supplies about 10% of our needs but for the bulk and while I am on the road, I am at the mercy of the stores and restaurants just as most people are.

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#23
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Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/13/2010 4:04 AM

Dr Tom and Gil (Should be huge respect Granny Gil)

Doc if you are in practice, put a big and a spotlight on your shingle. You Sir are a great asset to your profession and I trust you are not too offended by my comments on many doctors' financial motivation for practice. My apologies if you are.

The obvious first line of "best Practice" would be along Gill's holistic approach to a diet that is as healthy as her environment allows supplemented with what has been identified as a shortfall by season, health needs for her age and correctives for the abuse from our deviations from the dietary ideals we know are impossible to maintain.

My pet hate in medical terms has to the seeing a doctor when I have an disorder and the only thing they do is treat the prevailing symptom with whichever drug comes to mind first. No I'm not questioning the ability to diagnose, or the ability to prescribe the correct drug for the symptom. I'm questioning why at age 55, fortunately having been blessed with better health than most people, I have not once been asked about my diet, lifestyle or psychological state, working conditions or life at home. Against that background, I would again say that Multivitamins are effective and a far better bet than none at all. AND I agree 100% that identifying specific supplementary requirements is what we all should be helped to do by our physicians.

The other concern I have about supplements in general is the apparent low level on manufacturing control and label requirements. There seldom seems to be any way for the consumer to know if the contents of the supplement were derived from organic extraction or raw chemical composition. Are the raw chemicals synthesised to the actual vitamin, or are they "in a capsule in kit form". I would postulate, (not knowing exactly what these "kits" could or should contain.) that the wrong combination of "kit form" vitamins could become toxic even in small doses. Any pharmacists please comment.

Am I wrong in thinking that because the humble vitamin is not a class 4 drug it does not get the same scrutiny and is therefore exposed to somewhat arbitrary manufacturing prescription by the authorities. Knowing the nutritional shortfall our lifestyles provide our bodies, would a higher level of scientific approach and research into high quality supplements not be a good investment in healthy living/prophylactic medicine?

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#24
In reply to #13

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/13/2010 4:22 AM

Hi SG. I could not help but notice the pipe in your avitar. Run a Google on "the effects of tobacco smoke on infant hearing disorders". My dear wife is now almost totally deaf even with hearing aids. The specialist that did the last set of operations for her attributed her parent's heavy smoking as the most likely cause of the problems she has had with her ears, and a couple of other organs...

A paper I read years ago on the subject was particularly scary in that the researchers concerned had established a genetic carry over of the hearing disorders caused by smoking for three generations in lab mice. Well neither my wife or I have ever smoked and my two strapping big sons aint no mices, but I have spent thousands on their ears.

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#25
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Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/13/2010 4:28 AM

Oooops. Big boo boo. Sorry Gil that should have been huge respect Grandpa Gil

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#26
In reply to #23

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/13/2010 12:13 PM

Hey Bushdriver,

Thank-you for the kudos... I would be the first to agree that "greed" and the love of money is the sole motivator for many in my profession and in other walks of life. Your analysis of the quality controls utilized in the food/supplement industry as well the pharmaceutical industry in the manufacture of products like multi-vitamins are tenuous at best. Too many unknown (wholesaler & manufacturer) sources are utilized by retailers. This has resulted in many deaths and disability to those utilizing the products before the source is discovered. When a generic pharmaceutical product, like a multi-vitamin, is purchased we are left with little choice but to trust the judgement of the pharmacist in selecting a reputable source....Chow, Tom

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#27
In reply to #24

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/14/2010 4:22 PM

Hi Bushdriver,

I actually don't smoke and never have. Your comment got me thinking, so I decided to change my avatar so as not to promote smoking. I chose that one because I like Data and Sherlock Homes. I am sure that hearing is not the only thing that is genetically carried over by smoking. Some of my health problems may be related to my dad smoking for a while before I was conceived. Alcohol is another with the same problem. I think that some of my grand children are semi-retarded because their mother has used alcohol in excess for years.

-S

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#28
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Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/14/2010 10:08 PM

Hi Bushdriver,

I'm sorry to hear that your family has had such health difficulty with hearing. If I may ask, does your wife have otosclerosis?

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#29
In reply to #14

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/15/2010 9:49 AM

Hi Tom,

Long but good! My question about the doctor's original opinion for 250 to 300 milligram, and turned out to 4 grams a day later on. The conventional must be refused! I'm disruptive! I never accepted to make something the same way than other people did. Vive la "difference"! Any other ways, you are a "me-too".

Really, I would like to know; How many people take large amounts of vitamin C (5 g, 10 g or more), and every day?

I tried hard during my life to speak all known languages by me as simple as possible, and don't use complexe words or complicated and ununderstandable explanations. However, I can pick-up them and I make notes sometimes about them.

Like already said, all tests and polls are fake, directed, and never represent realities originally projected.

My "evidence" is the reality, most of the time, my reality, Gil.

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#30

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/22/2010 2:09 PM

Here is a link to an article entitled "Vitamin B Deficiency: Mega-vitamin Therapy, Side Effects and Allergic Reactions", that gives some insight regarding "supplementation" and why some people seem to notice "results" and others do not.

http://www.holistichealthtopics.com/HMG/Bvitamin.html#B%20Vitamins%20-%20balance%20or%20imbalance?

There are many factors which influence how each of our bodies work. Genetics, time of day, etc. Also, most of the systems of the body are "closed loop" and seek a homeostatic level. While these levels may not vary much, what the body is having to do to maintain -- or try as the case may be -- (as implied in the above article) can certainly vary from person to person. Regulation is accomplished by hormonal signaling.

Then there is the absorption question. This may also be implied in the above mentioned article.

Additionally, because there are varying factors, a lot of studies can't be considered comprehensive. Vitamin C is one such topic where dosages are too small in many studies to conclude that there was no positive outcome. (For interesting reading, try http://www.orthomed.com/klenner.htm as a start. Then look into Liposomal C.)

A lot seems to be known about the body, but I think science has barely even scratched the surface and our medicine, though advanced, is still in the dark ages.

After a lot of reading I've come to the conclusion that the best approach to maintaining health is to limit processed food intake, eat fresh (organic when possible) vegetables and fruits. I do use supplementation because this is easier said than done for most people. Prevention is much better than cure. But, in the end, each person has to go by their own experience. I'm just saying maybe some people's experience has been too limited given these complicating factors. It is best to take responsibility for one's health, read as much as possible, but try to see an overall picture. Our culture's experience with pharmaceuticals has made us approach nutritional supplements with the same mentality. Sometimes they do act like magic bullets for some, but in many instances, there are more than one single nutrient that needs to be tweaked. The body is very robust and usually will withstand much mistreatment. But even the strongest body will eventually succumb to abuse.

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#31
In reply to #30

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/22/2010 2:54 PM

Hi Guest,

Interesting comment with some most read additions. I take vitamin supplements because after my understanding of life, eating habits, and the environment we live need something more. I follow Linus Pauling's recommendation because first he wasn't a doctor. His view was pragmatic about how we are, live, and do with our body. He made recommendations without any interests and he took for decades what he suggested for others.

I take large amount, 18 gram, of vitamin C every day, plus A,Bs,D,E, flaxseed oil, and calcium. Pauling told in his book from this low to that high limit for each. I take reasonable in between or close to the higher level for over 20 years and touching wood, don't have any marked reaction. It's important to take vitamins in certain condition, empty stomach for vitamin C and Bs, or take oil solubles after meal, not fruits.

Yes, processed foods are the killer over time. THe unknown chemicals in at small amounts accumulate in our body and explode in an unexpected moment. I have friends, they live on processed food because they don't cook at all, and they are sick and have all kinds of sicknesses, skin, stomach, liver, and overweight or obesity is rampant. I was in China and I adopted the Chinese way to cook. Fresh veggies every day, small daily amount of chicken, pork, and fish meat with brown rice or whole weat pasta cooked the same day. I keep little food for the next day or freeze but never meat. In restaurants I eat Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese, forget the rest. In Toronto, we have them everywhere.

Guest, please, don't read book or papers from doctors, they will feed you with bad ideas about your opinion and they need customers! Follow your personal observations and do what you think is good for you, Gil.

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#32
In reply to #31

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/22/2010 3:51 PM

Yes, Gil.

Don't forget that Linus Pauling was a Biochemist. Many of the citations in the article about B-vitamins are from researchers, not MD's. But also, no need to worry about me being misled by doctors. I gave up on most doctors a long time ago. I have been Type II diabetic for 18 years and except for a couple of brief periods of using insulin, I've managed. I also was diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis about 10 years ago. Again, after going to a Rheumatologist and being offered nothing but pain medication, I researched the topic and was lucky enough to find a book entitled, "The Arthritis Breakthrough". It is the story of an MD (Dr. Thomas Brown, now deceased) who had much success in treating RA and other autoimmune diseases with low-dosage, long-term antibiotic therapy. I simply tried fresh garlic as a substitute for the pharmaceutical antibiotics and have never looked back. By the way, the Rheumatologist gave me free boxes of Vioxx which I never took. Glad I didn't.

So, you can see, I'm not afraid of ideas, whether they are offered by an MD, biochemist, or just someone's "anecdotal" experience. I trust my gut instincts to glean what is useful in research papers. Sometimes tidbits of information, not even intended by the researchers, can be derived from reading their paper(s). And there are certainly some MD's who are open to thinking about health and disease in new/old ways. Dr. Weil, Dr. Whitaker, Dr. Ornish, Dr. Mercola, and many others are helping lead the way. Still, I take even their advice with a grain of salt and make my own decisions based on my experience and gut instinct. I've tried therapies that don't seem to work and experimented with my own that do.

One thing made very clear by the article on B-vitamins is how individual each of us is when it comes to health and treatment response. That, in itself, should make anyone realize there is no "one" cure for everyone.

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#33
In reply to #31

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/22/2010 8:26 PM

Hi Gil,

You have some good ideas about food, most of them I agree with. I would not take any vitamin on an empty stomach. I have done that and was sorry (upset stomach).

"Guest, please, don't read book or papers from doctors,"

Doctors who write books are generally not the drug-peddling variety. There are many I would recommend. Dr. Gary Null is one of the best sources on vegetable diets. Some other doctors that have written good books are mentioned in my thread "Eat Right for Your Blood Type?". Some of you may be interested in it. It has a link to a spreadsheet that contains notes from several books (not all written by doctors).

-S

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: Are Multivitamins Ineffective?

03/23/2010 2:00 PM

Hi Guy,

I take only B complex and C on empty stomach and I have no difficulties at all.

You are absolutely right concerning doctors and MDs. Doctor is a profession to make profit and when the profit-making person works for itself, the payers pay high price to not get the expected service.

Eliminate sugar under all forms and eat what you want but get the Glycemic Index lower than 50 and you will be fine and healthy.

Take all information about what we talk about, judge it, and decide to do or refuse!

Every word has some verity, depending from where you are looking, Gil.

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