Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Media Sensationalized Vitamin and Supplement Studies: Who or What Are We to Believe?

What I am about to share with you is not news; truthfully, it is ‘manufactured-news’ that’s been creatively written to strike an emotional chord, directly aimed at your vitality and good health!

Hey, I really get that we’re all trying to be ‘healthy’; whatever that term actually means? These days, even the words, ‘natural’ and ‘organic’, exist in questionable forms; as examples of ‘down and dirty’ and ‘deceptively devious’ creations of Corporate America! So, we need to be continuously educated and informed. We also need to be reminded that our choices and voices do matter; and that WE can become instruments of change, individually and collectively for the greater good!

I am going to go out on a limb and make a sweeping generalization regarding most mainstream vitamin and supplement manufacturers; they use cheaply outsourced ingredients of questionable quality and compound strength. Basically, they are physiologically useless; while some can even be dangerous to your health if taken in combination with other supplements or medications.

But the truth of this matter may even be stranger than fiction. I need to ask, why are these media sensationalized vitamin and mineral studies always so outrageous, and their conclusions so damaging to the value and usage of vitamins and supplements? 

With shocking, headline-style-pounding-copy, our media assaults both our senses and sensibilities; undermining our hope for good health and, creating uncertainties as to who or what to believe. Vitamin supplements raise risk of cancer in men, research shows; Vitamin E Supplements May Do More Harm Than Good; Selenium, vitamin E supplements increase prostate cancer risk; “Studies Suggest Multivitamins Are Useless And Possibly Dangerous”; and, “When Vitamins Backfire.”

Spanning decades, these studies have been ‘trying’ to determine the effectiveness of vitamins and supplements on our health; some, involving tens of thousands of participants that were meticulously tracked for the duration of the study. Somehow, these studies and their startling findings have always managed to garner great press, and made people think twice about their healthful usefulness. During these times of vitamin media hype, many people stopped taking them. The scare tactics worked!

Here, it should be clearly stated that not ALL vitamins and supplements are created equal, in terms of their ingredients and potency; and most importantly, where their components were sourced. From my research of these studies, and what the press had to say about them, I was able to look for and find things they all had in common; other than, the most obvious, choosing inferior vitamin and supplement brands as part of their study protocols! This alone, is an astonishing coincidence. Or is it?

1.       Most of the vitamins and supplements that were part of these studies were of significant low dosages to be of any discernible or measurable physiological effect; in some cases barely the RDI (Reference/Recommended Daily Intake; formerly known as the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance). I say this not as a scientist or doctor, but, as a student of chemistry and human physiology. I know how the body works and what our bodies need, in terms of nutrients, vitamins, enzymes, proteins, carbs, minerals, etc. For example, don’t expect a dosage of 40 mg of vitamin C made from cheap synthetic and inferior ingredients, buffered with fillers, colored with dyes, and containing other chemical modifiers, to be able to help anyone prevent scurvy!

2.       Not surprisingly, most of the vitamins and supplements that were part of these studies were of an inferior quality and not as ‘bio-available’ as other more expensive and better quality ingredients, easily available in the marketplace. Cheap generic multi-vitamins and supplements were chosen, like Centrum for example!

3.       Some of the vitamins and supplements within each of these studies were of a synthetic origin; which in fact are mass produced, in dubious conditions and, of questionable quality, mainly for the agriculture and food industries, as additives to farmed animal feeds; including, as an unnecessary and useless addition within our processed and packaged foods. For example, when we buy a multi-vitamin at Wal-Mart or Costco, the basic ingredients are all of the same kind and from the same source. China is one of the world’s main suppliers of vitamins, minerals, supplements and, mainly of an inferior variety!

4.       Interestingly enough, some of these studies are what are called Meta studies; which were designed to gather data from past studies and re-interpret their findings; sometimes in a new way, or to validate and corroborate already existing vitamin and supplement research data and their pre-designed ‘foregone’ conclusions.

The above facts make me question the purpose of these studies, and their well orchestrated, highly sensationalized accompanying media reports, condemning their usage and warning us of their dangers! This targeted and highly crafted media approach is almost an over-kill and deliberate; from my perspective, it looks more like a ‘propaganda campaign’, than writings designed for our better health and well-being!


In the next installment of the continuation of this story, we will delve deeper into what some of these common vitamin and supplement ingredients are actually made of; including, introducing you to a host of fillers, modifiers, shellacs, dyes, coloring agents, etc., etc. Do you really know what you are taking? Not all vitamins and supplements are created equal; and next posting, you will find out exactly why; including, the life and death differences!

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