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Multivitamins Are A Mystery

Dec 11, 2017 0 comments

I wanted to find out, "Are multivitamins good for my health?"

Well, let's see what doctors think! In a survey done by the Council for Responsible Nutrition,  900 physicians were asked if they have ever recommended a dietary supplement to a patient, it was found that 79%  of physicians said yes.

Consider that there are over one-million Medical Doctors in the United States and very few doctors speak out against multivitamins.

Medical Doctors need to admit that the emperor has no clothes but they won't because it is not their job to research multivitamin ingredients.

It is unfortunate that Centrum is being recommended over better options (like corn flakes or dirt or anything at all, really). It is also unfortunate that, according to the National Institute of Health and Consumer Reports, the American people are buying these products en masse.

What About Everyone Else?

When it comes to multivitamins, confusion is the norm. I explained that doctors are misinformed about how to judge a multivitamin. Now I will show you that many others are misinformed and conflicted on the topic of multivitamins.

Google, Yahoo, and Bing are where we go first when we need information fast. We will see that we cannot trust popular websites to tell us about multivitamins.

Join me and see what happens when we approach the web with a simple question but please note that I am not comparing websites to other websites. Every website has its own way of confusing us without help from anyone else.

The question we asked: "Are multivitamins good for my health?"

The answer we wanted: An article by an author that is well-informed about nutrition from diet and does not ignore key factors; toxins, absorption rates, forms, dosages,  additives, nutrient-nutrient interactions, and synergistic ingredients. Oh, and a little consistency goes a long way!

Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports (CR) used a third party lab to test the most popular multivitamin products on the market for heavy metals and label accuracy for the benefit of concerned readers.

They list the top rated ones and recommend that when buying a multivitamin you should: "Use the Ratings, note the nutrient doses, and buy by price."

I typically trust Consumer Reports but they made several mistakes in their study. While they were generous to test the multivitamins for the benefit of their concerned readers, they chose poor quality products to test and used faulty logic.

Their logic is that if a product has a LOW enough cost, a LOW enough concentration of toxins, and an ACCURATE enough label, then nothing else matters.

It is great that Consumer Reports tested the products. It is unfortunate that their money and research were wasted on cheap products.

They go on to tell us to "buy by price" AND to "note nutrient dose's" is a bit of a contradiction; proper dosages require a higher cost (and they tested the cheapest products on the market). Besides, for them to think that those are the only factors that define a supplement exposes them as having a shallow understanding of dietary supplements.

In that very same article, CR writes, "there's virtually no evidence that... ...[multivitamins] improve the average person's health." It is confusing to read an article in which we are told how to purchase a product and then we are told that the very same product has virtually no benefits.  It's not their fault. Like I said earlier, confusion is the norm in this industry.

CNN Health

CNN Health has an article that tells us multivitamins ARE safe and then the author recommends that we choose "[a] mainstream brand such as Centrum Silver or One-A-Day Women's... ...[which costs] about 9 cents per day." I would agree that cheaply made products are cheap; but, I would not agree that they are safe and, unfortunately, CNN Health fails to provide us with any sources or references to back up their point.

But wait, fellow observant researchers! CNN Health has another article in which they refer to an editorial entitled "Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements.1" Even though CNN Health seems to be allergic to giving links to their sources, I check out the editorial.

The editorial looked at various studies in which vitamin supplements were found to be dangerous. Therefore, the second CNN Health article completely disagrees with the first CNN Health article. According to CNN, multivitamins are both safe AND  may increase your risk of cancer. Hmm.

BBC

BBC  has a well-studied (though somewhat misleading) article* in which they discuss the dangers of supplementing with antioxidants and vitamin supplements in general. The article warns, "At best, they are probably ineffective. At worse[sic], they may just send you to an early grave." A very final and definitive statement, I like it!

In contrast with that article, BBC.com has a different article entitled "Vitamins may reduce cancer risk in men, study finds." The author of the BBC article treads lightly; however, and points out that multivitamins may be harmful or do nothing at all.

Multivitamins are not (not {not}) good if you want to safely increase your risk of cancer. Simple, right?

*They offer the correct solution of a well-balanced diet at the very end of the article but everything leading up to the solution is focused on devaluing antioxidants and vitamins; that would be fine if they had done the following:

  1. Given references to the sources they mentioned.
  2. Gone into detail about the way antioxidants recycle each other and looked at detailed studies involving a variety of properly dosed specific antioxidants.
  3. Gone into detail about the different forms, dosages, and absorption rates of the compounds they discussed.

Regardless of the quality of their research, we are still left wondering whether multivitamins will kill us or if they have a positive effect on cancer rates.

WebMD

America's number one source of hypochondria-induced-panic has an article telling you not to "Waste Your Money on Multivitamins." In their article, they review studies on multivitamins and find that there is no benefit to using them. They determine that they are NOT worth your money even if you just take them to fill in gaps in your diet or for overall health.

And yes, I'm sure you guessed it. They have another article in which they tell us that a multivitamin "can provide a nutritional back-up for a less-than-ideal diet" and go on to provide general information about using and storing multivitamins.

According to WebMD, we should NOT waste our money on a multivitamin for the purpose of replacing nutrients lacking from our diet AND we CAN trust multivitamins to help us replace nutrients lacking from our diet. It seems that confusion really IS the norm when it comes to multivitamins.

Fox News

Fox News published an article so good that I might just re-read it a couple more times. The author won me over by bringing up "targeted vitamin supplementation," artificial dyes, carotenoids, various forms of vitamins, natural folate, and the origin of daily values; AND, it is written by a Medical Doctor! Finally! Someone who gets it!

What!? Slow down, CNN! You say Fox News ALSO has an article about the dangers of multivitamins? Well darn.

NPR

Alright, just one more website and then I will stop. NPR has a very good article in which they review a number of studies, give references, and even let their personality show (take note, authors for the websites above).

The author of the article even called a professor at John Hopkins in order to find out why everyone ignores the negative studies. The professor suggests that people tend to think 'if something is good then MORE is BETTER.'

He explains that we do not need multivitamins because many foods are fortified with vitamins in our modern world. That is excellent advice! But again, NPR, like everyone else, has an article in which they say multivitamins may be good.

It is a well-written and research-based article in which they take an unbiased approach and come to the conclusion that multivitamins MAY be helpful. I like both articles from NPR very much. Sure, they left out all of the key factors and were inconsistent but... ...at least they gave us sources and made it enjoyable to read.

Conclusion

Obviously, I left out a lot of websites but it is not hard to find either bias or mixed messages (regarding multivitamins) on just about any website that touches on the topic. So, if the internet's most popular websites cannot be trusted, then where can you go to get genuine and reliable information on multivitamins? 

The only way I have been able to learn research-based-all-inclusive information about multivitamins is by (go figure) researching the individual studies and journal articles. Examine.com is a great resource for information on specific ingredients but it requires you to sift through each ingredient and compare studies.

See, very few people know about multivitamins because it requires an understanding of anatomy, physiology, and nutrition PLUS a willingness to spend hundreds of hours of studying research articles. So, that's what I do. There is factual, definitive, and research-based information on multivitamins and I am applying that research to the creation of a multivitamin.

 

This is the second article in a series of articles. Click here for the next one, in which we look at what universities and pharmacists think.

Click here to return to the GoFundMe.

 

 

 

(Journal Article) References:

  1. Eliseo Guallar, Saverio Stranges, Cynthia Mulrow, Lawrence J. Appel, Edgar R. Miller. Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements. Ann Intern Med. 2013;159:850–851. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-159-12-201312170-00011

Photo Credits:

(The internet ate my photos.)

By No machine-readable author provided. AlexanderDreyer~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims). - No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=470631

By NTNU, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology - Tatyana Sherstova-Muri, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32423533

By Dr. Marcus Gossler - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=352545

By Diacritica - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12242533

 


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