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Vitamins C & E debate, Food nutrition

May 2006 - Print | Index

Zombie Seizes KGO Channel 7
There's no other way to explain it. Throwing out any semblance of scientific objectivity, KGO Channel 7, ABC network, aired a disastrously biased hit piece on Vitamins C and E - with more holes in it than the targets from the U.S. Marine's Fallujah firing range. What follows is the verbatim transcript of Dr. Dean Adell's televised program (in italic gray text), which aired May 1, 2006, with Michael's sentence by sentence rebuttal (in blue).

KGO Headline: "New Warnings about Vitamins C & E"

Michael: The report refer to studies done in 2004, and at no time have any warnings ever been issued by any governmental agency, including the FDA, that there is any fear of taking Vitamins C & E.

May 1 - KGO - Most of us don't realize the vitamin supplement industry has blossomed to a seven billion dollar a year business with very little scientific research.

The industry has grown because alternative medicine has become popular and vitamins are regularly prescribed as safe alternatives to dangerous drugs. The industry is based purely on scientific research that is constant and without end since vitamins are non-proprietary. Universities throughout the world constantly test and publish their findings in scientific journals substantiating the efficacy and use of these supplements.

This is easily corroborated: some major sources are the PDR Physician’s Desk Reference of Nutritional Supplements, Clinical Pearls, Health Notes, and Hyperhealth.

In fact, many vitamin claims have only recently faced rigorous double blind clinical trials and often failed.

Studies more rigorous than any pharmaceutical drug have been the history of Vitamin C and Vitamin E, and all other easily attainable nutritional supplements. Thousands of published trials substantiate a myriad of uses and applications that reduce diseased conditions, and increase longevity.

Perhaps the most surprising scientific failures have occurred with the darlings of the antioxidants world - Vitamin E and Vitamin C.

The failures are few and discredited. The so-called failures have been flawed studies and ones that are designed to show failure such as the study referred to in this program. The one used for this program was a meta-analysis of ill people and would make any factor arrive at similar results. Water, beds, medicine all can be shown through meta-analysis to be events associated with early death (whatever that means).. Also, why did two of the individual studies that used the highest dose, 2,000 IUs per day, indicate fewer deaths among vitamin E users? Weekly the reports come in from university studies proving Vitamin C and Vitamin E are still the darlings of the antioxidant world.

In foods they do seem to boost heart health and improve our immune systems. But as pills, Vitamins E and C are a very different story.

Pills are not food. However, pills in powdered form are consistently added to food to bring processed food in particular up to nutritional levels. Vitamins should be taken with food, they are enzymes, catalysts that require food in order to have the best results.

Some pills are better than other pills. There does exist a broad range of potency and forms of these two important nutrients Vitamin C and Vitamin E. A program explaining those differences would be very beneficial to the public and that would be considered in my opinion a worthwhile report. Food also varies from region to region, in vitamin and mineral content. The AMA and the FDA and every other health agency extol the benefits of taking vitamins and minerals in supplement form. Most processed foods in fact add vitamins and minerals to their contents to enhance health. Whether in foods or combined with foods in the digestive process Vitamin C and Vitamin E do boost heart health and improve our immune system.

For years heart patients have been told to gobble Vitamin E -- the more the better.

This is not true. The medical community has been very opposed to supplementation. Their training is in pharmaceutical drugs and they relentlessly oppose the use of vitamins as an adjunct to health. Although research continually has shown vitamin E aids heart patients as well as many other supplements that aid heart patients, there has been no medical institution that has told people to “gobble” Vitamin E. “Gobble” is a very negative word to use indicating lack of care and concern by the medical profession, especially against those few doctors who are nutritionally educated. No one has made a blanket statement that I am aware of that “the more the better”, however, there has yet to be shown any upper toxicity level to Vitamin E supplementation. Now that is saying something significant about its safety as a nutrient. However, their statement reflects bias and a propaganda choice of words and implications.

John Swartzberg, M.D., editor, UC Berkeley Wellness Letter: "There is no good evidence that supplementing our diet with Vitamin E is to our advantage from a health perspective."

As an editor, I would presume that he studies his material to come up with a conclusion. I can only speculate that he reads only what is placed before him. I wish I had access to his reading list to enhance its breadth and scope. Someone who is an editor has a responsibility to his readers to carefully study all evidence, the preponderance of which is opposite of his statement.

Dr. John Swartzberg, UC Berkeley professor of health and editor of the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter reversed his support for Vitamin E after carefully evaluating recent controlled studies.

Unfortunately, we do not know what those recent controlled studies were. I am curious since I too read recently controlled studies and find Vitamin E does offer protection against strokes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer, and much, much more, even wrinkles and scars.

Dr. Swartzberg: "Taking Vitamin E did not protect against cardiovascular disease or strokes or cancer."

My previous comments speak to this irresponsible statement.

An analysis of 19 Vitamin E clinical trials of more than 135,000 people found no benefit and an increased risk of dying when taking more than 200 units per day.

That study was the meta-analysis study I spoke of earlier that was found to be flawed because it was not definitive enough and lacked inclusion of certain criteria to make it not appear rigged. The scientific community responded overwhelmingly against the study and its methodology. The established facts and continuing research of Vitamin E has not shown the study to have any validity.

Edgar Miller, M.D. Ph.D., Johns Hopkins Study author:"What we found from our study is supplementing high dose Vitamin E is certainly not going to protect you from disease and may actually increase your risk of cardiovascular disease."

Again studies indicate longevity by using Vitamin C and also by using Vitamin E, and even longer life span when using them both together. To state that Vitamin E may actually increase your risk of cardiovascular disease has never been proven or even indicated by any singular study. Such a statement is a reckless use of one’s position.

Vitamin Express owner Michael LeVesque disagrees. He recommends large doses of Vitamin E.

What is a large dose? Where are my words that they say I said? This is taking extreme liberty with my person to have someone else say that I said something. I’m in the next picture, but I didn’t say it there. Where did I say it? It is bad reporting to take such liberties with me. I am in no position to recommend dosages to customers. I can only show them third party literature in regard to what is recommended as a dosage.

Michael LeVesque, owner, Vitamin Express: "There's never been one case of over-dosage on Vitamin E, not one."

What was fully stated by me was the fact that according to the PDR for Nutritional Supplements and government reports by FDA and any other reporting agency, there has never been a report of a death caused by Vitamin E ever.

He says the study was biased focusing on sick people.

The referred study is the Meta-analysis of 19 clinical trials between 1993 and 2004 from researchers at John Hopkins School of Public Health. It was focused on certain criteria, one of which is that at least ten people had to have died in the study. The studies had people under doctor’s care with terminal or semi-terminal illnesses or some other malady. Many were taking prescriptive drugs simultaneously.

Michael LeVesque: "The study was very flawed."

Yes, it was flawed. It took a qualitative leap in the opposite direction of all previous research. But its major flaw was selection, and meta-analysis. You can prove anything with statistics. There is not one follow up study substantiating their findings.

Nevertheless, the current recommendation from American Heart Association is to avoid large doses of Vitamin E and Vitamin C.

The American Heart Association is not nutritionally oriented but dietetically oriented. They should be recommending many supplements, including, magnesium, CoQ10, L-Carnitine, L-Proline, L-Lysine, Calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium.

In fact, ask most people what they take for colds and they say Vitamin C.

Now this is where I can shine. I am a merchant and I sell Vitamin C. People always use it for colds. My customers tell me that since they have begun taking Vitamin C 1000mgs a day they haven’t had a cold in years. Others say, whenever I don’t take my Vitamin C, I end up getting a cold or the flu. They buy it because it works for them. Why does it work? Well, when you take 1000mgs, the body has sufficient amount to convert it into dihydroascorbate (DHA), and the excess goes into diffusion to aid the immune system. The DHA portion aids brain function, a necessary part of immunity. It also aids hundreds of other biological exchanges in the body. It is Vitamin C, ascorbate that needs to be replenished when flu viruses deplete our system of it.

It is energizing and detoxifying, especially heavy metals that we are exposed to in the city on a daily basis or from the foods we eat. It promotes the healing of wounds and repair of tissue. It increases white blood cell activity, and produces anti-stress hormones. It is required by our bodies for healthy gums, growth, and adrenal gland function. It can directly destroy certain bad bacteria and viruses. It is essential to the production of elastin and collagen, the very elements that hold our body together…and much more! Yes, people love Vitamin C and Vitamin E and now it is routinely added to cosmetics, even by the mainstream cosmetic manufacturers.

Linus Pauling, Ph.D.: "I recommend mega-doses."

He is the guru of Vitamin C and his protégé Doctor Rath remains the staunchest advocate of Vitamin C and heart health. Check out his website at here. He makes no apologies for his strong statements against the present medical industries neglect of nutritional strategies and solutions to health.

Nobel Laureate, D. Linus Puling, was the first to claim mega-doses -- several thousand milligrams of Vitamin C -- would reduce cold symptoms. New research contradicts that.

Linus Pauling suggested several thousand milligrams for cancer patients because trials in Scotland showed its benefits. Where people have adequate Vitamin C, it alone does not appear to reduce cold symptoms as quickly as in populations that are Vitamin C deficient. However, studies show that the higher dosages of vitamin C allow for enhancement of the immune systems functioning and ability to protect the body. New research continually confirms these results.

A medical fact check of a recent controlled study found Vitamin C had no effect in preventing or shortening colds in sufferers. In fact, the placebo group -- those taking no Vitamin C -- actually got well quicker as if Vitamin C made the colds worse.

I am not aware of any recent controlled study finding Vitamin C creating a worse cold for an individual or group. That would go against the thousands of studies that measure immune response activity and enhancement by Vitamin C. The medical fact check means nothing without naming a source for such an important and inflammatory statement.

And a new study suggests cancer patients should avoid Vitamin C pills because they may feed the cancer and make cells resistant to chemotherapy treatment.

Contrary to this statement, it appears that not only does Vitamin C have efficacy as a nutrient alone in fighting cancer as shown by clinical research, it is also beneficial under very special conditions as a prooxidant in a complementary use with chemotherapy. I have my facts out of the highly respected PDR for Nutritional Supplements.

More research is needed. Experts say Vitamin C and E pills are not worth the risk.

More research is always helpful and is continually taking place throughout the world regarding Vitamin C and Vitamin E. One of the most dramatic findings occurred years ago when researchers in Israel found that by adding Vitamin E to a living cell the cell could live indefinitely. Vitamin C and Vitamin E have no risks. They are not dangerous. They are beneficial.

The overwhelming preponderance of research proves this to be true. The statement made by this program is propaganda and irresponsible and if in anyway leads to people not taking Vitamin E and Vitamin C will result in much higher health costs to this country and ultimately higher insurance rates, pre-mature health problems and an unhealthy old age.

Dr. Swartzberg: "Unlike Vitamin E, Vitamin C is a lot easier to get from our diet."

Finally, a factual statement. I agree!

So fruits and vegetables give you plenty of Vitamin C.

Not necessarily so. The latest tests show a rapid decline between food nutritional levels in the last fifty years from research at the University of Texas in Austin.
Earlier reports published in one of the American Medical Association journals in the early sixties showed dramatic decreases between food qualities at the turn of the 20th Century and present day levels of that time. Diets of Americans are consistently poor and not one single study has ever shown that Americans were getting even the low levels of the RDA in their daily diets.

Why put something into your body that there's no evidence that benefits you and it just costs you money?

Such flippancy is only a confirmation that someone isn’t using critical thought and reading research. The World Health Organization, and the Council on Responsible Nutrition have all agreed that the use of nutritional supplements saves tremendous costs to the economy in a reduction of disease and preventing numerous health problems.

Good question.

Good questions are ones that lead toward positive solutions, not towards instilling fear. This is the wrong question. The right question is what motivated the producers of this news segment to smear something like Vitamin E and Vitamin C? Why smear something so beneficial?

The BEST of health to you!
Michael LeVesque, President

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products listed in this newsletter are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult with your physician before taking any of these products.