Vitamins & Supplements - Quantify The Risks

Vitamins, minerals, natural compounds and supplements

Originally published in Issue 2 2005 icon

The Loopy Law

The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice has given his view. It coincides with the views of all sane people on the subject of vitamins and supplements. Namely, that the Euro law to limit them was biased and unfair. It selected on whim not science.

Open quotesThe Euro law to limit vitamins and supplements was biased and unfairClose quotes

We still have to wait until June for the final Euro court ruling, but they have already described the law as ’as transparent as a black box’. Hopefully then this loopy law will bite the dust.

However, it does beg the question: ’How could a group of unelected people make such a recommendation, that then gets passed by the Euro parliament, that then gets passed by the UK Labour Government (despite the Tories and the Lib Dems in the Lords kicking it out)?’

In part the answer to this question is that there is,sadly, an ever-increasing momentum against natural vitamins, which is completely unjustified by the research evidence.

The Forces Of Darkness?

Dr Rob Verkerk and his team took the loopy law on and found over 1 million Brits to support them. At the outset their case was that we’d been taking natural supplements for donkeys years, they hadn’t harmed anyone yet and this was also a question of freedom of choice.

At icon our position has always been that:

Vitamin research is in its infancy. For example, much has been learned on vitamins D and K in just the last 3 years. Why imposerestrictions before you know the facts?

If the loopy law were in place in the UK there was a real danger that we would end up with only synthetic supplements in the High Street. And all the indications in recent research are that natural is good, whilst synthetic may well be less so.

Open quotesThere was a real danger that we would end up with only synthetic supplements in the High StreetClose quotes

This is an important point. For example, there have been several ’meta-studies’ lately, which were, in fact, no such thing. They did things like select just a few of the great many studies but featuring a disproportionate number of smokers, or infirm, while the supplements taken were synthetic or limited to just one variant of an antioxidant. Then the scientists extrapolated the results to conclude that ’all’ vitamin E or beta-carotene is bad for ’all’ people.

Let’s be clear, this is poor research and says more about the quality of the professors and scientists doing it than it does of the supplements.

Only last year we had a report against supplements commented on by the FSA to conclude that a great number have caused problems and even deaths. Actually only one of the supplements had actually caused a death: A man who had consumed about 1000 times the RDA of chromium for 9 months! Not exactly clever on his part, but hardly something that should have tarred all supplements the world over.

Then, as we covered in icon we had the team of 5 scientists reporting in the BJC and using statements such as ’some supplements caused bleeding and even death’ and ’no-one has quantified the risk’. Just imagine if icon were so irresponsible that it made similar claims about chemotherapy!

Government Action Please. Enough’s enough.

Just like they have in the USA, the UK needs a National Institute of Complementary Medicine. It should be charged with conducting and collating proper research on all complementary therapies and medicines.

Open quotesGovernment Action Please - enough’s
enoughClose quotes

Meanwhile those people subjectively biased against such things would be forced into silence, while we await objective results. The abuse in the current situation is tantamount to slander in the case of certain therapies, and positively unhelpful to cancer patients all round. No one has a right to ’muddy the waters’ when peoples lives are at stake.

However I do think that the 5 scientists in the BJC do make a very good point.

Why not quantify the risk? On all therapies.

We’ve had people like Prince Charles call for proper research in alternative therapies like Gerson, only to be shouted at by professors saying that these therapies need to be judged by the standards of modern medicine.

That standard is the clinical trial.

My problem with this as a research methodology is that it only quantifies the upside. The risks (side effects) are left to mere mentions almost in passing.

Increasingly we are seeing scandals on drugs where known side-effects have been swept under the carpet. We know clinical trial reports are published by the PR companies of the pharmaceutical companies, rather than the original scientist more and more. We know that there is a clamour in America to have a clear register on side effects. But none of this is enough.

Recently we were looking at what kills yeasts in the human body. Perfect example. Fucidin kills yeasts and fungus. But a side effect is that it can harm your kidneys. Do woman taking it for thrush know this? And to what level? Have they measured how many people are cured of their yeasts and how many have their kidneys harmed?

The fact is that a clinical trial is far from being the gold standard the medical world claims if you only measure the upside.

It’s time we measured the downside too. And legally, why not have both printed on pack as a legal requirement.

Open quotesIt will help the Doctors and the patientsClose quotes

It will help the Doctors and the patients.

In Australia Professor Peter Henry, who has advised the Government on drugs for the last ten years, is retiring and setting up a website for doctors. It will list new drugs - benefits and side effects.

Why? Because he says doctors are so busy they only hear about new drugs by reading the national newspapers, by reading a PR release from a pharmaceutical company or by being asked by a patient and then looking it up!

Where better then to put the two ’scores’ - benefits and side-effects, than on the pack? And then to have a record of both linked to computers in all doctors surgeries, so that the doctor and the patient can look at it together?

Now, that is a law Europe should be passing!Rainbow diet          At Last - the definitive, research based book on how to build a diet to help beat cancer. Click here to read about it.

Please be clear: At CANCERactive we do not consider the above compound to be a cure for cancer, despite what the research says or experts doing the research may claim. The above, is an article on the compound from published research and expert opinion in the public domain. At CANCERactive we do not believe that any single compound (drug, vitamin, whatever) is a cure for cancer. We believe that people can significantly increase their personal odds of survival by building an Integrated Programme of treatments. Equally, cancer prevention is best practiced through a width of measures.

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