Multivitamins: an analysis I distrust.

In this web page you will find statements that vitamin supplements are essentially of no value and have potential for harm. The point of view is decidedly skewed, as in this quote:

“The message is simple,” the editorial continued. “Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided.”

Why focus only on chronic disease? and death cannot be prevented by anything, eh?

The web page does not mention B vitamins, and the absence of reference to vitamin B12 is, imho, a glaring omission.

Vitamin B12 is an essential micronutrient. It is stored in the liver. It is produced only by some three families of bacteria. No plants contain it. Presumably the gut bacteria of cows, pigs, et cetera make this (among their many other key contributions to mammal health.)

Vegetarians are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. If you take folate, you disguise the shortfall for a longer interval, as folate shortage is an early diagnostic for B12 deficiency. B12 is implicated in the folate-creation pathways.

B12 deficiency can take ten to twenty years to manifest itself. I am aware of several individuals who were in sad shape and benefited from B12 supplement.

Person 1 was tired all the time. His MD did not want to test him for B12 deficiency. He added a checkmark himself on the go-to-bloodwork form. When the results came back, the MD asked, did you add the B12 test? Because usually, I check for folate at the same time. Lucky for me (the MD) I did this check as you are definitely deficient in B12.

Person 1 had contacts and found out how to get himself injected with B12. The effects were quick and profound: energy returned.

Person 2 is myself. I insisted that my MD do the B12 test. He reluctantly agreed. It came back a bit below borderline. I was taking supplements maybe once a week. I jumped it to daily (50 micrograms, in a B50 complex as that is cheaper than B12 alone, eh?). At the next re-test, B12 was OK. Oh, and I now felt human again. Being tired all the time is a drag.

Person 3 is my spouse. Essentially the same track of events.

Here’s my take on supplements of all kinds:

Understand, having researched, what the supplement you are thinking of taking is good for. Saint John’s Wort is supposedly good for depression. Check out side effects. Use the internet, especially trusted sites like Wikipedia (very good on technical stuff) and PubMed.

For some reason, B12 deficiency is becoming quite common. A cottager friend (person 4) is vegetarian, and had to go on B12 injections to regain energy.

I suspect that our carnivores are for some extra reason not getting their B12. Since most beef and pork here is from potentially antibiotic-fed stock, maybe the key bacteria aren’t present enough to create a stored backlog of B12 in the muscle tissues.

(I’ll do a rant on antibiotic stock feeding later. One ‘scandowegian’ country, perhaps Denmark, recently stopped feeding antibiotics to pigs and had yields rise.)

Back to my main topic. In the above referenced web page, you will find this:

There have been few randomized clinical studies of the effects of multivitamins and minerals on heart disease, cancer and risk of death…

May I point out that a lot of standard medical procedures have never undergone randomized, double-blind, clinical tests. Blood transfusions, for example.

May I point out that, focussing on heart disease, cancer, and risk of death is misdirection. The medical/pharmaceutical profession, imho, wants you to think those risks can be reduced by their procedures, their prescriptions, and their regimens. They also want you to think that theirs are the only benefits worth discussing.

When you’re tired all the time, another prescription isn’t likely to help. But vitamin B12 might.

It is reasonable to assume that other simple supplements might make up for our industrialized production of food with less nature, and more synthesis, in its inputs.

Now for the dumb question: what do you think? am I nuts? in my limited circle a specific vitamin has changed four lives. Placebo effect? Comment here, OK?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *