JAMA Antioxidant Study Kills Us
Or Why We Still LOVE Our Antioxidants
The recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is bad science and worse public relations for the supplement industry.
If you haven’t heard about it don’t think you missed something. Because taking a selective group of studies that gave supplements to really sick men and women isn’t a great way to learn much about anything other than really sick people tend to die. Furthermore when you decide to exclude any studies that showed benefits it doesn’t really prove anything either, except that some scientists aren’t too smart or maybe that they might be getting funding from folks who think vitamins and nutritional supplements might reduce their profits. By this we wonder if the pharmaceutical industrial complex, what regular readers know we call PHIC, (which rhymes with sick) might be behind the growing number of poorly designed studies.
And while we have no evidence of any direct involvement of PHIC the recent spate of studies proving that Vitamin E is a waste of money (FALSE) or that antioxidants are dangerous (FALSE) it seems suspicious. Why you ask? It’s simple. Because at the same time more and more Americans are seeking nutritional complements (i.e. popping vitamins and supplements) to our health care system, more and more studies are contradicting the thousands of studies that have come before them.
The U.S. health care systems costs more than any other industrialized nation and provides less in perceived benefits. Given this background, wouldn’t it make sense for policy to look for solutions beyond the current limits of the Western pharmaceutical medical system? As a fortune cookie I got last week said: “Do the same thing you have done in the past and you will get what you already have?”
What’s most galling about the JAMA study is the attempt to shift the public conversation from one of “can vitamins and supplements help me” or “can vitamins and supplements make you live longer” or “can vitamins and supplements reverse disease,” to do vitamins kill? Karl Rove must be jealous at the pernicious brilliance the study. Whether intended or not the propaganda effect is huge?
Despite nearly three years of lousy publicity fostered by questionable science the vitamin and nutritional supplement has been about as proactive as a corpse. Hello out there! Is anyone home? While one industry group, the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance has conducted several http://www.naturalbusinessnews.com/levine_report.php5?id=194 remarkable studies they have received zero publicity and no one has heard about them.
The most notable, conducted by health care research consultants The Lewin Group, showed that geriatric populations taking omega-3 fatty acids and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin could save the Medicare system $3.1 billion and $2.5 billion respectively over five years due to less hospitalizations, trips to the doctors and “avoided transitions to dependency,” due to less cardiac conditions and cataracts.
At the time of the study I wrote about it on my website and contacted the then newly elected president of the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance. For over four months I emailed and called all in an attempt to write an opinion piece that could be submitted to newspapers across the country. I received no response for months and finally gave up. A year later at a trade show, a salesman who like me was extremely frustrated with the lack of response told me that Dietary Supplement Education Alliance efforts were aimed at lobbying Congress. He added that he too was shocked at the lack of broad based efforts aimed towards educating consumers.
As reported in the Rocky Mountain News a study by Thomson Medstat shows “more than 37 percent of U.S. households use some form of alternative medicine.” Most recently, Solgar President Rand Skolnick told me that every week he receives feedback in the form of phone calls, emails and letters from M.D.’s sharing the breakthroughs they have had in treatments utilizing supplements. In other words the public knows and doctors are learning, yet whether the power of personal experience can combat the power of horrific misleading meadia in creating a new paradigm for nutiriontal medicine is unclear.
After all as more and more people start taking care of themselves with tools beyond the narrow scope of so many doctors and specialists and more specialists and MRIs and Cat Scans and Pet Scans and pulmonary bronchoscopes, the apple cart of the PHIC might come tumbling down.
The real question isn’t will it happen but whether it will take ten years or fifty.