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The Man Who Convinced Us We Needed Vitamin Supplements

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the drink-your-juice dept.

Medicine 707

An anonymous reader writes "The Atlantic has an interesting piece on the life and work of the scientist most responsible for moms around the world giving their kids Vitamin C tablets to fight off colds, Linus Pauling. From the article: 'On October 10, 2011, researchers from the University of Minnesota found that women who took supplemental multivitamins died at rates higher than those who didn't. Two days later, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic found that men who took vitamin E had an increased risk of prostate cancer. "It's been a tough week for vitamins," said Carrie Gann of ABC News. These findings weren't new. Seven previous studies had already shown that vitamins increased the risk of cancer and heart disease and shortened lives. Still, in 2012, more than half of all Americans took some form of vitamin supplements. What few people realize, however, is that their fascination with vitamins can be traced back to one man. A man who was so spectacularly right that he won two Nobel Prizes and so spectacularly wrong that he was arguably the world's greatest quack.'"

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707 comments

Diet and laziness (5, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 9 months ago | (#44344173)

In very rare cases does someone need to take any supplements at all. If one pays attention to having a proper diet one can get all the vitamins needed naturally. Part of the whole vitamin craze is how lazy people are. It can take some thought and effort to eat a healthy diet containing all the nutrients a body needs to thrive. It's quite worth doing so though.

Re:Diet and laziness (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about 9 months ago | (#44344209)

Part of the whole vitamin craze is how lazy people are.

The thing is, even if you have a horrible diet you probably still get all the essential vitamins and minerals. The few that were making people sick got added decades ago (iodine to salt, vitamin D to milk, everything to cereal, etc.)

Re:Diet and laziness (1, Redundant)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 9 months ago | (#44344669)

The few that were making people sick got added decades ago

Didn't you mean "the few the absence of which was making people sick"? Otherwise it doesn't make too much sense to me.

Re:Diet and laziness (5, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | about 9 months ago | (#44344335)

In very rare cases does someone need to take any supplements at all. If one pays attention to having a proper diet one can get all the vitamins needed naturally. Part of the whole vitamin craze is how lazy people are. It can take some thought and effort to eat a healthy diet containing all the nutrients a body needs to thrive. It's quite worth doing so though.

So uhm, yeah. Which one is it? Rare cases or almost all cases?

Re:Diet and laziness (0)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 9 months ago | (#44344379)

As it turns out multivitamins do nothing for people, as do specific vitamin supplements, which, as is turning out, can actually make your health worse as far as "hard outcomes" go.

Basically don't bother with vitamins unless a doctor diagnoses you with a specific vitamin deficiency.

Re:Diet and laziness (1, Insightful)

the grace of R'hllor (530051) | about 9 months ago | (#44344385)

True in theory, but false in practice. Food today, even freshly grown food, isn't the same the world over, and it isn't the same as it was 50 years ago. It is almost certainly poorer in quality. For nutrients to find their way into vegetables, they have to be in the ground first, and if they aren't there, then you don't get to eat them.

Also, we don't live naturally. Natural humans don't spend most of their days indoors under artificial lighting doing entirely physically undemanding work.

Also, there are food deserts, places where getting actual real grown food is not practically possible, and fabricated food is the only type available. The concept is well known in the US.

Re:Diet and laziness (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 9 months ago | (#44344533)

Food today, even freshly grown food, isn't the same the world over, and it isn't the same as it was 50 years ago. It is almost certainly poorer in quality.

Citation needed. What reason do you have to believe that food quality has diminished in the last 50 years?

-jcr

Re:Diet and laziness (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 9 months ago | (#44344643)

Food today, even freshly grown food, isn't the same the world over, and it isn't the same as it was 50 years ago. It is almost certainly poorer in quality.

Citation needed. What reason do you have to believe that food quality has diminished in the last 50 years?

I'll offer an opinion that a phrase like "RoundUp Ready" in a seed stock description doesn't sound either tasty or nutritious...

Re: Diet and laziness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344773)

Just taste food.

If a food is high in certain vitamins, you can absolutely taste and smell it. This smell is mostly prevalent in ripe fruit. (Banana and cherries mainly), where as fruits that are the bulk of "fruit juice" eg, orange, apple and pears lack this distinctive taste.

Most oranges and apples that you get today are practically tasteless compared with 30 years ago. Certain brands of orange juice (eg store brands) taste more like pesticide than fruit.

Next time you go to grocery store, sniff the air and find out which fruits have the strongest smell if not overripe. It'll likely be the berries.

Re: Diet and laziness (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344785)

That's not a citation but a fact-less opinion.

Re:Diet and laziness (5, Insightful)

Cyberax (705495) | about 9 months ago | (#44344789)

What the fuck? Nutrients do not "find their way into vegetables" (apart from microelements like zinc or iodine that are concentrated by some plants) - they are _synthesized_ by plants. And let me tell you - the current cultivars are almost invariably better at that than their 1950 era relatives.

Re:Diet and laziness (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 9 months ago | (#44344429)

It's only necessary in rare cases, you suggest... but then you state that it requires work and effort to eat healthy.

So no... it's not rare at all. Most people don't eat as properly as they should. Cutting out vitamin supplements won't change that... it will just lead to more people with vitamin deficiencies.

Re:Diet and laziness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344503)

Here's how to do it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOyebcrVWb4

Re:Diet and laziness (5, Informative)

Hentes (2461350) | about 9 months ago | (#44344531)

It's not necessarily laziness. Vitamin D, for example, is only created if your skin receives sunlight. Godd luck getting that in the winter when you have to spend all of the daylight inside an office.

Re:Diet and laziness (0)

dead_user (1989356) | about 9 months ago | (#44344571)

Good luck getting it through a multivitamin, too. The only way you get vitamin D effectively is from PUVA absorbed by the skin. Get a lamp, not a multivitamin.

Re:Diet and laziness (4, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | about 9 months ago | (#44344799)

Vitamin D is absorbed by your gut just fine. In fact, decreasing sunlight exposure and getting D3 as a supplement reduces the risk of skin cancer.

Re:Diet and laziness (4, Informative)

metlin (258108) | about 9 months ago | (#44344617)

I take four types of supplements, mostly because I'm pretty athletic and active:

1. Omega 3-6-9/fish oil because as a vegetarian with a family history of poor cholesterol, it helps

2. Creatine because you don't get much creatine as a vegetarian, and it's only water weight and significantly improves my lifts

3. Multivitamins twice a week because being athletic means that I don't get all my nutrition from just food -- my annual physicals have consistently shown lower levels of Vitamin D and B12

4. And of course, whey protein because I can't hit my protein numbers as a vegetarian -- I aim for 1.2g/lbm, and whey is a simple and easy way to meet your macros.

What about D? (2, Informative)

popo (107611) | about 9 months ago | (#44344189)

Doesn't dosing on 2000 IU of D per day stave off cancer according to 100's of studies?

Re:What about D? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344229)

Citation needed.

Re:What about D? (5, Interesting)

roninchurchill (2991659) | about 9 months ago | (#44344691)

Here's a citation:

Garland CF, French CB, Baggerly LL, Heaney RP. Vitamin D supplement doses and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the range associated with cancer prevention. Anticancer Res. February 2011;31:607-11.

Cancer prevention is correlated most closely with serum levels of 40 ng/mL or above (as is alleviation of depression), and to reach this level in 97.5% of the population, 9,600 IU/day was necessary. This is almost double the current UL. Of course, current recommendations for daily dosage is based off 20 ng/mL being 'sufficient', while most experts in the field now believe that 30 ng/mL should be the baseline for 'sufficient' and that most positive effects will be found at serum levels of 40 - 50 ng/mL.

Vitamin D toxicity is rare, and only occurs when serum 25(OH)D levels exceed 150 ng/mL. It has never been demonstrated at doses of less than 20,000 IU/d and generally requires greater than 40,000 IU/d. Most incidents have been due to accidental ingestion, such as from a milk supply that was accidentally fortified with vast amounts of D3.

In the end, supplementation needs to be based off serum 25(OH)D levels, which can be measured by a doctor. You may need more or less to reach 'ideal' levels, and it's impossible to say exactly how much without testing. The test is cheap and hopefully will become a standard part of a routine examination, considering that vitamin D affects at least 35 different systems in the body. Without the test, 2,000 IU/d will keep you under the UL (even though it should really be changed to reflect the science behind the toxicity), and will likely keep your levels above 30 ng/mL. Remember that most dairy products are fortified with D3 which should be considered a part of the total.

Re:What about D? (2)

silviuc (676999) | about 9 months ago | (#44344253)

D3 aka Cholecalciferol is not actually a vitamin.

Re:What about D? (1)

epiccollision (1373095) | about 9 months ago | (#44344455)

essentially because the body can produce Cholecalciferol from cholesterol when exposed to sunlight....but we give things silly inaccurate names all the time...blueberries are purple, red onions are purple(comon people call it purple ffs) we drive on parkways and park in driveways....language is a method of understanding and conveying meaning...strict taxonomy gets us no where for fringe events like are strawberries really a berry? are tomatoes a vegetable?... doesn't change how the function(or taste) nor does it change the effect of the study of it as a supplement...*Cholecalciferol does technically become a vitamin(essential) if the body has a defect or you are not exposed to sufficient sunlight to make your own

Re:What about D? (1)

roninchurchill (2991659) | about 9 months ago | (#44344575)

Vitamin K and biotin are two other vitamins that we produce ourselves, don't need from food to survive, yet are still considered vitamins. Just because they're not essential (or are conditionally essential) doesn't make them not a vitamin. Considering the word vitamin itself is a misnomer for all but a couple vitamins today (it comes from "vital amine", yet only a couple vitamins have amine groups), it's somewhat moot anyhow. Is vitamin D actually a vitamin? Doesn't really matter, we all know what "vitamin D" is, and if you want to get technical, you can use terms like cholecalciferol or ergocalciferol instead.

Re:What about D? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344725)

We don't make Vitamin K, our gut bacteria do. Sorry, minor difference.

Re:What about D? (5, Interesting)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 9 months ago | (#44344453)

Dr. Dean Edell used to run down the latest research on his radio show. The terrible and ongoing failure of vitamins to offer any benefit as giant study after study started coming in became almost a running joke.

"We were in the 'Vitamin C' decade, then the 'Vitamin E' decade, and now the 'Vitamin D' decade", where that vitamin was the darling." Then the 10 year study with 100,000 nurses and doctors would come in, and it would offer zero benefits, and in some cases like Vitamin C with cancer, actually make things worse.

C did nothing for colds or cancer. E did nothing for hearts. I am taking D for heart reasons the past 2 years per doctor instruction. Will it help?

Dr. Dean Edell was uniquely positioned to criticize vitamins as he came from a family who were giant vitamin manufacturers. When he started his career he was big time into all that crap and other alternative stuff.

But the science inexorably crawled forward, slaying one thing after another, and he saw the light. He was an enormous friend to science and rationality and medical skepticism.

And he loses his radio show because nobody listens. Meanwhile a quack like Dr. Oz who promotes gigatons of nonsense that dopes go glassy-eyed over and tune in, has multiples hows on radio and TV.

Re:What about D? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344611)

For the love of science in an infotainment world, someone please mod this OP up!

History is full of such. (1, Interesting)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 9 months ago | (#44344191)

Genius that strikes out and proves how stupid the person is. e.g. Shockley, Pauling, Chomsky...

Re:History is full of such. (3, Interesting)

memnock (466995) | about 9 months ago | (#44344355)

Probably 'cause no one is perfect. Everyone messes up at some point in their life. His reluctance to refuse the vitamin C sham doesn't discredit his other accomplishments. Sure, the reluctance doesn't put him in a good light, but his other accomplishments still stand.

Re:History is full of such. (1)

metlin (258108) | about 9 months ago | (#44344671)

Chomsky? Now that's surprising.

What in particular are you referring to?

Re:History is full of such. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344807)

Anything of his (CS or Linguistics) after 1963 or so was pseudoscience.

Re:History is full of such. (1)

the gnat (153162) | about 9 months ago | (#44344709)

Genius that strikes out and proves how stupid the person is. e.g. Shockley, Pauling, Chomsky... ...Duesberg, Mullis, Montagnier, Hoyle... I could probably spend all day doing this.

Re:History is full of such. (3, Insightful)

EdZ (755139) | about 9 months ago | (#44344783)

This is almost endemic among Nobel winners. E.g. Josephson: pioneer in the field of superconductivity, but thinks Homeopathy is real.

Re:History is full of such. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344825)

I met Pauling.

I'm not really sure what you are trying to state. That genius means stupidity? That all smart people are endowed with flaws of stupidity? Or did you mean something else?

One thing I can say, Pauling wouldn't have made such an inconsistent, meaningless statement. He did believe that there was a connection between vitamin C and better health, what he didn't do was say that he had proved it. He did die trying to prove it, but he also was trying to do a lot more. That a lot of people believed that his _beliefs_ should be taken as some sort of proof just shows that a lot of the population still hasn't reaped the benefits of the age of enlightenment.

Spectacularly right because of Nobel prizes? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344207)

I mean, Obama and Kissinger have Nobel prizes in peace.

At any rate, Linus Torvalds was actually baptized in honor of Pauling.

Re:Spectacularly right because of Nobel prizes? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344367)

The Nobel peace prize has nothing to do with accomplishment.

Re:Spectacularly right because of Nobel prizes? (1)

the gnat (153162) | about 9 months ago | (#44344715)

Only one of Pauling's Nobels was the peace prize - the other was for chemistry.

Wasn't that Kellogg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344257)

Thank your lucky stars that yogurt enemas and radium therapy never caught on.

Let's talk about a person instead of science (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344269)

Let's take the 10s of thousands of studies done on nutritional supplements, ignore them and determine if supplements are placebos or worse based on our ad hominem attack on a single person.

Peer review (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 9 months ago | (#44344293)

A man who was so spectacularly right that he won two Nobel Prizes and so spectacularly wrong that he was arguably the world's greatest quack.

Being wrong doesn't make you a quack, slashdot. You can follow the scientific method perfectly and arrive at the wrong result. In fact, you can be fairly certain that most of what we think we know today will later be proven wrong. Even Einstein said he hoped people would one day prove him wrong -- being proven wrong means progress. It means a better understanding of the universe. Scientists, real ones, don't mind being wrong, or mistaken. Sure, there's pride in one's work, and yes, that can make it hard for people to accept a new truth. But by and far, scientists do get around to doing it.

A quack is someone who doesn't use the right process, who avoids peer review, who insists they can't be wrong. They aren't true scientists. This man won two nobel prizes because he followed the scientific process. And, today, that process is still being followed, and that man's original assertions are now wrong. Taking vitamins is something tens of thousands of doctors and medical professionals have advised. Researchers the world over have endorsed it. That doesn't happen with, say, magnetically vortexed water that some people believe has a "higher energy level" and is thus more beneficial to drink, or that crystals or magnets will somehow improve our health.

It's wrong to put him in the same category as those people. Slashdot, you fail, and you should be ashamed. You should issue a retraction immediately -- you're using words and making accusations that you don't really understand. Your editors are stating opinions that are overall harmful to the scientific and medical community.

People who search for the truth should never be called names, or subjected to ridicule. That is the ultimate goal of all science. The fact that people get it wrong is inconsequential, as long as they did their best to get it right. Shame, slashdot. Shame on you.

Re:Peer review (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344319)

Being wrong doesn't make you a quack, slashdot. You can follow the scientific method perfectly and arrive at the wrong result.

No, but deliberately shouting from your soapbox (and selling millions of books) in the absence of solid evidence does make you a quack. Pauling was effectively giving medical advice to the millions to his own benefit, without adequately answering his critics.

I find it interesting that the Paulings advocated megadoses of vitamin C to prevent/fight cancer, and then they both died of cancer. "It seems fate is not without a sense of irony."

Re:Peer review (3, Informative)

lxs (131946) | about 9 months ago | (#44344373)

Linus Pauling was diagnosed with terminal cancer in his 60s and given a few months to live, then went on living to the age of 93. So either the megadoses of vitamin C really did help him live another 30 years, or he had a rare spontaneous remission. You can't really blame him for reaching the conclusion that he did.

Re:Peer review (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 9 months ago | (#44344501)

You can't really blame him for reaching the conclusion that he did.

Well, we could, but it's silly. Science is a self-correcting mechanism. But just like an airplane in flight, it's almost always flying in the wrong direction. Somehow, you still manage to get where you're going, because of minute course corrections. I take great offense to this editor posting such drivel on the front page of a website that caters to the scientific and technical communities, and nothing short of a front page retraction is satisfactory. The sooner -- the better. I can understand getting one's facts wrong, but this is just plain slanderous! This kind of crap should never have made it past even the most mediocre editorial staff.

Re:Peer review (1)

FunPika (1551249) | about 9 months ago | (#44344563)

Unfortunately, since this is 2013 Slashdot, the editors probably won't even read your comments let alone retract anything.

Re:Peer review (0)

Cyberax (705495) | about 9 months ago | (#44344849)

Vitamin C in gigadoses (like, 200g at a time intravenously) is somewhat effective against some cancers. But it's no better than more modern chemotherapy drugs. And in lower doses it actually might help cancer to spread.

Re:Peer review (4, Insightful)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 9 months ago | (#44344395)

Why are you such a troll? First, the quote is from the article. So it's the writers fault, not slashdot's.

Second, you should try reading TFA. You say, "A quack is someone who doesn't use the right process, who avoids peer review, who insists they can't be wrong.".

Guess what? If you read the fucking article, you would know that he did exactly that.

He tried to publish articles in a journal he had input into that would not scientifically valid just because they pushed his pro-vitamin agenda. He refused to believe studies that were published proving him wrong, and said they were personal attacks against him.

So please, STFU. You clearly didn't read the article. You go off on some rant that literally makes no sense at all,

Re:Peer review (2)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about 9 months ago | (#44344641)

Mod up please. This guy is true and TFA is very clear. Anyone attempting to discuss and advocate for Pauling on this case should start by reading TFA in full.

Once I am at it, since we know that the brillant Linus Pauling winner of two Nobel prize was fully wrong on this subject (and maybe others undocumented), I believe it is a good time to ask all of those out there which are experts in Albert Einstein's false and true quotes to move on and try to write something by their own and stop citing the poor Albert out of context and on subject he has no clear in depth competencies recognized by his peers. I mean, all that stuff about God playing dice and even how to cook a full rack of BBQ ribs.

Re:Peer review (0, Flamebait)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 9 months ago | (#44344665)

Why are you such a troll? First, the quote is from the article. So it's the writers fault, not slashdot's.

Why are you such a sniveling piece of shit? Deal with the message, instead of attacking the messenger. It just makes you look like... a sniveling piece of shit. Now, let's deal with your post -- first, Slashdot reposted it. That makes them responsible. They have editors... look up the definition of that sometime. Calling someone names (as I just did to you) is embarassing, it flares tempers, and very little good can come of it. So Slashdot was wrong to post that quote. Period. End of discussion. It was name calling and it has no business on the front page.

Second, you should try reading TFA. You say, "A quack is someone who doesn't use the right process, who avoids peer review, who insists they can't be wrong.". Guess what? If you read the fucking article, you would know that he did exactly that.

Use the word 'fucking' more often. It makes you look smarter! Now how about we talk about that "fucking" article... the research was originally done in 1931. Go back and take a look at how much we knew in 1931 -- the theory of relativity was still pretty fresh back then. Today, it's proven science, but back then... it was an interesting mathematical assertion. We've gone back and tested it since then hundreds of times, but stop and really think about the state of the art back then. Even Einstein (according to the "fucking" article!) thought it was complicated stuff. This guy published dozens of scientific articles and contributed greatly to scientific progress.

And then, in the wizened old age of 65, he made a mistake. One. Mistake. Amidst a career of amazing accomplishment. And you say that slashdot calling him a "quack" or the article, is justified. Need I pull up the scientific literature that says that (a) people at that age can make cognitive and reasoning errors and (b) scientists are people? But let's ignore that, shall we?

Only a select few studies had been done on Vitamin C at the time of publication. There wasn't much research being done. Thanks to him, a lot more attention was given to it, and we now know that vitamin C doesn't do any of these things. This is how science works.

You can't take a man with a career of getting it right, and at the tail end of it, when he's bordering on senility, turn around and call him a quack. You're an asshole, sir, for doing that. So is slashdot. So are the publishers of the original article. Just because one person's an asshole doesn't mean you can keep repeating what was said and then claim "I'm not being an asshole, I'm just saying what these other assholes said!" No; You're responsible for whatever you publish. That's the whole point of the editorial process.

Look at the very definition of quack; "An untrained person who pretends to be a physician and dispenses medical advice and treatment." This guy was trained. He published several articles on medicine. But he wasn't a physician and he wasn't treating anyone -- he was an advocate. A sincere, but mistaken, person, who was old, at the end of his career, and obsessed with his own health like so many his age. This isn't something worthy of name calling, and certainly isn't worth you defending it by telling others to "STFU". It's just sad... a man with a distinguished career who in his twilight years made a mistake that we're now going to remember him forever about. He didn't even live long enough to see most of the research the article cites.

Pathetic. I stand by what I say -- Slashdot should be ashamed for holding him up as a quack. This was a story of a scientist who got old and made a mistake, at a time when there wasn't a lot of research being done. And he helped catapult research into it, so we know have much firmer ground to stand on. Incase you still think being wrong doesn't count for something, ask Edison about how many attempts he made to create the lightbulb before he found something that worked. This is how science works.

Name calling isn't something we should endorse in this community, especially when it's so unjustified.

Re:Peer review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344449)

You should tell Dan Shechtman (2011 Chemistry Noble prize winner) about this.
Shechtman believes that it was unfounded opposition by Pauling which prevented him [Shechtman] from getting any recognition for his discovery.

Re:Peer review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344577)

......
It's wrong to put him in the same category as those people. Slashdot, you fail, and you should be ashamed. You should issue a retraction immediately -- you're using words and making accusations that you don't really understand. Your editors are stating opinions that are overall harmful to the scientific and medical community.

People who search for the truth should never be called names, or subjected to ridicule. That is the ultimate goal of all science. The fact that people get it wrong is inconsequential, as long as they did their best to get it right. Shame, slashdot. Shame on you.

The point is, when it came to the vitamin thing he was a quack. Read the article linked. There was an article from 1942 that was published and demonstrated that more extra vitamin C and/or extra antihistamines did not help:

"Under the conditions of this controlled study, in which 980 colds were treated . . . there is no indication that vitamin C alone, an antihistamine alone, or vitamin C plus an antihistamine have any important effect on the duration or severity of infections of the upper respiratory tract."

What made him a quack was:
- refusal to apply the scientific method, i.e. make experiments/trials to support or verify the theory
- ignoring others experiments and trials that clearly demonstrated that the theory was wrong

There was no data to support his idea of mega-doses of vitamins help you, but there was data later saying it hurt you. So yes, he was a quack because he ignored the science and kept on believing what he wanted to believe.

Re:Peer review (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 9 months ago | (#44344579)

A quack is someone who doesn't use the right process, who avoids peer review, who insists they can't be wrong.

Which pretty much describes his behavior on the vitamin issue - He used dodgy medical trials, shoddy statistics, and anecdotal evidence to build his case. Don't assume that because he was a competent and careful scientist in one area (the one where he he earned the Nobel Prize), that he couldn't or didn't have a bee in his bonnet in another (in which he had no formal training or qualifications).
 

Taking vitamins is something tens of thousands of doctors and medical professionals have advised. Researchers the world over have endorsed it.

That's the whole point of the article - vitamin supplements been pushed for decades (long before Linus Pauling in fact), but rarely if ever studied in detail. It's been assumed by the medical community for most of a century that vitamin supplements are A Good Thing.
 

you're using words and making accusations that you don't really understand.

Pot, meet kettle. Your faith in scientists is charming, but badly misplaced here. Your defense of them is ludicrous and sounds more like a cargo cult than science.

Re:Peer review (1)

the gnat (153162) | about 9 months ago | (#44344767)

Don't assume that because he was a competent and careful scientist in one area (the one where he he earned the Nobel Prize), that he couldn't or didn't have a bee in his bonnet in another (in which he had no formal training or qualifications).

In fact, there is no shortage of other examples of this: just about anyone acquainted with the history of science can pull up multiple other examples of otherwise brilliant scientists who went completely batshit insane when they tried to step outside their area of expertise. Or sometimes even within a closely related field: Peter Duesberg was indisputably an expert on viruses, and might have eventually won the Nobel prize himself, but his activities related to HIV have been incredibly stupid, and his theories on cancer are just about as insane.

Re:Peer review (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 9 months ago | (#44344777)

Which pretty much describes his behavior on the vitamin issue - He used dodgy medical trials, shoddy statistics, and anecdotal evidence to build his case. Don't assume that because he was a competent and careful scientist in one area (the one where he he earned the Nobel Prize), that he couldn't or didn't have a bee in his bonnet in another (in which he had no formal training or qualifications).

Well, he did several papers within the medical field that are still largely valid and lacked these problems. Those dodgy medical trials, shoddy statistics, and anecdotal evidence were largely all that was available at the time. So I'm not saying he didn't make mistakes... but I don't think he was a "quack". He was trying to put forward his best effort -- keep in mind though he was in his sixties at the time. Cognitive decline is common at that age. I do firmly believe he was sincere in his efforts; That is not the behavior of a quack. It's the behavior of someone who's old, senile, and sincere -- but mistaken.

That's the whole point of the article - vitamin supplements been pushed for decades (long before Linus Pauling in fact), but rarely if ever studied in detail. It's been assumed by the medical community for most of a century that vitamin supplements are A Good Thing.

I came away with a far different conclusion -- the article was written by people who think science is like math. Once you have an answer, it doesn't change. Science isn't like that. It changes all the time. There is so much we don't know, and our medical science is still in its infancy. We can't even say with any certainty how our own brains work, or the complex interplay of the immune system and endocrine system with each other, let alone the entire body. These aren't assumptions people made -- these are conclusions based on available data. Scant. Available. Data. His investigation into it and publications led to closer inspection of the data, and a decision to invest more resources in getting more data from which to draw conclusions. That's science!

Pot, meet kettle. Your faith in scientists is charming, but badly misplaced here. Your defense of them is ludicrous and sounds more like a cargo cult than science.

I have faith in people who search for the truth. I have less faith in people like you who claim to have found it.

Re:Peer review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344587)

The quote is from TFA, which is an Atlantic reprint of an excerpt from _Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine_ by Paul Offit. The link to buy it on Amazon is at the bottom of TFA.

Whether this article is useful or just an infomercial for a book is left as an exercise for the reader.

Re:Peer review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344603)

I have a theory that a group of people are passing mod points with garbage like this. This only sounds like an insightful post on 4chan...

Re:Peer review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344647)

However Paulings 2 Nobel prizes had nothing to do with medicine, one in chemistry in 1954 for work on chemical bonding, and one in 1963 for work relating to the partial test ban treaty and banning the bomb, neither having anything directly to do with medicine. What he may or may not have known about biology, does not relate to his Nobel prizes.

Re:Peer review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344667)

The second prize was the peace prize btw.

Re:Peer review (1)

mpeskett (1221084) | about 9 months ago | (#44344829)

Whilst I agree that it's wrong to throw around "quack" as an accusation at someone following the scientific method to a wrong conclusion, I don't think it's quite true that getting it wrong is inconsequential.

The output of science is important, and influential, and can either extend or prematurely end lives. Getting it wrong carries consequences, and we should always strive to be right, by any means, without thinking "It's okay, I tried my best and followed the right procedure".

Re:Peer review (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344839)

Except Linus Pauling and many other supplement researchers are not wrong. The majority of vitamin researchers have been biased for the last 80 years. Once pharmaceutical companies discovered vitamin treatments could not be patented and would eat into their drug sales, an anti vitamin campaign was started. A campaign that made the tobacco companies look like amateurs. Dr. William Kaufman did 30 years of research following 10K people tracking the B3 (niacinamide) as a supplement. Dozens of research papers and two books document that B3 overcomes aging related joint problems, falling down issues, balance, and work capacity. Dr. Frederick Klenner wrote 27 papers from the 1940 through 1970 documenting his use of vitamin C (sodium ascorbate) to treat all manner of conditions including shock, viral infections, bacterial infections, and burns. His work was followed on by Dr. Robert Cathcart. A study at the University of Minnesota found that the 93% of people with soft tissue pain, i.e. muscle, had vitamin D deficiency that was fixed by giving them supplements. Any woman that is pregnant today is told to take folic acid supplements or risk fetal damage. Deficiency of B12 for a large subset of the population results in excess persistence of homocysteine (a very abrasive amino acid) in the blood stream and arterial disease. People with diabetes (type 1 & 2) control blood sugar much better when taking chromium, vanadium, biotin, B6, and alpha lipoic acid. The data is there for anyone that reads the research papers.

What does the bible have to say about this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344331)

It seems that the scientist keep saying different contradictory things at different times. Smoking was good for you a few decades ago. When religious people make contradictory and false allegations they are called quacks and derided by the scientific community.

The same standard do no hold for the scientific community.

What I wan't to know ,since all religion is full of superstitious BS, is to what scientist / scientific institution I can give my blind faith. What scientist truly speaks ex cathedra.

Re:What does the bible have to say about this? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344419)

You are obviously a faggot. If you would have read the scientific research, you would realize all scientific studies are infallible. If two scientific studies contradict each other, you just have to hire another scientist to determine which scientific study is the truth, and which one is malarky.

You as a non-scientist are too ignorant to make an informed view of the world around you. You need to hire scientist to reveal the truth to you.

Before we had scientist we used to think that the sun was carried around the earth by chariots maned by the gods. Now thanks to the awesome secret power of scientist we know that the sun is a big ball of fire floating in the sky.

I for one am thankful that we no longer have to blindly follow and believe what some priest / priestess tells me. Now I surrender my intellect to the scientists. It is much better this way.

Re:What does the bible have to say about this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344561)

If by "good" you mean "not yet a demonstrated health hazard" and by "a few decades ago" you mean 1929, then yep, you're right.

Vitamin supplement may be needed when dieting (1, Insightful)

prasadsurve (665770) | about 9 months ago | (#44344365)

I am on Atkins diet. Basically I am eating only meat. (Almost) No vegetable, no fruits, no bread, no rice, no sweets. YES YES I know this diet will horrify some people and yes I know it is not very healthy. But it is effective and I will come off it slowly and start eating vegetables and fruits. But so long as I am on such a diet, I think I need to take Vitamin (and Fiber) supplements.

Re:Vitamin supplement may be needed when dieting (0, Troll)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 9 months ago | (#44344471)

If all you want is to lose weight you are doing yourself a disservice by not eating fruits and vegetables. There is nothing wrong with eating tomatoes or lettuce for crying out loud. I can understand cutting down on the starches to lose weight but enough is enough.

Re: Vitamin supplement may be needed when dieting (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344513)

You arent familiar with ketogenic diets are you? They do work, and no studies have found them to be harmful. Don't presume to tell people what course to health people should take.

Re: Vitamin supplement may be needed when dieting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344591)

Take one small spoon of palm fat and some food, every three hours. This will get your metabolism in overdrive, you won't have to think about what you're eating, and you won't feel hungry as the next meal is only three hours away. I lost 35 pounds in two months using this method and my weight has been stable since. Diets that work by limiting certain nutritional groups will unbalance your system, usually resulting in gaining back the lost weight after some time when your body feels it needs to recover from the shortages.

Re: Vitamin supplement may be needed when dieting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344613)

why not? you don't seem to have any idea how easy it is.

Re:Vitamin supplement may be needed when dieting (-1, Flamebait)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 9 months ago | (#44344729)

I am on Atkins diet. Basically I am eating only meat. (Almost) No vegetable, no fruits, no bread, no rice, no sweets. But it is effective and I will come off it slowly and start eating vegetables and fruits.

You might want to consider a Paleolithic diet [wikipedia.org] (Caveman diet) instead, which does include fruits and vegetables. On related topics, these two university lecture talks are pretty interesting (each is about 1 - 1.5 hours long):

Nursing homes and parents. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344393)

All I know about longevity I learned at nursing homes and from my parents. First, it's almost all women which confirms the gender difference. Next, there are always a handful women SMOKING outside around back. Genetics probably dominate more than anything else. Are you a woman whose granny smoked into her 90s? You're golden.

Next, my father and his brothers. My father lived longer. Why? Because he quit smoking in his 40s and he got away from New Jersey. The pollution doesn't kill you in Jersey. The going out with your buddies to drink until 2 AM does. That was the lifestyle up there. On week nights!

Finally, try not to get killed in a war. That one got one of my uncles. So. I got good genes from my father and I don't drink like crazy. I'll probably live to be 80 or 85... unless there's a war or I get hit by a bus.

Supplements? Fuggedaboutit. I don't think my Dad took anything except Vitamin Beer until his 60s. By then, what's the point? Money blown on that shit is money that could have been spent on healthy fun.

The truth is (3, Informative)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 9 months ago | (#44344401)

that almost everything you know about nutrition is wrong, often started up by one person or a group of people who failed to prove even loose correlation, yet people take up their suggestions and after a while they become 'common knowledge'.

Most multivitamins contain ingredients that pass through your digestive tract without even being absorbed. What does get absorbed is excessive and the system is unfamiliar with these huge doses of bioavailable vitamins and your system works overtime to eliminate it. Puts a real beating on the kidneys.

To extend the ridiculousness, nobody has ever proved that fat or meat are bad for you, yet people avoid them both and suffer nutritionally. In the 50's, Ancel Keys wrote a paper on his lipid theory where he 'proved' that fat was bad for you by eliminating the data from 17 of 23 countries he studied. The 17 he threw out were large consumers of fats with no problems with heart disease or cancer, such as the Innuit and Masai. He also noted in his study that there was no connection between dietary cholesterol and cholesterol levels in blood, but everyone seems to have skipped that part.

50 years of studies showed that salt was also not at all harmful to the average person, but doctors couldn't shake the idea of salt raising blood pressure temporarily so they gamed a study called Intersalt, where...you guessed it...they deleted around 40% of the data that included people who ate plenty of salt and led perfectly healthy lives. The excuse? "We already know that salt is bad for you, so if people say they ate it and were healthy, then they were lying". Hmm. It should be interesting to note at this point that all these studies do go on what people say they did and didn't eat and did or didn't do. Faulty data in the first place.

No study has ever proven that MSG is bad for you, in fact its approved by each and every equivalent of the FDA worldwide with zero dissenters, and its been eaten by billions of people for a century with no ill health effects. All it does is make healthy food taste better so you're more likely to eat it. In fact, the studies that were run showed more false positives as a placebo effect than actual reactions. Fun part is the whole thing goes back to one doctor who wasn't a nutritional expert writing a letter noting a possible 'chinese food syndrome' that he suggested at random might be MSG related. Its an amino acid derived from boiling kombu seaweed.

Meat is bad? The studies that say so point out that most of the people who eat meat, bacon and so forth also smoke, drink, don't exercise and live a lousy lifestyle. Of course they do, we've been telling people that meat is bad for them for 60 years, so anyone that eats it doesn't care about their health. Yet there is no study whatsoever that ever tested perfectly healthy people with a good lifestyle whose health suffered when they ate meat.

What IS bad for you are most pills, supplements, things in cans, fake 'diet' brownies and cookies, sugar, processed foods, vegetable oils except for olive, processed starches, and high energy/low nutrition foods that make up the bulk of the 'western diet'. Eat meat, quality fats, whole fruits and veg and steer clear of the high profit, easy to produce items made from grains and processed starches.

If that seems hard to believe, recall that we were told for decades that cigarettes were good for us, with doctors recommending particular brands. We were also moved from relatively healthy animal fats/butter to transfats, partially hydrogenated fats and so forth. That recommendation probably killed millions. Eggs are bad/good/bad/good/bad/good. By the way, they're just fine and a great source of B vitamins and protein.

Re:The truth is (5, Insightful)

dinfinity (2300094) | about 9 months ago | (#44344497)

What IS bad for you are la mayoría de pills, supplements, things in cans, fake 'diet' brownies and cookies, sugar, processed foods, vegetable oils except for olive, processed starches, and alta energy/low nutrition foods que conforman the bulk of the 'western diet'. Eat meat, quality fats, las frutas enteras and veg and steer clear of the alta rentabilidad, easy to produce artículos hechos de grains and processed starches.

You're kidding, right? Five very insightful paragraphs showing how hard research into nutrition is and how most 'nutritional facts' have no proper basis in science followed by a ridiculous list of different largely unsupported nutritional claims?

'[Processed foods are bad]'? Really?? What the fuck is 'processed food' even?
Next you're going to say that 'additives' and 'chemicals' are 'bad for you'.

Re:The truth is (0)

Alomex (148003) | about 9 months ago | (#44344621)

'[Processed foods are bad]'? Really??

Yes really.

What the fuck is 'processed food' even?

LMGTFY:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=processed+foods [lmgtfy.com]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convenience_food [wikipedia.org]

Next you're going to say that 'additives' and 'chemicals' are 'bad for you'.

Ah, you are being ironic. Or trolling. Or both.

Re:The truth is (2)

dinfinity (2300094) | about 9 months ago | (#44344771)

Ah, so your response to my implied criticism that 'processed foods' is a ridiculously broad term that could be applied to the majority of food you buy in the supermarket is condescendingly linking to another term referring to the specific set of tertiary processed food, which is still ridiculously broad enough to render any claim on nutritional value or health effects of the class as a whole instantly false.

Next you're going to say that 'additives' and 'chemicals' are 'bad for you'.

Ah, you are being ironic. Or trolling. Or both.

No. Don't be an idiot. Show me the research that proves that 'additives' or 'chemicals' are 'bad for you'.
Go ahead. Apparently it is extremely obvious, so you should have no problems whatsoever in finding mountains of evidence.
You can start here for the 'chemicals' part of it: http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html [dhmo.org]

Also: reread the first five paragraphs of Cute Fuzzy Bunny's OP or TFS.

Re:The truth is (1)

epiccollision (1373095) | about 9 months ago | (#44344757)

'[Processed foods are bad]'? Really?? What the fuck is 'processed food' even?
Next you're going to say that 'additives' and 'chemicals' are 'bad for you'.

when you have to break down and reassemble a food to make it similar to the food it was before processing( like enriched flour, modified milk ingredients) then yes that stuff is bad for you, replacing sucrose(glucose, fructose) with HFCS frankenfood is not the best thing to be eating...additives and chemicals are bad for you if they are the wrong ones....melamine is a terrible thing to feed babies and pets, GRAS http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/GRAS/ [fda.gov] does not mean its been tested or even evaluated in any sort of way....like BPA and slew of other food additives(also does not mean they are bad like Xantham gum)

I know what your point is, but ignorance is not a defense...we're not here to educate you...you are responsible for that...your hyperbole is noted...and dismissed.

Re:The truth is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344601)

So you're telling us that human beings are supposed to suckly milk from the udders of a cow? Why not horse milk? Why not cat milk? Why not tiger milk?

You're also telling us that human beings are supposed to eat meat, even though 99.99999% of human beings on the planet cannot even catch a wild boar, wild rabbit, etc. with their bare hands, and NO human beings, who aren't psychopaths, can KILL a rabbit with their bare hands, in anything resembling a 'natural' way? i.e. the way that a true carnivore or omnivore hunts and kills animals LOOKS normal, they have claws and canine teeth, their mouths open wide enough to bite and break the spinal cord of their prey, etc.

Why is it that ALL human beings who routinely kill animals are sociopaths - i.e. psychologically damaged? Have you never been to a slaughterhouse?

Why is it that MOST human beings regard the sight of another human killing an animals as the expression of a psychopath, but never regard a tiger killing his prey as acting out of the ordinary?

Do try thinking things through before posting up your nonsense...

Linus Pauling died at age 93 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344427)

At a time when living past 90 wasn't as common as it is today.

I'm not saying that proves anything about Pauling's claims about vitamins, but the last line of TFA conveniently omits Pauling's age when it mentions that he died of prostrate cancer. To me, that makes the article suspect... the author is only presenting facts on one side of the story.

Re:Linus Pauling died at age 93 (1)

the gnat (153162) | about 9 months ago | (#44344809)

Linus Pauling died at age 93... At a time when living past 90 wasn't as common as it is today.

Only because there were so many other things that could kill you before you reached the end of your "natural" lifespan. The maximum age of the human body appears to have been constant throughout recorded history. The massive increase in actual life expectancy (to somewhere in the 70s) in the developed world coincided with Pauling's life, so he benefited from all of the many advances in medicine, public health and sanitation, and an overall decrease in violent crime.

Vitamins aren't the problem. (3, Insightful)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 9 months ago | (#44344457)

Seven previous studies had already shown that vitamins increased the risk of cancer and heart disease and shortened lives.

It shouldn't take a microbiologist or an organic chemist to figure out that vitamins aren't the problem; saturating ourselves with vitamins in a form we're not adapted to utilize are obviously the issue. Translation: stay away from the pills and and supplments section of that so-called "healthfood store" and go to the farmers' market, dumbasses!

He did live for 93 years though (2)

Hentes (2461350) | about 9 months ago | (#44344475)

Coincidence?

Re:He did live for 93 years though (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344629)

Maybe not. His basic premise was sound -- our nearest relatives among the primates, who have not had the mutation that broke their ability to produce their own vitamin C -- have about 1 gram of vitamin C in their blood all the time. If less than one gram were optimal, they'd likely have produced less after millions of years.
  Meanwhile, humans got such large amounts of vitamin C from their fruit-rich diets that at one point, the aforementioned mutation didn't kill them all; rather they managed to survive in spite of it, and it spread through the then-tiny population of humans who are our ancestors.

  If our bodies were still producing vitamin C, we would be hovering around 1000 milligrams every day, and there's sure to be some situations where such a large amount is beneficial.

We are all taking vitamin supplements.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344485)

Unless you grow your own food. Vitamins and minerals are added to some of the following: flour, bread products, breakfast cereal, table salt (iodine), milk, fruit juices, etc. etc. During WWII the US Military drafted large numbers of men who suffered nutritional deficiencies, most commonly pellegra, Vitamin B-3 deficiency. After the war, the Federal Government started to promote and at times require the additional of vitamins and minerals in basic foods. The quantities were amounts variously described on the legally required labels as: "Minimum Daily Requirement, "Recommended Daily Allowance" (Libertarian Alert!), "Recommended Daily Value" (Political Compromise Alert!).

A general tenet of the effects of drugs is that with higher doses you often get different and more toxic effects. Applying this logic to vitamins, the "minimum daily requirement" was set at amounts that were adequate to prevent frank nutritional diseases: beri-beri, rickets, scurvy, pellegra, goiter. The program has been an amazing success. The diseases listed in the prior sentence occur with much much less frequency than they did before circa 1950. (Increased use of refrigeration and wider availability of different foods also are a factor). It is also amazing how 'under the radar' this has all been. Those conditions still occur, but in identifiable risk groups such as those in nursing homes, alcoholics, homeless, etc. Compare this to the risk group for getting pellegra in the 1930's was living in the corn belt.

I have fond memories around 1960 when I would have been years old, reading the vitamin content of breakfast cereals. I announced to my brother that I was healthier and would live longer than he would. See? My Cocoa Crispies has more vitamins than your Sugar Pops!

Bringing us up to the modern era, the old 'fortification' of some foods continues, but in addition vitamins and minerals are added to all sorts of food as part of marketing.
===

Unknown to me: do the studies the OP are concerned about consider if the people taking more vitamins are doing so to treat (or self treat) pre-existing condition? Do vitamin takers have the same, better, or worse basic health to begin with compared to non-vitamin takers?

Re:We are all taking vitamin supplements.. (1)

tylikcat (1578365) | about 9 months ago | (#44344779)

The forms of vitamins in fortified foods have been far more rigorously test than those sold in supplements which are less regulated. FWIW.

Ironically... (1)

joh (27088) | about 9 months ago | (#44344545)

all of this seems to be true only for people who take vitamin pills. People who get their vitamins by eating lots of fruits and vegetables STILL live longer and are healthier. May have other reasons than vitamins though.

I've decided quite a while ago that eating meat, fish, vegetables and fruit is fine. I also add as much salt as I like and have no fear of fat and oils. What I try to avoid is sugar and basically anything ready-made. Which often means I can walk right through a supermarket and out at the other end without finding anything I would want to eat. The shelves are full of "products" and very empty of foods.

The nice thing about a diet of meat, fish, vegetables and fruit is that it's almost impossible to get obese.

science writing at its worst (2)

virchull (963203) | about 9 months ago | (#44344549)

Almost all the studies in the article suffer from various statistical biases - selection bias, survivor bias, etc. I could find only 2 that may have been A-B blind studies over extended periods. One of those 2 is suspect because it was cut short and the article is talking about long term effects. This article was written to sell magazines, not to document biological effects. I take no stand whether vitamins are good or bad, but it is very clear that the article is poor science writing.

Whacko Fringe View (3, Informative)

iggymanz (596061) | about 9 months ago | (#44344551)

Mainstream and accepted view is that vitamin supplements in proper dosage are a good insurance for health. AMA, AAP, etc.

There are always studies supporting an opposing view of anything and everything.

Re:Whacko Fringe View (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 9 months ago | (#44344727)

There are always studies supporting an opposing view of anything and everything.

Pharma companies wouldn't fund any vitamin C studies. Even if they found a new use for it . . . they can't patent vitamin C, and thus can't make any big profits from it.

Maybe Monsanto will come along and create a genetically modified version of vitamin C . . . then they would fund studies proving that it can cure baldness, smelly feet, tooth decay, near-sightedness, high blood pressure, schizophrenia, ear aches, . . .

A quick test (0)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 9 months ago | (#44344631)

Lots of people on this site are stating, quite authoritatively but without citation, that vitamins are good/bad for you.

Here's a quick test to tell which side is right.

Go to a good supplements store and pick up some vitamin D. It's got to be a good store, a high-end store that values reputation over profit. GNC is good, as are many others, while your supermarket is not-so-good.

In the dead of winter, take a handful of vitamin D - anywhere over 10,000 IU or so, and see if you get better. It's nigh impossible to overdose on vitamin D, but use common sense (many people take 50,000 IU [google.com] vitamin D with no problem).

See if you feel better. Use this to determine whether the people posting here without citation are correct or talking through their hat.

A question for people (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 9 months ago | (#44344673)

Vitamin D is made through the action of sunlight on cholesterol in the blood.

Here's a question for the medical folks: is "high cholesterol" the body's response to low levels of vitamin D?

IOW, if the body is low on vitamin D, does it raise the level of cholesterol in the blood in an attempt to scavenge more sunlight?

This should be testable - determine whether taking vitamin D has any effect on people with high cholesterol.

He and Ancel Keys should be put in a special club (1)

barc0001 (173002) | about 9 months ago | (#44344639)

Between the two of them they've caused the biggest changes in Western health and diet, and yet were both so wrong. They honestly both thought what they were doing was the Right Thing, but by cherry picking evidence that supported their theories (especially in Keys' case) and ignoring data that pointed otherwise, they committed the cardinal sin of science: Don't make your data fit your hypothesis.

You need to have feith...to believe in science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344663)

They can prove anything that they want, amazing. Every day a new theory that 'solves' the same problem.

The end of illness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344745)

If you are interested in this, here's a very interesting podcast interview on the good and bad of the pills we take and the suppliments industry by an epidemiologist:

http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/sat/sat-20120421-0908-david_b_agus_the_end_of_illness-00.ogg [radionz.co.nz]

It's well worth the listen. (no, he's not a quack with a silver bullet solution)

book form + reviews:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Illness-M-D-David-Agus/dp/145161019X [amazon.com]

vitamin manufacturing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44344853)

It would be curious to research vitamin manufacturers and see if they are owned by major drug companies. You know... sell you something to make you sick so they can sell you what makes you better. Like in Canada a few years back when they banned the sale of cigarettes in drug stores some of which were majority owned by tobacco companies.

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