Last month, the AMA (American Medical Association) reported that the use of multivitamins ‘may do more harm than good’ (Archives of Internal Medicine, Oct, 2011). This conclusion was based on a survey given to 39,000 women around the age of 62. The subjects were asked to complete three surveys in a span of 19 years. They completed the first in 1986, the second in 1997, and the final one in 2004.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see the flaw in this whole design. The data was self-reported by one specific group of the population in a specific age group. Control was lacking throughout many aspects of the trial. There was no control over what multi-vitamins were used or what the formulations were. No information was provided on the medical conditions of the participants before and throughout the study. AMA also suggested that the use of multivitamins increased death rates. However, no medical investigations were performed on those participants who had died around 2008, when the researchers had done a follow-up.
Dr. Robert Verkerk, Executive & Scientific Director of ANH-International (Alliance for Natural Health Alliance) called this ‘junk science’ that is used solely to protect the profits of the giant pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Ververk is an internationally acclaimed scientist who is collaborating with other scientists to develop scientific and legal frameworks for natural healthcare. To learn more about ANH, visit www.anhinternational.org. To read more about Dr. Ververk’s response to the AMA’s claim, visit http://www.anh-usa.org/shame-on-ama-part-two.
What’s ironic is that a study revealed that physicians and nurses are just as likely as the general public to use dietary supplements and that most of them also recommend supplements to their patients (Council For Responsible Nutrition, March 2011). Additionally, the Chicago Tribune (March 2011) pointed out that research does, indeed, show that supplements improve overall health and, consequently, save billions of dollars in health care costs. Patrick Rea, publisher and editorial director of Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) said at the Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus (Sept 2010), that dietary supplements were an important part of immunity and prevention… that “consumers looked at supplements as one way through the recession to help take care of themselves,” and that the increase in sales reflected this fact.
Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, Cara Welch Ph.D., says that there are plenty of studies published that show the benefits of vitamin supplements (Oct. 2011). She points out that AMA’s statements “should not dissuade the general public from the benefits of addressing a vitamin or mineral deficiency with dietary supplements.” Furthermore, NPA Executive Director and CEO John Gay responds to the Wall Street Journal’s article on the AMA statement: “It is disappointing that the Wall Street Journal would devote space to such a sensationalist and inaccurate item… (Oct. 2011).”
The term ‘multivitamin’ cannot be exactly and absolutely defined because formulations vary from product to product. It makes more sense for scientific studies to do trials on specific vitamins or minerals and make valid conclusions with that particular one. Multivitamins in our modern day add more than just vitamins and minerals to the mix – some contain herbs, enzymes, and other nutrients to optimize human health. All products are not created equal, so do your research and choose carefully. Seek expert consultation if you are not sure about what you need for your individual health needs.
Please note: The information provided here is for information purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your doctor. You should not use this information for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem. You should consult with your doctor before starting any diet, exercise, or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have a health problem.