Vitamins and Minerals: The Truth About Deficiency and RDAs

September 25, 2008 at 10:32 am (Alternative Medicine, Bad Science, Nutritionism, Supplements) (, , , , , , )

I’ve previously written a comment on the Holford Watch blog relating to the setting of RDAs in relation to the Orthomolecular Medicine claim that it is a myth that no-one is deficient in essential nutrients. Obviously, the OrthoMed rebuttal is of a straw man argument that “no-one” is deficient – which is not an argument I have ever heard used by any authority on nutrition – but I’m not here to talk about the use of logical fallacies by nutrition industry apologists. I’m here to tell you the truth about nutritionism, vitamins, recommended daily allowances and deficiency. The OrthoMed site claims that 50-60 per cent of Americans (up to 75 or 80% for some nutrients) are failing to achieve the RDA for certain vits and mins. That they are not achieving the RDA does not mean that they have a problem with vitamin deficiency. Ingesting less than the RDA for a vitamin does not mean that you will have symptoms of deficiency for the very good reason that:

“The term [RDA] recognises that particular groups of individuals (E.g. infants and those over 60) have different needs and for each group, the intention was to be sufficiently generous to encompass the presumed (but unmeasured) variability in requirement among people. This meant that the value was usually set deliberately high” [Derek Shrimpton]

Those setting RDAs have recognised that we are all individuals, with nutrient requirements that vary. They set the RDAs deliberately high in order to compensate for this variation in the amounts of nutrients require. Given that RDAs are usually set deliberately high it’s actually more likely that they are over and above our needs rather than being ‘sub-optimum’. But that won’t be enough to reassure some people – they will still worry about the low levels of vitamins they assume they are consuming. Or, perhaps, they may be worried about the perceived low intake of vitamins and minerals they are burdening their children with due to their failure to buy supplements. Here’s some reassurance for parents: the average child gets the recommended level of most vitamins and minerals. Don’t believe me? It’s been reported that: “the National Diet and Nutrition Survey found that the average child consumed levels of vitamins and most minerals that met recommendations, and in many cases, comfortably exceeded them. These conclusions were based on records from 7-day weighed food diaries and were confirmed by biochemical measurements of blood samples” [I think this is the study: doi: 10.1017/S0007114508981484, and here's a linky]

This story was linked to on the Bad Science miniblog, under the heading “Here’s something you won’t read in the papers”. To them, it would only be a story if the survey had shocking findings about the terrible state of our children’s health and all the horrible deficiency diseases they were at risk from. Good news like this does not sell papers. Or vitamin pills, come to that.

Edit 15th June 2009:

I really should have added some specific examples of when supplementation may be useful. Of course there is the specific advice that Folic Acid is recommended from the time you stop using contraception until the 12th week of pregnancy. There are also issues regarding Vitamin B12 status. One study found that of, 1424 pregnant women in Newfoundland during their first prenatal visit, “Serum vitamin B12 levels of 621 (43.6%) women were classified as deficient or marginal”. The need for women planning to conceive to increase their intake of Folic Acid has been addressed by the dissemination of advice to supplement 400 micrograms per day. That many pregnancies are unplanned means that there may be a much larger number of women who need to increase their folic acid/B12 intake than might otherwise appear.

Then there’s iron-deficiency anaemia: A Danish study (PMID: 8867722) found that “In general, Danish men and postmenopausal women had a satisfactory iron status. Adolescent Danish girls and premenopausal women had a high prevalence of iron deficiency, which should be taken into consideration when establishing guidelines and recommendations for nutritional iron intake in this section of the population”; a study in Bangladesh (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2001) 55, 598–604) found that “In all sub-groups, the intake of iron was much higher than the RDA level and mainly based on non-haem iron” and that “Prevalence of anaemia ranged from 63 to 70% in group L and 27 to 66% in group H, respectively”. I note that the iron intake was above the RDA and that it was mainly in the non-haem form. This may have implications for premenopausal women who are vegetarians or who exist on a restricted diet.

ETA: EVM report – vitmin2003

About these ads

20 Comments

  1. Mylo Groen said,

    it’s been my experience that the RDA’s are generally about only 1/10 of the amount needed for optimal health. iodine’s RDA is 150mcg for an adult male. almost everyone who tries the iodine in 1mg to 10mg doses reports many improvements in health. Same goes for Vit E, Vit D, Vit C, the B-complex. Honestly, i have to suspect the pharmaceutical companies have a hand in setting the RDA’s so low. Their goal is to make people think Vitamins and Minerals don’t do much for them. So the people feel unwell, so they buy more drugs. After all, is your goal just to get enough nutrition to stay alive, or, all you need to be vibrantly healthy and vigorous?

  2. jdc325 said,

    “almost everyone who tries the iodine in 1mg to 10mg doses reports many improvements in health”

    People will report improvements in health after pretty much any intervention. Here are some possible reasons why:

    Spontaneous improvement, fluctuation of symptoms, regression to the mean, additional treatment, conditional switching of placebo treatment, scaling bias, irrelevant response variables, answers of politeness, experimental subordination, conditioned answers, neurotic or psychotic misjudgment, psychosomatic phenomena, misquotation, etc.

    Oh, and there’s also the placebo effect.

    Is there any evidence to support any of your claims? I’d be interested to see it, whether it’s regarding improvements in health when taking ten times the RDA of vitamins and minerals or whether it’s regarding the massive conspiracy over the setting of RDAs.

    Do please post here again in order to provide this evidence.

    Yours in anticipation,
    jdc.

  3. Rob Hinkley said,

    “Honestly, I have to suspect the pharmaceutical companies have a hand in setting the RDA’s so low.”
    But these pharmaceutical companies also sell vitamin & mineral supplements. Surely they’d be delighted for the RDAs to be set so high that everyone has to take their pills every day to meet them.

  4. Mylo Groen said,

    Rob,
    There are a lot of small companies which produce and sell vitamins. There is no patent on vitamins and minerals and naturally occurring substances. The big pharma people make their biggest money on PATENTABLE drugs. They spend a lot of money to get a new drug developed, then charge unbelievable markups to cover their cost, with a vengeance. They know that most of the effects derived from drugs can be better duplicated with substances which are naturally occurring in plants and animals, such as vitamins and minerals, but they can’t make much profit on that. They really are not interested in selling vitamins and minerals, particularly when they have some honest competition. That really cuts into the profit margins. In addition there is a good chance that naturally occurring substance will actually cure someone. Drug companies don’t want that. They want want you sick and dependent on them for the rest of your miserable life. Look at what they sell. Does any of it really cure anything? NO. You have to keep using it over and over and over, all the while the drugs are ruining your liver. It’s all about the money my friend. Follow the money. Your health is not their concern.

  5. Mylo Groen said,

    Hi jdc325,
    I have been studying health and nutrition since 1975, and many of my opinions are a result of this cumulative effort. I have also participated in many groups where dietary practices were studied and tried. I have been constantly experimenting on my own body over the last 36 years. So for much of what i believe, i have not kept records. However here is some of what i have been reading recently to learn about iodine:

    http://www.newswithviews.com/Howenstine/james37.htm

    http://www.gabrielcousens.com/DRCOUSENS/DRCOUSENSBLOG/tabid/364/PostID/145/language/en-US/JAPAN-RADIATION-AND-HEALTH-AND-SPIRITUAL-IMPLICATIONS.aspx

    http://www.gabrielcousens.com/DRCOUSENS/DRCOUSENSBLOG/tabid/364/PostID/151/language/en-US/A-Comprehensive-Holistic-Approach-to-the-Plague-of-Radiation-and-What-To-Do.aspx

    http://www.naturalnews.com/008902.html

    http://www.ryandrum.com/thyroid1.html

    http://doctorapsley.com/RadiationTherapy.aspx

    http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=iodine+plus+2+reviews&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

    http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=69

    Now they are coming with some nonsense about “Tolerable Upper Limit” for vitamins and minerals. As if you go over that something dreadful will happen, only bad effects. Well of course with ANYTHING if you get too much it will be a problem, particularly non-naturally occurring pharmaceuticals. Vitamins and Minerals, being necessary and extremely multi-functional natural building blocks of life, are much more flexible in the dosages which can be tolerated and indeed therapeutic. Perhaps there needs to be (3) ranges of vitamin and mineral dosages. 1. bare survival range (what the government seems to prefer to promote at this time) 2. Therapeutic ranges which would typically be in the 3x to 30x range of the RDA. and 3. actually dangerous range of dosages. While it is true side effects may occur for some people at therapeutic range dosages, they are generally mild and easily reverse-able. Have you ever listened to the multitude of drug commercials on TV the last 10 years or so? The list of side effects is truly frightening. Why are we so worried about the potential mild side effects of therapeutic doses of vitamins and minerals?

  6. jdc325 said,

    Hi Mylo,

    I see plenty of personal testimony and opinion, but I was unable to find any evidence on any of the pages you linked to.

    I take it you don’t actually have any evidence for the claims you made regarding improvements in health when taking ten times the RDA of vitamins and minerals, or the massive conspiracy over the setting of RDAs.

  7. jdc325 said,

    “Honestly, I have to suspect the pharmaceutical companies have a hand in setting the RDA’s so low.”
    But these pharmaceutical companies also sell vitamin & mineral supplements. Surely they’d be delighted for the RDAs to be set so high that everyone has to take their pills every day to meet them.

    Oh yes – the Patrick Holford-endorsed Health Products for
    Life Limited (“HPL”)
    was bought by holding company NeutraHealth (a wholly owned subsidiary of Elder Pharmaceuticals).

    Wiki describes Elder as “one of the leading pharmaceutical company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.” There’s a brief summary of their history to 2006 here.

    Then there’s Equazen. Their about page used to say (cache here) “Founded in 1999 by husband and wife team, equazen is now owned by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Vifor Pharma, a company of the Galenica group.” Freezepaged here in case Google’s cache disappears. More details on ViforPharma here.

  8. Mylo Groen said,

    i am continuing my research into iodine. i have found some doctors who are pioneering the rescue of the reputation of inorganic iodine supplements. These supplements were widely used from about 1830 to 1930 until the big drug companies decided they would rather sell thyroid hormones for much, much more markup. But the entire body needs iodine, not just the thyroid, every cell needs it. Nowadays there are many toxins which are in our water and other products which inhibit the uptake of iodine in the cells. Toxins such as Bromine, Fluoride, and Chlorine. So the need is greater now than ever. The doctors currently using increased amounts of iodine have had good results with thousands of patients. Dr’s: Guy E. Abraham, Brownstein, Flechas, Howenstine, Cousens, etc. What more evidence do you need? “All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient evidence” We must take action based on our best estimate of a situation. We cannot always wait for double-blind, cellular level, microscopic, test-tube, “proof” of everything. indeed such “proof” may not actually be proof at all, but a micro-view distortion of a larger situation. This is ideal for propaganda, since it actually does technically follow the scientific method, albeit in a very small context. Also this super-technical level of “evidence” will never be read by 99.9% people and can easily be spun to suit the corporation/interests funding the “scientific study”.
    see the following links:

    http://www.healthsalon.org/274/iodine-dr-guy-e-abraham-md/

    http://www.iodine4health.com/ortho/abraham_ortho.htm

  9. Adam Patterson said,

    I’d have so much more respect for “self appointed” nutritionists if they critiqued the drugs giants, the food manufacturers and the medical profession in equal measure. For some reason a corporation like Pepsi Co responsible for pumping citizens with sugar and salt for generations is completely devoid of criticism?

  10. jdc325 said,

    Adam,

    If you think that what the world needs is a blog post about Pepsi and the content of their products then perhaps you might be better off spending your time writing such a post rather than criticising other people because they want to talk about what they find interesting.

  11. Adam Patterson said,

    jdc325, Nice name btw.

    This is a question of proportion. How many people are harmed by the pharmaceutical giants and the food manufacturers, and how many people are harmed by Patrick Holford and vitamins? That’s if any people actually are harmed, and plenty would contend he does the opposite. Either way if it is interesting to concentrate on the apparent harmfulness of one man against far worse evils, then by all means, continue to mislead and misinform.

    You are using Holford as a stick to beat the pro vitamin community with and as a result doing a great deal of harm to the understanding of preventative medicine. Ultimately people are going to die as a result of your ignorance. And yes, I am currently writing a website on the subject which I will link you to in due course.

  12. jdc325 said,

    This is a question of proportion. How many people are harmed by the pharmaceutical giants and the food manufacturers, and how many people are harmed by Patrick Holford and vitamins? That’s if any people actually are harmed, and plenty would contend he does the opposite. Either way if it is interesting to concentrate on the apparent harmfulness of one man against far worse evils, then by all means, continue to mislead and misinform.

    1. I don’t rank topics by harm caused when deciding what to write about. If I did, then my posts would probably all be about the most frequent causes of death. Which are being written about elsewhere on a daily basis.

    2. Perhaps you’d like to point out where I have actually misled and misinformed people?

    You are using Holford as a stick to beat the pro vitamin community with and as a result doing a great deal of harm to the understanding of preventative medicine. Ultimately people are going to die as a result of your ignorance.

    That is a very strong assertion (and a very emotive one). Would you care to back it up? What supports your view that people will die because of what I’ve written on my blog?

  13. Adam Patterson said,

    You’re probably a victim of the pharmaceutical campaign to ensure that the truth about vitamins is buried. The list of studies on the benefits of vitamins is endless, how have you missed them?

    Take heart disease http://www.doctoryourself.com/heartdisease.html, vitamin E and vitamin C. If the studies linked to this site are correct then deficiencies of both vitamins lead to heart disease. In Linus Pauling’s case he is suggesting up to 15g of vitamin C per day, 18 times more than the RDA.

    And someone who has used large doses of vitamin C to reverse heart disease http://charles-s.hubpages.com/hub/Reversing-Cardiovascular-Disease. We definitely know that very low vitamin C causes scurvy,causing arteries to burst, and it shouldn’t be surprising that sub optimal levels create cardiovascular problems.

    B vitamins and Alzheimer’s http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11232356.

    If I am right then you are doing a great deal of harm by persuading people that they already get adequate levels of vitamins from their diet. And in a world of vitamin depletion associated with stress, age, farming methods, nutrition less foods- refined carbohydrates, refined sugar and junk food, for many people that is a distinct possibility.

    I doubt whether there is much point in continuing the argument per se, since I doubt anyone can be persuaded to take down a website after a couple of lines of discussion.

    Though I suppose I am keen to see how you would tackle heart disease. Statins and avoiding saturated fat?

  14. jdc325 said,

    You’re probably a victim of the pharmaceutical campaign to ensure that the truth about vitamins is buried. The list of studies on the benefits of vitamins is endless, how have you missed them?

    Take heart disease http://www.doctoryourself.com/heartdisease.html, vitamin E and vitamin C. If the studies linked to this site are correct then deficiencies of both vitamins lead to heart disease. In Linus Pauling’s case he is suggesting up to 15g of vitamin C per day, 18 times more than the RDA.

    No-one is denying that deficiencies of vitamins are a cause of morbidity and mortality. My post refers to information on the setting of RDAs (set deliberately high) and information on whether people are getting adequate nutrition. Most people can obtain adequate nutrition from eating a balanced, varied diet – and I refer to some of the exceptions to this in my post. There seems to be an assumption that because you can prevent deficiency diseases and ill health by ensuring adequate intake of vitamins and minerals that taking more vitamins and minerals will be even better. I’ll come back to that point.

    If I am right then you are doing a great deal of harm by persuading people that they already get adequate levels of vitamins from their diet. And in a world of vitamin depletion associated with stress, age, farming methods, nutrition less foods- refined carbohydrates, refined sugar and junk food, for many people that is a distinct possibility.

    I’ve pointed out that it’s possible to get adequate levels of vitamins from a balanced, varied diet and that people generally have better intakes of nutrients than the nutritionists tell us (where they don’t, I think the best long-term solution to that problem would normally be better diet rather than vitamin pills). You seem to be keen on people taking extra doses of vitamins because you assume that they can’t obtain adequate nutrition from diet. I think this assumption is incorrect. Further, the assumption that taking extra doses of vitamin pills is beneficial may be not just incorrect but dangerously wrong. See here, for example. “The increased risk of mortality was associated with beta-carotene and possibly vitamin E and vitamin A, but was not associated with the use of vitamin C or selenium. The current evidence does not support the use of antioxidant supplements in the general population or in patients with various diseases.

    Though I suppose I am keen to see how you would tackle heart disease. Statins and avoiding saturated fat?

    There’s some sensible advice on food and diet here, with ‘healthy heart tips’ here. You might also enjoy their page on vitamins and minerals here. Whether statins are appropriate depends on the individual and any decision should be made on the best available evidence in consultation with their doctor. I think a blanket recommendation to avoid saturated fat would be silly – people should keep an eye on their intake of saturated fat but I don’t think anyone is arguing that it should be avoided altogether.

  15. Adam Patterson said,

    Generally speaking such trials dupe the general public by using inorganic vitamins or fail to take into account that vitamins work in synergy together, e.g. vitamin D counteracts the negative effects of vitamin A. That’s why I take cod liver oil. The RDA for that is something like 2 or 3,000 units but the average Eskimo gets about 30,000 units, and they have some of the best cardiovascular health in the world. The RDA therefore is probably nowhere near where it should be. So I don’t take the studies you refer to very seriously. All the vitamins I take come from natural sources.

    The reason I asked about saturated fat is because I suspected you’ve probably been taken in by the lipid hypothesis too. Do you know about THINCS- The International Network of Cholesterol Sceptics?http://www.thincs.org/. 95 top cardiologists, cardiac surgeons and scientists who just don’t believe that saturated fat does you any harm.

    Most people get the RDA? I did mention the sick, the old and those eating junk food, didn’t I? In other words those who are the most vulnerable and most in need of vitamin therapy. As I said “emotively” your laissez faire approach to vitamins will continue to swell the cardiac unit with patients, unless you have a better idea of what causes heart disease? And not saturated fat!

    Statins????? Again from the advice of 95 top cardiologists and scientists http://www.thincs.org/melchior1.htm

    As for the links to the NHS? Sensible advice? So we’re supposed to get all our vitamins from food? I would be happy to do that, I don’t buy vitamins for fun. But take the NHS 5 a day campaign. They actually think that 8 or 9 portions a day are what is required for health following the Australian model but they thought the British couldn’t manage that, so 5 was considered better than nothing. 5 is almost an arbitrary number, nothing to do with sensible.

    The NHS pays out about £23 billion to staff in salaries every year, and has a drugs bill of £8.1 billion (vitamin pills sales are about £175 million)- big pharma and the medical profession are just a cosy cabal. We have a life expectancy of 1 additional year over Cubans who spend 18 times less per capita on health than we do. And they have shortages of doctors and medicine- the latter caused by the decades long American blockade. To cut a long story short the NHS is just a big waste of money, designed to keep the two major players I’ve already mentioned in the style they’ve become accustomed to- and to prevent the average person taking control of their own health.

  16. Adam Patterson said,

    I should have added that I am coming from the perspective of someone who had a serious brain abnormality which required surgery and the associated stress before and after depleted my body of both vitamins and even neurotransmitter material.

    My own GP subscribes to the “you can get all your vitamins and minerals from your diet” philosophy, but even when I said I had a craving for fatty foods- a classic sign of acetylcholine depletion, he just looked at me as if I was crazy, and offered me antidepressants. That’s fatty cholesterol laden foods, which the body needs, and sometimes craves.

    Perhaps the average person gets enough vitamins to stave off serious illness in the short term, but the overall campaign against vitamins just creates an environment where the orthomolecular causes of the type of illness I was suffering from are completely ignored.

    You might point out that neurotransmitters are not vitamins, but the point is the drugs he would have had available to restore acetylcholine levels like the drugs that tackle depression merely recycle neurontransmitter material rather than restock it. In the long term this ultimately creates a further reduction in neurotransmitter material for patients on SSRI’s- leading some people to commit suicide. But perhaps since he never diagnosed the problem in the first place, that’s a moot point.

    http://www.drkaslow.com/html/neurotransmitter_depletion.html

    I don’t know what the negative consequences of cholinergic drugs that recycle acetylcholine are, but since Alzheimer’s sufferers have very low levels of the neurotransmitter perhaps I could have developed similar symptoms.

    But I could have gone down to Holland and Barrett and bought a Patrick Holford Phospholipid supplement with Choline, TMG and DMAE in it to restock my neurotransmitters, because my diet clearly wasn’t sufficient. This is the guy who you may be right to malign over his stance on things like Electromagnetic pendants, but who has some pretty solid research on Brain nutrition, co-authoring books on the subject with Hyla Cass MD.

    The belief that orthomolecular health can be achieved by diet alone under trying circumstances is a dangerous myth, and I can only assume that the medical profession given all the evidence to that end, ignore it for self serving purposes. Expensive clever drugs, ramp up the technical expertise needed to dispense medications and that ensures doctors amongst other reasons are highly paid. In between times people like me suffer, and uniformed people who tar all nutritionists who promote orthomolecular preventative medicine with the “phoney” brush do us all a disservice.

  17. jdc325 said,

    Generally speaking such trials dupe the general public by using inorganic vitamins…

    If there is evidence that vitamins from natural sources and synthetic vitamins have different effects in humans then I’d be delighted to see it.

    or fail to take into account that vitamins work in synergy together, e.g. vitamin D counteracts the negative effects of vitamin A…

    If that is true, then it is also true of those promoting and selling vitamin supplements. Perhaps you should have a word with those promoting vitamin C tablets and let them know they won’t work because of the synergy problem?

    That’s why I take cod liver oil. The RDA for that is something like 2 or 3,000 units but the average Eskimo gets about 30,000 units, and they have some of the best cardiovascular health in the world. The RDA therefore is probably nowhere near where it should be.

    Assuming that all of what you’ve said there is true… The average Eskimo might be different to the average Westerner is all kinds of ways. I don’t think you can assume that vitamin D is necessarily the reason for them having “some of the best cardiovascular health in the world”.

    The reason I asked about saturated fat is because I suspected you’ve probably been taken in by the lipid hypothesis too. Do you know about THINCS- The International Network of Cholesterol Sceptics?http://www.thincs.org/. 95 top cardiologists, cardiac surgeons and scientists who just don’t believe that saturated fat does you any harm.

    95 cardiologists, cardiac surgeons and scientists might not believe that saturated fat does you any harm, but what about all those that do? And what evidence are their views based on? See this recent Cochrane summary. (“This updated review suggested that reducing saturated fat by reducing and/or modifying dietary fat reduced the risk of cardiovascular events by 14%…”)

    Most people get the RDA? I did mention the sick, the old and those eating junk food, didn’t I? In other words those who are the most vulnerable and most in need of vitamin therapy.

    Those eating junk food are in need of more than vitamin therapy. They’re in need of a better diet. Vitamin supplementation will correct their deficiencies in vitamins but it won’t do anything about their dietary fat intake, salt intake, fibre intake etc. A better diet is a better solution. Do you have evidence that the sick and the old are routinely deficient in vitamins? I can think of one example where the elderly are more likely to be deficient in a specific nutrient – vitamin B12. That is a specific deficiency in a specific group of the population and I don’t think it can be used as an argument in favour of blanket supplementation in the general population, which is what the nutritionistas seem to promote.

    Statins????? Again from the advice of 95 top cardiologists and scientists http://www.thincs.org/melchior1.htm

    Again, I’d ask that you look at the evidence. Here’s a Cochrane review. (“All-cause mortality was reduced by statins (RR 0.84, 95% CI 0.73 to 0.96) as was combined fatal and non-fatal CVD endpoints (RR 0.70, 95% CI 0.61 to 0.79).”) It might be helpful if you were clear on your position here – are you against ‘statins for all’ or against ‘statins for some’?

    As for the links to the NHS? Sensible advice? So we’re supposed to get all our vitamins from food? I would be happy to do that, I don’t buy vitamins for fun. But take the NHS 5 a day campaign. They actually think that 8 or 9 portions a day are what is required for health following the Australian model but they thought the British couldn’t manage that, so 5 was considered better than nothing. 5 is almost an arbitrary number, nothing to do with sensible.

    The NHS pays out about £23 billion to staff in salaries every year, and has a drugs bill of £8.1 billion (vitamin pills sales are about £175 million)- big pharma and the medical profession are just a cosy cabal. We have a life expectancy of 1 additional year over Cubans who spend 18 times less per capita on health than we do. And they have shortages of doctors and medicine- the latter caused by the decades long American blockade. To cut a long story short the NHS is just a big waste of money, designed to keep the two major players I’ve already mentioned in the style they’ve become accustomed to- and to prevent the average person taking control of their own health.

    As far as I can tell, our life expectancy is about 2-2.5 years more than the Cubans and spending on health is not 18 times less in Cuba – apparently we spend 6.5 times more per capita on health than Cuba. (And it’s worth remembering that we spend money on health not just in order to increase life expectancy but to improve quality of life.)
    Now, you might think that this is a waste of money. Fair enough. But I don’t think it demonstrates that Big Pharma and the medical profession “are just a cosy cabal” and I don’t think it would make NHS advice automatically invalid in any case.

  18. Adam Patterson said,

    My figures used a basic calculation http://www.jabfm.org/content/18/4/297.full.

    Your Cuban figures used Purchasing Power Parity which somewhat narrows the gap, but fails to address the point I am making. Put simply does the 6.5 times more per capita, give us 6.5 times greater longevity? Or does it give us any real advantage over impoverished Cubans? You can argue that we are dealing with laws of diminishing returns, and that once a basic threshold has been reached, increasing gains in life expectancy are more difficult to attain. But that again is a red herring because the truth of the matter is that many indigenous societies without any modern health care facilities often had superior “health” than we have today, measured in what you might call “quality” of health, as opposed to life expectancy per se. http://www.westonaprice.org/traditional-diets/guts-and-grease

    (Nor should you conclude that I think every pound spent is wasted or that technology does not have some advantages- I had brain surgery after all, so I have to be thankful for our surgeons- no doubt on 250k a year- money well spent as far as I’m concerned. But it is clear to me that much of what we spend is money down the drain, and probably much of what the medical profession do is iatrogenic in nature- considering and in the face of the types of gains that allowed my continued survival.)

    Note the amount of saturated fat content of many of these foods. You’ll find that globally most of the indigenous peoples had similar diets and similar advantages over the modern “Pepsi” culture- so it is not simply a genetic advantage. You’ll also find as soon as they ate modern trash, their health plummets.

    Educate yourself by going through the Weston site. You’ll find ripostes to all your remarks including the synergy of some vitamins. Just because I make the remark about D and A does http://www.westonaprice.org/blogs/cmasterjohn/2012/01/22/new-evidence-of-synergy-between-vitamins-a-and-d-protection-against-autoimmune-diseases/ not mean I know that all vitamins have a synergistic effect and I didn’t suggest that in the first place. Though vitamin C does effect Iron absorption for example.

    You can Google everything else rather than simply rebutting it, and asking for proof…just to see whether what I am telling you is fact or fiction. Take for example Organic versus synthetic vitamins

    https://www.google.co.uk/#hl=en&safe=off&sclient=psy-ab&q=organic+vitamins+versus+synthetic+vitamins&oq=organic+vitamins+ver&gs_l=serp.3.0.0i30l2.0.0.1.98.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0..0.0…0.0…1c.G4e3if-EeJE&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=bc57514d80097c4a&biw=1241&bih=606

    I haven’t gone through the links but generally you will find that anyone who has the brains to make the distinction does so because it is a valid one. But generally I go to Weston to get the low down, because the approach to health there isn’t faddish http://www.westonaprice.org/health-issues/dietary-supplements

    So who believes the lipid hypothesis? I’d suggest to you that those who do are ill informed, and don’t have the venerable background of the cardiologists that I have listed. The lipid hypothesis, was never more than that- a theory and I would look into scientific paradigms if you want to understand how the medical profession got it wrong for so long.

    As for statins, my perspective is that it is better to prevent the problems that require modern pharmaceuticals if possible. And you clearly didn’t read the research Thincs provided reference Statins, but here is the Weston twist- plenty of research papers referenced?

    http://www.westonaprice.org/cardiovascular-disease/dangers-of-statin-drugs

    Anyway you need to get some perspective on how these health issues fit into the wider history of nutrition and farming practices, which you will get from Weston, particularly the difference between organically farmed meat and intensive practices. For example omega 6 fatty acids are 16 times greater in ratio to omega 3 EFA’s in grain fed cattle compared with grass fed. Omega 6 acids are inflammatory. So I don’t necessarily disagree with your Cochrane study, but it lacks perspective. http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/skinny-on-fats

    If you don’t read the links you won’t learn anything. So don’t bother replying without at least reading them first.

  19. Anonymoustache said,

    Ummmm, it seems like some people on this topic are provitamin shills as much as pharma’s lobbyists are for their drugs! Have you people forgotten that vitamin supplements are ONLY effective in cases of prolonged deficiency and ONLY worthwhile when in a bio-available form, usually in a liquid form. These vitamins are to be gathered from the diet, a holistic and balanced locally produced and non-processed diet. Eating a deficient diet Is the problem in the first place, Mr. Self Appointed Nutritionist Vigilante. Taking pills doesn’t remedy lack of personal discretion, so have you ever considered that advising people use supplementation to overshoot the set RDA’s, which are actually too HIGH I might add, is what is more likely to hurt or kill someone. Vitamin overdoses CAN AND DO occur, in my mind this settles the argument as your retorts lack validity and merit.

  20. Anonymoustache said,

    Not to mention cultures that consume 25% less live 25% longer! you arguing with Dr. Mashing Ni and Stephen Chang’s nutrition advice is futile to the point of flaccidity.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 408 other followers

%d bloggers like this: