The New York Times published an opinion piece by Dr. Paul Offit on June 8th, 2013 titled Don’t Take Your Vitamins.1 The article calls into question the benefit of vitamin supplementation. The opinion posits that most people get the nutrition they need from food and should not take supplemental antioxidant vitamins. Dr. Offit also suggests that vitamins could be harmful if taken in supplemental form.
Offit’s argument that eating a healthy diet supplants the need for dietary supplementation contradicts a large body of published scientific literature. It is very difficult to obtain optimal nutrition from diet alone.2,3
For example, in 2005, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a report analyzing the adequacy of nutrient intake from food alone in the United States.4 The percentages of Americans with inadequate nutrient intakes from food are shocking and highlight the need to supplement to ensure optimal nutrition:
93% of Americans have an inadequate intake of vitamin E.56% of Americans have an inadequate intake of magnesium.44% of Americans have an inadequate intake of vitamin A.31% of Americans have an inadequate intake of vitamin C.14% of Americans have an inadequate intake of vitamin B6.12% of Americans have an inadequate intake of zinc.8% of Americans have an inadequate intake of folate.
Moreover, optimal nutrition encompasses far more than simply consuming the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamins and minerals each day in order to prevent diseases like scurvy, rickets, and pellagra. For example, although 60 mg of ascorbic acid per day is a minimum for prevention of scurvy, this dose is far too low for optimal benefits. As another example, the RDI for vitamin D is 600 IU for adults up to age 70, which ignores current science indicating that this amount is far below the intake level needed to generate optimal 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood levels.5-8
Omission of Studies Showing Benefit of Vitamin Supplementation
In stark contrast to Offit’s opinion piece, protective effects of multivitamin supplementation have been seen in major studies. For example:
A large intervention trial was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2012. This paper reported data from the Physicians’ Health Study II, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, in which over 14 ,000 U.S. physicians took either a multivitamin or placebo each day and were followed for an average of 11.2 years. The doctors who took a multivitamin had a statistically significant reduction in total cancer incidence compared to those who took a placebo pill.9
A 2010 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition including over 31, 000 women aged 49–83 revealed cardiovascular benefits of regular multivitamin use. In this study, women without a history of cardiovascular disease who took a multivitamin for more than 5 years had about a 40% reduced risk of heart attack.10
In this opinion piece Offit ignores data that conflicts with his agenda. The author highlights the CARET trial, which suggested negative effects of beta-carotene supplementation in smokers, but neglects other studies related to the compound.
For example a larger (22,071 male physicians vs. 18,314 smokers), longer (12 years vs. 4 years), and higher dose (50 mg vs. 30 mg daily) U.S. trial found beta-carotene had no effect on cancer rates of healthy men. Twelve years of supplementation with beta-carotene produced neither benefit nor harm in terms of the incidence of malignant neoplasms, cardiovascular disease, or death from all causes.11
Also excluded was an analysis of dietary carotenoid intake and lung cancer risk. Two large prospective cohort studies in the United States following more than 120 ,000 men and women for at least 10 years revealed no significant association between dietary beta-carotene intake and lung cancer risk. However, men and women with the highest intake of total carotenoids, alpha-carotene, and lycopene were at 32% lower risk of developing lung cancer than those with the lowest intake. In subjects who never smoked, a 63% lower incidence of lung cancer was observed for the top compared to the bottom quintile of alpha-carotene intake.12
Potential Conflict of Interest
In his essay, Dr. Offit cited only studies suggesting negative effects of supplementation. However, important evidence to the contrary was excluded from the discussion. Dr. Offit’s choice to focus only on negative data while ignoring positive findings may have been influenced by the fact that he will soon be publishing a book bashing alternative medicine. Thus, his views on antioxidants and multivitamins may be biased in order to promote interest in his new book.
It’s one thing to read all the studies, to keep informed through breaking news and research about natural health, but it’s another to hear it from the people who put it into practice. When you can combine the practical applications of natural health with the scientific background, the evidence can be awfully convincing. This is where Johns Hopkins medical oncologist Dr. Saraswati Sukumar comes in, explaining how you can get the most out of the amazing spice turmeric.
The Power of Cooking with Turmeric
Dr. Sukumar is a cancer doctor, but she is also a frequent user of turmeric. She knows first-hand how curcumin (the active component in turmeric) can provide health benefits and how it can easily be incorporated into your daily life. She uses it daily in her kitchen and has built a good portion of her professional reputation on touting the benefits of this powerful root.
“The health benefits are many, many. For example, for those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, who have painful swelling in the knees, turmeric is a great way to suppress the inflammation,” says Dr. Sukumar. “A Woman’s Journey.”“We have close to 300 publications (that cite turmeric) for its anti-cancer effects. Many diseases, such as colon cancer and other types of cancer, are being traced to inflammation.”
She can point to the research that shows how curcumin can not only regulate inflammation which leads to certain types of cancer, but also the other types of cancer where curcumin “actually seeks out malignany cancer cells and alters the regulation of DNA in order to kill them,” as stated by Natural News.
As Dr. Sukumar said, the benefits of turmeric are many—from inflammation of the joints as is common in arthritis, to reduced cancer risk and the treatment of diabetes. But, not all sources of curcumin are equal. As Dr. Sukumar points out, your body can get the most benefits when you add it to your cooking.
“The problem with the pill is that it is very insoluble in water,” said Dr. Sukumar. “The better way to take it, I feel, is to use it in your cooking very extensively. If you have any sauté, just sprinkle it in. The moment you heat oil and add turmeric to it, it now becomes completely bio-available to you.”
A recent investigational study published by Koeth et al. in the journal Nature Medicine1 examined levels of a compound called trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) in relationship to microbial metabolism of carnitine in the gut. The researchers cite very recent, limited research suggesting TMAO may be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. They then provocatively propose that carnitine consumption may increase cardiovascular risk in some individuals due to increasing TMAO levels following microbial metabolism of the compound.
The authors report the intestinal bacterial flora of people who consume red meat, a source of dietary carnitine, was conducive to TMAO production in the presence of carnitine, whereas vegetarians produced little to no TMAO under the same circumstances. They concluded that alterations in the intestinal microbiota associated with meat consumption may promote the formation of TMAO from dietary carnitine, and therefore suggested that the carnitine content of red meat may be one of the reasons it is linked to heart disease.
Following publication of this study, mainstream media outlets propagated misleading headlines blaming carnitine for heart disease without explaining that these findings were very preliminary and that red meat consumption was required for the observed effect. Life Extension® members are well aware of the potential health threats associated with red meat consumption, such as exposure to saturated fats and advanced glycation end products,4 and many already consume a heart-healthy, plant-based diet such as the Mediterranean diet.
These deceptive media headlines have generated concern that supplemental forms of L-carnitine may be detrimental to heart health. This notion flies in the face of numerous published, peer-reviewed studies showing L-carnitine promotescardiovascular health in a variety of ways. The media's effort to generate headlines has undermined decades of scientific research on the heart-health benefits of carnitine.
New Mayo Clinic Meta-Analysis: Carnitine Improves Outcomes in Heart Attack Patients
Ironically, days after publication of the Koethe et al. carnitine article, a new meta-analysis of the research on carnitine and heart health was published by researchers from Mayo Clinic. This large systematic review provides strong evidence for carnitine's benefits in heart health. This article examined 13 controlled trials that enrolled, collectively, 3629 participants, representing the largest, most powerful scientific review of carnitine's cardiovascular benefits to date.2
The authors of the Mayo Clinic study found carnitine supplementation was associated with a 27% reduction in all-cause mortality, a 65% reduction in ventricular arrhythmias, and a 40% reduction in angina symptoms in patients who had experienced a heart attack. These effects were thought to occur through multiple mechanisms, including improved energy metabolism in the mitochondria, decreased ischemia, and enhanced left ventricle function.2
The authors describe carnitine as an inexpensive therapy with an "excellent safety profile" which could potentially be used in patients with angina or who are at risk for angina after suffering from a heart attack. Based on the results of this meta-analysis, the authors suggest L-carnitine as a potential future therapy for heart attack and secondary coronary prevention and treatment, including angina. The scientists state: "Further study with large randomized controlled trials of this inexpensive and safe therapy in the modern era is warranted." Unfortunately they also note:"However, a large trial may never be performed because L-carnitine is an over-the-counter supplement available to the public, which decreases the potential revenue compared with a synthesized [pharmaceutical] product."2
Carnitine's benefits are well-established and Life Extension® has written about them at length over the years. The next several paragraphs describe some of the key health benefits associated with carnitine.
Internal FDA Documents Gathered During Committee's Six-Month Investigation Reveal that FDA Could Have Acted Sooner Against NECC and Ameridose
WASHINGTON, DC – The House Energy and Commerce Committee today released a majority staff report citing internal documents from the Food and Drug Administration chronicling the agency's numerous opportunities over the years to address warning signs about the pharmacy that produced and distributed the contaminated drugs that led to the deadly meningitis outbreak, the New England Compounding Center (NECC). The outbreak has resulted in 53 deaths and over 700 individuals sickened. In October 2012, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee launched an investigation to examine the deadly outbreak and determine whether this tragedy could have been prevented. The investigation revealed what FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg did not disclose during the November 2012 hearing: FDA received a litany of complaints about NECC and its sister company, Ameridose, right up until the 2012 outbreak. A number of these complaints were associated with issues different in nature and scope than those addressed in a 2006 Warning Letter sent to NECC. These complaints were related to the safety and potency of NECC and Ameridose products, issues that the FDA failed to routinely, if ever, inform the state about. Finally, FDA also considered - but never conducted - several additional inspections of the companies and related enforcement actions that, had they happened, may have adverted the tragedy.
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Murphy (R-PA) stated, “We are saddened by the deaths of 53 people, and our heart goes out to the over 700 fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands and wives now suffering from these contaminated drugs. Going into this investigation, we knew NECC and its sister company, Ameridose, were bad actors. But what makes this tragedy even more heartbreaking for these families is that this could have been prevented.
"After reviewing more than 27,000 documents, we found a dramatically different picture than the one painted by the FDA during our initial hearing in November. We now know that doctors, patients, providers, and whistleblowers tried to warn FDA for years that NECC and Ameridose were operating as manufacturers and marketing their products nationwide without patient prescriptions. The FDA was also warned about sterility and safety issues with the companies' products. Rather than do its job and protect the patients who were taking NECC and Ameridose drugs, FDA chose not to act. We found that FDA focused on perfecting their legal reasons for inaction instead of protecting families. Even the FDA staff wanted to go back and inspect these unsanitary manufacturers. And the FDA hierarchy said ‘no.’
"We owe it to the families who lost loved ones and the 730 individuals still suffering to get answers from the FDA on why they failed to protect patients and how they will assure this never happens again,” said Upton and Murphy.
Life Extension and Scientific Food Solutions have partnered up to create FAST-Cinnovation®, an ingredient that combines an absorbing ascorbic acid mineral blend and Sabinsa Corp.'s black pepper extract BioPerine®.
According to Life Extension, FAST-C® features a proprietary blend of alkalizing minerals that is an almost completely acid-neutralized formula made for sensitive stomachs. The formulation also includes Sabinsa's BioPerine®, a multi-patented, black pepper extract that significantly accelerates vitamin Cabsorption, shortening the time to peak plasma concentration and dihydroquercetin.
In an unpublished study, researchers at Miami Research Associates concluded that 60 minutes into the FAST-C composition generated a significantly higher vitamin C blood increase than a leading, enhanced-absorption vitamin C product. A second clinical trial was also conducted to compare two different variations of the formula in FAST-C with another leading, enhanced brand. One of the FAST-C formulations produced higher blood concentrations of vitamin C after 30, 60 and 90 minutes.
Dietary supplement consumers rated Life Extension first in three categories in the 2013 ConsumerLab.com Survey of Vitamin and Supplement users. Life Extension received top ratings in the CoQ10 and multivitamin products and, for the second year in a row, was rated No. 1 catalog/internet supplement brand.
What has the greatest impact on survival rates of oral cancer? Radiation? Chemotherapy? Perhaps surgery? The truth is none of these; rather, it is the point in time at which the disease is discovered. As the National Cancer Institute's SEER data clearly show, early discovery of oral cancer affects survival outcomes and reduces treatment-related morbidity more than anything else. And no one is better positioned to make early detection a reality than the dental community. Unfortunately, two-thirds of newly diagnosed individuals are found when the disease is at stage three or four. The good news: it does not have to be this way.
To help draw attention to this situation, the Oral Cancer Foundation is sponsoring the 14th Annual Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April. The Foundation is encouraging dental practices across the United States and Canada to offer free oral cancer screenings for at least three hours one day during the month to people in their communities. Through this group collaboration, the Foundation hopes to see this disease brought to the attention of as many individuals as possible, and have the disease get the national media attention necessary to meaningfully raise public awareness. A public that understands the risk factors and early signs and symptoms of the disease are better prepared to recognize and self discover things that should take them to the doctor for further evaluation.
SAN DIEGO — Cardium Therapeutics earlier this week announced its To Go Brands operating unit has expanded its VitaRocks kids vitamins product line and that retail distribution has been expanded into select Target stores.
The VitaRocks products are inspired by a popping pellet candy that is popular with kids and represents a next-generation, easy-use delivery platform for multivitamins and nutrients, dietary supplements, and potentially over-the-counter medicines for children as well as adults, Cardium Therapeutics suggested.
Q: I have suffered with acid reflux for many years. My doctor has prescribed Prilosec®indefinitely, which is beyond the maximum recommended window of 8 to 12 weeks. Are there any long-term health complications to this approach and can you suggest any steps I can take to avoid these side effects?
A: Heartburn medications are among the most frequently prescribed medicines in the US with sales exceeding $13.5 billion annually.1 Prilosec®, Nexium®, Protonix®, and Aciphex®are known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).2 They are the most powerful acid secretion inhibitors available today. Unfortunately, long-term use has been linked to nutritional deficiencies, bone fractures, an increased risk of bacterial infection, and even withdrawal symptoms.3-8
Role of Stomach Acid in Nutrient Absorption
Stomach acid plays an important role in the digestion of your food and nutrients. When the sphincter valve at the end of your esophagus fails to close properly, stomach contents including stomach acid leaks back up into the esophagus, damaging the delicate esophageal lining, causing heartburn. Drugs like Prilosec® inhibit the release of stomach acid and provide some relief. However, the continual reduction of stomach acid through medicines like proton pump inhibitors hinders digestion and absorption of key nutrients.9,10 This ultimately leads to deficiencies in key nutrients, such as vitamin B12, iron, calcium, magnesium, folic acid, and zinc.11 Due to the alteration in pH balance in your gut, the absorption of other nutrients is possibly at risk as well.11
Proton pump inhibitors not only block the release of stomach acid but also something else called “intrinsic factor,” making it impossible to absorb vitamin B12.11-13The inhibition of dietary iron can contribute to anemia over a long period of time.14It’s well known that calcium is best absorbed in the presence of acid.15Proton pump inhibitors are thought to inhibit active transport of magnesium in the intestine, leading to deficiencies and potentially serious health outcomes.16Your absorption of folic acid is inhibited, disrupting the production of new cells, which helps your body grow and repair itself.17,18The absorption of zinc is impaired, which is needed for many enzyme reactions in the body.19
It is evident that the lack of stomach acid has far-reaching effects that extend well beyond the digestive system.
You can offset these damaging effects by supplementing to provide some protection against these deficiencies. Consider talking to your doctor and at the very least take a blood test (Complete Blood Count, Comprehensive Metabolic Panel) to check for nutrient deficiencies.
A World Health Organisation (WHO) official has said it seems likely that a new coronavirus that has killed at least 18 people in the Middle East and Europe can be passed between humans, but only after prolonged contact.
A virus from the same family triggered the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) that swept the world after emerging in Asia and killed 775 people in 2003.
French authorities announced on Sunday that a second man had been diagnosed with the disease after sharing a hospital room with France's only other sufferer.
The WHO's assistant director general, Keiji Fukuda, told reporters in Saudi Arabia, the site of the largest cluster of infections, that there was no evidence so far the virus was able to sustain "generalised transmission in communities" – a scenario that would raise the spectre of a pandemic.
But he said the main concern was that the clusters seen in several countries "increasingly support the hypothesis that when there is close contact, this novel coronavirus can transmit from person to person".
Countries need to increase levels of awareness, he said.
A public health expert who declined to be identified said close contact meant being in a small, enclosed space with an infected person for a prolonged period.
The virus emerged in the Gulf last year but cases have also been recorded in Britain and France among people who had recently been in the Middle East. A total of 34 cases worldwide have been confirmed by blood tests so far.
On October 17, 2005, the FDA sent out warning letters to cherry growers insisting that they cease making substantiated health claims that specific chemicals found in cherries could reduce pain and inflammation.1,2
The FDA wanted cherry growers to stop citing published scientific studies showing that cherries are packed with unique anthocyanins and other compounds that naturally mediate the inflammatory process.3-6 These compounds deliver comparable anti-inflammatory activity to ibuprofen (Advil®) and naproxen (Aleve®)7—but without the significant side effects!
Standard treatment for muscle pain and inflammation has been with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. With over 111 million prescriptions and accounting for around 60% of over-the-counter pain reliever sales in the USA alone, these are some of the most commonly used types of medications.8 But because they can have deadly side effects, including gastric bleeding, heart attack, and kidney failure, the search for natural agents that could prove more beneficial and safer has gained increased attention.9,10
The compounds found in cherries modulate numerous pathways to protect against other conditions associated with inflammation—including cancer, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and Alzheimer’s disease.11-14 For example, tart cherry constituents can switch critical genes off and on;15,16 modulate cell-signaling molecules like tumor necrosis factor;17 and target multiple cardiovascular factors—producing, in one study model, an astounding 65% reduction in early mortality!18
In this article, you will learn of the multiple benefits found in cherries that the FDA did not want to be publicized.
People sometimes believe they should limit their coffee intake, yet studies show that consuming enough coffee can help prevent age-related killers such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
/PRNewswire/ -- If you think you're losing your youthful beauty, or want to look years younger than your age, then take the new YouBeauty.com Look Young Longer Quiz sponsored by Life Extension® to get the answers.
Located at http://www.youbeauty.com/quizzes/look-young-longer, you'll learn your beauty age, your projected aging trajectory (i.e. how you'll look in 10, 20 or 30 years), and how your lifestyle habits may be accelerating or slowing how fast you age. You'll also get personalized action steps that can help you stay looking—and feeling—younger longer. In addition to the quiz, Life Extension, known as the anti-aging experts, created a series of 16 sponsored beauty health tips that includes dietary supplements and offers specially created interactive reports.
JERUSALEM-- Observant Jews in Israel craving a smoke during the week-long Passover holiday that starts at sundown Monday can now enjoy a rabbi-approved puff.
It's the first time cigarettes have joined the long list of goods stringently checked to ensure they comply with Passover rules on what items are allowed, or kosher for the holiday — meaning they have not come in contact with grains or other forbidden ingredients.
The stamp of approval came from the Beit Yosef private rabbinic group, which certifies foods as compliant with Jewish dietary restrictions. Last month, Beit Yosef approved three local cigarette brands for smoking during Passover. The chief rabbinate in Israel, however, disapproved of the measure, saying cigarettes are life-threatening and should not be approved by rabbis.
"Poison is not kosher. For all days of the year, not just Passover," said the chief rabbinate's spokesman Ziv Maor.
But Rabbi Igal Ben Ezra, Beit Yosef's chief supervisor, said the certification was meant for Israeli smokers who only buy products marked as "kosher for Passover" and who might be concerned about buying cigarettes without such a label. It's "mostly for people who have doubts on this subject," said Ben Ezra.