Vitamins are deadly! ...and other nonsense you will hear in the mainstream press

Friday, October 01, 2004
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
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A new wave of anti-vitamin hysteria is making waves in newspapers, magazines and news networks around the world. You have may have seen some of the headlines that say things like, "Deadly side effects of vitamins," and imply that vitamins will kill you. Many conventional doctors and critics of nutrition are jumping on the bandwagon with this one, coming up with all sorts of distorted headlines that gleefully claim people are not just wasting their money by taking vitamins, but they're actually killing themselves by doing so. According to the reports, this is all based on a scientific study that proves vitamins kill you. But let's take a closer look at the real story here, and find out why there is so much distortion going on, and what the study results actually say.

First of all, realize there are several steps of distortions taking place here. What you're reading in the press is "...all nutritional supplements will increase your rate of mortality." That is such a broad and distorted statement as to be laughable. A slightly more accurate statement, but still highly distorted, would be that vitamins, not all nutritional supplements, are increasing the mortality rate -- that is, vitamins only.

Now you see, most people don't distinguish between vitamins and nutritional supplements. To most consumers, minerals like calcium and magnesium are also considered vitamins. But in the study there were certain vitamin chemicals that were studied, not other nutritional supplements, such as mineral supplements or superfood supplements.

But in reality, the study isn't even saying that vitamins are going to kill you in the first place. The study was conducted only on cancer patients, so the conclusion that was drawn really only indicated a slightly increased death rate among cancer patients, not among the entire population. Furthermore, it wasn't all vitamins, it was only certain vitamins; that is, a combination of vitamins A and E increased the death rate very slightly among certain cancer patients.

Finally, a critical review of these studies indicates that the vitamins actually studied here were almost universally synthetic vitamins, meaning they weren't actually natural vitamins at all. These are man-made chemicals that don't appear in nature. This is especially true of vitamin E, which, in its synthetic form, has the opposite molecular structure of natural vitamin E.

So, the correct statement here is that, "Synthetic chemicals were found to slightly increase the death rate among certain cancer patients." That is the conclusion of this study. It is such a weak conclusion, in fact, that the very authors of the study said there was "no convincing proof of hazard" for taking vitamin supplements. They also pointed out that the conclusions drawn from this study were of borderline statistical significance, and that many more studies would be needed to draw any conclusions.

So that's the reality of where the study comes from, yet critics of nutrition and vitamins and the popular press have leaped to ridiculous headlines like "Vitamins will kill you," or "Vitamins have deadly side effects." These headlines are entirely unsubstantiated by the research that has taken place. It almost seems as if certain members of the press and the conventional medical community are just waiting to pounce on news like this -- and then exaggerate it in order to discredit the vitamin and nutritional supplement industries. No doubt the FDA will be using this highly distorted conclusion to attempt to regulate vitamins, and by doing so, to ensure that more Americans stay diseased by being unable to treat and prevent diseases through the use of nutritional supplements that really work.

Another important note here is that there are far more studies that actually show positive statistical effects of taking antioxidants. In fact, there are probably well over 500 such studies that have been published in the past 30 years. That's versus one study that says there is a slight increase in the death rate among certain cancer patients who use synthetic chemicals.

So, if you're actually looking at a review of the available evidence, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the safety of antioxidants and vitamins, even in their synthetic form. Now, if they were to take these studies and use natural vitamins, the kind that appear in nature (such as in plants and microalgae like spirulina), there's no question whatsoever that the results would be not only statistically significant, but extremely positive. That's because antioxidants are health-enhancing ingredients, and they are part of the natural food chain that humans are supposed to consume.

One thing I do agree with in all of this is that people shouldn't be taking isolated vitamin nutrients in the first place. And if you are taking supplements from a bottle labeled "Vitamin A" or "Vitamin E," chances are you could be getting a synthetic form of that vitamin in your system, which, I agree, may not do you any good whatsoever.

We as human beings are supposed to be getting our vitamins from natural food sources; that is, plants you find in nature or that you can grow in your home garden. If you're getting your vitamins from superfoods and fresh produce, fruits, and vegetables, then you are going to be a healthy human being. Yet, at the same time, it's important to understand that it is impossible for any human being to get sufficient nutrition just by eating three meals a day.

You simply can't consume enough fruits and vegetables each day to get the nutrition your human body needs in order to effectively prevent chronic disease. That's because so many of the foods available today are nutritionally depleted. Thus, many consumers are turning to vitamin supplements. But that's a mistake -- what they need to be turning to are superfood supplements. These are supplements made from green foods, especially spirulina and astaxanthin. They could include green foods made from chlorella, broccoli sprouts, or wheat grass juice. These superfoods have very high nutrient density, and are absolutely loaded with vitamins and minerals in their natural, organic forms.

These superfoods exhibit an astounding positive impact on human health and have even been known to help reverse chronic disease conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, mental disorders, and even bone diseases such as osteoporosis. You can't get that kind of positive effect from an isolated nutrient. It's impossible to reverse chronic disease by taking one pill a day that's made from a synthetic substance that happens to be labeled Vitamin A or Vitamin E.

What the popular press is doing here, and I think what the conventional medicine critics are attempting to do, is to blur the line between synthetic vitamins and natural vitamins -- that way they can discredit all of them at the same time. They're fond of using synthetic vitamins in clinical trials, and then saying, "See? These synthetic vitamins didn't work; therefore, all vitamins are bad."

And in fact, that is the kind of distorted logic that has taken place in this case. The press has been leaping to unjustified conclusions and dreaming up scary-sounding headlines that essentially deceive consumers and could scare people away from using nutritional supplements that actually enhance their health. The bottom line here is that vitamins won't kill you, but listening to the popular press probably will.

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About the author: Mike Adams is a natural health researcher, author and award-winning journalist with a mission to teach personal and planetary health to the public He has authored and published thousands of articles, interviews, consumers guides, and books on topics like health and the environment, and he is well known as the creator of popular downloadable preparedness programs on financial collapse, emergency food storage, wilderness survival and home defense skills. Adams is an honest, independent journalist and accepts no money or commissions on the third-party products he writes about or the companies he promotes. In 2010, Adams co-founded, a natural health video sharing site that has now grown in popularity. He also launched an online retailer of environmentally-friendly products ( and uses a portion of its profits to help fund non-profit endeavors. He's also a noted technology pioneer and founded a software company in 1993 that developed the HTML email newsletter software currently powering the NaturalNews subscriptions. Adams also serves as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a non-profit consumer protection group, and enjoys outdoor activities, nature photography, Pilates and martial arts training. Known as the 'Health Ranger,' Adams' personal health statistics and mission statements are located at

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Related Articles:

Media hoax exposed: Recent attack on vitamins a fabricated scare campaign

Nutrition 101: Part 4 - Vitamins (Opinion)

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