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Originally published August 13 2007

Unraveling the lies about the antioxidant study on vitamins E and C

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

A new study published in the August 13, 2007 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine found that vitamins E and C, when taken together, result in a significant reduction in the risk of strokes (31 percent) and heart attacks (22 percent). The study followed 8,171 women who were instructed to take relatively small amounts of these vitamins for more than nine years (600 IU of vitamin E, 500mg of vitamin C and 50mg of beta carotene were taken every other day -- a very small dose according to most modern nutritionists).

Despite these encouraging findings about the positive impact of antioxidants on health, nearly all the headlines in the mainstream media today are proclaiming vitamins E and C to be useless. In classic doublespeak, one press release blares, "Vitamin C and Other Antioxidant Vitamins Provide No Protection from Cardiovascular Events." This particular distortion comes from the drug-touting Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. BWH goes on to state, "researchers... have found that there is no evidence of benefit or risk from vitamins C, E or beta-carotene on cardiovascular events for women at a high risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD)."

Other medical associations and pharmaceutical-affiliated groups are making similar pronouncements. Vitamins C and E, according to them, are nutritionally worthless. And they're basing that conclusion on a study that actually showed the vitamins to be far better at preventing cardiovascular disease than any prescription drug!

How to lie with statistics

So how can anyone claim these vitamins are worthless when the study clearly shows a strong, significant health benefit in those who take the vitamins? It's simple: the results of the study can be made to look poor by counting the results of all the people who didn't take the vitamins!

Let me explain this again to make sure I'm communicating this properly: Overall, if you look at the entire group of women followed in this study, you find that cardiovascular protective benefits were only marginal: An 11 percent reduction in the risk of combined cardiovascular disease. But that benefit is diluted by the fact that it includes all the women who neglected to actually take the vitamins! If you include only the women who complied with taking the vitamins on a regular basis, the results increase substantially and become quite significant with a 31 percent reduction in the risk of stroke and 22 percent reduction of risk in heart attacks. In other words, those women who actually took vitamins E and C experienced substantial benefits from doing so. Those who neglected to take the vitamins, not surprisingly, had little or no benefit.

Pushers of pharmaceuticals, of course, want to make vitamins look bad. So they quote the results that include people who never even took the vitamins. "See?" they say. "The benefits aren't there." Of course they aren't! It's like taking a room full of a hundred hungry children, handing fifty of them a large sandwich, then declaring that sandwiches don't work as food because half the room is still hungry.

That these figures would even be quoted as something resembling "scientific medicine" is laughable. The defenders of pharmaceuticals have become so desperate to discredit antioxidants and nutrition in general that they have now resorted to quoting study results from people who didn't even take the vitamins! I'm not sure if this strategy is brilliant or idiotic: It's brilliant because the mainstream media swallows the story hook, line and sinker (journalists aren't very skeptical anymore...). It's idiotic because it's based on a logic gap so large you could drive a circus convoy through it. If you're going to test the effectiveness of something, it only makes sense that you have to exclude the results of those people who didn't take it.

Notice that with drug studies, researchers routinely exclude those who did not comply with taking the drug. They don't test a drug on 1000 people, but count the results on 2000 people, half of which never took the drug. They only track results based on those who actually took the drugs. It's common sense.

Desperate to discredit vitamins

But when profits are at stake, and there's an industry-wide propaganda campaign to push onto the public, common sense gets thrown out the window. Scientific scrutiny turns to wishy washy statistical foolery disguised as authoritative proclamations about nutrition. This, in turn, quickly devolves into nutritional nonsense. The message from industry is very clear: Don't take vitamins! And if they have to lie with statistics by making a positive study look negative, they're more than willing to step up to the plate and state the indefensible, almost as if they lived in some alternate universe where the laws of logic have all been reversed.

In fact, the message from the Brigham and Women's Hospital is quite clear. As JoAnn Manson, MD, chief of Preventive Medicine at BWH and principal investigator of WACS said (with my translation in brackets), "This research underscores the importance of focusing on proven methods for preventing cardiovascular disease, including physical activity, healthy diet, controlling high blood pressure and high cholesterol [i.e. using pharmaceuticals], maintaining healthy weight, and avoiding tobacco."

In other words, she's saying:

• Antioxidants are "unproven."
• Cardiovascular disease can only be prevented, in part, by using pharmaceuticals.
• We should stop spending time on nutritional supplements.

(In modern medical lingo, any statement about "controlling high blood pressure" or "controlling high cholesterol" or even "controlling blood sugar" actually means taking pharmaceuticals to control those numbers. So when researchers say that people need to "control their high blood pressure" what they're really saying is that people should take high blood pressure drugs.)

It's a message that might as well have been announced from the Big Pharma Glee Club, or the FDA cheerleading squad.

Pushing the pro-Pharma propaganda

Sadly, the mainstream media will buy this distortion, reprint it, and thereby spread disinformation to the public which is already half scared of vitamins thanks to all the other fear tactics being pushed by today's oppressive medical system. But let's get down to reality here for a moment, shall we? Drugs have no natural place in the human body, period. There is no disease caused by a deficiency of pharmaceuticals, and most of the drugs being marketed today are pushed under the most ridiculous advertising claims and distorted medical "science." Properly-prescribed, FDA-approved drugs are right now the 3rd leading cause of death in America, and even those individuals who aren't killed by the drugs suffer rapidly declining health when taking them. (Have you ever seen anyone take prescription drugs for a few months and get so healthy that they stopped needing the drugs? Of course not.)

Nutrition, on the other hand, is 100% biocompatible with the human body, and nutrition produces exceptional results in restoring and supporting human health. Nobody has ever been killed by antioxidants, or superfoods, or vitamins E and C. Not a single person. Billions of people have been helped by these substances, and nutrition, in fact, is the answer to our health care problems. If we taught people the truth about nutrition, they wouldn't need prescription drugs! That's precisely why nutrition must be attacked, by the way: Vitamins threaten the profits of drug companies because vitamins and dietary supplements actually work to prevent disease and keep people healthy!

Anyone who thinks drugs are the answer -- and that antioxidants are useless -- is probably suffering from the cognitive impairment side effects of drugs they're on right now. You'd have to be truly out of your mind to think that plant-based nutrition has no role in human health and that only pharmaceuticals can prevent disease.

Yet this remains the dominant mindset in conventional medicine today. It is a mindset based on deliberate falsehoods, scientific distortion and outright lies. And right now, you're witnessing yet another attempt to disinform the public about the promise of antioxidants.

Personally, I take antioxidants every day. I also eat raw foods, drink superfood smoothies and avoid all prescription drugs. And I have yet to meet any person on pharmaceuticals who even compares to the level of health that I (and many others like me) experience on a daily basis. You show me somebody taking twelve prescription drugs, and I'll show you someone with a toxic liver, impaired brain function, stressed kidneys and unhealthy blood. Drugs don't make people healthy. And most drugs, by the way, actually deplete the body of essential nutrients.

Remember: The first thing that goes when you take pharmaceuticals is your mind, and with that you lose your ability to think clearly. That's when the drug companies, hospitals, FDA and everybody else depending on the current drug marketing racket steps in and tries to convince you to stop taking nutritional supplements and surrender to a (short) life of pharmaceuticals.

Pushing drugs and abandoning the people

For the Brigham and Women's Hospital, I think this action we're seeing today is yet another example of how organizations that once accomplished meaningful work have apparently sold their souls to Big Pharma and now operate as little more than drug company front groups. Gee, I wonder where their funding comes from?

To show you just one tiny example of how closely tied Brigham and Women's Hospital is to the financial influence of drug companies, consider the bio of one senior investigator working at the hospital: Christopher P. Cannon, M.D., F.A.C.C. According to this author disclosure, Christopher has received all the following research grants (all of which are greater than $10,000 each, with the actual amounts not disclosed):

Merck/Schering Plough Partnership, Significant (>= $10,000)
AstraZeneca , Significant (>= $10,000)
Glaxo Smith Kline, Significant (>= $10,000)
Sanofi-aventis/Bristol-Myers Squibb Partnership, Significant (>= $10,000)
Schering Plough, Significant (>= $10,000)
Merck, Significant (>= $10,000)

... and all that is from just one person. Do you really think a hospital staffed by doctors receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from drug companies is going to acknowledge that cardiovascular disease can be prevented without drugs by simply taking low-cost antioxidant vitamins?

Of course not. And that's why their press release about the antioxidant study is, in my opinion, a fantastic example of outrageous intellectual dishonesty in medicine today. These people are so intoxicated by drug money influence that they calculate statistics like drunken sailors and practice medicine like quacks. We would all do well to flee from their dishonest proclamations and get back to the basics of preventing disease with nutrition, not treating it with high-profit synthetic chemicals.

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