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There They Go Again! Consumer Reports Slams Supplements

Aug 16th 2012

There They Go Again! Consumer Reports Slams Supplements

. . . this silly article will scare some people into injuring their health Every so often the otherwise commendable Consumer Reports (CR) goes on an uncharacteristic rant about vitamins that is marked by ignorance, extreme bias, distortion of the facts and downright mean-spiritedness. In the new “Vitamins and Supplements, 10 Dangers That May Surprise You,” they’re at it again. The first “surprising danger” they cite is that “supplements are not risk-free.”  Well, no surprise there. Few things are completely risk free. The supplement industry has more than its share of charlatans and amateurs. But CR lumps everyone together, blaming all supplements it seems for the 6,300 supplement-related reports to the government’s Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) in the last 4 years, including 115 deaths. Now, although half the US population takes supplements, there hasn’t been a single death from vitamins in the last 27 years. Many of these adverse events and deaths have had to do with the second danger CR lists: “supplements illegally spiked with prescription drugs.” Many more adverse effects and deaths were caused by spurious ingredients in muscle-building, sexual performance-enhancing and weight-loss supplements, like the now-banned ephedra. Of course even 115 deaths in 4 years pales in comparison with prescription drugs. Properly prescribed prescription drugs, taken as directed, kill more than 100,000 patients every year. However, the underreporting of adverse events is rampant, and the real death rate is closer to an estimated 450,000. On the whole, the CR article is tediously predictable and insulting to the average reader’s intelligence. It drums up fears of overdosing on vitamins and minerals, criticizes labels that don’t list every possible drug or food interaction, accuses vitamins and minerals of failing to cure disease (which is blatantly untrue) and cites selected studies that “prove” vitamins are useless, if not dangerous. It culminates with the tired old saw: most people can get all the nutrition they need from food. Yet it is well established that this is not true. Oddly, a large photograph, covering almost a quarter of a page, of a smiling doctor facing an obscured patient is captioned:  “Complications? Pieter Cohen with a patient who had a heart attack while on supplements.” This nonsensical statement is not referred to in the text. Unfortunately, this silly article will scare some people into injuring their health by taking more drugs and fewer supplements. The Alliance for Natural Health has written a very cogent response to CR.  I encourage you to sign on and send one of these. Go to http://www.anh-usa.org/another-hatchet-job-from-consumer-reports/ Subscribe: Facebook | NewsClips
Consumer Reports. 10 surprising dangers of vitamins and supplements. September 4, 2012. Published online at www.consumerreports.org.
Saul AE. How to make people believe any antivitamin scare: it just takes lots of pharmaceutical industry cash. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service. October 20, 2011. Published online at www.orthomolecular.org.
Alliance for Natural Health. Another hatchet job from Consumer Reports.  August 7, 2012.  Published online at www.anh-usa.org.

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