"Let no one who has the slightest desire to live in peace and quietness be tempted, under any circumstances, to enter upon the chivalrous task of trying to correct a popular error." (William Thoms, deputy librarian for the House of Lords, c. 1873)
The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER (Vol. 4, No. 11, May 5, 2004) "Free of charge, free of advertising, and free of the A.M.A."
Written and copyright 2004 by Andrew Saul, PhD, of http://www.doctoryourself.com , which welcomes a million visitors annually. Commercial use of the website or the contents of this Newsletter is strictly prohibited.
HITTING A NERVE The last Doctor Yourself Newsletter provoked something of an outcry from a number of dietitians who were offended by my comment that successful vitamin therapy "threatens dietitians because the fallaciousness of their food-groups-always, supplements-never dogma will be exposed."
In a way, I am slightly surprised that that was the ONLY statement that caused offence. After all, the title and thrust of that issue (http://www.doctoryourself.com/news/v4n10.txt) was the safety of vitamin megadoses. Up to 20,000 mg/day of vitamin C for a man wanting have children? 3,000 to 10,000 mg of vitamin C per day for a healthy woman during pregnancy? 14,000 mg/day of vitamin C for a 75-pound child? I would have thought that these would be the lightning rods for any controversy.
No, it was that "food-groups-always, supplements-never" phrase that did it.
Below I will provide a sampling of the mail I received. Most of it is negative, as registered dietitian (RD) newsgroups and listserves encouraged their members to, well, wise me up a bit. As a writer, I take that as a compliment. Here's what they had to say. (My response will follow at the conclusion.)
"I am writing in response to your newsletter on the "Safety of Vitamins." I agree with the premise of your article; however, I was a bit offended at your statement regarding dietitians and their "food-groups-always" mentality. I belong to a group through ADA called the Nutrition and Complementary Care Practice Group. This is a group of RD's who specialize in alternative practices including functional medicine, supplementation, herbs, etc. We, as a group, are very much in favor of and understand the need for proper supplementation."
"I just wanted to let you know that there's quite a large group of dietitians that doesn't fit the stereotype you described in your article. Hopefully we can all work together to educate the American public on better nutrition."
Sincerely, Wendy Howard, RD, LD Adult and Pediatric Nutrition Specialist Richardson, Texas
ANOTHER LETTER: "Your last newsletter made my husband and I laugh out loud . . . then his comment was, '(expletive deleted)!' Have I missed something? The last I recall, the majority of RDs take supplements themselves. Every RD I know recommends them for our clients. So, maybe you need to do more fact checking. I will try to find the research for you; I don't have it at hand, since I never heard anything so ridiculous before."
ANOTHER: "Which planet are you living on ? Dietitians use and recommend the use of vitamins. You are really behind the times; even the AMA last year recommended a daily multivitamin."
AND ANOTHER: "After reading an article you wrote that was forwarded to me, I decided to try to enlighten you about RD's and the "medical cartel." Perhaps you should do a little homework on the topic at hand before you so smugly criticize two professional groups that could potentially be your allies.
"First, many RD's not only take vitamins, but they recommend them to their patients as well. Same is true for physicians; I happen to be married to one. We just happen to be educated enough to require scientific validation of our recommendations. Yes, this means practicing evidence- based medicine, something you might not be aware of.
"But that does not mean we should jump on every little nutritional bandwagon that comes along and rush out to urge the public to throw away their food and buy vitamins. We are not alarmists nor are we paranoid that the American public is dying of vitamin deficiencies (a fallacy that the supplement industry loves to sustain).
"Many clients I work with are on a limited budget and I am sure as heck not going to tell them to spend their hard-earned money on a bottle of pills when they can easily obtain all the nutrients they need in common foods. . . But until there is solid research on all vitamins and the amount that is needed to promote good health -- and I don't mean one measly study with a sample size of less than 10 -- why should I change my mind? Just because Joe Schmoe says, "Yeah dude, vitamin C cured my uncle of cancer and heart disease," I should rush out to tell all my clients to take mega doses of vitamin C? I think not. We should all demand the highest standard of scientific review on anything that potentially affects our health and longevity. The American public deserves no less and that, my friend, includes you."
AND YET ANOTHER: "I am a registered dietitian and am absolutely NOT a "food-groups-only, supplements-never" practitioner. I don't know of any dietitians who are that way. We recommend vitamins, minerals, supplements in appropriate amounts for specific problems; I also highly recommend a multivitamin per day for everyone. From where do you get your information? Please remove the fallacious statement from your newsletter."
STILL ANOTHER: "I am an RD. I am sorry that you feel we as a profession do not agree with supplementation. I personally take a multivitamin with minerals and herbs daily. And I am a (name deleted) distributor. Why? Because even though I want everyone to eat well, we just can not get everything we need from foods most of the time. And no one is perfect. I think many of us (RDs) feel this way. Please consider this next time you label us all."
WHY STOP NOW? HERE'S ANOTHER: "I heard about your newsletter from a colleague (DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER (Vol. 4, No. 10, April 23, 2004). Please know that not all RDs are against supplements. There are many who understand the importance of supplementing the diet with nutrients. Not all of us RDs are old school; many of us are progressive in the field. Just thought you should know, and perhaps consider seeking out the support of those who are progressive."
AND MORE: "Where do you come up with your information? As a dietitian I was insulted to read that you think dietitians are threatened by vitamins! I, and the majority of my colleagues, recommend vitamins as part of nutrition therapy. Please get your facts straight before giving out erroneous information."
AND THIS: "I received this from a colleague and I'm curious how up to date your generalizations are. It's been my experience as a practicing RD for 20+ years, that most dietitians take vitamins and supplements of one sort or another and most recommend them for their clients and some of us even sell them in our offices, to provide reputable brands with good quality control and pure ingredients. Some of your remarks could be taken as libel or slander. You may want to research the precedents. (Editor's Note: My offered opinion was a general one. You cannot defame a large group or an entire profession.) Even the American Dietetic Association Journal has been publishing articles on vitamin efficacy. Your remarks seem out of date and non-specific, more inflammatory than accurate."
AND THIS, TOO: "Where are you getting the information that RD's are still against supplements? I admit that it took too long, but most RD's are now no longer anti-supplement! I wish you would quit spreading things like this that are no longer true. RD's tend to read the literature, which is more and more pro supplements. Many of the people you quote are pioneers like Drs. Hoffer and Mercola, and certainly it has taken us longer to appreciate these guys. But we DO now. So please stop trashing us with old news."
The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER's RESPONSE:
The core of my correspondents' complaints seems to center on my being out of date or misinformed. To remedy that, and to provide a current source of my information, I refer all interested to the official website of the American Dietetic Association, www.eatright.org , which I accessed in April, 2004. That's pretty much up-to-date, wouldn't you say? Here is what the 70,000 members of the "world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals" (Press Release January 03, 2000) collectively state about supplements:
"Dietary supplements cannot make up for poor food choices. They have not been proven to boost energy or prevent or cure diseases." (Dietary Supplements: Do You Know All the Facts? (March 24, 2004 http://www.eatright.org/Public/NutritionInformation/index_19201.cfm)
Right out the door, such a statement is both pontifical and factually incorrect. And please note that the ADA authored that statement on March 24, 2004, only weeks before my Newsletter went out.
Recent though the ADA statement is, I ask my critics to consider if, just possibly, it may be the American Dietetic Association that remains out of date. Supplements not curing disease, not even preventing disease? Oh, please! Prevention and cure of disease by vitamins is thoroughly established and repeatedly demonstrated by decades of well-controlled studies, literally numbering in the thousands. I have taught nutrition at the college level and clinical nutrition at the graduate level. What I have learned in the process is collected into the hundreds of articles and numerous major bibliographies at my searchable website (http://doctoryourself.com). But my work is hardly the authoritative source. Look instead to the experience of respected researchers and eminently qualified physicians such as Abram Hoffer, M.D., Robert F. Cathcart, MD, Thomas Levy, MD, Hugh D. Riordan, MD, and many others. I have about 4,000 references at my website to back me up. Links to the doctors' work are provided further below, and also at http://www.doctoryourself.com/links.html .
Judging from the more polite feedback I received, it would appear that a goodly number of registered dietitians (RDs) personally and professionally use supplements. I admire and applaud their individual use of vitamins for themselves and their clients. I have my doubts as to just how high a dose they're using; I will be pleased to receive email from dietitians on their usage of megadoses anytime (doctoryourself.com/contact.html).
However, I must first ask all supplement-friendly dietitians a question:
Exactly how do you feel about your Association's making that previous statement ("not been proven to prevent or cure diseases")? Furthermore, how do feel about the following ADA statement, accessed April 2004:
"Registered dietitians and other nutrition experts agree that if you make healthful food choices, you will get all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you need for good health." (Vitamin & Mineral Supplements: Do I need to take a supplement? http://www.eatright.org/Public/NutritionInformation/92_11826.cfm)
Now I have a follow-up question: Are you personally one of those dietitians who "agrees" with this foods-only, supplement-negating statement, or aren't you? Do you agree word-for-word, or would you like to modify it a bit? Exactly how would you change it?
And, as of April 2004, why have you not yet done so?
The two statements at the ADA's website are particularly broad ones, and all-inclusive in tone. If you are advocating supplement use beyond a low-potency multivitamin, I believe you have broken ranks with the American Dietetic Association. If you personally use high-dose vitamin therapy, or even recommend it, I believe you may be skating on thin ice with the ADA leadership.
PRESSURE TO CONFORM In 1994, the American Dietetic Association disciplined Shari Lieberman, Ph.D., R.D., for "alleged nonadherence" to the ethical standards ADA set out in 1985. The association suspended Dr. Lieberman's R.D. credential for three years because Lieberman was supposedly not in line with Principle 7 of the ADA Code of Ethics, the part that states, "The dietetic practitioner practices dietetics based on scientific principles and current information." After Dr. Lieberman sued the ADA for $40 million for defamation, her R.D. was reinstated.
Anyone looking even briefly at Dr. Lieberman's work can see that she has long been a proponent of megavitamin therapy. She is one of the authors of The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book (NY: Avery, 2003) which, the publisher says, "explains exactly why you need vitamin and mineral supplements not only to protect yourself against disease, but to reach the highest levels of mental and physical well-being. . .The authors then provide a scientifically documented Optimum Daily Intake (ODI) to follow, which is generally well above the government's Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)."
I think Dr. Lieberman's book (which I recommend you read) constitutes an unmistakable departure from the party-line of the American Dietetic Association. And by that, I mean the Association's published stance, as of today. The ADA states repeatedly on their website and in their press releases that, with precious few exceptions, 100% of the government standard is all that people need to take in a supplement, if they even need a supplement at all, which they probably don't. While Dr. Lieberman's "Optimum Daily Intake" recommendations certainly have my support, I am unaware that ADA has either proposed or endorsed any such increases in nutritional intake recommendations for the public.
Check their website. ADA's statements are what their membership empowers them to make. If you agree with the ADA's statements, as written, it would seem that I was right, rhetorical hyperbole notwithstanding.
If you do not agree with the Association's statements, it is your professional and ethical duty to have them rescinded. Better yet, substitute in some new, positive, supplement-assertive language. For it is supplement-unfriendly content that the public and the media are currently seeing at the American Dietetic Association's website. It is there right now as you read this.
Progressive dietitians are to be commended at every turn. But when their own Association openly negates them, we must admit that the progressives speak with an unofficial, though laudable, minority voice. I welcome all dissenters into the Doctor Yourself family.
ON A POSITIVE NOTE, ONE LAST LETTER:
"I recently read your article on vitamin supplementation, in which you indicated dietitians do not believe in vitamins nor recommend them. Unfortunately, you are correct, when looking at our profession as a whole. I have been a dietitian for 27 years, and one of the first things I learned in school was that I'd better keep my mouth shut about vitamins if I wanted to get my degree. Most of my colleagues continue to state we should just eat right. I respond with all the studies that prove that we are NOT eating right. I believe we should stop beating this dead "just eat right" horse, and meet people where they need help.
"I also do not believe we can get everything we need from food even if we make wise food choices, but do not use organic sources, are exposed to pollution, chemicals, stress, etc. And who among us is not exposed to all those things?
"So, I apologize on behalf of my profession that we are not the nutrition experts we need to be. And I apologize for dietitians who have probably criticized and ridiculed you for your stance. However I would also like you to know that there is an increasing number of us who are practicing the type of nutrition intervention and support that I believe you would be proud of. Keep up the good work. Hopefully, as we all pull together, we can help turn the health status of our citizenship around. It will happen . . . one by one."
LET'S CALL THE QUESTION I propose a simple, if blunt, "litmus test" to indicate a practitioner's fundamental attitude about HIGH-DOSE vitamin therapy (which was what my last Newsletter was REALLY about). I now ask any physician, nurse, PA, dietitian, or dietetic association, to "answer me these questions three":
1) Do you agree that enormous (100,000 mg/day) intravenous doses of vitamin C are preferentially toxic to cancer cells in the human body, killing cancer cells as chemotherapy does, only more safely? (References 1,2,3)
2) Do you agree that cardiovascular deaths can be reduced by 40% in people who take regular megadoses (400-800 IU/day) of vitamin E? (4,5)
3) Do agree that thousands of milligrams of niacin a day constitutes effective treatment for schizophrenia and psychosis? (6,7,8,9)
Please send me the answers you get, and own thoughts, too. This Newsletter will value, and perhaps publish, continued input, pro or con, from all interested readers. (Comments may be sent to doctoryourself.com/contact.html)
But as for my opinions, bear in mind that is a subscription Newsletter. If you do not like my periodical peaches, why shake my editorial tree? Unsubscribe now (the link is right the top) and thank you for your past readership.
References: 1.) Riordan, N.H., Riordan, H.D., Meng, X., Li, Y., Jackson, J.A. Intravenous ascorbate as a tumor cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agent. Medical Hypotheses 44:3 (March, 1995): 207--13.
2.) Padayatty SJ, Sun H, Wang Y, Riordan HD, Hewitt SM, Katz A, Wesley RA, Levine M. Vitamin C pharmacokinetics: implications for oral and intravenous use. Ann Intern Med. 2004 Apr 6;140(7):533-7.
3.) Riordan HD, Hunninghake RB, Riordan NH, Jackson JJ, Meng X, Taylor P, Casciari JJ, Gonzalez MJ, Miranda-Massari JR, Mora EM, Rosario N, Rivera A. Intravenous ascorbic acid: protocol for its application and use. P R Health Sci J. 2003 Sep;22(3):287-90.
4.) Stampfer, M.J., Hennekens, C.H., Manson, J., Colditz, G.A., Rosner, B. and Willett, W.C. (1993) Vitamin E consumption and the risk of coronary disease in women. New England Journal of Medicine. 328:1444-1449.
5.) Rimm, E.B., Stampfer, M.J., Ascherio, A., Giovannucci, E., Colditz, G.A. and Willett W.C. (1993) Vitamin E consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease in men. New England Journal of Medicine 328:1450-1456.
6.) Hoffer A and Osmond H: How To Live With Schizophrenia. University Books, New York, NY, 1966. Also published by Johnson, London, 1966. With Fannie Kahan. New and Revised Ed. Citadel Press, New York, NY, 1992. Revised Ed. Quarry Press, Kingston, ON 1999.
7.) Hoffer A: Orthomolecular Medicine for Physicians. Keats Pub., New Canaan, CT, 1989.
8.) Hoffer A: Vitamin B-3 and Schizophrenia: Discovery, Recovery, Controversy. Quarry Press, Kingston, ON 1999.
9.) Hoffer, A. Orthomolecular Treatment For Schizophrenia. Keats, 4255 West Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood, Ill 60646-1975, 1999.
AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR For information about my in-your-face megahealth book, "DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works" please take a look at http://www.doctoryourself.com/saulbooks.html . When purchased directly from me, I am of course happy to autograph your book for you.
AUTHOR SIGNING Okay, it's pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but should you happen to be in the general vacinity of Walla Walla, Spokane, or Pasco, I will be doing a book signing at the Kennewick, WA Barnes and Noble bookstore on Tues, May 4, at 7 PM.
SOME ADDITIONAL "INFLAMMATORY" WORDS It is highly unlikely that the ADA will be putting up a link to http://www.doctoryourself.com or recommending this Newsletter to its membership anytime soon. In addition to my strong advocacy of high- dose vitamin therapy, there are just a few other areas where we may disagree.
For example, the American Dietetic Association's website endorses the use of saccharin and aspartame ("Nutrasweet") http://www.eatright.org/Public/Other/index_adap0598.cfm and promotes fluoridation of water (http://www.eatright.org/Public/Other/index_adap1000.cfm). The Doctor Yourself Newsletter is opposed to those practices, and has been for some 85 issues now.
(More on fluoridation: http://www.doctoryourself.com/fluoridation.html and http://www.doctoryourself.com/fluoride_cancer.html
(More on artificial sweeteners: http://www.doctoryourself.com/fakesweet.html (saccharin) and especially http://dorway.com , Dave Reitz's non-commercial aspartame ("Nutrasweet") information supersite.)
The American Dietetic Association also supports more governmental restriction and FDA regulation of supplements including vitamins. (American Dietetic Association statement to FDA on Regulation of Dietary Supplements, June 8, 1999. June 8, 1999 http://www.eatright.org/Public/GovernmentAffairs/98_lg060899.cfm) This Newsletter thinks such restriction is unwarranted and bordering on the tyrannical. Vitamins are extraordinarily safe substances. There is not even one death per year from vitamin supplements (American Association of Poison Control Centers' Toxic Exposure Surveillance System).
(More on vitamin safety: http://www.doctoryourself.com/safety.html) (More on recent governmental efforts to restrict your access to supplements, including vitamins: http://www.doctoryourself.com/limitUSA.htm)
FOR ADDITIONAL READING: The following medical doctors have written favorably on the value of megadose vitamin therapy:
Robert F. Cathcart III, M.D. http://www.orthomed.com http://www.doctoryourself.com/cathcart_thirdface.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/titration.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/biblio_cathcart.html
Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D. http://www.doctoryourself.com/hoffer_factoids.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/hoffer_editorial.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/hoffer_cancer_2.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/cancer_hoffer.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/hoffer_vitc_can.html
Ewan Cameron, M.D.: http://www.doctoryourself.com/cameron.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/biblio_cameron.html
Thomas Levy, M.D.: http://www.doctoryourself.com/levy.html
William J. McCormick, M.D.: http://www.doctoryourself.com/mccormick.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/mccormick1951.html http://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate
Hugh D. Riordan, M.D.: http://www.brightspot.org/cresearch/index.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/riordan1.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/biblio_riordan.html
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