Review: 'Through the Shadowlands’ describes Julie Rehmeyer's ME/CFS Odyssey
I should note at the outset that this review is based on an audio version of the galleys and the epilogue from the finished work. Julie Rehmeyer sent me the final version as a PDF, but for some reason my text to voice software (Kurzweil) had issues with it. I understand that it is...
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Why Vitamin Pills don't work, and may be bad for you

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by TiredSam, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. TiredSam

    TiredSam The wise nematode hibernates

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    Article from the BBC website:

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20161208-why-vitamin-supplements-could-kill-you

    Interesting for me, because over 2 years ago a scientist with over 50 papers published recommended high doses of vitamin C to me, which she believed in because Linus Pauling recommended it and he's a top scientist. She even showed me the multi-vitamin supplement she was giving to her young son, €50 per box (quality ain't cheap). I did some research, found out that Linus Pauling's area of expertise was not nutrition, his ideas in that regard didn't have much evidence to back them up, and that he had died of prostate cancer.

    It was a reminder to me that just because someone has a nobel prize in chemistry (Pauling) or has had 50 scientific papers published (my former acquaintance) doesn't mean they've got a clue what they're talking about when they go outside their field, and they can be just as subject to the same biases we all are.
     
  2. justy

    justy Donate Advocate Demonstrate

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    Interesting report. I have a very high cell Free DNA test result as measured by Dr Myhill and the ONLY thing, apart from rest that has ever made me feel better was 6 weeks of intensive high dose IV vitamin and mineral therapy with Glutathione.

    Many PWME are showing severe nutritional deficiencies despite a good healthy diet. I don't take a lot of supplements anymore - just 1 g of vitamin C a day to help stabilise mast cells and assist with going to the loo.
     
  3. roller

    roller wiggle jiggle

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    @justy . this was the myers cocktail, right?
    did you get the 'original' / authentic one, or a modified one.
    the authentic one contains hydrocholoric acid, obviously.
     
  4. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    By cherry picking studies which have shown negative effects from taking vitamins, but neglecting to include studies finding contradictory results, and neglecting to include any studies which have shown positive effects, you create a somewhat biased article.

    For example, looking at what the BBC article said about folic acid:
    Well, one systematic review and meta-analysis study found that folate may have preventive effects against breast cancer risk, especially for those with higher alcohol consumption level.


    The article mentions:
    That may be the case, but this review study points out that higher beta-carotene levels in non smokers is associated with decreased lung cancer risk.


    The article says:
    This review found that prostate cancer risk decreased with increasing serum selenium concentrations up to 170 ng/mL, so for populations with low selenium status, supplementation may well reduce prostate cancer risk.



    The article also focuses on the antioxidant effects of vitamins, but this is not their only metabolic role.
     
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  5. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Let me take one vitamin, vitamin E. Most of the studies done in medicine have been on alpha tocopherol, including studies that have failed to find any effectiveness. From reading comments by one biochemist I used to communicate with, I would never touch alpha tocopherol unless there was good new research. Yet I think other natural forms of vitamin E might still be very useful.

    There are too many people making too many comments with too many agendas, especially in articles. It pays to do your own research, get some tests done, and get advice from the appropriate medical expert ... which admittedly can be hard to do. They are rare.

    Similarly folic acid is not the same as natural folates. Nutritional fats, which should be a staple in the diet, are not found in most commercial fatty food to any extent. Iodine is now officially deficient in my country, many of us have proven deficiency. Evidence of CoQ10 deficiency in ME goes back some years. I could go on. This area is a medical minefield.

    One thing I will say is that aside from fat soluble vitamins, and definitely aside from minerals which can be very toxic at higher doses, it is exceptionally rare to see acute vitamin induced toxicity with most vitamins. Several B vitamins can cause issues, but its not common. Most vitamins are mostly safe.

    One thing that concerns me a lot though is that most doctors for most patients don't do nutritional profiles, including serum or tissue vitamin levels. They simply do not know what is needed. Recently this came to light when scurvy was reported again in Australia, primarily amongst diabetics who ate no fruit.

    When I studied nutrition at university I found articles showing that almost nobody has all the micronutrients in the adequate range, even if they ate well, its super rare. Yet there are some who have too high a level of something due to excessive supplement intake. Nutrition is a balancing act and we are still trying to get definitive answers to some of the issues.

    There is a reason so many of us test so many supplements on ourselves. We don't know if they will help or not until we try them.
     
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  6. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    In spite of the discussions on this forum expressing the view that the folic acid used in supplements and in food fortification is different from the folate naturally found in foods, I can't see that there is much difference between them, apart from the fact that folic acid is more bioavailable than natural folate.

    The folate naturally present in foods is found in the form of folate monoglutamate and folate polyglutamate. Ref: 1

    When this natural folate is eaten, the polyglutamate chain in the folate polyglutamate is broken down in the intestines (by an enzyme called folate conjugase) in to folate monoglutamate, and it is this folate monoglutamate that is actually absorbed into the bloodstream.

    So all folates naturally found in foods are absorbed into the body as folate monoglutamate.



    Now according to this paper:
    Note that folic acid = pteroyl-monoglutamic acid.

    So it seems the issue is not that folic acid is much different to the natural form of folate absorbed into the body, folate monoglutamate, but more that because folic acid is more easily absorbed in the intestines than some of the folates naturally found in food, you get higher blood levels of folate.

    This study says:
    Those with MTHFR C677T mutations do not convert folic acid into methylfolate (5-MTHF) very well, so presumably will have higher levels of unmetabolized folic acid in the blood, and lower levels of active methylfolate, following folic acid supplementation. This study found that those with the MTHFR 677C-->T polymorphism are at higher risk from colorectal cancer when folic acid is low.

    Alcohol consumption has a negative impact on folate metabolism, interfering with folate absorption and folate metabolism.
     
  7. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Thanks @Hip, I will have to look into this. One implication of this, should the research be correct, is that methyl tetrahydrofolate may be acting more as a drug than a supplement, of which Deplin is an example, excepting of course those with MTHFR and other direct folate problems.
     
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  8. Richard7

    Richard7 Senior Member

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    I listened to this podcast http://metabolicoptimization.com/index.php/podcasts/73-episode-1
    earlier in the year where Bruce Ames criticises most of these sorts of studies because they are not looking at how vitamin supplementation works in the vitamin deficient but in the general population.

    And I would expect that if you desire vitamin C or B2 or methylfolate it is probably because you need it. And that if you see positive results from taking it you might as well.
     
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  9. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Its worse than that. Deficiency and excess ranges are based on general population studies, so that the high and low is a statistical figure based on 95% of the population. That means that potentially one in twenty people have needs higher or lower than what the ranges indicate. There are also many medical conditions that alter needs, and again these do not factor into most people's thinking on these issues. Again I would like to cite the return of scurvy in diabetic patients.
     
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  10. Richard7

    Richard7 Senior Member

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    yeah @alex3619 I get that.

    I think the problem is terribly complicated as we have variations in need and our abilities to absorb and all sorts of issues in trying to estimate what is in our food.

    I saw a video recently that mark sisson linked to showing chimps hammering away at rocks and licking the dust. I gathered from the discussion that this is somethings animals do when they need some mineral or other. So the whole foods/paleo/most doctor's assumption that a healthy diet will give you everything you need without supplementation is probably false, even in the wild.

    Which is a shame. It is a premis that I still find it hard to let go of - a bias.

    I listened to an interview with julia rucklidge a while back http://sigmanutrition.com/episode117/ in which she was talking about providing high levels of supplementary micronutrients in autism and various phsychological conditions (stress). And she seems to be doing research both in areas of hightened demand in otherwise healthy people (stress following a natural disaster) and hightened demand in people who she susupects have some issues with some enzyme or other creating impaired coversion or uptake or something of the sort.
     
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  11. justy

    justy Donate Advocate Demonstrate

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    It was not a myers cocktail, but probably similar. after 6 weeks of three a week I had a fantastic improvement for about 6 -8 weeks where I went from completely sedentary to being able to garden, hoover, clean, cook dinner AND cook for fun, all on the same day!! it didn't last sadly.
     
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  12. justy

    justy Donate Advocate Demonstrate

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    I have been a patient there for a couple of years. I am very happy with my Dr. and would recommend him to others.
     
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  13. IreneF

    IreneF Senior Member

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    The issue with antioxidants and cancer--several vitamins are antioxidants--is that while they can help you stay healthy, antioxidants can interfere with the body's ability to fight cancer once it appears. (I guess you oxidize it away, if you can.)

    I prefer to get my nutrients from food. We're just discovering all the non-vitamin, non-mineral ingredients in food that are good for us.

    Those diabetic patients must have not had good dietary counseling. There are plenty of non-fruit sources of Vit C--bell peppers, cabbage, broccoli .... I wonder what they were eating.
     
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