Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Facts versus. Fiction: Which are which?

This morning I received the letter below from a reader of my newsletter. It is presented in its entirety.

"Dear Dr. Charlap:

Thanks for E-mailing me your newsletters as I enjoy keeping up with different points of view regarding health care.  However, as you probably know, I disagree with you on the subject of vitamin supplements and natural remedies.  The following is an article I came across that is only one example of how vitamin supplementation is helpful to health.  I take supplements to help with several health problems of my own.  I'd much rather do this than be dependent on drugs when that can be avoided.  As far as I can see, it is drugs in many instances that are harmful to health, not vitamin supplements.  So, maybe we can agree to disagree.  There are many good things offered by MDPrevent, and perhaps in the future I may look into some of them. 


Dr. Blaylock

Daily Supplements Save Lives
Thursday, April 19, 2012 8:14 AM

One never knows when tragedy will strike, but those who are well-prepared are more likely to survive and have a good recovery. Since many patients with life-threatening conditions receive substandard treatment in hospitals — mainly critical care units — you should supplement with essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients long before such an event occurs. This will give your body time to maximize its antioxidant system, boost immunity, and reduce inflammation. It also strengthens your tissues, cells, and organs so they can better withstand disease or injury.
Daily supplementation with highly absorbable, buffered or lipsomal vitamin C (1,000 mg three times a day, between meals) can protect against death following a flu infection, no matter how severe it is. We know this from studies of poor populations in Africa and Australia — mortality is directly proportional to one’s nutritional status. Adding vitamin E offers even more protection. (Read my special report "Key Vitamins that Save Your Heart, Prevent Cancer and Keep You Living Long") for more details.
Antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E work as a system — that is, they need to all be present in sufficient amounts. The risk of death from infections, especially the flu, is directly proportional to a person’s vitamin D3 levels. This vitamin stimulates the body to produce special, very powerful antibacterial and antiviral proteins (antimicrobial peptides).
A physician in my area recently measured the vitamin D3 levels in his patients and found that virtually all were deficient, and many were extremely deficient. Combine this with a low vitamin C level and you have a prescription for a severe reaction to infections. To learn more about vitamin D3, read my special report "Vitamin D's Hidden Role in Your Health."
There is no question that vitamin C plays a major role in protecting the brain from free radicals and lipid peroxidation products, and helps the body fight infections. In fact, in high doses it can perform miracles.

© 2012 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Here was my response:
"Dear XXXX,

Instead of simply agreeing to disagree, let's take a moment to review the article you sent.

First, let's focus on Dr. Russell Blaylock. Here are some excerpts I quickly gleaned from the internet. Do you take the flu vaccination? He is against it. According to these websites he sells supplements. Here's the link. http://www.newportnutritionals.com/  Yet, on the site linked to the article, it states he makes no money from supplements.

I maintain that you cannot take supplement advice from someone who sells them because of the inherent conflict of interest. That is why MDPrevent got rid of every last supplement in our offices.

Here are some additional articles about him. Although I cannot verify everything being written about him, it gives me pause for thought and I trust it will do the same for you.

Here's a question and answer from a blog on the web about him. Again, I did not verify the veracity of the statements.

"Can anyone tell me about Dr. Russell Blaylock? I've googled him and have a general idea of his credentials, but outside of a lot of articles and books he has written, I can't get a feel for if he is credible or wacky. My mother has been getting his Blaylock Wellness Report and while a lot of what he writes makes sense and is relatively mainstream, some of what he writes seems a little wacky.

I've never heard of him before, so I took a look at his website. I'm extremely unimpressed.

When you have to pump up your background by spinning being chief resident in his final year of residency into "I ran the neurology unit for a year", something's wrong. And when he boasts of publishing a variety of papers in peer-reviewed journals--and it turns out, after I typed his name into PubMed that he hasn't published a blessed thing since 1981, so ALL of the peer-reviewed stuff was during medical school and residency.... And then after holding up his "peer-review journals" publishing history, in the material pumping up his newsletter he has the nerve to claim that he won't have anything to do with the major journals because they're shills of big pharma!

He says he had a private practice in nutrition, but doesn't say a thing about what got him interested in that, how he educated himself, etc.

And he doesn't write that newsletter, he merely edits it for the company that puts it out."

Second, he makes a claim about high dose Vitamin C protecting against after-flu death.  I will wager that there is no such scientifically valid study published in a peer reviewed journal in existence. Such as study, at best, cannot be a double-blind randomized controlled study, which is the gold standard of studies. There is no way researchers gave 1,000 mg of Vitamin C to study participants, then exposed them or wiated to see who got exposed to the flu, and then watched to see how many stayed alive and how many died.  At best, such a study could have been an observational study which is highly unreliable.

As you know, I am not a fan of artificial sweeteners. However, Blaylock makes multiple adverse health claims about such products that have simply not panned out in numerous reliable studies. If you want to see such studies, I will get them for you.

Finally, in the article you sent me, Blaylock masterfully blends facts and fiction. Vitamins, by their definition, are essential to our health. There is no disagreement on that point. Also, you need all of them and so, yes, your body works better when they are all present together. Also, many people do have Vitamin D deficiencies because they have little sun exposure which is required for the body to naturally produce Vitamin D. 

However, a recent study was halted because of high doasgeVitamin E increasing cancer rates and in a Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Study, Vitamin C pills were found to protect cancer cells as well as normal cells.

Most importantly, while Vitamins are very important, how you get them is more important. When sold in pill form, what you get is the vitamin in isolation. Chemically, it is identical to the same vitamin as it exists in its natural state in a fruit or vegetable. However, in a fruit and vegetable, the vitamin is surrounded by enzymes, co-enzymes, activators, precursors, antioxidants, and other synergistic nutrients. 

Our gut bacterial determine how we process the foods we eat and for hundreds of thousands if not millions of years, man and his predecessors have been consuming and processing natural foods. Only since the 1934, when Carl Rehnborg sold the first vitamin (and he sold ground up vegetables, not isolated vitamins), have these ageless bacteria even been exposed to vitamins in isolation.

So in conclusion, if you feel strongly about supplements, which apparently you do, I think it would be prudent to make sure that you are relying on accurate and reliable information.

My major opposition to supplements is that they are generally a poor substitute for real food. I continue to caution you against making the mistake of choosing them over more valuable alternatives.

I welcome your feedback.

To your health,



"By the way, for reliable people who are not fans of supplements, here are two names.  They are the professors that head up the prevention departments at Harvard (Brigham's and Women's Hospital),  Dr. Joann Manson and at Yale, Dr. David Katz.  Both decry the use of most supplements and multi-vitamins except in specific circumstances like Folate for pregnant women."

In conclusion, when comparing facts versus fiction, it is good to know which is which.



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