Vitamins: Could They Do More Harm Than Good?Twenty-eight billion dollars in sales was the take for dietary supplements in 2010. Suddenly, news reports began surfacing that vitamins may be more detrimental than good. Is Big Pharma taking more notice that droves of people are leaning toward alternatives for traditional medicine? As a result could they possibly be launching an alarm campaign to eventually control the market as a ‘prescription for vitamins’ overhaul? Maybe, it is already happening in England and Norway where it is illegal to sell vitamins over the RDA amount.

However, there has been a considerable portion of the population that randomly ingests vitamins according to what people think, hear or Google. This has been an ongoing consideration in the medical world which has slowly adopted more required study of vitamins and their possible contraindications when taken with medicine. It has also given large drug corporations an excuse to begin formulating a business plan on how to corner the market which could be behind many adverse vitamin studies.

Some Studies Leaning against Vitamin Supplements

The studies against vitamin supplements seem to find their way into the mainstream news media now and again. Below are a few interesting reports:

  • The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) published a 10 year assessment of 15,000 male doctors who took vitamin C and E on a daily basis. The findings had no direct beneficial results on cancer or prostate cancer rates.
  • The Wall Street Journal recently cited Mario Nestle, professor of nutrition, food-studies and public health at NYU as quoting, “The better the quality of the research, the less benefits [supplements] showed.”
  • JAMA reported on a study against vitamin E preventing prostate cancer. 35,000 men who received 400IU’s of vitamin E over 7 years resulted in a 17% higher incidence of developing prostate cancer.
  • A 2007 study published in JAMA by Copenhagen researchers stated that of 68 supplements analyzed there was no substantial evidence determining that life was extended by using them.

These are three of many studies refuting vitamin efficiency. The problem is that for every study there is another study that often proves it wrong. The Copenhagen study for instance, anyone involved who died by any means counted. That included accidental death. In the AACR study the doctors did not represent the general public according to Dr. Andrew Shao, vice president for scientific and regulatory affairs at the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade association representing the supplemental industry. The doctors were more educated in proper eating and health practices that it discredits the findings as being applicable across the broad spectrum of average citizens.

How Do Vitamins Pose a Health Risk?

The availability of vitamins and the vast amounts of random information regarding their many uses is staggering. People can now simply research how vitamins will benefit specific ailments with little or no information regarding their potentially harmful, contraindicating effects. Take vitamin C which is often referred to as an excellent supplement used as an antioxidant for tissue growth and repair as well as adrenal gland function and healthy gums. It can boost the immune system, reduce cholesterol and protects against blood clotting and bruising to name a few. What is often not offered to the consumer, especially on the label, is that vitamin C minimizes the effectiveness of diabetic and sulfa drugs, can produce a false negative when testing for blood in the stool and if taken on a regular basis while pregnant could result in the fetus becoming dependent on vitamin C which may cause the fetus to develop scurvy. So yes, vitamins can pose a health risk if taken irresponsibly.

How Can I Take Vitamins Responsibly?

Visiting a naturopathic doctor is one of the best ways to begin a vitamin program that is beneficial for your individual needs as well as safety. A naturopathic doctor is trained in the uses of many remedies, including vitamins, as well as their possible unsafe effects. This therapy is called nutraceutical supplementation and it also includes the use of enzymes, minerals, plants and some animal derived formulas.

If irresponsible use of vitamins continues to cause unfavorable results across the globe even naturopathic doctors will have a hard time using them as remedies. It is up to the consumer to use the privilege of the healing powers of vitamins responsibly or it will be taken and manipulated by businesses that only have their profit making self-interest at the forefront and not your health.

Acupuncture: Does it Work with Vitamins?

When a naturopathic doctor administers acupuncture and nutraceutical supplementation together it can work hand-in-hand. By opening up essential energy pathways using acupuncture points, the healing properties of specifically prescribed vitamins can be optimally enhanced. In addition, if certain vitamins cannot be taken for whatever reason, acupuncture can sometimes step in as an alternative. For example, in the case of lung cancer it is recommended to avoid vitamins A and E as they do not show any progress in inhibiting tumor growth. Also, beta-carotene has been shown to possibly increase lung cancer risk in already challenged patients. In turn, acupuncture can take the place of some vitamins that could help fatigue, dyspnea, chemo-induced neuropathy, or poorly controlled pain, nausea and vomiting. By using acupuncture therapy for any ailment, vitamins will only be encouraged as energy is enhanced. A naturopathic doctor will be able to steer both remedies along with others for a forged path toward individual healing.

In conclusion, whether it is a strong-arm tactic by fiscal powers or simply a concerted effort to regulate irresponsible use, vitamins should not be approached lightly. Multi formulas are usually minimal in their effectiveness and self-prescribing can be detrimental. At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you.  In many cases, insurance covers portions of the treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health.  To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980  914.337.2980 or click here to schedule an online appointment.

*Please CLICK HERE to see a current list of In-Network Insurance Companies for Acupuncture that we participate with as well as insurance companies that commonly have Out-of-Network benefits. Please call 914.337.2980 or securely email to verify your specific benefits. If you are emailing, please include your full name, date of birth and insurance identification card number.

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