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Whoa!  Lay Off the Vitamins!
Posted: 23 July 2013 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 166 ]
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McKenzie-Yes, vitamins are essential. That is part of their definition. No, there is no evidence to support that your daily multivitamin has a beneficial effect on your health, whether you feel it does or not.

There is plenty of evidence that when ingesting a multi-vitamin supplement that vitamins enter the body and are absorbed for useful purposes.  ie. the Vitamin C is absorbed or the Potassium etc.  By definition that is essential....not beneficial.  It’s not a matter of benefits…it’s a matter of essential vitamin intake.  There is no evidence which shows that supplement ingestion does not supply these vitamins.
In so far as any other type of ingestion of vitamins(through meat, fruits, drinks or cereals) is beneficial to health, so are vitamin supplements.
Obviously we covered over dosing and I don’t argue that too much of most things is unhealthy. Eating 1 lb. of chocolate a day is unhealthy and will lead to
problems.  Taking a mega-dose of 5-10-20 times the RDI for a vitamin can’t be healthy either. Perhaps research will show that some vitamins cannot exceed 2-3 times the RDI dose in the future.

It probably also does little harm, but both benefit and harm have to be determined by research evidence, not just “common sense,” how you feel, or whatever else you are suggesting.

Well, I’m perfectly justified in making anecdotal observations about how I felt or thought I felt after stopping supplements. Having the knowledge that a large part of vitamins work is the efficient breakdown of other nutrients(fats, proteins, sugars) to provide energy for everything from cell-division to wakefulness allows me to make a reasoned observation that my slight increase in lethargy could have been due to the absence of the usual amounts and types of compounds in my system.
I’m not attempting to advertise or distribute vitamins supplements. I don’t need to get a scientific test too support my anecdotal evidence concerning my experiences.  Experiences which have direct, observable cross-corollary connections.  And ones I admitted could be placebo.  But probably weren’t.


McKenzie-If you get all that is essential from your ordinary diet, which most people do (though I understand you don’t believe that), then any additional is extra and unnecessary, useless at best and possibly harmful. Extra supplementation of essential vitamins can be useless.

I would like to see the scientific papers on what constitutes “extra” and “useless”.  Also what is an ordinary diet? If it is one that follows the RDI guidelines such as the Food Pyramid(or whatever they call it now) estimations are that many people are not getting the required daily allowances of fruits and vegetables or brans or meats etc..
In fact a percentage of people’s nutrition is being benefited through the industrial vitamin supplementation of the foods they eat from factories.
Like iron in flour or Vitamin D in milk. Kind of ironic for your argument no?

I know I don’t follow the food pyramid.  Was the food pyramid your baseline for what you termed an “ordinary diet”?

The fact that vitamins are essential doesn’t mean that you are getting any benefit from a supplement unless you have a vitamin deficient diet or a specific medical condition for which a supplment is indicated. And even though supplements can have specific benefits in particular situations, the proof of this comes from controlled research, not from the mere fact that they are biologically active compounds or the anecdote you provided to support taking them.

We covered this already. I’m quite certain that scientific tests(blood work for example) would show that a percentage of the vitamins I received from a supplementation tablet would be absorbed and metabolized by my body. That could be termed beneficial in the sense that the human body needs
those compounds and in fact used them for biological processes. They are no more or less beneficial than eating carrots, hot dogs or bananas.

Yes it could. Or it could be do to many other causes. Only controlled research can distinguish between the appearance of a causal relationship where one doesn’t exist and a real causal relationship. The classic example is that the presence of matches in your pocket is associated with lung cancer, so one could argue that matches cause lung cancer. The real explanation, of course, is that smoking causes lung cancer and carrying matches is correlated with smoking but by itself has no effect on cancer risk. Science exists to identify caual relationships because things aren’t always what they seem.

Lot’s of hocus pocus from you McKenzie.  “Things aren’t what they seem”  “Matches in pockets” unbalanced analogies and strawmen/herrings.
Pamphleteering. Most of the time things are exactly what they seem!

If you make the claim: “I took aspirin and my headache went away.” you don’t have to prove anything. This is just an observation of a sequence of events.

Yup, I agree.

However , if you say “Aspirin is an effective treatment for headaches” and your only evidence for this is “I took aspirin and my headache went away,” you haven’t proven the first claim.

Like I said, I’m not selling vitamins. But we know that science can easily show that the ingestion of vitamin supplements will introduce compounds that are useful to the body.  And will be shown to have been used by the body. Science knows this already.  So there is my evidence. Observing that I felt I had less energy after abstaining from Mutivitamins for 6 days was a logical conclusion based on what science can prove about digestion and metabolism(of supplements) and the research that shows that vitamins are directly related to converting nutrients into energy.
It’s the same exact thing as abstaining from water for three days.  If a person experiences headaches, there is 100% chance that that is do to dehydration. 100%.
If someone made that claim..no one on Earth would ever say we have to do tests to see what’s causing the headaches. Ever! The stupidest doctor right up to the Surgeon General would automatically attribute those headaches to dehydration. Once they determined that the subject had not drank water in 3 days.


To again use an analogy, people with cancer often pray to be healed, and sometimes their cancer goes away. This does not, however, prove prayer cured their cancer. That requires controlled research.

Cheap. Pathetic. From a moderator! But that’s all you got. Circumlocution, and strawmen.

The whole point here is not about how you feel. If you feel better taking supllements, I couldn’t possibly argue that you don’t, and I don’t have any interest in talking you out of doing so.

This should be followed up with “...the point is...” What is the point you are making McKenzie? So far you have made valid points regarding mega dosing vitamins, and points which show that basically someone can get vitamins from food and/or vitamin supplements.

And if you take supplements despite controlled scientific evidence that they are of no value and increase your disease risk slightly, then there’s nothing wrong with my pointing to that evidence and suggesting that it is probably more reliable a guide to the truth than your individual experience.

Where’s this scientific evidence that supplements are of no value?

My whole point in post #152 above was that personal experiences are very psychologically compelling and hard to ignore, and they are also unreliable, and the combination makes it really hard to convince people that their experiences may not be a good guide to what’s true, whether we are talking about religion or dietary supplements.

Yes, I’m observing the same thing in your knee-jerk-reactionary responses.  I take into consideration your zealous pseuo profession of fighting CAM and all other
notions you deem as “valueless’ or “illogical”.  Your dedication shows in the lengths you stretch out to support your arguments.
My main argument has been from page one that: Vitamin supplements when ingested provide the body with useful compounds that are digested and metabolized.
That means put to use by the body for biologic processes. Science can and has shown this.

McKenzie-I’m not suggesting you are any different than any of the rest of us in this. In fact the anger that you express at having your beliefs challenged is very common among proponents of all kinds of health-related beliefs, religious beliefs, political beliefs, and all sorts of other beliefs. People don’t like being told that they way things feel to them may not reflect how things actually are, which is part of why skepticism and science are so often disliked or disregarded.

Like I said, I feel the same way about your argument.

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Posted: 23 July 2013 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 167 ]
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Asanta-The compounds are ‘essential for life’, but not necessarily ‘put to use’ when swallowed, just as water poured over a full glass does not go into the glass just because you continue to pour forever.

I will accept not necessarily. I agree with this.

Asanta-Simple answer is ‘no’, and Anecdote is not Data. Would you consider it could be a placebo effect?

With all due respect Asanta, that is a simple answer. But more importantly, read my posts!  Just above I readily admitted that it could have been placebo effect.
(probably about 3-4 times throughout this thread in fact!)
I debate fairly and honestly in all threads. I constantly offer concessions and openness. Rarely if ever will you see me using unbalanced analogies, or especially getting off-track of the main argument. This is why I get testy.  It is very frustrating debating with people who use red herrings, strawmen, don’t follow posts or read them, and get off track to make ancillary points.

[ Edited: 23 July 2013 12:25 PM by VYAZMA ]
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Posted: 23 July 2013 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 168 ]
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I logged on quite late last night and didn’t have time to comment, so I downloaded from posts #151 through #159, then read them on my laptop while in bed.  The following response may have already been answered in following posts, however, these are my observations for that period.
===
Occam: 1.  Sorry Lois, but Vyazma was posing that question to Macgyver, not McKenzie. 
2. As the only one here with a lifetime of training in the physical sciences, I can’t help but try to smile as I cringe at everyone’s confusion with the usage of “theory” versus “hypothesis” and “observation”.  Vyazma merely articulated an experiment he conducted and stated his observations.  One might infer from his post that he was guilty, as McKenzie said, of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, however, Vyazma may have hinted, but did not aver that.
3. I’m sure McKenzie didn’t really mean to make the verbal error apparent in his phrase,

a conflict between experiential knowledge and knowledged gained from research

since all research is also experiential, albeit more carefully planned, duplicated and verified.
4. Although I understand McKenzie’s use of an analogy to illustrate his point, there was a flaw (not necessarily fatal) that caused Vyazma’s concern since one basis (vitamins necessary in human nutrition) is known to exist, while the analogous basis (the existence of a god) is weak at best, especially on this forum.
5. Quoting Macgyver:

There is a bit of circular reasoning going on here.  You are essentially saying “My theory makes sense and therefor it lends credence to the evidence I use to support it”

No, no, no, at best you could assume that Vyzama made a hypothesis from his observation and that he took the next small step toward McKenzie’s “research knowledge”.
6. Quoting McKenzie:

  I am, however, challenging your claims for vitamins that you are making on a public discussion forum,

  Really McK, that is an extremely unscientific statement.  Vyazma did not make any claims for vitamins in his post; he merely stated an observation that followed some of his behavior.
7.  I certainly agree with Doug’s warning to Vyazma.  Unfortunately he used a far more succinct and emotional approach to respond to some of their shortcomings than the comments listed above in this post.

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Posted: 21 November 2013 10:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 169 ]
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A recent updated to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force report on vitamin supplements has again reviewed the evidence on this subject.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements in the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer: An Updated Systematic Evidence Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

From the discussion:

This review included 26 studies (24 randomized, controlled trials and 2 cohort studies) that examined the benefits and harms of using vitamin and mineral supplements for primary prevention of CVD, cancer, or all-cause mortality in healthy individuals without known nutritional deficiencies. We found no consistent evidence that the included supplements affected CVD, cancer, or all-cause mortality in healthy individuals without known nutritional deficiencies. Other systematic reviews have arrived at this same conclusion. The certainty of this result is tempered, however, by the fact that few fair- or good-quality studies are available for all supplements except vitamin E and β-carotene…

Despite its limitations, the current literature on single or paired vitamins and minerals is sufficient to discourage additional studies of β-carotene or vitamins A, C, and E in general populations not deficient in the nutrients…
In conclusion, we found no evidence of an effect of nutritional doses on CVD, cancer, or mortality in healthy individuals without known nutritional deficiencies for most supplements we examined. In most cases there are insufficient data to draw any conclusion, although for vitamin E and β-carotene a lack of benefit is consistent across several trials. We identified 2 multivitamin trials that both found lower overall cancer incidence in men. Both these trials were both methodologically sound, but the lack of an effect for women (albeit in 1 trial), the borderline significance in men in both trials, and the lack of any effect on CVD in either study makes it difficult to conclude that multivitamin supplementation is beneficial.

This is yet one more in a series of reviews which all come to the same conclusion: There is no evidence of any benefit to vitamin supplementation for most vitamins in adults without measurable vitamin deficiencies, and for some vitamins supplementation actually raises disease risk. In the few studies that do report benefits, the effect is weak and inconsistent/unpredictable.

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Posted: 21 November 2013 07:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 170 ]
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I don’t have the time or resources to do the kind of review study these people did, but I subscribe to a service that lists a wide variety of published health research.  The conclusions I’ve reached from those articles is pretty strongly at variance with that reported above.  Just a few that come to mind are vitamin D which used to have a recommended daily dosage of 400 I.U. is now suddenly far higher, with those over seventy having a suggested dosage of 3,000+ I.U.; increased zinc intake seeming to be mildly protective against some dementias; megadoses of pantothenic acid lowering the level of LD cholesterol in the blood similar to the mechanism of statins.

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Posted: 22 November 2013 12:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 171 ]
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Occam. - 21 November 2013 07:22 PM

Just a few that come to mind are vitamin D which used to have a recommended daily dosage of 400 I.U. is now suddenly far higher, with those over seventy having a suggested dosage of 3,000+ I.U.;

Occam

I dont know what kind of stuff your reading Occam but the recommended dose of Vitamin D is NOT 3,000 iu. At least not form any authoritaive source. The current recommended dose for people 70 and older is 800iu ( see here for reference).

Its lazy to say you dont have the time or resources to research a subject to the same degree as the experts and then propose an alternate point of view as though as though it should be considered in the same breath. Not all studies are the same so if you subscribe to a publication that just publishes any trash study of course you can have hundreds or thousands of studies that conflict with the consensus viewpoint on this issue. Its nonsense to imply that we therefor dont have a consensus or that the experts view point is no better than the others you are reading about.

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Posted: 22 November 2013 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 172 ]
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mckenzievmd - 21 November 2013 10:54 AM

A recent updated to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force report on vitamin supplements has again reviewed the evidence on this subject.

This is yet one more in a series of reviews which all come to the same conclusion: There is no evidence of any benefit to vitamin supplementation for most vitamins in adults without measurable vitamin deficiencies, and for some vitamins supplementation actually raises disease risk. In the few studies that do report benefits, the effect is weak and inconsistent/unpredictable.

Did you read that whole article, or were you counting on nobody reading the article?
2 of the studies analyzed showed a small reduction in cancers among men who took multis.
The article is one of the longest I’ve ever read that conveyed so little info.

But by and large the article which just examines several tests and studies over about 10 years shows that there is scant evidence
that shows that multi vitamins prevent cancer or Cardio Vascular disease.

I guess that’s too bad for all of the people who take vitamins to prevent cancer or CVD.

There’s no evidence that shows that normal intake of multi vitamins is harmful. 
And studies were just examined that showed a relation to cancer and CVD.

So you can’t say that there is no benefit to vitamin supplementation! By that study you can say that there is no conclusive evidence
that shows multis prevent cancer or CVD. That’s all.

[ Edited: 22 November 2013 01:40 PM by VYAZMA ]
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Posted: 22 November 2013 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 173 ]
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Here’s the conclusion from the synopsis:

Conclusion: Limited evidence supports any benefit from vitamin and mineral supplementation for the prevention of cancer or CVD. Two trials found a small, borderline-significant benefit from multivitamin supplements on cancer in men only and no effect on CVD.

That’s the whole conclusion.
God dang!  That seems to swing towards vitamins if you ask me. If you really had to nitpick.

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Posted: 22 November 2013 01:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 174 ]
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Quoting Macgyver:

I dont know what kind of stuff your reading Occam but the recommended dose of Vitamin D is NOT 3,000 iu. At least not form any authoritaive source. The current recommended dose for people 70 and older is 800iu ( see here for reference).

Whoops.  Sorry, I don’t know why I typed that.  I knew that it have been upped from 400 to 800.

Its lazy to say you dont have the time or resources to research a subject to the same degree as the experts and then propose an alternate point of view as though as though it should be considered in the same breath. Not all studies are the same so if you subscribe to a publication that just publishes any trash study of course you can have hundreds or thousands of studies that conflict with the consensus viewpoint on this issue. Its nonsense to imply that we therefor dont have a consensus or that the experts view point is no better than the others you are reading about.

Hey, living alone at 83 and having just had my car die and lose my key ring doesn’t make me lazy if I don’t bother doing comprehensive literature research.  However, I do look at the sources and the ones I mentioned were published in peer reviews journals, (not necessarily U.S.) and by institutions that seem to have had decent reputations.

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Posted: 22 November 2013 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 175 ]
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VYAZMA - 22 November 2013 01:38 PM

Here’s the conclusion from the synopsis:

Conclusion: Limited evidence supports any benefit from vitamin and mineral supplementation for the prevention of cancer or CVD. Two trials found a small, borderline-significant benefit from multivitamin supplements on cancer in men only and no effect on CVD.

That’s the whole conclusion.
God dang!  That seems to swing towards vitamins if you ask me. If you really had to nitpick.

Vyazma you crack me up. You spent the good part of another thread implying doctors were unnecessarily medicating patients with drugs to treat depression because you questioned the benefits of those drugs and yet here you are glad happy to take a handful of drugs ( yes vitamins are drugs) for a non-illness even though the evidence that they do anything beneficial is nearly nonexistent. Do you not see a bit of a double standard?

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Posted: 22 November 2013 02:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 176 ]
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Occam. - 22 November 2013 01:57 PM

Quoting Macgyver:

I dont know what kind of stuff your reading Occam but the recommended dose of Vitamin D is NOT 3,000 iu. At least not form any authoritaive source. The current recommended dose for people 70 and older is 800iu ( see here for reference).

Whoops.  Sorry, I don’t know why I typed that.  I knew that it have been upped from 400 to 800.

Its lazy to say you dont have the time or resources to research a subject to the same degree as the experts and then propose an alternate point of view as though as though it should be considered in the same breath. Not all studies are the same so if you subscribe to a publication that just publishes any trash study of course you can have hundreds or thousands of studies that conflict with the consensus viewpoint on this issue. Its nonsense to imply that we therefor dont have a consensus or that the experts view point is no better than the others you are reading about.

Hey, living alone at 83 and having just had my car die and lose my key ring doesn’t make me lazy if I don’t bother doing comprehensive literature research.  However, I do look at the sources and the ones I mentioned were published in peer reviews journals, (not necessarily U.S.) and by institutions that seem to have had decent reputations.

Occam

There is a lot more to determining the quality of a study than looking at the journal or institution that published it. Its virtually impossible for the average person and difficult for even a well trained scientist to review all the literature on a subject and grade the studies in a way that allows them to come to a reasonable conclusion. That’s why we have groups like the USPSTF who are tasked to periodically do just that. They pour over all the studies and grade them and weight them according to quality ( are they population studies, RCT’s, how many subjects were used, how significant were the results etc etc). The result is the sort of recommendations you see from the USPSTF that is well documented so you can see the studies they referenced and follow the thought process that lead to their conclusion. Its a far more organized and objective approach than reading a bunch of studies published in the news paper or magazines and coming to some sort of gestault about the overall weight of the evidence from a hodge podge of studies that may not be particularly good.

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Posted: 22 November 2013 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 177 ]
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macgyver - 22 November 2013 01:59 PM

Vyazma you crack me up. You spent the good part of another thread implying doctors were unnecessarily medicating patients with drugs to treat depression because you questioned the benefits of those drugs and yet here you are glad happy to take a handful of drugs ( yes vitamins are drugs) for a non-illness even though the evidence that they do anything beneficial is nearly nonexistent. Do you not see a bit of a double standard?

Absolutely not. I appreciate the bon homie though.  I really do.  I don’t like these threads to get heated. I have a short fuse.

No I don’t see any connection.  We’ve been through the vitamin debate not too long ago.  It played out. At best we can each claim a draw.
Unfortunately both sides were arguing for or against separate points and the volleys went right past one another.

I also don’t take a “handful” of any drug, including multis.  I take one multi a day. That’s the only drug I take. Plus an occasional Advil. 1-2x a month.
As I strenuously argued earlier, I myself do not take vitamins for any illnesses.  I take them to supplement(boost) my nutritional intake.
Which is exactly what they are designed for.

I don’t think further discussion on the over-marketization of psychotropic drugs and the resultant over-prescription of said drugs will do any good here either. One reason I would cite is the paucity of other forum member participation.
I’m looking for a discussion not a war of attrition between two parties.

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Posted: 23 November 2013 11:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 178 ]
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Did you read that whole article, or were you counting on nobody reading the article?

This sort of snide remark really adds nothing to the discussion. If I didn’t want anyone to read the article, I wouldn’t have provided a link to it.

In regards to the two trials that were positive (and I notice you immediately focus on those and ignore the fact that the balance of the data is otherwise consistently negative), here is the authors’ comment:

Two good-quality trials of multivitamin supplementation found lower cancer incidence in men (19, 54). The SU.VI.MAX trial included women and did not find an effect in this subgroup (19). We found a statistically significant protective effect from multivitamin supplementation when we pooled data for men in these 2 trials. The borderline significance level in both studies and the lack of an effect in women in SU.VI.MAX suggest we should not try to overgeneralize these results.

What this means is that a borderline statistically significant difference in cancer risk was found in men, though not necessarily a biologically or clinically significant one, and no difference was found in women. One explanation for this ight be that multivitamins provide a small protective benefit for men in terms of cancer risk, but no benefit for women. Another possible explanation is that a statitstically significant but biologically meaningless one was detected in one subgroup but not the other, by chance, and that there actually is no benefit. Which explanation is correct will require further study to determine.

As for the overall conclusions, which I quoted above, they were that the evidence of no benefit is strong enough that further studies are not warranted on the effects of Vitamins A, C, E and Beta-carotene on cardiovascular disease risk or overall mortality. For multivitamins, most studies are negative, but a couple of positive studies for cancer risk in men only suggests that further reserach is warranted.

As to whether or not you believe this source (and the other systematic reviews already done, which reached the same conclusions), that’s up to you. A thorough,systematic review of published research evidence by an independant public health agency seems about the best evidence we are likley to get on any health-related subject, but there is no such thing as gospel in science.

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Posted: 24 November 2013 07:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 179 ]
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mckenzievmd - 23 November 2013 11:24 PM

a statistically significant protective effect from multivitamin supplementation when we pooled data for men in these 2 trials. The borderline significance level in both studies and the lack of an effect in women in SU.VI.MAX suggest we should not try to overgeneralize these results…..
What this means is that a borderline statistically significant difference in cancer risk was found in men, though not necessarily a biologically or clinically significant one, and no difference was found in women. One explanation for this ight be that multivitamins provide a small protective benefit for men…....published research evidence by an independant public health agency seems about the best evidence we are likley to get on any health-related subject, but there is no such thing as gospel in science.

This is yet one more in a series of reviews which all come to the same conclusion: There is no evidence of any benefit to vitamin supplementation for most vitamins in adults without measurable vitamin deficiencies
These are your words.  “Any benefits”! 
The study that you recently cited just looked at the possible benefits of vitamins in regards to cancer and CVD.
That’s a pretty wide gulf. Certainly there are plenty of other benefits or harms that can be observed. This study only examined cancer and CVD.
So why would you state that “there is no evidence of any benefits to vitamin supplements”? 
Besides like I have stated now 100x.  I don’t take vitamins as any kind of preventative measure.  I just supplement my nutritional intake with them.
Let me know when you find a study that shows that ingesting vitamins doesn’t in fact release any nutrients into one’s metabolism.

There, now it’s time for your “lifestyle” rebuttal.  You like going round in circles don’t you McKendzie?

Let me know when you find a study that shows that ingesting vitamins doesn’t in fact release any nutrients into one’s metabolism.

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Posted: 24 November 2013 07:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 180 ]
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VYAZMA - 24 November 2013 07:38 PM

Besides like I have stated now 100x.  I don’t take vitamins as any kind of preventative measure.  I just supplement my nutritional intake with them.
.

If you don’t take them “as any kind of preventive measure” then what do you take them for? The only reason to supplement your nutritional intake is to cure or prevent illness or death aka maintain good health, otherwise there is no need to take them at all.

VYAZMA - 24 November 2013 07:38 PM

Let me know when you find a study that shows that ingesting vitamins doesn’t in fact release any nutrients into one’s metabolism.

There is no evidence that more is better when it comes to vitamins. The evidence seems to show that there is an optimal level of intake that is required above which no further benefit is gained. In fact there is evidence that taking more than this optimal level of certain vitamins can in fact be harmful, so an attempt to imply that vitamins are absorbed and therefor only something positive can come from that is ignoring the science and the evidence.

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