Friday, July 12, 2013

Big Pharma Propaganda

I'm annoyed to see the pharmaceutical industry trotting its anti-vitamin propaganda around various popular news websites again, especially after seeing what a help vitamins, minerals and other nutrition supplements have been to me and my friends.  I suspect it's because growing numbers of regular, respectable, AMA-anointed doctors are recognizing the usefulness of supplements and are prescribing them -- widely, sometimes instead of pharma-company-made (expensive) prescription drugs.  Macy's, as they say, has no reason to love Gimbel's.  Still, denouncing one's rivals by clever half-lies and outright lies is dirty pool.

The main lie being pushed by Big Pharma is that, except for cases of provable deficiency, vitamins and mineral supplements are useless, a scam, and a waste of money -- which could better be spent on proper prescription medicines.  Right.  Tell that to the numerous cardiologists, neurologists and oncologists who've found that Niacin is very good for their patients' post-operative care.

Lies are fairly easy to disprove, which is probably why Big Pharma relies more on half-lies, which only require omitting certain information rather than falsifying it completely.

The most common half-lie is that Linus Pauling (probably the greatest chemist of the 20th century), who believed in the benefits of Vitamin C, took mega-doses of Vitamin C but died of prostate cancer anyway -- therefore Vitamin C is useless.  The whole truth is that, yes, Pauling was infatuated with Vitamin C and would hear no criticism of it, and did indeed die of prostate cancer -- but that was at the age of 93.

Half-lie number two is that "studies have shown" that cancer patients who took large doses of vitamins -- especially Vitamin C -- actually died sooner than patients who didn't, and therefore vitamins are actually bad for you.  The whole truth is that it was, ironically, researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute who discovered that cancer patients who ate carefully-balanced diets with lots of vitamins did indeed die faster than those who didn't -- because the cancer cells ate the nutrients first and left the patients to starve.  The best chemical means to kill cancer cells is to change the Ph of the blood from acid to alkaline, ingest mineral supplements which strip the protective/disguising biofilm off cancer cells so that white blood cells can attack them, and to hyperoxygenate the blood -- cancer cells being anaerobic.  Indeed, the last thing one should ingest is anti-oxidants, such as Vitamin C.  Mega-doses of Niacin, on the other hand, assist in hyperoxygenation.

Half-lie number three is that vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements aren't controlled by the FDA, and therefore have no standards of purity or quality whatever.  The whole truth is that despite lack of FDA oversight, supplements are constantly subject to analysis and criticism by nutritionist and naturopathic medical organizations -- not to mention the Consumers' Union -- and with a little study the prudent buyer can learn which producers and products are reliable.

Half-lie number four is that supplements are "a billion-dollar a year business", and therefore a scam.  The whole truth is that Big Pharma is a 646-billion-dollar a year business, proven to overcharge outrageously and lie shamelessly, and the cheats -- and prices -- of vitamin and mineral manufacturers are nothing by comparison.

Half-lie number five: supplements, even when proven "pure", have little if any effect.  The whole truth is that minerals and vitamins are synergistic -- which is how they're found in Nature -- and therefore work best in concert with each other.  Calcium, for example, doesn't get absorbed very well without the assistance of Vitamin D, and works even better when its absorption is regulated by Vitamin K-2.  K-2, in particular, has shown itself very useful for pulling the calcium out of arterial plaque and depositing it in the bones and teeth where it belongs.

Half-lie number six: plenty of supplements, when tested, didn't work on most people -- so the few subjects who did show health improvements must have gotten them from other sources.  The whole truth is that supplements are idiosyncratic -- they vary in effect with the biochemistry of the individual.  Example: Hyaluronic Acid, which replaces cartilage and repairs arthritic joint damage for 20% of the population, and does little for the other 80%.  This is why researchers are always looking for new vitamin and mineral combinations from Nature, and studying their chemical effects.  The best way to take supplements is to get one's own biochemistry mapped and then get the advice of an expert, such as a naturopath or nutritionist.  There's a lot more to the healing effects of supplements than just popping commercial megavitamins from the grocery store

In any case, minerals and vitamins are cheaper, safer, and sometimes a lot more effective than the Latest New Thing from the big pharmaceutical corporations.

--Leslie <;)))><   )O(




Joel C. Salomon said...

I’m reminded of Jerry Pournelle’s comments about the vitamin supplements he takes: “I am sure that about half of them do me good and the other half make expensive urine, but I don’t know which ones are effective and which aren’t so I take them all.”

On the other hand, changing blood pH through diet to attack cancer is demonstrably quackery. Derek Lowe (of the Things I Won’t Work With and Things I’m Glad I Don’t Do series) has a good read-up on the subject here: pHooey.

Leslie Fish said...

Who's Trudeau? I don't think you mean the guy who sells books about getting govt. grants!

Yes, the body does try to maintain homeostasis, but bodies already in homeostasis often do get cancer. Making the blood more acidic (through exercise, for example) does help dissolve plaque out of the arteries -- which is one reason why cardiologists prescribe it -- but too much lactic acid isn't good for you either. More interesting is the relationship between blood alkalinity and increased blood-oxygen levels -- which has been known to shrivel cancers. The question is, does the increased alkalinity help by itself, or is it just a metabolic marker for the increased oxygenation?

The only way to keep up with the discoveries (and the quackeries -- *caveat emptor*) of nutritional supplements is to talk to an expert -- a naturopath or nutritionist (preferably both; discoveries in one field don't automatically get reported to the other right away).

BTW, one embarrassingly effective new treatment for cancer is, if ya please, non-decarboxylated (that is, cold extracted and cold evaporated) hemp oil -- also called hash oil, cannabis oil and honey oil. Ingest it directly, smoke or vaporize some of it, and apply it directly to the cancerous cells whenever possible. As far back as the 1960s, the American Chemists' Journal noted that both THC and Cannabidiol caused cancerous tumors to shrink -- but the knowledge was buried under the politics of the age. All these years later, the tide is finally turning. Here in Arizona, one of the excuses for which you can be prescribed medical marijuana is a diagnosis of cancer. To paraphrase "The X-Files", The Cures Are Out There.