Dr Byers, supplements and increased cancer risk – Same turgid old stuff.

It seems every five years or so, someone is appointed to jump up and warn us all about Vitamin Supplements and their dangers.

This time Dr Byers got the short straw.

The problem is that we’ve heard it all before, the same research, the same generalisations – and we know the answer.

Out comes the same one-off research study (following an indicative study) on beta-carotene and smoking. Then there is research on vitamin E which has little benefit and may even do harm.

Neither supplement would I touch anyway. Both mass market supplements in the main are deficient, synthetic copies of the real thing. In nature beta-carotene is available in cis- and trans- forms, but only one is used in the common supplement. Vitamin E is worse. Most studies involve synthetic alpha-tocopherol, just one of the eight variants found in nature. In my book it should not even be called vitamin E (it’s fraud).

Synthetic vitamins, for me, carry the same basic risks as synthetic drugs. Natural vitamin E is easy to come by. Put out a bowl of nuts and seeds – a handful of sunflower and pumpkin seeds will give you the four tocotrienol vitamin Es – shown to be much better than tocopherol in fighting cancer anyway.

Folate supplementation is, quite possibly, a threat to all these highly profitable cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, which are under soooo much pressure at the moment from leading heart specialists. They have been linked to a range of secondary illnesses from diabetes to eye sight problems; and research is now questioning whether they do lower death rates from heart attacks and strokes.

Folate, again, is a vitamin you should get from your diet – eat your greens!!!! If you are short you are in trouble. If you have a healthy microbiome (gut bacteria) and eat properly you will be fine; too much you might be in trouble. It has an RDA in ‘micrograms’ for that reason.

But what I love is the way the ‘research’ extrapolates a study on synthetic beta-carotene and smoking to warn the listeners on supplements in general. It would be like me saying that since one drug, Vioxx, killed 48,000 Americans and is now banned, people should be careful when using any drugs because their benefits are questionable and there is clear evidence of significant risks.

Mass market vitamin supplements have limited benefits, although Centrum produced a study a couple of years back showing their multivitamin reduced cancer risk by 7 per cent – this would extrapolate to 22,000 less people with cancer in the UK alone next year. In 2003, the French produced the Su Vi Max study which had followed 17,000 people on selenium and zinc, vitamins E and C and beta-carotene – that showed 31% fewer male cancers (but little change for women); and 37% less deaths overall from cancer over the study period.

I am much more interested in bioactive natural compounds such as vitamin D, curcumin, fish oils, sulforaphanes, CLA, MCP and another 60 with Epigenetic benefits. Now they are interesting. Even Dr Young S. Kim of the NCI in her research on foods that could stop cancer stem cells re-growing, said these could be taken as quality supplements.

Ok. It’s diary time. Which doctor, or preferably professor wants to author this same study on the risks of supplements in 2020?

I’ll have this Junk Science article ready to re-run then too.

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One Great Fat Myth

As health experts like Mercola and Woollams have been telling you repeatedly, eating fat is not as bad for you as Health Authorities have led you to believe. There are certainly good fats and oils like fish oils, extra virgin olive oil, nut and seed oils, like flaxseed, coconut and walnut oil that clearly promote health. But is saturated fat and cholesterol so bad?

According to top American cardiologist Dr Chauncey Crandall, Director of the Palm Beach Cardiology Clinic, ‘No’. In his Heart Health programme he talks about the importance of cholesterol in your brain, as a precursor to vitamin D and hormones, to aid digestion and support the essential transporting functions of cell membranes. He lays the blame for heart disease on glucose and refined carbohydrates and preservatives in foods, talking of their role in chronic diseases from diabetes, to heart disease, to cancer.

Crandall argues that chronic inflammation caused by a number of factors from food additives to red meat and cows’ dairy causes inflammation in arteries, causing the fat to ‘stick’ to the walls. After calcium deposits collect on top of the fat, your fate is sealed.

Mercola has been talking about the importance of fat for 30 years; Woollams has been talking about the dangers of glucose and refined carbohydrates in the diet for a decade. CANCERactive has covered the dangers of glucose and the benefits of a Ketogenic Diet for almost as long. http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=3117

If saturated fat is not so bad after all, what is the problem?

The FDA takes action on Trans Fats at last:

It would seem that the research often quoted by Mercola and Woollams on the dangers of trans fats has at last been heeded. Originally thought to have been so refined as to be inert, trans fats have increasingly been shown to be dangerous and even cancer causing. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D., has studied the research and now announced that trans fats “are not generally recognized as safe for use in food.”.

Meanwhile Walter Willett, M.D., of Harvard School of Public Health has opined that the FDA conclusion is “strongly supported by massive scientific evidence that trans fat has many adverse effects on health’.

The benefits of Saturated Fat:

According to an article published in the prestigious British Medical Journal (October 22), saturated fat is NOT the cause of heart disease. In fact, the opposite is true. According to BMJ, : “The mantra that saturated fat must be removed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease has dominated dietary advice and guidelines for almost four decades. Yet scientific evidence shows that this advice has, paradoxically, increased our cardiovascular risks. Furthermore, the government’s obsession with levels of total cholesterol, which has led to the overmedication of millions of people with statins, has diverted our attention from the more egregious risk factor of atherogenic dyslipidaemia’.

Woollams in these columns and in his book ‘The Rainbow Diet’ (where he talks about the French Paradox – they eat more fat and consume more alcohol than many other natures but have less heart disease and less cancer) has talked about exactly this point and the mythology surrounding fat and the drive to get everybody on often unnecessary statins. Statins that can increase risks of diabetes and other illnesses by more than 30 per cent whilst reducing levels of essential coenzyme Q10 in the heart, muscles and brain. http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=2027

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