More about vitamins

Are vitamin supplements safe? Do vitamins work? Do they contain dangerous impurities?

DR. GIFFORD JONES

Are vitamin supplements safe? Do vitamins work? Do they contain dangerous impurities?

Newspaper headlines have unleashed criticism about vitamins. A = concern is whether raw products imported from China, Korea and other countries contain toxic plant material or metals.

But here’s what critics don’t tell you. I spent two days at Natural Factors (NF) manufacturing facilities in Vancouver which produces vitamins and minerals for many North American companies. NF has spectrometry equipment that tests for over 400 toxic elements and is able to detect the presence of one billionth of a part of mercury and lead. If an impurity is discovered, the shipment is discarded.

For the last few years Vitamin E has been under attack. A report claims that Vitamin E increased the risk of prostate cancer in men age 50 and over who also had low levels of the mineral selenium. But prostate cancer is so unpredictable it’s hard to know what does and doesn’t affect this malignancy.

What this study failed to mention is that natural Vitamin E (look for the D, not DL, before the name on the label) is an antioxidant that neutralizes the waste products of metabolism. It also oils the blood, decreasing the risk of a fatal blood clot. Moreover, patients who complain of leg pain while walking or during sporting activities, can often be relieved of their pain by taking high doses of E. This happens because Vitamin E increases the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood and the more oxygen, the less chance of leg pain.

Remember these negative remarks about supplements can prevent people who need vitamins from taking them. For instance, people are taking drugs such as Losec, Zantax and Tecta to ease heartburn and acid reflux. These also help to heal ulcers in the stomach and duodenum by blocking an enzyme that produces hydrochloric acid. These drugs also deplete Vitamin B12 which helps to keep nerves healthy. B12 also makes red blood cells and there’s evidence that a lack of this may be linked to dementia.

There is at least one positive report about multivitamins from the University of California. It claims that people over 65 years of age may benefit from a multivitamin as they have a harder time absorbing certain nutrients. Or they may have decreased appetite and therefore may need a multivitamin.

I find the criticism of natural remedies shameful. They kill no one. Prescription drugs, on the other hand, cause 100,000 deaths in North America year after year and send another 700,000 to hospital emergencies due to unintended complications.

See the web site at www.docgiff.com.