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October 12, 2011

Maybe The Researchers Had Iron Poor Blood

For years, those advocating the use of vitamin E for the enhancement and maintenance of good health have urged people (pdf) to avoid taking large doses of only the alpha form, as it can actually lead to such unintended outcomes as an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

That is why a crack team of 21 expert researchers decided to conduct a large study on vitamin E in which participants took large doses of only the alpha form to see what outcome that might have on the risk of developing prostate cancer.

The startling conclusion:

Doing that can kill you!

Now, before you start criticizing these esteemed men of science for fashioning a study designed to test a hypothesis no one was actually advocating, consider this:

They are all much better educated than you.

They include 14 with MDs, two with PhDs, two with DOs and one with an MD and an MHS.  We’re not sure what some of those mean either, but they sound pretty darn impressive to us, and helped to ensure that the study would achieve the single most important goal of all modern scientific research: The production of panic-inducing headlines:

Vitamins will kill you

And isn’t that a lot more fun than some boring old headline like, “Study Finds Pretty Much What Was Already Known,” or, “Esteemed Researchers Place the Lives of Their Innocent Subjects Needlessly at Risk by Subjecting Them to a Regimen Known to be Dangerous.”

You bet it is.

Oh, and sorry about the prostate cancer.

And while this study could have served a useful purpose in spreading more widely the information that consumers interested in supplementing with vitamin E should ensure they get not only the alpha form, but also the gamma form (not to mention beta and delta) so that they aren’t doing themselves more harm than good, these researchers came to a different conclusion:

“The lack of benefit from dietary supplementation with vitamin E or other agents with respect to preventing common health conditions and cancers or improving overall survival, and their potential harm, underscore the need for consumers to be skeptical of health claims for unregulated over-the-counter products in the absence of strong evidence of benefit demonstrated in clinical trials.”

We would also add the need for consumers to be skeptical of study claims made by unregulated over-the-top researchers in the absence of strong evidence that they have demonstrated an ability to use Google.


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October 12, 2011 at 03:54 PM in Health & Fitness | Permalink


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Hey. Times are tough. If you dod't publish, you don't eat!

Posted by: barryjo | Oct 14, 2011 9:10:12 AM

Speed kills! Should have been "don't publish".

Posted by: barryjo | Oct 14, 2011 9:11:25 AM

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