Tag Archives: Vitamins


cool microphonesA recent warning to avoid fish oil during chemotherapy for cancer treatments raises the question:  Can vitamins and supplements do more harm than good?   In the case of cancer patients taking fish oils, this might be the case.

In mice, the administration of fish oil, while getting a common chemotherapy agent cisplatin (used in many cancer treatment regimens from lung to breast cancer), caused a reduction in the sensitivity to the chemo.

With this proven, oncologists are recommending that patients avoid fish oil at the time of chemotherapy, with the thought that this type of fatty acid may interact with the chemo medication and make it less effective.

So, rather than presuming that supplements are benign at worst, it may be that they are more trouble than they are worth, particularly when medications are an important treatment for your serious health condition.

Read more >>>HERE<<<<


balloonsAs most of you know, I am not a huge proponent of vitamins, based on concerns about the potential negatives they can cause,  as well as the lack of evidence for their general effectiveness.

That said, there are situations in which vitamins can be considered and here is a list of my current recommendations, with particular brands mentioned (that are known to be of high quality.  Other brands may be fine, but these are the ones I am comfortable with.)

Bones (documented osteoporosis with added Vitamin D required.)

Natural Factors Vitamin D3 (1000, 2000, 5000 unit capsules)

Calcium Citrate…..Citrical Brand (all varieties)



Nature Made Vitamin E 1000 unit capsules, 2 daily

B Vitamins (folic acid & B-12) in the form of Xymogen Methyl Protect, 1 daily (we have this at our office)



Nature Made Vitamin E 400 units capsules, 2 daily


Hair Loss (Alopecia)

Nature Made Biotin 2500mcg

Natural Factors Easy Iron, 20mg tablets, 1-2 daily


Iron Deficiency Anemia:

Natural Factors Easy Iron, 20mg tablets, 1-4 daily (easiest on the digestion)

Ferro Sequels (Ferrous Fumarate), slow release iron, 1-4 per day

Iron Sulfate 325mg, 1-3 per day


as seen on TVVitamin D is riding high these days, as there have been many reports in the medical literature that low levels of Vitamin D are associated with everything from cancer to reduced longevity.  As a result, supplementing Vitamin D has become all the rage, with patients actually developing Vitamin D overdose, as it is a fat soluble vitamin that the body will store in excess is taken to an extreme (unlike B vitamins, which are not fat soluble.  B vitamins will not build up in the body in an adverse way).

With low Vitamin D being associated with various diseases, it seems obvious that supplementing with Vitamin D will reduce such diseases, but in the latest article to review this topic in THE LANCET, there was not improvement found in health with supplementation.

This points out the error in such presumptions.  That low Vitamin D is associated with ill health is due to a variety of different factors, but it does not then mean that supplementing with Vitamin D will resolve such health conditions.  This is flawed reasoning of association and cause.

So….like all vitamins, the data to supplement remains more sketchy, and moderation is the order of the day.  400-2000 units of Vitamin D is the maximum I recommend on any routine basis for those are are desirous to supplement.  Better yet, get that sunshine as we have always been told…I think that is a better way to keep your Vitamin D high.




CLOSE APPLESWhether or not herbal supplements are of any benefit medically is an important question that can be investigated by well thought-out studies that are done honestly and with a scientific approach, but that issue is secondary to the question of  the accuracy of product labelling of herbal supplements.

A recent study from Canada, employing DNA fingerprinting, has found that 60% of the herbal supplements contained unlisted components, with a large proportion not even containing the advertised herbal supplement as the major constituent.  Given the lack of controls over the production of these products, and the unscrupulous nature of some herbal supplement purveyors, focused more on profits than on medical care for their clients.

Read more about my comments and criticisms of vitamin and herbal supplementation in THE GUIDE, pages 14-17


You all know that I’m not a big fan of Vitamins in general as I think the data remains uncertain. So….it’s important that supportive data be promoted, especially by a skeptic. A recent American Medical Journal article showed a small, but significant cancer prevention benefit from multivitamins in middle-aged men. This is good news and encouragement for those who are inclined to take their vitamins.

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Meta Analysis is a term that refers to a study that develops conclusions by combining the data and results from several studies. By employing statistical methods that are valid, the researchers essentially create new conclusions from a variety of data from different studies.
The recent study of Omega-3 Fatty Acids is one such study. This concluded that Omega-3’s are not effective in preventing heart disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids are the good fats found in fish and vitamin purveyors like to isolate those fats and provide them in a supplement that they claim will provide all the benefits of a cold-water fish diet. This study debunks that myth and suggests that a diet high in fish is good for the heart, but the straight supplement is not.
You will be seeing more and more reports of Meta Analysis….a powerful method of finding hidden data in multiple small studies.

More information at:



As many of you are aware, I am not a strong proponent of vitamin supplements.
It’s not that I have anything in particular against them; it’s just that I’m a skeptic.

Data on vitamins contained in healthy foods is legion, but two recent studies published in respected journals currently calls into question the benefits of vitamin supplementation.

There is no question that a healthy diet of increase vegetables and fruits leads to improved length and quality of life (although I’ve met fellows who eat meat and potatos are are looking strong into their 90’s)
Still…..it is unclear whether or not the benefits are derived from the foods and diet themselves, or from the vitamins contained within.
As I am a skeptic on all things….medicine research as well as all topics in general….I have considered the legitimate possibility that vitamins can have negative effects on our health by providing essential nutrients needed by fast-growing cancer cells. It seems logical that is cancer cells lose control of their growth cycle (one of the hallmarks of cancer cells), then clearly they will need lots of materials to make more and more cells just like themselves. Such materials if provided in abundance, via vitamin supplements, might be just the thing that cancer cells want and need for unrestrained growth.
So…..despite the beneficial effects on the healthy cells of the body and the purported ‘anti-oxidant’ effects, they still might have more negative than positive impact.
These studies are not conclusive, but they do ‘fire a shot’ in the other direction and cause one to ponder the possibility that we may be doing the entirely wrong thing in supplementing heavily with vitamins.