Commentary on the Safety of Vitamins
By Dr Aleksandra Niedzwiecki
Time and again, the mass media presents alarming articles about the supposed dangers of taking vitamin supplements. Invariably, such articles are either without any merit or they exaggerate and misinterpret the studies referred to. On the other hand, numerous reports on how an insufficient intake of vitamins contributes to many health problems, as well as the impressive health benefits that result from regular dietary micronutrient supplementation, are much less publicized and often completely ignored.
So what are the facts?
The need for supplementation
Even in countries where access to food is not a problem, vitamin deficiencies are common. One such example, that comes from Poland, is a study published in 2012 by Dr. M Gill and colleagues in the Yearbook of the National Institute of Hygiene (Vol. 63 (4), str.441-446). This study shows that even among female students at the Faculty of Biology and Agriculture, University of Rzeszów, there are serious deficiencies of vitamin D, B vitamins, folic acid, iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium. The same micronutrient deficiencies were also found in male students, and, in addition, a deficiency of vitamin C (76%). These figures are certainly alarming because the shortages of these important micronutrients were present in young people who have at least a theoretical knowledge of the importance of vitamins and minerals for health. The statistics are even more worrying in the case of vitamin and micronutrient deficiencies in children, people suffering from various health problems and in older people, especially those in hospitals or retirement homes.
The safety of supplementation with vitamins
What are the facts when it comes to the safety of vitamins taken in doses higher than the officially recommended dietary allowances (RDAs)? One of the best countries for such an evaluation is the United States, where the use of vitamins and other natural substances is not subjected to such stringent regulation as it is in the EU. In the U.S. anyone can buy supplements containing nutrients in much higher dosages than are allowed in the EU, and often in the very same forms and composition that are restricted by EU regulations. The U.S. is also a country where about 68% of the population of over 330 million people uses vitamins, so it must be a good 'barometer' of their supposed 'dangers'.
So here’s what U.S. statistics tell us about cases of death due to people taking vitamins:
Similarly, in Europe, as confirmed in a statement by Graham Keen, the Director of the Health Food Manufacturers Association (HFMA) in the UK, the use of natural substances has a high level of security here as well: "The figures published by the Food Standard Agency show that there were only 11 cases of adverse reactions to supplements in the past 11 years, most of them in the category of low risk to health. Compared to foods and drugs the supplements have a great record [of safety].”
Clearly, therefore, the background regarding adverse reactions to vitamins has to be much more closely evaluated than it is at present, as the information that currently appears in the mass media is generally presented either as a “shock article” or as an indisputable fact (e.g. vitamins shorten lives; poisoning by vitamins etc.) with the apparent goal of spreading fear and confusion in people.
Many associations created between adverse reactions and micronutrients intake are unfounded and ignore the state of health of affected individuals, associated diseases, interactions with drugs, the specific compounds taken (e.g. synthetic vitamin E gives a different effect to natural forms), or whether the vitamin was consumed separately or in a complex with others. But even in the case of taking a single vitamin, which according to our concept of Cellular Medicine is not an optimal approach, the use of extremely high doses of individual micronutrients (exceeding several hundred times the recommended doses) is rare and the effects of their overdose are reversible. Here are some examples regarding the safety of vitamin D (fat-soluble), and vitamins B6 and B3 (soluble in water) that are often referred to in the mass media (I will discuss Vitamin C and other micronutrients later, in a separate publication):
Most of the reported side effects of vitamins have usually been associated with taking large doses of individual micronutrients (particularly synthetic versions) for a long time. However, all the metabolic pathways in the cells of our body are based on the interaction (synergy) of many different micronutrients. Our innovative approach – Cellular Medicine – clearly shows that optimal health cannot be achieved by means of a single substance. Instead, for optimal and balanced cell function, we need a wide variety of carefully selected natural compounds. Natural compounds combined in synergy with each other do not require taking extreme doses for maximum effectiveness. Taking advantage of micronutrient synergy in this way also eliminates any adverse effects and increases health benefits.
In conclusion, vitamins are very safe substances and their benefits to our health are indisputable. Interestingly, therefore, the benefits of adding vitamins to foods for dogs and cats are not subjected to such prominent criticism as they are for human beings. On the contrary, in fact, vitamins are presented as being beneficial for the health and longevity of our pets.
Ultimately, the reality that the mass media is not sharing with you is that vitamins are dangerous ONLY to the pharmaceutical business, which sees that they undermine its disease market and reduce the outlet for dangerous patented pharmaceutical drug compounds.
For more information contact:
Dr. Rath Research Institute
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