WOMEN’S MULTIVITAMIN STUDY DANGEROUSLY FLAWED
For Immediate Release:
February 12, 2009
Tami L. Wahl, 800.230.2762
Dr. Robert Verkerk, 44.1306.646.600
Studied Not Representative of General Population;
Study Excluded Dosages Above RDA Guidelines
Today the American Association for Health Freedom (AAHF) criticized a study published by the American Medical Association in the Archives of Internal Medicine (Feb. 9, 2009), which concluded that multivitamin use has little or no influence on the risk of common cancers, cardiovascular disease, or total mortality in postmenopausal women. “This is very, very weak science—if it can be called science at all,” said Gretchen DuBeau, executive director of AAHF.
The Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) also decried the research. Dr. Robert Verkerk, executive and scientific director of ANH, said, “We were astonished to find that, with no reasons given, the study specifically excluded multivitamin and mineral supplements that exceeded the US Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA), which are known to be far too low to yield useful heart disease and cancer protective effects. Also, any multivitamin with fewer than ten nutrients was excluded from the ‘stress supplements’ group, and this would have included some of the highest-dose, limited-combination products that would have been most effective.”
The observational study, led by Dr. Marian Neuhouser of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, monitored a group of 161,808 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 79 over an eight-year period. The study concluded that there was no difference in disease outcome, whether from cancer or heart disease, for the 42% of women who used multivitamin supplements as for those who did not.
ANH’s medical director, Damien Downing, a medical doctor who has practiced nutritional medicine for twenty-five years, called the research “childish naïveté.” He continued, “The findings could not be applied to the general public because the study involved only less-than-healthy, overweight, postmenopausal women taking trivial amounts of multivitamins and minerals, with no data on their earlier lives when disease causation would have been initiated.”
ANH’s published critique of the study centered on the lack of relevance of the study group to the general population, the doses of supplements used, the frequency of intake, the forms of nutrients taken, and the course of the diseases studied in relation to the time and duration of supplementation.
Gretchen DuBeau pointed out that the vitamin study’s evidence was entirely anecdotal. “The women in the study were not even given identical supplements to take.” And all reporting was left up to the subjects themselves, which is never done in a proper scientific study.”
In response to the sweeping headlines that multivitamin supplements are a waste of time, DuBeau added, “A research project based on such questionable methods—which did not even monitor whether the supplements were natural or synthetic—casts doubt on the entire study and its findings.”
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NOTES TO THE EDITOR:
About the American Association for Health Freedom (AAHF): www.healthfreedom.net.The American Association for Health Freedom (AAHF) is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization that protects Americans’ rights to access integrative medicine and dietary supplements. AAHF protects the right of the consumer to choose and the practitioner to practice by lobbying Congress and state legislatures; educating the public, press, and decision-makers on integrative medicine; initiating legal activities; and joining and forming significant