“Top Six Vitamins You Should Not Take”, Hmmm.

By | January 14, 2014

Steven Salzberg The evidence against supplements continues to pile up. Recently I created a list of The Top 5 Vitamins You Shouldn’t Take. Now I’m expanding that list to include vitamin D, which is taken by almost half of older adults. Now, two new studies in latest issue of The Lancet show that most of these people are wasting their money.

The first study is a large review by Philippe Autier and colleagues, who found that taking supplemental vitamin D has no effect on a wide range of diseases and conditions. After looking at over 450 studies, the authors conclude:

“The absence of an effect of vitamin D supplementation on disease occurrence, severity, and clinical course leads to the hypothesis that variations [in vitamin D levels] would essentially be a result, and not a cause, of ill health.”

So it appears that we’ve been getting cause and effect backwards, at least as far as vitamin D is concerned. … Vitamin D supplements, to put it plainly, are a waste of money. … So here’s my expanded list of the Top Six Vitamins You Shouldn’t Take, with the newest entrant at the end:

Vitamin C
Vitamin A and beta carotene
Vitamin E
Vitamin B6
Vitamin D

… What’s left? Well, if you don’t have a deficiency, there’s no reason to take any supplemental vitamins at all. … Save your money. Or better yet, if you must spend it, buy a bit more fresh fruit. You’ll be healthier for it.

via The Top Six Vitamins You Should Not Take – Forbes.

At times when I read an article that seems to have a strong pro-industry slant the comments section is closed or has been moderated to be entirely positive. In this case, however, the comments on Forbes are numerous and amusingly caustic. In response to accusations that he was paid to write this by big pharma, Professor Salzberg responded:

“I am paid nothing by the pharmaceutical companies. Zip. Zero. The evidence I’m describing in this column is based on peer-reviewed studies that were not motivated (as best I can tell) by profit. I’ve often written about – and called out – studies that were inappropriately biased. These new ones (on vitamin D) were very well done, in my judgement.”

My question: Did Belgian epidemiologist Philippe Autier’s review  distinguish between D2 and D3?

,,, analysis of 50 randomized controlled trials, which included a total of 94,000 participants, showed:

  • A six percent relative risk reduction among those who used vitamin D3, but
  • A two percent relative risk increase among those who used D2

According to a Mercola article.

I took 2 grams of vitamin C every morning for a long time. That may have been too much, or perhaps it helped me stay young. Now I take vitamin D3, especially in the winter. Drink raw milk and eat organic eggs from pastured hens plus get plenty of organic greens, and you may get most of what you need from food. That is not easily done with supermarket food these days. What any individual needs will be individual, and since we don’t have good cheap tests, the best thing to do is experiment until you find what makes you feel best.

It is perhaps interesting that Salzberg, who tells us not to take vitamins, sequenced genomes of bacteria used in the 2001 anthrax attacks.

Bio: Steven Salzberg is a “Professor of Medicine and Biostatistics in the Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine. … Before joining UMD, I was at The Institute for Genomic Research, where I sequenced the genomes of many bacteria, including those used in the 2001 anthrax attacks.” – Forbes.

… Institute for Genome Sciences researchers were charged with sequencing the genome of those populations of variant bacterial colonies — just those spores that looked unusual. They wanted to find out if there were genetic differences that were making the colonies of bacteria look unique. There were, and those same genetic differences were found the spore preparations from all the letters, conclusively linking them to the same source. There were four types of these variations found in the anthrax that came in the letters. Scientists eventually discovered that the anthrax used in the attacks was the product of at least two different production batches of anthrax that had been mixed together, each with its own unique distribution of variants. Mixing the batches created a unique combination of genetic signatures that later helped them track the spore preparations back to the source flask in the lab of Dr. Ivins. … “The science was one technique used to generate leads as part of a larger FBI investigation,” says Dr. Ravel. “Science tells us the spore came from that particular flask, but it’s important to note that the science never pointed to Bruce Ivins. It was police work that did that.” …


Those with the world view that the military industrial complex is actively shaping views of consumers for profit may take note that an author who tells us not to take vitamins also helped pin the anthrax attacks on a person who received the “Decoration of Exceptional Civilian Service” and was a member of the 9/11 response team.

“Ivins, a biodefense expert, and his officemate were deeply involved in Operation Noble Eagle — the government’s response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed almost 3,000 Americans and the anthrax attacks that killed five more less than a month later.”


There is a certain logic that keeping Americans sick is big business. Getting back to the vitamin story, let’s simplify:

Avoid Magnesium stearate, synthetic vitamin E (rac-α-tocopheryl acetate), don’t get a vitamin K shot for your newborn, and most mass market vitamins which contain carcinogenic and genotoxic sodium selenite and selenate. Get your vitamin C from natural sources like kiwi or oranges (not juice) as it is needed to absorb iron. Note the claim from 1998 that more than 500 mg/day of vitamin C may cause genetic damage may be completely wrong. Before a genetic mutation in our history, humans used to make our own vitamin C the way goats do now. Don’t take more than 2,000mg per day, according to this. Importantly, if you have had your genes screened, check for SNP rs1800562. Luckily, my genotype is GG, so I’m not likely to have hemochromatosis (iron poisoning) which can be worsened by too much vitamin C.

Well, 23andme says my genotype for SNP Rs17822931 is CC, so I’m supposed to have wet earwax and normal body odour, but I’m constantly having dry flaky earwax. Perhaps this just means that my ancestors did some inbreeding.

It’s exceedingly unlikely a CC individual would have … a secondary mutation damaging both alleles without some sort of inbreeding, though, so… keep that in mind if you’re going to [have dry ear wax] with a CC genotype. – link

Well, we are all cousins…  all 7 billion people alive today are genetically related to a common ancestor about 3,400 years ago. No, a most recent common ancestor that long ago does not mean the earth is 3,400 years old. It means that the lines of all other human descendants outside of our common ancestor didn’t make it evolutionarily. They all died off by not producing offspring that made it up to today.

So, my fellow inbred mutants, the pill at the top of my list of those you should not take: the Blue Pill.

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