Sunday, November 18, 2012


I noticed a commercial tonight for the multivitamin Centrum Silver. Pfizer claims that Centrum Silver is the most recommended and most preferred multivitamin.
Pfizer went on to say that their multivitamin was used in a "landmark" study which evaluated men 50 and over for the long term health benefits of taking multivitamins.
Uh huh. So I went looking for this study...
The first thing I found was that the study was financed by the maker of Centrum, Pfizer (Well actually Wyeth, which was purchased by Pfizer). So, I guess it's not surprising that Centrum Silver was used in this particular study.
Next, I noticed that the study's title claims to specifically study benefits, and not dangers, side effects, or, as a proper study should; simply "effects".
This study only focused on certain types of cancer, and only new incidences of cancer. It did not include high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease which other studies have shown can be increased by multivitamin use. Most telling is that prostate cancer, which is far and away the most common type of cancer in men over 50 was also omitted from this study.
The fact is, this study is clearly designed to give the appearance of benefit, by focusing on narrow set of specific cancers, and omitting or frankly hiding, data. Even after crafting the study to try to force the results Pfizer wanted, it still shows no difference in mortality between the people taking multivitamins for years, and those who didn't.
Once you realize what vitamins are, you realize that taking them makes no sense. Vitamins are simply the compounds found in food. Vitamins were first discovered when the cause for certain diseases was found to be caused by deficiencies of specific foods.
Almost no one needs vitamins unless you are severely malnourished, and just as too much food is bad for you, so are too much vitamins. Healthy food today has all the vitamins you need, and in the United States, unhealthy foods are generally fortified with vitamins to compensate. So adding multivitamins to normal food intake results in over consumption of vitamins.
The man in the Centrum commercial even says that taking a multivitamin "sure can't hurt, right?"
"OK, fine" you say, "but you're not a doctor, and my doctor recommended that I take a multivitamin."
Well you're right I'm not a doctor. And I am NOT providing you with medical advice here. By all means follow your doctor's advice. Just bear in mind that much of what doctors do, is to make you feel that you are doing something positive for your own health. Furthermore doctors are constantly lobbied by pharmaceutical companies to recommend products. Unfortunately, like politicians, doctors are not impartial.
When you look at the whole picture what you find is that at best, multivitamins do nothing, and at worst they increase your risk of death or disease. So, how is it that Pfizer is able to bilk consumers out of millions on multivitamins every year?
I guess fake studies help.

No comments: