"So whenever some naive journalist may get the idea to write
something on an important anniversary related to Linus Pauling, a bomb
is detonated in some reputable medical journal to distract attention
from his work and life!" – Damir Zucic, PhD (vitamincfoundation.org/forum)
Does anyone still doubt that the news media is
being used as a propaganda weapon aimed at alternative medicine? One
member of the Vitamin C Foundation
forum, Dr. Damir Zucic, (http://garlic.mefos.hr/zucic/damir.html not
working 9/19/07. Try http://www.zucic.org/damir/index.html.), currently
teaches physics at a European medical school. Dr. Zucic noticed
something quite strange about a recent shot across the antioxidant
bow. Checking related stories, Dr. Zucic discovered that the widespread
anti-vitamin stories in the major worldwide media appeared just before
significant dates related to the life of two-time Nobel laureate Linus
Even "fair and balanced" Fox News posted an article on
March 1, 2007 entitled the "Mega-Vitamin Mega-Myth" by Steven Milloy.
This article not only denigrated Linus Pauling, but quoted from less-than-objective
websites known to be hostile to alternative medicine. Milloy apparently
is not aware that John Hopkins University recently published findings
that showed that combining vitamin E and vitamin C supplements dramatically
reduces the risk of Alzheimer's. The researchers found that vitamin
C supplements, in conjunction with vitamin E, significantly reduces
the risk of Alzheimer's by 78% and provided an 88% reduction in cognitive
dementia (Zandi et al. 2004; Available at: http://archneur.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/61/1/82).
Another recent study measured blood levels of the vitamins in the elderly.
The researchers from the United Kingdom found that low blood vitamin
C concentrations (ascorbic acid) in the older British population strongly
predict mortality; other vitamins had no effect on mortality. In fully
adjusted models, there was no evidence for an influence of alpha-tocopherol
(vitamin-E), beta-carotene, or retinol (vitamin-A) on total mortality
one way or the other (Fletcher 2003;
Mr. Milloy and Fox News appear willing to bet their reader's lives
that antioxidants are not valuable, based on a so-called "meta-analysis." However,
such meta-analyses are notorious for being easily manipulated to fit a given
agenda, an example of which will be cited below. We contacted Mr. Milloy asking
for his explanation as to why the aforementioned British study doesn't invalidate
his entire thesis? So far, he has failed to respond to our query.
- Other recent findings, among the
more than 80,000 reports on vitamin C available to the Vitamin
C Foundation, include the ability
of vitamin C as ascorbic acid to reduce the risks of stroke and
cataracts and to extend life.
- The risk of stroke was 70% higher
among those in the lowest quartile for serum vitamin C than among
those in the highest (Yokoyama
- Women who took vitamin C supplements
for at least ten years proved only 23% as likely to develop cataracts
as women who received
the vitamin only in their diet (Jacques 1997, Mares-Perlman).
- Researchers in Japan artificially
decreased age-dependent telomere shortening by 52-62% over untreated
control with an enrichment
of intracellular vitamin C (Furumoto 1998).
- Vitamin C, as ascorbic acid, and
vitamin E cut intensive care unit deaths in
half in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial (Nathans 2002).
What we'd like to know is how did the
researchers, and Fox News, get it so wrong? The nation's – no, the world's – health
depends on getting this right.
Appearing in a medical journal is no insurance against error. A recent
case in point: Finnish researchers published a finding that beta
the risk of lung cancer, and this made worldwide news. However, the error
was due to isolating beta carotene. Yale and government health researchers
the very same data years later. These researchers drew entirely opposite
conclusions. These revised findings went largely unreported in the
Here's more on the Finnish study from NutraIngredients.com,
posted on our website:
Antioxidant Combo Decreases Smokers' Cancer Risk
NEW LOOK, OLD FINNISH DATA! contradicts the long held and widely reported
belief that beta carotene increases cancer risk in smokers
In the "new" study, researchers
from Yale University and other US institutes
together with colleagues from the National Public Health Institute
in Helsinki, Finland, analyzed the same data but looked at the total
intake of antioxidants, including selenium, vitamin E, vitamin C, as
well as carotenoids and flavonoids, rather than one single antioxidant.
The researchers report that smokers in the top quintile of dietary
intake had a 16% lower risk of lung cancer compared to those with the
Smokers who ate large amounts of meat had a 25% decrease, despite
red meat having a high oxidative effect.
The results counter the earlier findings of the Finnish ATBC study,
carried out in the 1990s, which found an increased risk of the disease
for smokers with high beta-carotene intake (http://www.nutraingredients.com/news/news-NG.asp?id=54057).
What makes the Vitamin C Foundation so sure that the latest mega-antioxidant
scare story is erroneous? The answer is the underlying research on
which the meta-analysis is based. Medicine has consistently refused
to run studies with adequate amounts of antioxidants and other nutrients
recommended by Pauling and others. This is well-described in the Hickey/Roberts
book Ascorbate: The Science of Vitamin C. The so-called meta-analysis
is merely a summary of many flawed research studies.
The following "coincidence," as noted by Zucic, a member
of the Vitamin C Foundation forum, may be more evidence. When he first
thought he was kidding!
Well, let's look at the exact date of the publication:
The article: Bjelakovic G, Nikolova D, Gluud LL, Simonetti RG, Gluud
Mortality in Randomized Trials of Antioxidant Supplements for Primary
and Secondary Prevention: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA.
2007 Feb 28;297(:842-857. ... was published in JAMA on
February 28, 2007. What is so special with this date? Who was born
on February 28?
Quite a few people, including Linus Carl Pauling. What a bloody coincidence!
I have found another coincidence! This one was difficult to recognize!
The article: Bjelakovic G, Nikolova D, Simonetti RG, Gluud C.
Antioxidant supplements for prevention of gastrointestinal cancers:
a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet.
2004 Oct 2-8;364(9441):1219-1228. ... was published in October
2004, a few days before Sunday, October
10, 2004. What is special with October 10? On this date, in 1963,
the "Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests In The Atmosphere, In
Outer Space And Under Water" went into force. On the same
day, the Nobel committee announced that Linus Pauling was awarded
Nobel Prize, this time for peace (awarded for the year 1962, not
It follows that whenever some naive journalist may get the idea to
write something on an important anniversary related to Linus Pauling,
a bomb is detonated in some reputable medical journal, to distract
attention from his work and life! - zucic (vitamincfoundation.org/forum)
Goran Bjelakovic was an anonymous scientist
before becoming the vitamin basher. In fact, strictly speaking he
was not a scientist – he
had a number of publications, but no one cited them on the Web of Science
server. Christian Gluud was cited slightly more often. Suddenly, their
results have become so important that the media catches their results
even before the PubMed server! A standard trick is to send a press
release from some center of power, just in case the journalist might
miss the latest results of Bjelakovic, Gluud, and others.
Dr. Zucic has exchanged couple of emails with Bjelakovic and Nikolova; they
interrupted communication after a couple of messages. Therefore, we confidently
predict that the current meta-study/analysis will shown to be invalid, or otherwise
retracted, as all the previous reports have been. The Foundation will watch
to see whether Fox News does what other news organizations don't: print the
news of the retraction. When viewing future vitamin bashing stories, you should
keep in mind these important dates vis a vis Linus Pauling:
February 28, 1901 - born;
November 3, 1954 - Nobel Prize for chemistry announced (largely forgotten date!);
October 10, 1963 - Nobel Peace Prize announced (reserved for year 1962);
August 19, 1994 – died.
Journalists and real quacks tend to forget November 3.
Founder, Vitamin C Foundation
Josipa Huttlera 4
31000 Osijek, Croatia
Website: http://garlic.mefos.hr/zucic/damir.html not
University of Osijek
Osijek - Croatia - Europe
Copyright 2007 Owen R Fonorow and Damir Zucic
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