SHOULD WE TAKE SUPPLEMENTS?
"Supplements Dangerous" was the conclusion of a 1989 report by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council, research arm of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. Yet, according to NOHA Honorary Member Bernard Rimland, PhD, director of the Institute for Child Behavior Research, the 1300-page report has only 20 pages on supplements and those are "full of baloney." The report reflects conventional advice: "Get your vitamins and minerals from food instead – five or more servings of fruit and vegetables, six or more servings of breads and legumes per day." By comparison, a recent study of the eating habits of Californians found that one-third eat no vegetables and two thirds no salad, with only one-half eating a serving of fruit a day, said Dr. Rimland in his talk to NOHA on April 3 of this year. His talk was on "Nutrition, Behavior, and the Nutritional Supplement Controversy."
Dr. Rimland went on to ask, "How nutritious is modern food?" Pesticides and other pollutants make one use up valuable vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A, C, and E. Soils have become depleted; some oranges contain zero vitamin C. Chemical (nonorganic) fertilizers provide only potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus: where are the magnesium, the selenium, the chromium, the boron, and the manganese that we need? White bread has 15 percent of the minerals of whole-wheat bread; enriching can take away 24 nutrients and give back 4. Toasting the white bread destroys a third of the vitamins. Also, prescription drugs do a great deal of damage to the nutrients. Thus the general public is "terribly deficient" in all kinds of nutrients and that is why it is so necessary to take supplements, he said.
Nevertheless, the AMA, the FDA, and the American Dietetic Association are perpetuating a myth and defrauding the public on the subject of supplements, just as the phychoanalysts did with autism, blaming the condition on the "refrigerator mother." Now, of course, autism is known to be a biological disorder having nothing to do with a mother’s attitude toward her child. Though the exact causes are not known, Dr. Rimland, a research psychologist, experimentally used high doses of vitamins on more than 200 autistic children and helped 40 to 45 percent of them. Vitamin B6 and magnesium were the most beneficial. And for hyperactive children, some well-conducted research has found that vitamin B6 is as effective as the leading prescription drug, as well as lasting longer and being faster and safer.
In 1986, responding to a report on supplements by an American Dietetic Association panel, Dr. Rimland wrote to Dr. Frank Young, FDA commissioner, of the "extremely low level of scientific competence and integrity" reflected in the press release about the report. "It is hard to see how a panel that totally excludes opposing views can be called scientific," he wrote. "There are many highly qualified physicians and researchers in this country who strongly disagree with the views of the American Dietetic Association panel."
About the content of the press releases, Dr. Rimland had to say in his letter:
The letter concludes with Dr. Rimland’s advice to Dr. Young:
In addition, Dr. Rimland used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain detailed printouts of one year’s reports to the nation’s poison control centers: for nutritional supplements, no deaths, no major problems, only a few minor ones.
Dr. Rimland’s talk concluded with his advice to us: the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) for minerals are all right for healthy people; for vitamins the RDAs are absurd. If you are healthy, the RDAs for minerals are "adequate," but "generous amounts of vitamins may help prevent certain conditions. After all, he said, many people have been exposed to Legionnaires’ disease and AIDS, yet only a few exposed get these illnesses. Many people receive the swine flu vaccine, but only a few become ill from it. The immune system depends on adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals improve the normal functioning of the body and play a role in the avoidance of illness. For example, vitamin C, niacin (vitamin B3), and chromium picolinate can help lower cholesterol. Vitamin E has been found to be of benefit to heart patients. Zinc and walnut oil (a good source of omega-3 fatty acids) can reduce the likelihood of prostrate problems.
An interesting and prescient observation by Dr. Rimland is that the National Research Council report found that the more courses nutritionists and physicians take, the more likely they are to take supplements. The NRC report stated that the nutritionists and physicians "admitted" that they took vitamins. Perhaps one day they will be braodcasting this information, instead of "admitting" it.Article from NOHA NEWS, Vol. XIV, No. 4, Fall 1989, pages 5-6.