Hit Job

A recent study on antioxidants is a classic “hit job” on alternative medicine.

This study compared aspirin to a combination of antioxidants for their ability to prevent progression of arterial disease and diabetes. The study found that there was no difference in effectiveness between the two therapies. And without missing a beat, newspapers around the country proclaimed this new finding.

The dose of antioxidants used in this study is ridiculously low. For instance, this study used 100mg of vitamin C daily in their antioxidant supplement. While this is higher than the US RDA, it is somewhere between 1/5 and 1/20 the dose that is widely recognized to confer therapeutic benefits.

Likewise, 200mg of vitamin E was used, which is approximately 200IU (the units typically used to indicate vitamin E dosage). Virtually every study done on vitamin E finds benefits when the dose is between 800IU and 1200IU, or 4-6 times the dose used in this study.

The dose of vitamin B6, zinc, selenium and lecithin used in the study were all very very low.

The study states that “experts in antioxidants” were consulted to determine doses to use of each one. Apparently these experts are unfamiliar with both the research on antioxidants and with the clinical use of them. As a result, we have a study that tells us absolutely nothing about the effectiveness of antioxidants to prevent progression of arterial disease and diabetes.

Is it any wonder why alternative health care practitioners are skeptical of conventional research into the supplements they use?

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