Multi-vitamins for preventing cancer? Give me a break!

Great news for Pfizer’s Centrum — Great disservice for the public

Great free advertising for Centrum

In the New York Times, the story began: “After a series of conflicting reports about whether vitamin pills can stave off chronic disease, researchers announced on Wednesday that a large clinical trial of nearly 15,000 older male doctors followed for more than a decade found that those taking a daily multivitamin experienced 8 percent fewer cancers than the subjects taking dummy pills.” (See link below)

Talking about confusion over clarity—and giving the public a false sense of security that comes with continuing their vitamin-taking regimen.

So John Q. Public hears the news that was announced on all the major networks on 10-17-12 and says, “Boy, sure glad I’ve been taking my Centrum Silver.” He also hears that doctors also recommend exercise, no smoking and balanced diet to help reduce the risk of cancer.

Later, while reading his New York Times online, he notices a link to the balanced diet that he heard about on the broadcast. There he learns absolutely nothing of value. In fact, he learns more dangerous information.

The American Cancer Society recommends that people eat a balanced diet, but that those who take supplements choose a balanced multivitamin that contains no more than 100 percent of the daily value of most nutrients.

Early detection continues to trump true prevention—the elimination of the cause.

Notice the link to a “balanced diet” in the above text. Well, here’s the first two components of that “balanced” diet recommended by the American Cancer Society, the very “foods” that science has shown are among the leading causes of cancer. Makes me wonder why they left out the eggs. From the balanced diet link:

The term “balanced” simply means that a diet meets your nutritional needs while not providing too much of any nutrients. To achieve a balanced diet, you must eat a variety of foods from each of the food groups.

Milk group (dairy products)

      • Cheese: fat-free or reduced-fat (1%)
      • Milk or buttermilk: fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%)
      • Yogurt: fat-free or low-fat, regular or frozen

Most of us have been taught that we “need” to eat animal protein to be healthy. Apparently the American Cancer Society still believes it.

Meat and beans group

      • Legumes (including beans, lentils, peas, and split peas)
      • Meat (beef, pork, poultry with skin removed, game meats, fish, shellfish): select lean cuts; trim away visible fat; broil, roast, or poach
      • Nuts and seeds (including almonds, hazelnuts, mixed nuts, peanuts, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, walnuts)
      • Tofu, tempeh, and other soy-protein products

Sadly, John Q. draws his conclusions about doing all that he can to prevent cancer before reading from another article published the same day by the BBC.

Dr Helga Groll, health information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: “Although this study suggests that men in the trial had a slightly lower cancer risk if they took multivitamins, we can’t be sure from this research whether this is a true effect or down to chance.

“Many other large studies tell us that vitamin and mineral supplements don’t protect against cancer – they either have no effect or can even increase cancer risk in some cases.

“The best way to get a full range of vitamins and minerals is to eat a healthy, balanced diet with a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Most healthy people shouldn’t need to take supplements although some may be advised to do so by their doctor.”

The Bottom Line. John Q. Public is dealing with a serious shortage of accurate and complete information. Even if he read fifty other stories on this topic and consulted with umpteen oncologists, he would still know very little more about truly preventing cancer.

627 Consecutive Daily Blogs (With the numerals on a big diesel locomotive; reminding me of my college years working for Norfolk Southern Railroad.

Why is that? We devoted an entire chapter to that question in our book. Dr. Campbell devoted a full one third of his 300 pages in his book, The China Study. For your convenience, here are links to the source articles and a few of my earlier blogs on this topic:

Want to reverse 95% of heart disease and type 2 diabetes? Want to prevent, slow, stop and/or reverse some cancers? The following 4-piece “clarity kit” is a good place to start.

Footnote: While wondering about the funding for the study, I found this paragraph in the article:

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health and a grant, initiated by the investigators, from the chemical company BASF. Pfizer provided the multivitamins. The sponsors did not influence the study design, data analysis or manuscript preparation, the authors said.

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

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Blogging daily at…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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1 Response to Multi-vitamins for preventing cancer? Give me a break!

  1. Jim – I just re-posted your vitamin pills blog on the Atkins book one-star review site started by Dr. Campbell.

    Another of my posts there last night dealt with another purveyor of expensive supplements:

    The Paleo Marketeer — Interviewed by the smiling ‘’

    Low Carb Paleo with Mark Sisson


    . . . . Etc.


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