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Letters to the Editor Issue 201

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 201 - December 2012

Daily Multivitamin Reduces Cancer Risk: Even Low-Dose Supplementation Would Save 48,000 Lives Annually

by Robert G. Smith, PhD

A major new health study published online last week found that everyday multivitamin supplements lower your risk of cancer by 8%.[1] This important result confirms what nutritionists and medical researchers have known over the past 50 years, that supplements of essential nutrients are beneficial for health and preventing disease. This is terrific news for everyone! Cancer deaths in the US in recent years have hovered near 600,000 per year (190 per 100,000) and are increasing.[2] If taking a daily multivitamin will prevent 8% of these deaths, then the lives of 48,000 people in the US could be saved each year, just by taking an inexpensive daily vitamin pill.

Details of the Study

The study was performed on approximately 15,000 older men, half assigned randomly to take a multivitamin tablet and the other half to take a placebo. The men included in the study were medical doctors older than 50, including some older than 70, averaging about 64, and the most common cancer found was prostate cancer. Overall the risk of cancer was low, about 2% per person per year. After about 11 years, the cases of cancer in the 15,000 participants were tabulated. Those who took the multivitamin tablet were diagnosed with 89 fewer (1379 vs. 1290) cases of cancer, which represents a reduction of 8%.[1] This result, although modest, is significant because the reduction in risk was greater than would be expected by chance. However, when tabulated according to the specific type of cancer, for example, prostate cancer, no significant reduction in risk was found, probably because the incidence of each specific type of cancer was too low for statistical significance in the experimental methods employed. But when all the cases were considered together, this allowed the study to show a reduction in the cancer risk overall.

For many decades, it has been known that an excellent diet, along with adequate doses of supplements of essential nutrients can reduce the risk of chronic age-related diseases such as cancer. This knowledge was derived by doctors studying their patients and by observational health trials.[3,4] Other life-style changes, for example, quitting smoking, reducing obesity, and getting adequate exercise, are also known to reduce the risk for cancer and other chronic diseases.[4] Thus, the new study doesn't add much to our existing knowledge. The participants in this study, being doctors, were in good health and most of them exercised regularly, ate generous amounts of fruits and vegetables, and did not smoke.[1] So the results of the study, strictly speaking, are only applicable to a healthy population. However, it is likely that daily supplements of essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals will help reduce the risk of age-related diseases such as cancer for everyone regardless of their health status and lifestyle. One confirmation of this was that the study showed a daily multivitamin tablet also reduced the risk of cancer for participants who previously had cancer.[1]

Flaws in Previous Trials

To put this new result in perspective, it is important to note that, over the last two decades, dozens of random-controlled health trials of individual supplements have been performed in which no positive health benefit was reported. In many cases, this likely occurred because the doses were inadequate, the wrong forms of vitamins and minerals were used, the duration of the trials was not long enough, or the disease under diagnosis was inappropriate for the specific nutrient being tested. These problems are known to nutritionists, which suggests that these trials were designed to fail. Moreover, it is known that supplementing with just one individual nutrient is less effective for many health conditions than a multivitamin. For example, a B-complex vitamin tablet is often more effective in promoting health than a tablet containing only one of the B vitamins because their effect is synergistic, that is, the body's biochemical pathways require all the B vitamins to function normally. Further, antioxidants such as vitamins C and E are synergistic and are more effective taken together in adequate doses (C: 3,000 - 6,000 mg/day in divided doses; E: mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols, 400-1200 IU/day).[3] Although one must laud the study for choosing to test a daily multivitamin tablet, it has missed a golden opportunity, because the doses of essential nutrients were far too low.

The multivitamin is the most popular dietary supplement. 56% of American adult women and 48% of American adult men take multivitamins.[15] 72% of physicians personally use dietary supplements. The multivitamin is the most popular dietary supplement taken by doctors.[16]


The multivitamin tablet used in the study contained doses of low-quality vitamins and minerals, some in an inaccessible form, such as magnesium oxide. The doses were similar to the recommended daily amounts published by the Institute of Medicine.[5] Such low doses, because they represent only an average minimum dose for health, should not be taken as the most appropriate dose for anyone. The study didn't test higher doses, and could not determine optimal doses for anyone's particular needs.[6] The participants in the study were arguably one of the most healthy segments of the population because they were medical doctors. But most of us don't have such healthy lifestyles. Many, perhaps most, of us require much higher levels of essential nutrients because of poor diet, stressful lifestyle, and differences in their genetic background.[6-8] So for many people, the much higher doses of supplements recommended by orthomolecular medicine are an inexpensive and very effective way to reduce the risk of cancer and other age-related conditions such as diabetes, eye disease, and heart disease.[3,4,8]

Most vitamin and mineral supplements when taken at appropriate doses are extremely safe.[9] Many nutritionists recommend doses of vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B6 in the range of 50 to 100 mg/day, vitamin B3 (niacin) in the range 200-1000 mg/day in divided doses, vitamin C in the range of 3,000-6,000 mg/day in divided doses, vitamin D in the range of 1500-2000 IU/day or up to 5000-10,000 IU/day for large or obese adults, and vitamin E in the range of 400-1200 IU.[3,10,11] Most of us have a deficiency in magnesium, which has been implicated in an elevated risk for cancer, and a dose of 200-500 mg/day of magnesium or more, taken in the proper form to recover from deficiency, will help to prevent cancer.[12] You may benefit by discussing these very safe but much higher doses with your doctor. Higher supplemental doses of vitamins and minerals, along with an excellent diet, do the best job helping the body to fight cancer and other chronic diseases.[3,4,11-14]


1. Gaziano JM, Sesso HD, Christen WG, Bubes V, Smith JP, MacFadyen J, Schvartz M, Manson JE, Glynn RJ, Buring JE (2012) Multivitamins in the Prevention of Cancer in Men: the Physicians' Health Study II Randomized Controlled Trial JAMA.1-10. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.14641. 2012.

2. National Cancer Institute.

3. Hoffer A, Saul AW. Orthomolecular Medicine For Everyone: Megavitamin Therapeutics for Families and Physicians. Basic Health Publications, ISBN: 978-1591202264. 2008.

4. Gonzalez MJ, Miranda-Massari JR, Saul AW. I Have Cancer: What Should I Do?: Your Orthomolecular Guide for Cancer Management Basic Health Publications. ISBN: 978-1591202431. 2009.

5. Institute of Medicine list of RDA for vitamins and minerals:

6. Hickey S, Roberts H.Tarnished Gold: The Sickness of Evidence-based Medicine. CreateSpace Independent Publishing ISBN: 978-1466397293. 2011.

7. Williams RJ, Deason G. Individuality in Vitamin C Needs. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 57:1638-1641.1967.

8. Pauling L. How to Live Longer and Feel Better. Oregon State University Press ISBN: 978-0870710964. 2006.

9. Schuitemaker G. Restrictions on Food Supplements are Based on Misinformation: An alert from Europe to the rest of the world. Orthomolecular News Service, Oct 16, 2012.

10. Holick MF. Evidence-based D-bate on health benefits of vitamin D revisited. Dermatoendocrinol. 4:183-190. 2012.

11. Levy TE.  Primal Panacea. MedFox Publishing ISBN: 978-0983772804. 2011.

12. Dean C. The Magnesium Miracle. Ballantine Books. ISBN-13: 978-0345494580. 2006.

13. Ames BN. Prevention of mutation, cancer, and other age-associated diseases by optimizing micronutrient intake. J Nucleic Acids. 2010: article ID. 725071. doi:10.4061/2010/725071. 2010.

14. McCann JC, Ames BN. Adaptive dysfunction of selenoproteins from the perspective of the triage theory: why modest selenium deficiency may increase risk of diseases of aging. FASEB J. 25:1793-814. 2011.

15. Council for Responsible Nutrition. CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements. Retrieved October 4, 2012, from 2012.

16 Dickinson A, Boyon N, Shao A. Physicians and nurses use and recommend dietary supplements: report of a survey. Nutrition Journal 8:29 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-8-29. 2009.

Further Information

Andrew W Saul PhD - Editor and contact person.

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource. Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information:     

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Editorial Review Board

Ian Brighthope MD (Australia)

Ralph K. Campbell MD (USA)

Carolyn Dean MD ND (USA)

Damien Downing MD (United Kingdom)

Dean Elledge DDS MS (USA)

Michael Ellis MD (Australia)

Martin P. Gallagher MD DC (USA)

Michael Gonzalez DSc PhD (Puerto Rico)

William B. Grant PhD (USA)

Steve Hickey PhD (United Kingdom)

Michael Janson MD (USA)

Robert E. Jenkins DC (USA)

Bo H. Jonsson MD PhD (Sweden)

Thomas Levy MD JD (USA)

Stuart Lindsey Pharm D (USA)

Jorge R. Miranda-Massari Pharm D (Puerto Rico)

Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada MD (Finland)

Erik Paterson MD (Canada)

W. Todd Penberthy PhD (USA)

Gert E. Schuitemaker PhD (Netherlands)

Robert G. Smith PhD (USA)

Jagan Nathan Vamanan MD (India)


The vaccination policy and the Code of Practice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI): are they at odds?

by Lucija Tomljenovic PhD

Neural Dynamics Research Group, Dept. of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia, 828 W. 10th Ave, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1L8,

Presented at BSEM (British Society for Ecology Medicine) Scientific Conference, March 2011.

The BSEM Scientific Conference in March 2011 with this title was organised by Dr David Freed. David worked with the speakers to put papers into an agreed and acceptable format, and wrote a personal introduction. The next day he died suddenly. What follows are the last words that he wrote. He speaks from the heart about science, about corruption in high places, about the ethics of patient care, and above all about truth. These proceedings were dedicated to David Freed - wise man and friend. The issue of vaccination and its risks arouse strong emotions, not least of fear - fear of public attack for speaking out, for one. These are the conference presentations that we are permitted to publish.


No pharmaceutical drug is devoid of risks from adverse reactions and vaccines are no exception. According to the world’s leading drug regulatory authority, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), vaccines represent a special category of drugs in that they are generally given to healthy individuals and often to prevent a disease to which an individual may never be exposed [1]. This, according to the FDA, places extra emphasis on vaccine safety. Universally, regulatory authorities are responsible for ensuring that new vaccines go through proper scientific evaluation before they are approved. An equal responsibility rests on the medical profession to promote vaccinations but only with those vaccines whose safety and efficacy has been demonstrated to be statistically significant. Furthermore, vaccination is a medical intervention and as such, it should be carried out with the full consent of those who are being subjected to it. This necessitates an objective disclosure of the known or foreseeable risks and benefits and, where applicable, a description of alternative courses of treatment. In cases where children and infants are involved, full consent with regards to vaccination should be given by the parents.

Deliberately concealing information from the parents for the sole purpose of getting them to comply with an “official” vaccination schedule could thus be considered as a form of ethical violation or misconduct. Official documents obtained from the UK Department of Health (DH) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) reveal that the British health authorities have been engaging in such practice for the last 30 years, apparently for the sole purpose of protecting the national vaccination program. Here I present the documentation which appears to show that the JCVI made continuous efforts to withhold critical data on severe adverse reactions and contraindications to vaccinations to both parents and health practitioners in order to reach overall vaccination rates which they deemed were necessary for “herd immunity”, a concept which with regards to vaccination, and contrary to prevalent beliefs, does not rest on solid scientific evidence as will be explained. As a result of such vaccination policy promoted by the JCVI and the DH, many children have been vaccinated without their parents being disclosed the critical information about demonstrated risks of serious adverse reactions, one that the JCVI appeared to have been fully aware of. It would also appear that, by withholding this information, the JCVI/DH neglected the right of individuals to make an informed consent concerning vaccination. By doing so, the JCVI/DH may have violated not only International Guidelines for Medical Ethics (i.e., Helsinki Declaration and the International Code of Medical Ethics) [2] but also, their own Code of Practice

The transcripts of the JCVI meetings also show that some of the Committee members had extensive ties to pharmaceutical companies and that the JCVI frequently co-operated with vaccine manufacturers on strategies aimed at boosting vaccine uptake. Some of the meetings at which such controversial items were discussed were not intended to be publicly available, as the transcripts were only released later, through the Freedom of Information Act (FOI). These particular meetings are denoted in the transcripts as “commercial in confidence”, and reveal a clear and disturbing lack of transparency, as some of the information was removed from the text (i.e., the names of the participants) prior to transcript release under the FOI section at the JCVI website (for example, JCVI CSM/DH (Committee on the Safety of Medicines/Department of Health) Joint Committee on Adverse Reactions Minutes 1986-1992;


In summary, the transcripts of the JCVI/DH meetings from the period from 1983 to 2010 appear to show that:

  1. Instead of reacting appropriately by re-examining existing vaccination policies when safety concerns over specific vaccines were identified by their own investigations, the JCVI either a) took no action, b) skewed or selectively removed unfavourable safety data from public reports and c) made intensive efforts to reassure both the public and the authorities in the safety of respective vaccines;
  2. Significantly restricted contraindication to vaccination criteria in order to increase vaccination rates despite outstanding and unresolved safety issues;
  3. On multiple occasions requested from vaccine manufacturers to make specific amendments to their data sheets, when these were in conflict with JCVI’s official advices on immunisations;
  4. Persistently relied on methodologically dubious studies, while dismissing independent research, to promote vaccine policies;
  5. Persistently and categorically downplayed safety concerns while over-inflating vaccine benefits;
  6. Promoted and elaborated a plan for introducing new vaccines of questionable efficacy and safety into the routine paediatric schedule, on the assumption that the licenses would eventually be granted;
  7. Actively discouraged research on vaccine safety issues;
  8. Deliberately took advantage of parents’ trust and lack of relevant knowledge on vaccinations in order to promote a scientifically unsupported immunisation program which could put certain children at risk of severe long-term neurological damage;

Notably, all of these actions appear to violate the JCVI’s own Code of Practice


In conclusion, by apparently prioritizing vaccination policy over vaccine safety, the JCVI, the DH and the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) may have shown a disregard for the safety of children. Through selective data reporting, the JCVI in conjunction with the DH, has promulgated information relating to vaccine safety that may be inaccurate and potentially misleading, thereby making it impossible for the parents to make a fully informed consent regarding vaccination.

Furthermore, by 1) apparently misleading patients about the true risks of adverse reactions as to gain their consent for the administration of the treatment and 2) seemingly siding with vaccine manufacturers rather than public health interests, the JCVI and the CSM appear to have signally failed their fiduciary duty to protect individuals from vaccines of questionable safety. If these provisional conclusions are indeed correct, then the information presented here may help us in understanding the UK government’s and the JCVI’s official position on vaccine damage, that is, one of persistent denial.


[1] Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Workshop on Non-clinical Safety Evaluation of Preventative Vaccines: Recent Advances and Regulatory Considerations. 2002.  Last accessed May 30 2011.

[2] World Medical Association (WMA). WMA Declaration of Helsinki - Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects. 2011.  last accessed June 4 2011.

[3] Wakefield AJ, Murch SH, Anthony A, Linnell J, Casson DM, Malik M, et al. Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Lancet 351 (9103): 637-41. 1998.

[4] Sugiura A, Yamada A. Aseptic meningitis as a complication of mumps vaccination. Pediatr Infect Dis J 10(3): 209-13. 1991.

[5] Fombonne E, Chakrabarti S. No evidence for a new variant of measles-mumps-rubella-induced autism. Pediatrics 108(4): E58. 2001.

[6] Singh VK, Jensen RL. Elevated levels of measles antibodies in children with autism. Pediatr Neurol  28(4): 292-4. 2003.

[7] Godlee F, Smith J, Marcovitch H. Wakefield's article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent. BMJ 342: c7452. 2011.

[8] Balzola F, Barbon V, Repici A, Rizzetto M, Clauser D, Gandione M, et al. Panenteric IBD-like disease in a patient with regressive autism shown for the first time by the wireless capsule enteroscopy: another piece in the jigsaw of this gut-brain syndrome? Am J Gastroenterol 100(4): 979-81. 2005.

[9] Balzola F., et al. Beneficial behavioural effects of IBD therapy and gluten/casein-free diet in an Italian cohort of patients with autistic enterocolitis followed over one year. Gastroenterology 130 (Suppl. 2): S1364 A-21. 2006.

[10] Balzola F., et al. Autistic enterocolitis: confirmation of a new inflammatory bowel disease in an Italian cohort of patients. Gastroenterology 128 (suppl.2): A-303. 2005.

[11] Chen B, Girgis S, El-Matary W. Childhood autism and eosinophilic colitis. Digestion 81(2): 127-9. 2010.

[12] Krigsman A, Boris M, Goldblatt A, Stott C. Clinical Presentation and Histologic Findings at Ileocolonoscopy in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Chronic Gastrointestinal Symptoms. Autism Insights 2: 1-11. 2010.

[13] Quigley EM, Hurley D. Autism and the gastrointestinal tract. Am J Gastroenterol 95(9): 2154-6. 2000.

[14] Shoenfeld Y, Agmon-Levin N. 'ASIA' - Autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants. J Autoimmun. 36(1): 4-8. 2011.

[15] Ternavasio-de la Vega HG, Boronat M, Ojeda A, Garcia-Delgado Y, Angel-Moreno A, Carranza-Rodriguez C, et al. Mumps orchitis in the post-vaccine era (1967-2009): a single-center series of 67 patients and review of clinical outcome and trends. Medicine (Baltimore) 89(2): 96-116. 2010.

[16] Castilla J, Garcia Cenoz M, Arriazu M, Fernandez-Alonso M, Martinez-Artola V, Etxeberria J, et al. Effectiveness of Jeryl Lynn-containing vaccine in Spanish children. Vaccine 27(15): 2089-93. 2009.

[17] Gustafson TL, Lievens AW, Brunell PA, Moellenberg RG, Buttery CM, Sehulster LM. Measles outbreak in a fully immunized secondary-school population. N Engl J Med 316(13): 771-4. 1987.

[18] Hersh BS, Markowitz LE, Hoffman RE, Hoff DR, Doran MJ, Fleishman JC, et al. A Measles Outbreak at a College with a Prematriculation Immunization Requirement. American Journal of Public Health 81 (3): 360-4. 1991.

[19] Tugwell BD, Lee LE, Gillette H, Lorber EM, Hedberg K, Cieslak PR. Chickenpox outbreak in a highly vaccinated school population. Pediatrics 113(3 Pt 1): 455-9. 2004.

[20] Ottaviani G, Lavezzi AM, Matturri L. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) shortly after hexavalent vaccination: another pathology in suspected SIDS? Virchows Arch 448(1): 100-4. 2006.

[21] Zinka B, Rauch E, Buettner A, Rueff F, Penning R. Unexplained cases of sudden infant death shortly after hexavalent vaccination. Vaccine 24(31-32): 5779-80. 2006.

[22] Zinka B, Penning R. Unexplained cases of sudden infant death shortly after exavalent vaccination. Letter to Editor. Response to the comment by H.J. Schmitt et al. Vaccine 24: 5785–6. 2006.

[23] Miller E, Andrews N, Waight P, Findlow H, Ashton L, England A, et al. Safety and immunogenicity of coadministering a combined meningococcal serogroup C and Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccine with 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and measles, mumps and rubella vaccine at 12 months of age. Clin Vaccine Immunol 18(3): 367–72. 2011.

[24] Kaplan SL, Lauer BA, Ward MA, Wiedermann BL, Boyer KM, Dukes CM, et al. Immunogenicity and safety of Haemophilus influenzae type b-tetanus protein conjugate vaccine alone or mixed with diphtheriatetanus-pertussis vaccine in infants. J Pediatr 124(2): 323-7. 1994.

[25] Plennevaux E, Blatter M, Cornish MJ, Go K, Kirby D, Wali M, et al. Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 two-dose immunization of US children: an observer-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Vaccine 29(8): 1569-75. 2011.

[26] Li G, Zhang H, Zhou W, Ye Q, Li F, Wang H, et al. Safety and immunogenicity of a diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis and Haemophilus influenzae Type b combination vaccine compared with separate administration of licensed equivalent vaccines in Chinese infants and toddlers for primary and booster immunization. Vaccine 28(25): 4215-23. 2010.

[27] Marchant CD, Miller JM, Marshall GS, Blatter M, Aris E, Friedland LR, et al. Randomized trial to assess immunogenicity and safety of Haemophilus influenzae type b and Neisseria meningitidis serogroups C and Y-tetanus toxoid conjugate vaccine in infants. Pediatr Infect Dis J 29(1): 48-52. 2009.

[28] Kanra G, Viviani S, Yurdakok K, Ozmert E, Yalcin S, Baldini A, et al. Safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of a Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine containing aluminum phosphate adjuvant administered at 2, 3 and 4 months of age. Turk J Pediatr 41(4): 421-7. 1999.

[29] Kim KH, Lee H, Chung EH, Kang JH, Kim JH, Kim JS, et al. Immunogenicity and safety of two different Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccines in Korean infants. J Korean Med Sci 23(6): 929-36. 2008.

Further Information: the BSEM

For all enquiries to British Society of Ecological Medicine please email Joanna George, Administrator via or write to BSEM c/o New Medicine Group, 144 Harley St, London W1G 7LE.

Source: Jonathan Lawrence BA DO Cert Ed Osteopath


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