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Vitamin Ethics

                                                           Launch May 12, 2006


Websites bold enough to tackle health issues have a moral and ethical responsibility to be as truthful and open as humanly possible. An association has established criteria endorsed by the World Health Organization to attempt to monitor and control health information websites. The HON code  8 principles basically spell out procedures to follow. Not many sites live up to this code. The following link will take you to the sites that have been accepted for this seal. ref  Some really good info, but not quite revealing the whole story, as you soon will discover.

There unfortunately are two very large flaws in attempting to monitor and control health information. First, only mainstream medical company websites are accepted since they meet the proper "established" criteria. This doesn't allow any alternative theories to gain exposure. It will be verified in the future that Mainstream medicine today has significant flaws in some health theories and a few outside alternative medical practices have value.

Second, one would tend to believe health information on HON seal of approval websites was completely truthful. The reality is somewhat different since many websites are advertisements or marketing arms for drug companies, vitamin companies, or industry trade associations such as the Soy Board.  The information may have a particular bias to it. Do you see the Dairy Council reporting on study results that reveal milk is not healthy? Read the
 Hollow Bone Saga.
 The American Medical Association may not be as willing to report positive vitamin study results as they would be to talk about the benefits of new drugs. Each side has their own agenda to spin.

Who speaks the TRUTH and stands up for the health right's of people? 

Well, truthful information doesn't take sides. It just exists. If all the health groups had your best interests at heart, most health issues would have been solved years ago.

Now, just what is the HON code? Simply, it's about taking responsibility for the information on a website. Mentioning support research, revealing who put up the money behind the site, clarifying that products sold have ingredients that are supported by research to back up claims, and if information is not from a professional source, that fact is mentioned. Plus a clear connection is listed for contact. Basically, don't hide anything that might have a story to tell about what is said or offered. Then it goes into more detail on medical treatment protocols that are beyond the scope of this website. While this website will not bear a HON code seal, it will try to abide by as many of the principles as possible.

This site is not written by a health "professional". Even though the university studies of the author of this website were in health education at California State University at Long Beach, verification will be mostly by scientific research studies with simplified explanatory observations where needed. Interesting factual human physiology will be offered in support of concepts. While the studies may look like proof, don't accept anything that is offered here as absolute fact, but more as a stepping stone to further knowledge. Just because words are written, doesn't make them true. Even science changes over time. Health professionals are human and health theories subject to correction.

Editorial: "I have waited for over twenty-five years for someone to straighten out some of the misinformation in the vitamin health field. It hasn't happened yet. Public confusion is a tool used by companies, even industries, to gain sales. I have yet to hear a correct answer to the natural verses synthetic vitamin question. Even many health professionals appear to not really know. More factual education is needed in this area."

Since the author has worked in the the vitamin industry for over thirty-five years, there was a recognized assumption of a conflict of interest that would bias any position in reporting this information. To avoid this it was hoped that a qualified professional would take up the call and set the record straight. It hasn't happened yet. This critical information cannot remain hidden any longer. BUT, please be aware that a potential bias does exist. You will quickly discover that integrity dictates a balanced approach based upon scientific research and not personal choice. In fact, it is from this long exposure to vitamin industry workings that much of this information surfaced. It's time to separate fact from fiction.

Taking vitamins could be a gamble; you would be wise to gather as much knowledge as you can to increase the odds in your favor. You are unwittingly putting a huge amount of blind faith in vitamin companies when you take their products. The Food and Drug Agency is only in a position under current law to act after the fact. Complaints draw FDA action to research the safety and make rulings on a particular vitamin product.

Vitamin manufacturers are required to make sure their products are safe and effective before marketing them. Some companies have modern and clean "state of the art" operating plants. And some operate labs to continually test products for quality, dosage, purity, and disintegration. But scientific research to support formulas is almost non-existent. Studies are quite expensive. Companies that do take on this responsibility and test their product quality should be rewarded for their integrity. Most vitamin companies only rely on outside research of each individual ingredient and the pool of general knowledge to try and justify putting together their formulas. This is often a "shot in the dark" since the synergism of the nutrients added together maybe unknown. With the number of ingredients included and the limited space in capsules, individual nutrient dosages are often far below the tested effective amounts.

Warning: While this site may offer more practical insight than most, be sure to discuss any new information with your health professionals. Carefully ask them if they have actually researched the topic or are just giving you "standard line" answers. As you will soon discover, some common assumptions might no longer be accepted.

Dietary supplements are by far many thousands of times safer than drugs. Drugs are known to be responsible for 10's of thousands of deaths each year. Deaths either known or thought to be associated with dietary supplements average less than a handful per year, but there might be a few more indirect cases.  In the last 10 years, the FDA has only 129 reported deaths somewhat connected. 


FDA Reports Deaths Associated with Dietary Supplement Use in last 10 Years


Year             Total Reported Cases            “Biological Plausibility”


1994                        8                                            0

1995                        6                                            0

1996                        3                                            0

1997                        7                                            0

1998                        7                                            0

1999                        3                                            0

2000                        6                                            0

2001                        1                                            0

2002                       20                                           3

2003                       20                                           2

2004                       22                                           0

2005                       20                                           1

2006                         6                                           0


“Biological Plausibility” is a term used by the FDA to mean that there could be an association of the functions of the supplement to the death, but NOT meaning that it is a direct cause. Reading the six cases reveals many other conditions that could be responsible, including an allergic reaction to Whey protein that the user did not know was from MILK. A new law now requires listing allergy sources on all food and supplement product labels to prevent other tragic deaths such as this one.

NOTE: The above numbers do not include deaths connected to the consumption of the herb Ephedra since it was banned by the FDA many years ago and is no longer an issue. This would add about 30 deaths where the FDA investigated for an association. Usually, other factors had to also be present, such as low mineral balance on a hot day during intense activity.


Some years ago, Tryptophan as some of you might remember was responsible for about 40 deaths from a rare blood disease when a drug company used a new genetically modified bacteria and incomplete washing methods which allowed a contaminate to form with the tryptophan. The contaminate was responsible for the blood disease deaths, not the tryptophan.



Sidebar: This information from the FDA, even with the Ephedra numbers, makes supplements the safest category of any ingested product.

But, that is not good enough. There are conditions where you might need to know some of the vitamin/drug or vitamin/disease interactions. This site is about getting you the information you need, or at least supplying a link to find it. The reality here is that this affects your health. Far too much is still unknown, unproven, and not even researched. But that is also true for the drug arena as well. "e caveat emptor"

The philosophy of this website is to err if wrong information is presented on the conservative side. A little caution might be justified, in more than just taking vitamins too. After all, in the larger scheme of living, vitamin supplements have only been widely consumed for less then 40 years and people survived before that, didn't they? The question that now lingers to be answered, is this still that same world?



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