April 26, 2012
One may wonder about the Danish newspapers’ poor interest in the latest vitamin report. First of all, the report predicts dead to those who take vitamin pills, secondly, the turn-over for vitamins is one and a half billion kroner a year. The subject must interest many.
Here the report itself will not be discussed. It is already commented. On the other hand, attention must be paid to a very serious issue concerning the marketing of the report: The contradictory statements that a prominent researcher has used the report to make.
The statements are from chief physician Christian Gluud from Rigshospitalet. He has previously said peculiar things. It’s hard to forget how he on television declared antioxidants (like vitamin E and vitamin C) to be carcinogenic, even when they occur in fruit and vegetables. However, in fruit and vegetables there was, he believed, “a lot of other substances that might either correct the potential damage caused by the antioxidants or that could completely neutralize them.”
You might consider this amusing statement the next time you eat broccoli. It is thus an antidote to vitamins, you are eating!
Currently, Gluud said on TV that his latest study, which combined the results of different trials, is based on trials with commonly recommended vitamin doses. And yet, in almost all trials, there were used from five to twenty times the recommended dose or more.
Gluud has further said (the news program Deadline 2.4.2012) that his group has revealed that, for example, the antioxidants Vitamin C and selenium are directly life threatening, as they increase mortality by 4%. And yet, his report frees both of the two antioxidants for this accusation.
In the TV2 news (22.3.2012) Gluud said that “it’s quite common vitamin pills in very common doses that give the increased mortality.” But in an interview with Medwatch.dk he said the opposite: He could not comment on that subject – that multivitamins increase mortality – because no one had studied it!
If you ask chief physician Gluud, you may obviously get the answer that his current state of mind indicates. One moment, common vitamin pills are dangerous poisons, the next, it is not known, and at one time, selenium and vitamin C are poisonous, but at another time and towards another audience – those who read the report – they are harmless.
The contradictions do not prevent Gluud from hoping that the report will have “a practical and industry related consequence,” as he says. What that means is easy to understand. Gluud is/has been chairman of a lobby group that has sought to influence the European Commission to prevent the free sale of vitamins. They must be made into drugs, which in practice will push small vitamin companies out of the lucrative market, which alone in Europe is more than $ 20 billion a year.
When a researcher is politicizing, he invariably throws a dubious light over his research, justly or not. Worse, however, is when the researcher is facing the public, on a topic of great importance, against better knowledge.
In doing so makes him disqualified.
By. Niels Hertz, M.D