I’ve seen some brutal slams on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) over the years. They all have a strong mainstream medical bias, of course. Some have been fairly coherent while others have been completely off their rockers.
But I’ve got a new one today that manages to explore depths of cluelessness I never knew existed.
Yes–it’s THAT good.
I recently came across an article titled “10 drugstore products doctors don’t recommend” on an AOL blog called Wallet Pop.
The 10 items include wrinkle cream, reviewed by a dermatologist. (She says don’t believe the wild claims– use moisturizer instead.)
Children’s cold medicines are reviewed by a pediatrician. (He says the side effects outweigh the supposed benefits.)
Whitening toothpaste is reviewed by a dentist. (He says it can actually damage tooth enamel.)
Candy–also reviewed by a dentist. (Guess what? Candy causes tooth decay!)
Over-the-counter acne medications are reviewed by a second dermatologist. (He says they’re only effective for mild acne problems.)
Obviously, the blogger has matched experts with products that relate to their fields of expertise. So who reviews vitamins and dietary supplements?
A plastic surgeon.
No kidding. Not a naturopathic M.D. Not a nutritionist. A plastic surgeon. Which is kind of like asking a football referee for legal advice.
The plastic surgeon is Dr. Richard A. Baxter, who starts with this warning: “Vitamin supplements have been well studied and it’s been concluded that not only are they not good for you but can be harmful if taken in large doses, like Vitamin E.”
Looks like Dr. Baxter is getting his supplement research from a drug company rep.
He goes on: “If you look at the consensus papers, they very consistently show that there is no benefit to taking these, but people want to believe otherwise.”
Very consistently? No benefit? Even the editor of a mainstream tool like the Journal of the American Medical Association would be able to cite dozens of JAMA studies with evidence of supplement benefits.
Dr. Baxter finishes up by contradicting himself: “You cannot eat a poor diet and make it up with vitamins. The only exception to the rule seems to be Vitamin D.”
Wow…what a maverick!
I especially like the tired old cliché about not making up a poor diet with vitamins.
When a study shows that supplements are linked with a health benefit, researchers never fail to note that supplement users tend to follow a healthier lifestyle. So the benefit is probably from the lifestyle, not the supplement.
But when someone like Dr. Baxter is trying to convince you that supplements are useless, he points out that they won’t replace a poor diet, as if we supplement users are all eating at McDonald’s every day, then trying desperately to maintain a healthy lifestyle by taking supplements for nutrients.
I hope that millions of AOL users will see Dr. Baxter’s “insights” for what they really are: disposable plastic.
To Your Good Health,
“10 drugstore products doctors don’t recommend” Lan N. Nguyen, Wallet Pop, 10/7/10, walletpop.com