A Consumer Reports take-down of supplements contains a surprising amount of stupid

If you haven’t received your Recommended Daily Intake of stupid, brace yourself. I’ve got a source that supplies a megadose.

A couple of days ago I told you about a Consumer Reports article (Sept. 2012). It’s titled “10 surprising dangers of vitamins and supplements.”

It’s an instant classic! It has all the necessary elements of a lazy and deceptive take-down of dietary supplements…

Unsubstantiated claims. Check.

Vague language. Check.

Pumped up fear factor. Check.

And all of that is topped off with a boatload of stupid.

Danger is as danger does

Among the most dim-witted supplement claims from CR, this one nearly tops the list… “None are proved to cure major diseases.”

Okay, how is that a “surprising danger?” As with most of the items on this list, it’s not.

Personally, I know a lot of people who have been cured by natural medicine. But even if they don’t cure major diseases, what’s the big shocker?

Think about it… Drugs don’t cure major diseases. Heart disease? Diabetes? Alzheimer’s? No drugs cure these diseases. They just mask symptoms and feed drug company bottom lines. Chemo and radiation kill cancer cells. But that’s not a “cure.”

So why expect supplements to reach a standard that drugs can’t reach?

But what about prevention? CR tells us, “Heart and cancer protection are not proved.”

Oh no… “not proved”? That sounds like a terrible immediate danger!

Regardless, this is where CR goes cherry picking to get the results they want. Well…sort of.

They cite a study where omega-3 in fish oil didn’t prevent heart disease deaths. But then they admit that the results “may be clouded.” Why? Because subjects were already taking heart meds.

So they cherry-picked a study that doesn’t even support their claim. That’s the dumbest cherry-picking I’ve ever seen!

They do a little better with cherry-picked studies to show the ineffectiveness and dangers of antioxidants. The average reader will be duped. But we’ve seen all these ridiculous studies that used measly doses. No surprise the antioxidants weren’t effective.

And in the case of vitamin E “dangers,” in study after study, researchers have used inferior forms of the vitamin. That’s a perfect way to stack the deck against positive results.

Here’s Dr. Spreen’s take on the CR claim of no prevention…

“Unadulterated nonsense, pure and simple. The literature is DROWNING in evidence that nutritional supplements certainly DO provide protection against heart disease (vitamin E [since the 1940’s], fish oil, CoQ10, etc.) and cancer (endless list).”

When CR evaluates a microwave oven, do you suppose they ignore years of research that doesn’t fit their preconceptions about that product? Of course not. And yet they only cite this lopsided research to support their ridiculous position that supplements have surprising dangers.

But what’s most surprising — really unbelievable — is surprising danger #8 from CR

“Pills can irritate the esophagus.”

Wow…they really had to scrape the bottom of the barrel. In all the supplement take-downs I’ve read over the years, that wins first prize for the most frivolous argument ever.

(Hey CR…just a quick note for next time…you’re allowed to do an article called “9 surprising dangers of vitamins and supplements.”)

Do I really have to point out to CR that drugs come in pill form too? Yes! It’s true!
Hilariously, CR saves you from this horrible risk by offering a tutorial on how to take a pill. I am not kidding. Here’s all you do…

Take a swig of water to moisten your mouth. Place the pill on the front of your tongue…

I’m sorry. I can’t go on. It’s too ridiculous. It’s actually embarrassing. How can anyone take this seriously?

Absurd as it is, many readers WILL take it seriously. They’ll read the cover, scan the article for scary numbers and headlines, and decide not to take supplements. And that’s when the REAL danger begins…

(to be continued)
“10 surprising dangers of vitamins and supplements” Consumer Reports, September 2012, consumerreports.org

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