Consumer Reports completely blows it -- ignoring invaluable evidence about supplement benefits

If I could get a message to every Consumer Reports reader, it would be this… Don’t do anything drastic.

But there’s a good chance many readers ARE doing something drastic.

I expect some of them are tossing out their supplements. And I’m sure some are telling friends, “You don’t need supplements. I read it in Consumer Reports.”

Yes — Consumer Reports — that highly esteemed medical journal.

Last week I told you about the imagined dangers, baseless claims, and one truly odd warning in a CR report about dietary supplements.

The article is titled “10 surprising dangers of vitamins and supplements.”

In fact, the CR article ITSELF contains a very real danger. And that would probably be a surprise to anyone who has taken the article’s misguided advice at face value.

Silence is not golden

I know people who wouldn’t trust the government to do anything more difficult than hand out lollipops at kids’ birthday parties. And yet, they freely accept the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of nutrients as set out by the National Institutes of Health.

Big mistake. Huge.

According to the CR article, there’s “little if any” benefit in taking supplements if you’re getting the RDI in your diet.” And that’s some of the most outdated health advice you could possibly follow.

But CR goes one further by suggesting that you might actually overdose on supplements.

Oh brother! Yes, it’s one of the saddest problems in our society today — supplement overdose. Where will it end?

Of course, it’s ridiculous.

Let’s look at vitamin C. Your body eliminates C very quickly, so it’s hard to keep levels of the vitamin high enough to do any good unless you get two or more grams of C daily.

Years ago, I told you about two large studies where subjects with the lowest blood levels of C were two and a half times more likely to have a stroke compared to subjects with highest C levels.

We’ve also seen plenty of evidence that C reduces inflammation, one of the primary roots of chronic disease, including arthritis and heart disease. Research clearly links high C levels with reduced risk of both of those conditions.

Meanwhile, CR notes that 200 mg of vitamin C daily… “might improve cold symptoms in smokers and seniors, though it won’t prevent colds.” And that is the FULL REPORT from CR on vitamin C benefits!

That’s what I call COMPLETELY missing the boat!

Same thing with vitamin D. In recent years, study after study has shown how critically important this vitamin is in reducing risk of cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, depression — the list goes on and on. But studies have shown that as much as 90% of the population may be D deficient.

So what does CR tell us about D’s benefits? Not one thing. Crickets. How important is D? You’d never have a clue by reading this article.

CR notes that you might need a D supplement if you’re middle-aged, older, overweight, or have darker skin. So how much D should you take? Let’s go to the NIH chart CR provides. The RDI is a paltry 800 IU per day for people over age 70. And just 600 IU for everyone else.

Really. That’s infuriating! Consider that just a half-hour of sun exposure on a summer day yields about 10,000 IU of D. Instantly, it’s clear why so many people are D deficient. If you don’t get much sun and your intake is only 600 IU daily, that’s a virtual guarantee that you will not reap the benefits of this vital nutrient.

This is where CR really lets its readers down. They can’t be honest about the clear benefits of supplements. That wouldn’t support their dogma that supplement use is full of “surprising dangers.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve said this. I’m sure it won’t be the last…

Consumer Reports, PLEASE stick to rating air conditioners, cars, pumpkin catapults — ANYTHING except dietary supplements. Every time you do it, you completely mess it up. If I could put a big solid black dot here, I would use your own rating system to show where your health advice ranks.

“10 surprising dangers of vitamins and supplements” Consumer Reports, September 2012,

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