Blame Big Pharma

In my article on 3/6/14 I told you about a deeply flawed article called, “The Six Vitamins You Should Not Take.” The article appeared in the online version of Forbes magazine. At first, I thought it was just another example of a naïve finance journalist stumbling into a topic he knew nothing about. But then, I did some more investigation. And it seems there’s actually a pattern.

You see, six months ago the journalist wrote a similar article about the top-five vitamins you should not take. And in 2009, Forbes published an even earlier hit job on dietary supplements. Perhaps every four years, like an election, they trundle out the same old discredited studies in an attempt to influence readers.

The smear tactics used to discredit supplements are now quite familiar…

First, they always cite poorly designed studies–usually a biased meta-analysis. You see, a meta-analysis sounds impressive. It clumps together many different studies to draw one sweeping conclusion. But researchers handpick the studies they like. And they exclude the studies they don’t like. That process often results in bias. Even when unintentional.

The anti-supplement forces generally favor studies that use small, ineffective doses. The studies also tend to use unusual, incomplete, or completely synthetic forms of vitamins. They also spotlight trials that use inappropriate study subjects. And these choices make it impossible to generalize results for the entire population.

Of course, the media now ignores all the great studies with natural, more complete forms of vitamins…at meaningful doses. The research DOES exist. So why don’t we hear about it?

Blame Big Pharma.

You see, most consumers buy name-brand supplements they just find at the grocery store. And guess who makes these supplements?

You got it.

Big Pharma.

In fact, Centrum is the #1 selling multivitamin on the market today. And Pfizer makes it.

These low-quality multivitamins contain irrational combinations of ingredients. In non-sensible doses. And in synthetic versions. Some multi’s on the market still even contain iron. (Never take a supplement that contains iron. Unless you’ve been diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia by a qualified physician.)

Big Pharma doesn’t seem to use any real nutritional science in developing their multivitamin formulas. Ironically, they’re supposed to know all about science. They certainly spend billions researching and developing their drugs. They just make sure NOT to use it when developing their dietary supplements. They’re happy to sell cheap, worthless vitamins to the public.

And maybe that’s the backward plan all along. Maybe they want their cheap vitamins to fail. So the entire supplement industry takes a beating in the press year after year.

Just consider this…

Two years ago, a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association found that even low-dose multivitamins might help prevent cancer in men, cutting their risk by as much as 8 percent. The dietary supplement in that study was a multivitamin made by Pfizer.

The results were unimpressive, at best. Yet it made headlines. On the other hand, real nutritional supplements in proper studies yield much greater benefits! But no one hears about those studies.

You see how controlling Big Pharma can be?

When it wants to show supplements in a bad light, the results are negative. After all, it can’t let an inexpensive supplement actually compete with a high-dollar pharmaceutical. But, once in a while, when it wants to boost sales for a lousy multivitamin–the results are a little more positive. But just a little. So the whole industry gets beat up in the press when some “investigative journalist” looks back at a few lackluster studies that made headlines.

So, what does this all mean for you?

First of all, look for high-quality, iron-free supplements. And you don’t need a “one-a-day” multivitamin, or others that contain mega-doses of multiple, random nutrients.

Secondly, don’t believe everything you read in the mainstream press about vitamins. Often there’s a hidden agenda, with Big Pharma writing the script.


1.  “Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention in Adults: Scientific Review,” JAMA 2002; 287(23): 3,116-3,126

2. “Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention in Adults: Clinical Applications,” JAMA 2002; 287(23): 3,127-3,129