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Author Topic: Natural Supplements that Caused Cancer
Alcon
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I may be going crazy here, but I remember reading somewhere - maybe here - that the FDA doesn't actually review or examine nutritional supplements that are labelled 'natural'.

The result was that one particular supplement that had made its way onto the shelves was causing cancer to appear in those taking it every day with in 6 months or so of use.

But now that I go to look for the articles I read about it I can't find anything. Does anyone else remember seeing this story? Was it here?

Or am I just going crazy?

Is it still true that nutritional supplements labelled 'natural' undergo no screening by the FDA?

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Kwea
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They don't review supplements or homeopathic remedies, but I haven't heard of anything that would give people cancer as a matter of course.
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Samprimary
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The FDA doesn't screen homeopathic stuff, but the quantities of 'active ingredients' in them are essentially nonexistent anyway. Homeopathy is pure placebo.

As for supplements, not sure. But you can get away with a lot by labeling your remedy 'natural.'

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scifibum
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The enforcement for dietary supplements is a joke. The FDA lets them make any claim they want as long as they put a small disclaimer on there that says "we're not making those claims we made on the other side of the bottle." Guess which side has larger print?
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Shigosei
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The closest one I can see on this list seems to be comfrey, which is toxic to the liver and might be carcinogenic. Nowhere near as extreme as causing cancer within six months, but not exactly something you want to eat.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
The FDA doesn't screen homeopathic stuff, but the quantities of 'active ingredients' in them are essentially nonexistent anyway. Homeopathy is pure placebo.

True. However, dietary supplements include lots of things that are indeed active and unregulated.

Which infuriates me, and has since before the blasted law was passed 15 years ago.

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Darth_Mauve
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According to the newest legislation that I remember, there are three levels of government requirements.

For DRUGS you must meet specific requirements for the purity and amounts of all active ingredients, and prove that the drug is not harmful if taken as directed, and that it has the curative powers that the manufacturer claims.

For Foods you must list your ingredients in order of their abundance in the food, and prove that the food is not harmful if taken in moderation.

For Dietary Supplements you have to do nothing. If it kills someone, they have to prove that it was your supplement that killed them (which is hard to do if your dead). They have plausible deniability.

There was a case a few years ago with Fen-Fen. It didn't cause cancer, but did result in heart attacks.

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Tatiana
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Plenty of drugs are being marketed as supplements. The good thing is that drugs no drug company could make money on, like Pregnenalone, are made available. The bad thing is that it's packaged at 5 times the recommended beginning dose, etc. People assume it's food and just take as many as they want. It has side effects like all medicines and can induce angry episodes or road rage. It also helps you grow facial hair, which is fine for guys I guess but most women I know like to downplay their beards and mustaches. [Smile]
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Tatiana
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I know there was Phen-Fen (or was it Fen-Phen) that was a weight loss "natural" product that caused a lot of trouble and some deaths, but I don't think it was from cancer.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
The bad thing is that it's packaged at 5 times the recommended beginning dose, etc.

Even more likely, two packages have different active dosages (regardless of the packaging claiming the same). Plus no one is checking for the contraindications for taking some of these -- potentially quite harmful -- drugs. So you have people who would be warned not to take statins taking "natural statins" and dying of liver damage, or guys who would never be prescribed little blue pills taking the "natural version" (see last week's FDA warnings for examples) dropping dead of heart attacks.

And the original fen-phen was a combination of two prescription drugs (fenfluramine and phentermine). Many "natural" products claim to be just as good as the (now no longer available) prescription. Unfortunately, that mostly seems to mean just as dangerous as . . .

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Teshi
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There was a big kerfuffle a while back when in the Canadian equivalent of the FDA was going to put the same restrictions on "natural" supplements (e.g. they have to not only be safe but also effective, ho ho ho).

For some reason, natural supplement sellers were up in arms about this. I think it's funny-horrible that the rigorous standards and fears we have about things like vaccines that are very or quite well tested are not applied to things that are claimed to have magical properties.

Essentially, we're saying, "well, as long as its claiming not to be based on science, we won't hold it to any of our normal requirements, such as actually working."

Humans are crazy.

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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
I think it's funny-horrible that the rigorous standards and fears we have about things like vaccines that are very or quite well tested are not applied to things that are claimed to have magical properties.

Essentially, we're saying, "well, as long as its claiming not to be based on science, we won't hold it to any of our normal requirements, such as actually working."


Humans are crazy.

Exactly who will fund the studies on natural supplements? Not drug companies. In fact, they have vested interests in stopping such studies from occurring. I'm not saying I believe in the usefulness/safety of all supplements. If anything, I'm anti-supplement, although I do take vitamin D-3, and bone meal.

The point being, some supplements are very mild, have long track records, and are very safe. Some, not so much, at all. It's a bit foolish to paint Ma Huang and dandelion root with the same broad brush.

I ask you again, who will fund such scientific studies? I'd love to see them done, but...rich asshats are preventing that, using the fear and ignorance of the masses. Not that the masses give a rip.

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Samprimary
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Actually, the asshats in this particular regard are the organizations and companies that market and sell the supplements; they have a vested interest to keep themselves outside of the review of the FDA, since that helps them market their useless product.

Homeopathy is the best example, since it's the biggest scam you can find in our medical products aisle. They make effort to prevent medical studies of any sort from taking place, because it shows the complete uselessness of anything homeopathic.

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dabbler
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There are studies regarding natural supplements. The NIH funds a huge branch of their research in Complementary Medicine just to determine what's helpful and what's harmful. Just last week a patient brought in their supplement. I looked it up in MicroMedex (subscription only). There were a couple studies with topical use, and ~80 people studied with oral use. Not large studies I know. No major adverse reactions found, only the usual insomnia/hypersomnia/headache/GI upset stuff. I gave him the okay for its use but gave him the speech described in earlier posts (unregulated, can't know the dosage from package to package, unknown interactions, possible adverse reactions) to warn him. He has a history of using like... 10 different supplements at once. O.o
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steven
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OK, smart folks, what's the total ratio of money spent on studies on patentable drugs versus studies on natural supplements, including funding from all sources?

Exactly.

And what, in terms of common sense as far as health goes, SHOULD be the ratio?

Exactly.

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Teshi
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I'm not necessarily only worried about danger, I'm also worried about efficacy and ripping people off.
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Darth_Mauve
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Steven, the people who should pay for the studies of the effectiveness, not to mention the safety, of "natural" supplements are--the people making billions (with a B) dollars annually selling those supplements.

Will it cause the cost of producing that caffeine pill Joe takes to stay up all night and cram for his midterms? Yes.

Could it save Joe's life? Yes.

Will it cause Joe to save money in the long run, when he finds out that the Placebo_Ginkel on sale next to the caffeine pill, that says "May increase memory" turns out not to increase memory at all. It will if it stops him from wasting money on it.

Will it put some companies out of business, because they can't afford to pay for those trials. Yes.

Will it put more companies out of business that package sugar and lead and other unknowns into a mix and call it Herbal Medicine. I hope so.

Will it stop the next wonder herb from reaching the market in a speedy fashion? Maybe.

Will it stop that next wonder herb from being lost in the tide of 10,000 new self-proclaimed but unproductive wonder herbs? Yes.

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Happy Camper
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Efficacy of natural products is not regulated by the FDA. Technically, safety is, though as someone pointed out, there are so many out there, it's nearly impossible to catch them all.

The major problem is that it's so very expensive to get a drug to market that no natural supplement would be funded, since natural products can't be patented. There are often studies of safety and efficacy, but are rarely to the same standards that a new drug is held.

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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
Steven, the people who should pay for the studies of the effectiveness, not to mention the safety, of "natural" supplements are--the people making billions (with a B) dollars annually selling those supplements.


No, the government should. If the government is going to create/allow a temporary monopoly by allowing temporary patents on drugs, then they should give similar protections/help to natural supplement producers.

I'm not saying it's 100% black and white, just that I don't think you've considered the fact that a patent is a government-approved monopoly.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by steven:
OK, smart folks, what's the total ratio of money spent on studies on patentable drugs versus studies on natural supplements, including funding from all sources?

Exactly.

And what, in terms of common sense as far as health goes, SHOULD be the ratio?

Exactly.

Natural supplements aren't nearly as effective as many would have you believe.

They can't do very much compared to pharmacological alternatives, and most of the time they don't do anything at all (hey, for instance, everybody who still takes echinacea — guess what! you're dopes).

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Darth_Mauve
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Steven lets see if I understand your argument.

Joe believes that Green Tea will make you healthy. He can grow the tea and sell it as a food, or he can grow the tea and sell it saying that "It will make you healthier."

Jane is not feeling that great, so she sees Joe's tea. "Have you tested it to prove that it makes you healthier?"

Joe, being honest, says, "No, but its been used in India for centuries. They swear it makes you more healthy."

Jane says, "I want proof. Lab test it to make sure."

Joe says, "that will cost $250,000. I don't have that much money. If I test it and it does prove true then Jack, my tea competitor, will use my research to grow his own, without having to spend that $250,000. That's unfair."

That is a good argument.

Jack doesn't give a carp about the ancient Hindu priests who believed that Green Tea was a secret to long life. He only cares about making a profit. He claims that Green Tea, in his special blend, will be a miracle cure. He has testimonials created just last Tuesday from 25 of his employees. No where in the advertising does he say that they are his employees, but then again, no where does it say they are not.

When asked if he tested his product to see if it would work, he uses the same argument as Joe.

Now, who is Jane or I supposed to believe? Since the only true difference between Jack and Joe's tea is that Jack puts 95% of his budget into advertising and Joe puts 95% of his budget into making a quality product, if there are any benefits to Green Tea, we'll never know--because all we see or hear about is Jack's brand.

And that's not fair.

You suggest that the Government spend millions of dollars to figure out what natural wonders actually work?

That will be a tough sale since Jack and his cronies of flim-flam artists will try to block such a law. They don't want the truth to be discovered. Pharma will fight it too. Why should the government help discover what will do them out of sales? But they won't fight near as hard as the Jacks out there, and the Jacks will blame the fight on Pharma.

There have been plenty of Consumer type Naturally Healthy magazines and groups that have tried to do efficacy studies, but the fads of the natural products, and the different doses and potencies available make such studies slow in their answers, inaccurate as well. Not to mention that some are bought off by those they would condone, and other realize that nobody is going to buy a magazine telling them they are dupes.

Pharmaceuticals are one of the MOST tested, regulated, and controlled segments of our society. They are also one of the biggest, because with that regulation and control and tests comes consumer confidence.

Food production is another. Gardens are for hobbyists, not for survival, because we (wrongly or rightly) trust our source of food.

Banks, Insurance, every major segment of the market seems to get an increase in power and prestige once they are regulated and the consumers believe they can trust them.

Airlines lost a lot of their power and market once they lost a lot of their regulation.

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dabbler
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NIH's Complementary Medicine research branch since no one's linked it yet.
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MrSquicky
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
I'm not necessarily only worried about danger, I'm also worried about efficacy and ripping people off.

Why would that be the government's job?

The government tries to keep a handle on the safety. If the companies make false claims, they can be sued for fraud. Other than that, why should the government be involved?

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steven
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My point is that natural remedies should be tried and studied first. Is that not obvious, in a common sense sort of way?
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King of Men
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quote:
You know what they call alternative medicine that's been shown to work?

(Beat)

Medicine.


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dabbler
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The obviously effective "natural" remedies have already been integrated into mainstream medicine.
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dabbler
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Since it seems that steven believes that pharmaceutical companies IGNORE natural products, I'll point out a handful of the derivative medicines:

Atropine (belladonna), Barbaloin (aloe), Codeine (poppy), Colchicine (autumn crocus), Digitoxin (foxglove), Ephedrine (joint fir), L-dopa (velvet bean), Menthol (mint), Morphine (poppy), Quinine (yellow cinchona), Reserpine (indian snakeroot), Scopolamine (thorn apple), Taxol (pacific yew), Vinblastine (rosy periwinkle).
Life on Earth by Niles Eldredge

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rivka
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You forgot aspirin! (Or are we not counting derivatives that aren't recent?)

Not to mention maggots! [Big Grin]

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malanthrop
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"Natural" is so 80's...consumers figured out that BS in 1990. Marketers moved from "natural" to "organic" in 1990. Unfortunately, "organic" is also passe...now we are "green". Buy "green" products if you really care about your health and the environment. Unless it's labeled "green", you can't trust it and it's a gimmick, at least until they come out with a new marketing word. A word that makes people feel good about paying more for the same product. [Smile]

[ November 17, 2009, 02:31 AM: Message edited by: malanthrop ]

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ClaudiaTherese
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dabbler, thanks for bringing in the link. I'm still always surprised that NCCAM is not more of a known quantity in these discussions.

Regarding the original question, the NYT has a recent article, Medicines to Deter Some Cancers Are Not Taken(about how the interventions with less supportive or even contradicting evidence are still preferred for some reason), that may touch on the topic:

quote:
Great Hopes Dashed

Dr. Peter Greenwald knows the dashed hopes of cancer prevention research firsthand. As far back as 1981, when he arrived at the National Cancer Institute to direct “cancer prevention and control,” Dr. Greenwald began thinking about testing whether simple measures, like vitamin supplements, could prevent common cancers.

He focused on what looked like it could be a sure thing — beta carotene, found in orange fruits and vegetables as well as in green leafy vegetables.
...
But not only did the supplements not work, but there was evidence that beta carotene might actually increase cancer risk in smokers.

Dr. Greenwald and his colleagues still held out hope for vitamins and minerals as cancer preventatives. So his group proposed the largest cancer prevention clinical trial ever tried, involving 35,000 men 50 and older. This time, the idea was that vitamin E and selenium might prevent prostate cancer.
...
The selenium and vitamin E study ended early. Once again, there was no protection from cancer, and there were hints the supplements might be causing cancer. Once again, the great hope turned into a stunning disappointment.

Prevention researchers say they are left sadder but wiser.


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ClaudiaTherese
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As a follow-up, this is why merely observing that some intervention or lifestyle appears to work, or -- God knows -- should work, just isn't enough. We are master pattern-makers and narrative generators; this is how our brains are set up to work, and it's a major strength for making sense of the world. It's also a major weakness. We want stories that make sense. We need stories that make sense. And in making sense of the world, we write internal narratives about it that make sense to us.

You'd think that early detection of disorders like breast cancer, prostate cancer and cystic fibrosis would be a good thing. Pick it up early, intervene early, fix it -- right? Not necessarily, at least not when studied rigorously. And rigorously means setting up good studies to focus on specific variables, designed in such a way as to let reality resist our preconceptions about it: essentially asking, "how can I design this study so that I have a good chance of being proved wrong if I am indeed wrong?"

In the case of breast cancer, there were enough false positives leading to overtreatment that the mortality rate over time was higher in the group which received screening than the group which didn't. Screening didn't pick up enough real cases to offset the unnecessary and unwarranted collateral damage which came with it. And those women we just as dead as the women who die from breast cancer itself.

quote:
The furor over mammography—triggered in part by a meta-analysis published in the Lancet in 2000—focused on the contention that screening did not reduce women's overall mortality; worse still, in one study, mortality for the screened women was actually slightly higher than for the control group, a finding attributed to overtreatment—in this case, increased heart attacks caused by radiation therapy. Radiation protocols have now been changed to minimize the heart region's exposure. But a fundamental question remains: Are there cases in which the cure is worse that the disease?
...
--from Slate's Screen Saver? When it comes to cancer screening, more isn't always better

In the case of prostate cancer screening, detecting it earlier often doesn't mean you live longer, even if it is treated. It is a cancer that tends to limp along asymptomatically for a very long time, and men usually die of other things first. So the treatment (which isn't benign) often causes more problems than it corrects.

quote:

The answer is clearly yes—at least some of the time. In prostate cancer, abnormal cells are often slow-growing, and treatment can cause impotence and incontinence. Dr. Stephen Taplin, a senior scientist at the National Cancer Institute, helpfully compares some prostate cancers to gray hair, more a byproduct of aging than a life-threatening issue. "If I made men impotent and incontinent because they had gray hair, there wouldn't be any question I'd be hurting them," he said in a phone interview. But if these problems occurred as a result of aggressive cancer treatment, "most men would say, 'Doctor, you've saved me!'"
...
--also from the Slate article

And in the case of cystic fibrosis, most in the field were sure that picking it up sooner would improve the lives and lifespan of those affected. A major problem is poor growth and development from pancreatic involvement leading to digestive impairment, not to mention recurrent lung infections. However, the single strongest predictor of lifespan is the age of colonization with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacteria that lives in the lungs of (eventually) all people with cystic fibrosis. And earlier diagnosis meant earlier trips to special CF centers where -- unfortunately -- kids became colonized with PA sooner than they would have otherwise, and so died sooner.

Now this can be dealt with. UW no longer has grouped clinics for CF patients, and so the risk isn't increased for that reason anymore. However, had some researchers not been willing to take for granted the obvious truths, but instead sought out to be proven wrong, we likely would not have identified this as a source of increased mortality.

quote:
The potential psychosocial risks of screening include factors associated with 1) false-positives (e.g., unnecessary testing and possibly unnecessary treatment for the child, undue parental anxiety, and desensitization of providers), 2) false-negatives (e.g., potential delay in diagnosis for child and false reassurance for patients), 3) carrier reporting (e.g., possibly unwanted information and fear of stigmatization or insurance discrimination), and 4) misinformation (e.g., errors in communication or misunderstanding of results). Potential harms to CF patients of early detection and treatment as a result of newborn screening include side effects of therapies (e.g., drug resistance and toxicities) and earlier exposure (through person-to-person transmission from older children with CF) to bacteria associated with chronic airway infection in CF.
...
Second, during the first 6 years of the study, premature acquisition of P. aeruginosa occurred among screened children who were followed at one of the two CF care centers participating in the study that had a small, crowded waiting room in which infants and older children with established infections mixed (30). The median pseudomonas-free period was 52 weeks among screened infants seen at the first center and 289 weeks among those followed up at the second center, which segregated children enrolled in the study from other patients (76).

--from the CDC MMWR's Newborn Screening for Cystic Fibrosis:
Evaluation of Benefits and Risks and Recommendations for State Newborn Screening Programs


[added: Mind you, there are many things for which screening does improve outcome. It just has to be studied on an individual basis rather than assumed to be so.]

---

Of note, much is misleading about how statistics are presented, even if you know what to look for. Consider the following problem -- also raised in the Slate article -- which still trips up people who should know better:

quote:
But one factor that has really muddied the debate deserves special mention: the "five-year survival rate," as it is called, often deployed to support screening. ("Five-year survival" represents the percentage of people diagnosed with a particular kind of cancer at a particular time who are still alive five years later.) As Dr. H. Gilbert Welch points out in his excellent book, Should I Be Tested for Cancer?, this is a highly misleading statistic for the following reason: When cancers are detected early, the five-year survival rate (dated from the time of diagnosis) will necessarily improve—even if patients live no longer than they would have otherwise. Overdiagnosis further inflates the figure since more people are identified with nonprogressive cases who can be expected to live longer.
If the reason why that is a problem isn't clear, it's worth thinking about. You will see it raised as an objection again and again in these discussions, and often people don't ever get why it is misleading.

[ November 17, 2009, 03:39 PM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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rivka
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CT, thanks! That was a very informative post.
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ClaudiaTherese
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Glad you found it useful. [Smile]
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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:


Not to mention maggots! [Big Grin]

OK, that made me smile a little. [Razz]

On another note, actually, I am probably every bit as aware of all the drugs that are derived from plants. The supplements that interest me are the ones that cannot be drugified--i.e., vitamin D-3, natural mineral supplements like dolomite and bone meal, maybe fish oils, etc. These have tremendous healing power for some people, and this is coming from someone who used to be adamantly opposed to the very idea of supplements. After 2 days of taking Vitamin D-3 softgels, I stopped grinding my teeth during sleep, slept better than I had in months, grew much more calm, had much less plaque on my teeth, and my teeth sensitivity was greatly reduced. After several months, i also noticed my dandruff was greatly reduced. Bone meal and other mineral supplements like Pascalite and dolomite also have really improved my teeth and my emotional calm. Make of it what you will, not all supplements are for all people, and moderation is important. That's just my experience. Vitamin D is pretty important, we're finding more and more, and millions of Americans are deficient. [Smile]

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dabbler
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I don't know what angle you're taking. My primary care doctor diagnosed me with Vitamin D deficiency last winter and prescribed vitamin D gel caps.
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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by dabbler:
I don't know what angle you're taking. My primary care doctor diagnosed me with Vitamin D deficiency last winter and prescribed vitamin D gel caps.

Relatively few doctors even test for Vitamin D deficiency. I certainly have never had a doctor test me for it. I just started taking Vitamin D-3 because I was having to cut back on eating live raw lobster and Dungeness crabs. I figured I might should try some supplements, since I wasn't getting those foods.

I bet not many people on here have even been tested for Vitamin D deficiency, but I bet a whole lot of people here are deficient in Vitamin D, particularly those who are in more northern climates.

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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by dabbler:
NIH's Complementary Medicine research branch since no one's linked it yet.

Thank you, I was just about to when I saw your post. [Big Grin]
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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by steven:
My point is that natural remedies should be tried and studied first. Is that not obvious, in a common sense sort of way?

Why? Plenty of things that are natural AREN'T good for you. Just because something is natural doesn't mean it works, that it is good for you, or that it comes in measurable does in plant form.

A ton of our medicines COME from natural sources. We find out WHY they work, what causes the desired effects, and then find a way to produce that part of it, without the parts that have no effect.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by steven:
I bet a whole lot of people here are deficient in Vitamin D, particularly those who are in more northern climates.

Doubtful, considering the number of things that are fortified with it.
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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by steven:
I bet a whole lot of people here are deficient in Vitamin D, particularly those who are in more northern climates.

Doubtful, considering the number of things that are fortified with it.
I don't see anybody else coming forward, saying they've been tested. Some people don't eat much dairy, and that's, AFAIK, the main method of supplementation.

At least, clearly, I was very deficient, because I saw such improvements in my health, so fast. I doubt I'm the only one.

Never mind all that, though. WE know Vitamin D-3 has tremendous usefulness when used correctly. Deficiency is implicated in a number of different cancers, as well as other major diseases. What needs to be done is more research in treating these kinds of diseases nutritionally as well as with other methods, simultaneously. How many cancer patients are tested for Vitamin D-3 deficiency, and told to take a supplement? I haven't heard of it, and I've had several family members with cancer. Besides all that, everybody with a family history of any of the cancers that are associated with Vitamin D-3 deficiency should be getting tested to make sure they don't have a deficiency, and supplementing if they do. How many doctors talk to their patients about this? Yeah, not many. Not only that, having good D-3 levels can (at least for me) improve health and functioning in unexpected ways. Who doesn't like to be able to get a good night's sleep? If I take a 5,000 IU D-3 softgel every other night or so, I am pretty much guaranteed to sleep through the night. That's extremely valuable...and that's without weird side effects like sleepwalking (with Ambien), or extreme grogginess, etc..

I have other stories from friends who've tried various supplements and had similar improvements, from B vitamins to Vitamin A, etc. I think it's a vastly neglected area of medical science, personally. But, you know, whatever.

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rivka
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Vitamin D deficiency is fairly uncommon in otherwise healthy adults living in developed countries. So most doctors would not test for it unless there were symptoms, other signs of malnutrition, etc. (I believe one exception is the elderly, but they more frequently have nutrition issues in general.)

quote:
At least, clearly, I was very deficient, because I saw such improvements in my health, so fast.
Repeat after me: correlation is NOT causation. Anecdote is not the same as data.
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Samprimary
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quote:
I bet a whole lot of people here are deficient in Vitamin D, particularly those who are in more northern climates.
According to actual scientific data and not errant alternative-diet-fad postulation: no, not really. If that were true, we'd see a lot of stories about how the hatrack peoples are beset by rickets and osteomalacia.

quote:
At least, clearly, I was very deficient, because I saw such improvements in my health, so fast.
post hoc ergo propter hoc, eh?
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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
Vitamin D deficiency is fairly uncommon in otherwise healthy adults living in developed countries. So most doctors would not test for it unless there were symptoms, other signs of malnutrition, etc. (I believe one exception is the elderly, but they more frequently have nutrition issues in general.)

quote:
At least, clearly, I was very deficient, because I saw such improvements in my health, so fast.
Repeat after me: correlation is NOT causation. Anecdote is not the same as data.
Yes, rivka, I KNOW that correlation does not always equal causation. You say it a lot, like you think your brain somehow works better than everyone else's here, but I definitely get the idea. The reasons I know that it's the D-3 that's doing the job is because

1. I tried another brand, and it failed utterly. Plaque on my teeth, disturbed sleep, etc. In this case, it was the Carlson's D drops that failed. I've only tried two types, the Now brand softgels, and the Carlson's, so I can't say one way or the other about other brands.

2. Every time I slack off on the Vitamin D, I start noticing sleep disturbances and extra tooth plaque. Every time. I've been on the D-3 for over a year now, and I have slacked off at least 10 times or more, enough to notice plaque and sleep problems. Every single time I take some more D-3, it corrects both those issues immediately, within 24 hours or less.

3. I have noticed that if I get a LOT of sun, I also tend to sleep better. A LOT. A ridiculous amount for someone of my skin tone. This fact makes me think either I don't process Vit. D very well, or don't store it well.

quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
According to actual scientific data and not errant alternative-diet-fad postulation: no, not really. If that were true, we'd see a lot of stories about how the hatrack peoples are beset by rickets and osteomalacia.

I've got two thoughts on that.

1. I think I actually had rickets as a child. My lower leg bones are noticeably curved. I think it's because I either have trouble making, using, or storing Vit. D.

2. Vitamin D deficiency can still cause health problems even if it's not severe enough to cause rickets, etc. Just because a certain blood level of Vit. D is enough to prevent rickets doesn't mean that a higher blood level wouldn't be ideal, in terms of cancer prevention and preventing other diseases. The Vitamin D council has some good articles about this sort of thing.
The Vitamin D council

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by steven:
You say it a lot

It seems to be necessary.

quote:
Originally posted by steven:
but I definitely get the idea.

Your response proves you do not.
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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by steven:
You say it a lot

It seems to be necessary.



quote:
Originally posted by steven:
but I definitely get the idea.

Your response proves you do not.

Oh dear, what would we ever do without you, your oft-repeated statements, and your eyeroll smilies? [Razz]

OK, you DO realize that common sense says, based on what I have experienced, that the supplement I'm taking is probably causing the effects I'm noticing, right? It might not be 100% proof, but that's not what I'm claiming. I'm claiming that it's the most likely explanation, based on what has happened so far. That's all I ever claimed. Was that not clear?

Also, in other news, I know quite a bit more about the subject. Feel free to pick nits, but recognize that I've got studies and data that I'm happy to link to. I'm only using myself as an example, not proof of widespread Vitamin D deficiency. Again, I thought that was obvious, but maybe not.

Recently the recommended blood levels for Vitamin D were raised. It's becoming more and more recognized that it's a crucial nutrient, and that the blood levels that prevent rickets are not necessarily high enough to be ideal.

I say anybody is safe to try a couple of 1,000 IU softgels daily for 3-4 days. I know the Now brand works. If you don't notice immediate effects, you may not be deficient.

What-the-heck-ever. Do what you want, but don't torture me just because I take Vitamin D. I shouldn't even have to make such a request. If it's working for me, then it's working.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by steven:
1. I think I actually had rickets as a child. My lower leg bones are noticeably curved. I think it's because I either have trouble making, using, or storing Vit. D.

I don't think you're qualified for diagnosing yourself. Especially on such tenuous data.

quote:
2. Vitamin D deficiency can still cause health problems even if it's not severe enough to cause rickets, etc. Just because a certain blood level of Vit. D is enough to prevent rickets doesn't mean that a higher blood level wouldn't be ideal, in terms of cancer prevention and preventing other diseases.
What I said was that if vitamin D deficiency was at a level as high as you claimed, the overt effects of the higher end of that particular malady would be extremely noticeably present, as opposed to greatly uncommon. The associations you make for vitamin D deficiency in modern nations don't relate to any meaningful data we have on the actual prevalence of its deficiency in western a/o high income country diets.

That's because the deficiency largely isn't there. If it were a notable health concern, it would have outlying effects, like iodine deficiencies in poor countries. The phenomenon of a person having a vitamin D deficiency in the United States is uncommon enough that a diet poor enough to allow you to pull off that stunt would most likely have more noticeable health malady on top of it. There will be occasional people with actual issues with vitamin d, but given the actual prevalence of such a specific disorder, it makes perfect sense to leave such an issue to be a diagnosis of exclusion.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by steven:
1. I think I actually had rickets as a child. My lower leg bones are noticeably curved. I think it's because I either have trouble making, using, or storing Vit. D.

I don't think you're qualified for diagnosing yourself. Especially on such tenuous data.
But, Samp, the blood tests showed-- oh, wait.

Right, no blood tests. No externally-validated measures at all.

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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by steven:
1. I think I actually had rickets as a child. My lower leg bones are noticeably curved. I think it's because I either have trouble making, using, or storing Vit. D.

I don't think you're qualified for diagnosing yourself. Especially on such tenuous data.
But, Samp, the blood tests showed-- oh, wait.

Right, no blood tests. No externally-validated measures at all.

Actually, I did have a blood test. However, it was 8 months after I started supplementing. It actually showed that my levels were on the high side, so I cut back a little. The truth is, I notice that I have the least plaque on my teeth and the best quality of sleep when I'm not taking too much OR too little. It's just as possible, in my experience, to overdo it. However, Vitamin D-3 needs vary widely, depending on sun exposure, skin color, diet, medications, etc. and there's very little research and attention paid to exactly which drugs and foods interact with vitamin D metabolism. For instance, it appears that Vitamin D and Vitamin A counteract one another, to a certain degree, so that taking more of one balances out an excess of the other. However, there are probably dozens of other interactions, etc. between genetics, drugs, and Vitamin D that could use some research.

Samp--there is a long list of cancers that are associated with Vitamin D-3 deficiency. Would you like a list?

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King of Men
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quote:
The truth is, I notice that I have the least plaque on my teeth and the best quality of sleep when I'm not taking too much OR too little.
So in fact you have plaque and sleep badly in random episodes. You then either cut back on your supplement, or take some more. After a while your episode will end, and you will say "Ah-hah, supplement adjustment to the rescue again!" Until, of course, the next time.

Your methodology would do any theist proud.

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scifibum
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So I don't know how routine this is, but I went in for a physical, and I didn't mention anything that ought to have prompted an unusual vitamin D test, AFAIK, and the doctor called me back a week later with my blood work results and said I was vitamin D deficient.

I kind of thought they were checking levels for this anytime they did a blood workup.

I bet CT knows.

I have wondered if some people have been listening too much to the skin care advocates who say don't go out in the sun and forgetting that sun has beneficial effects too. But I don't know - I usually see people outside.

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