Tuesday, June 30, 2009
To Supplement or Not....
This is a letter from Dr. Stephen Chaney that came across my desk, via email.
It is a good article about risks and statistics in taking supplements, reducing risks of hearing loss, dementia, colon cancer, among other information in general about health. Numbers and statistics can be very deceiving to the general public. I remember while in college to get a Bachelors' in Administration of Justice, the stats class mentioned how easily the public is manipulated in funding more prisons, etc. by the stats printed in the paper. For instance, if a town had one murder, and the next year it had two, the stats could read that murder went up by 100%, or it had doubled! When we look at the actual numbers, and the general population, it just is not that sensational.
I want to post on the Landmark Study, which was done over 20 years in collaboration with UC Berkley. It tested those who used no supplementation, those who used a one-a-day, and those who used Shaklee supplements. The Shaklee supplement users had outstanding better results and bio-markers in areas of lower diabetes, cholesterol and other blood markers for health.
I will post it next.
My picture reminds us that a plant can be healthy and lush if it has the right nutrients. One mineral or nutrient deficient, and it can become sick and die. We are not so different from plants, though we often think we are impervious, and will live forever. I personally supplement because with my busy life and eating habits, rocky or consistent as they are at any given time, I cannot rationally assure myself that I am not low or deficient in the vitamins, minerals and protein that my body needs to build and replace cells, and keep my immune system running well.
Post cancer surgery, I ordered a blood panel from a Naturopathic Physician, and found myself low or borderline on several nutrients implicated in the very cancer I had. I have a simple diagnostic tool in lieu or in addition to a blood panel that your physician may or may not have done lately, that will show you by symptomology what you may be low on. My belief is that our bodies are as important as the plants we water and feed, the children and partners we care for, and the pets we like to pamper.
Ask me for the Health and Wellness Survey. I'll send it to you upon request.
Here's Dr. Chaney's letter:
I came across an article a few weeks ago showing that
supplementation with 800 mg of folic acid reduced
hearing loss in a group of older men and women.
Some of you may recall hearing about a study several
months ago suggesting that intakes of 400 mg of folic
acid (the recommended Daily Value) or more was
associated with a slight increase in the risk of colon
cancer. In fact, some experts were recommending that if
you were over 50 you should take a multivitamin only
every other day.
About a month after that there were a couple of studies
showing that in adults over 50 supplementation with 600
to 800 mg of folic acid significantly decreased the
risk of dementia.
Are you confused yet?
The problem is that many people don't understand the
difference between "relative risk" and "absolute risk".
Perhaps the best way to help you understand the
difference is to give you an example.
I read another paper the other day arguing that
colonoscopies were a waste of medical resources. You
might say: "That's absurd. Colonoscopies have been
shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 60%. Why
wouldn't you want to recommend that everyone over 50
get a colonoscopy on a regular basis?"
Yes, but that's a relative reduction in risk. Your
absolute risk of developing colon cancer over your
lifetime is only around 6%. If you reduce that by 60%
you have achieved only a 2.4% absolute reduction in the
risk of developing colon cancer.
Now that you understand the difference between relative
and absolute risk I should tell you that the Framingham
study has shown that your lifetime risk of developing
dementia is around 20%. Similarly, your lifetime risk
of developing severe hearing loss is around 33%. That
might be an underestimate, however, because those
statistics predated rock bands and iPods).
When you look the same data from the viewpoint of
absolute risk it helps you sort out all that
When you look at absolute risk the benefits of folic
acid supplementation far outweigh the potential risks
for most people.
Of course, if you have a family history of one of these
diseases that dramatically changes the equation.
In my case, I have a family history of colon cancer, so
I will continue to endure the colonoscopies at the
recommended intervals (At least until a better
diagnostic procedure comes along).
However, I also use a holistic supplementation program,
and I think that the benefits of folic acid as part of
that program far outweigh any risks.
To your health!
Dr. Stephen Chaney, PhD
Shaklee Master Coordinator