Pharyngula

A vitamin D overdose is nothing to laugh about — it’s painful and debilitating, can cause kidney damage, and can kill. This is a case where consuming excessive amounts of a vitamin supplement can do more than help you make expensive urine, and can lead to crippling illness and death. Gary Null is a thorough quack who has been raking in the dough with — you guessed it — nearly worthless vitamin supplements. Now this would simply be a tragic story of one of his poor deluded suckers clients had come to harm from his magic crap food, but it’s almost funny that Null nearly killed himself by eating his own supplements.

It’s not his fault, of course: he’s suing the contractor who made his Ultimate Power Meal, claiming it was all their fault for putting too much vitamin D in one batch. The stuff has been yanked from their catalog, but have no fear, there are still plenty of other overpriced, overhyped, random collections of herbs and other gunk still on the shelves. Go ahead, buy one of his magnetic bras, Prostate Pro, or cellulose pills. They probably won’t kill you.

Null is also now claiming that it was nothing too serious, that vitamin D “dissipates quickly in the body”, and that he has returned to complete health. I guess that means we are free to laugh at him, then!

Unless he’s lying. But a quack wouldn’t lie to us, would he?

Comments

  1. #1 FossilFishy
    April 29, 2010

    Was he testing a null hypothesis?

  2. #2 Blake Stacey
    April 29, 2010

    Go ahead, buy one of his magnetic bras,

    Fuckin’ bras, how do they work?

  3. #3 Glen Davidson
    April 29, 2010

    That’s one advantage that homeopathy has over many other quack cures. About as non-toxic as you can get, at least with most of it.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  4. #4 Janet Holmes
    April 29, 2010

    Wow, you really have to work hard to overdose on vit D, (I googled it), they must have put a metric fucktonne of it in their supplements. So much for quality control.

  5. #5 Numad
    April 29, 2010

    Are those bras magnetic as in Mesmer’s animal magnetism, or just plain old magnetism?

    In one of those instances I’d buy one!

  6. #6 desertfroglet
    April 29, 2010

    It’s a bit rich to blame the media for the sensational claims in his own suit. I presume he will now withdraw the legal action, given that he’s as right as rain, no harm done, etc.

  7. #7 defides
    April 29, 2010

    He was lying in bed in agony with vitamin D overdose, at just the same time, amazingly, as some of his deluded followers – ahem, I mean customers – were also suffering excruciatingly with vitamin D overdoses.

    So it can’t be his fault that the vitamin treatments were toxic, ‘cos he was affected just as badly.

    I wonder if there is any evidence at all that he was ever sick????

  8. #8 DLC
    April 29, 2010

    The irony is not lost on this reader.
    LOL

    Get well soon, dummy.

  9. #9 somewhereingreece
    April 29, 2010

    Hasn’t he heard of THE SUN? Sheesh! What’s next? ODing on vitamin A by eating polar bear liver “because it’s packed with vitamins”?

  10. #10 Erik
    April 29, 2010

    Is it wrong that as a database administrator and programmer, as well as a lover of puns, that I find his name so apropos?

  11. #11 sasqwatch
    April 29, 2010

    I’m trying to imagine his conversations with the doctors as he’s pleading for them to get the excess vitamin D out of his blood… chelate him… ANYTHING… and is being told that there’s nothing more to be done at this point. That this person would give up everything he “knows” and run into the arms of evidence-based medicine at the first sign of real trouble… well… let’s just say the irony is not lost on me.
    I hope it’s not lost on his minions.

  12. #12 Bride of Shrek OM
    April 29, 2010

    Prostate Pro ??!?

    ..I think I saw that video.

  13. #13 Shplane
    April 29, 2010

    BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

  14. #14 Sclerophanax
    April 29, 2010

    I had to do a bit of googling to find out exactly how much vitamin D he was taking and it turns out a daily dose of the meal contained no less than 2 million IU! That’s a ridiculously high overdose! Since the health effects of vitamin D have and discussions about a suitable dose have been featured nearly monthly in the local science magazines, I was already aware that 50,000 IU is enough to poison you in the long run. I’m frankly surprised the guy lived.

  15. #15 Rorschach
    April 29, 2010

    An effective combination of nutrients such as Saw Palmetto, Stinging Nettle, and Lycopene that help support prostate health.

    And we all know how important prostate health is.

    Vitamin D overdosage will raise the serum calcium level, and lead to changes in membrane potentials, ion transporters, and deposits of calcium compounds in vessels and kidneys.
    As they say, dosis fecit venerum.

  16. #16 Pikemann Urge
    April 29, 2010

    In Australia, and no doubt other sun-kissed nations, some children have been suffering Vit.D deficiency recently. It’s like parents are too afraid of even a few minutes of sunshine. It’s enough to drive you mad.

    Oh, and let’s not retreat to the ‘moderation’ position, either. Moderation is for people too lazy to do research.

  17. #17 maxamillion
    April 29, 2010

    Pikemann Urge #16

    Oh, and let’s not retreat to the ‘moderation’ position, either.

    ‘moderation’ position? Something new from the RCC?

  18. #18 Ragutis
    April 29, 2010

    Maybe next he’ll attempt to demonstrate the effectiveness of Prostate Pro by shoving a bouquet of Stinging Nettle up his arse.

  19. #19 Bride of Shrek OM
    April 29, 2010

    I’m having visions of a “magnetic bra” with lots and lots of magnets in each cup. With the wrong combo of polarities you could end up with nipples pointing into your armpits.

  20. #20 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnb-E55g7vrnvH-3L1M6d7QuDYWoM_IDEM
    April 29, 2010

    With the wrong combo of polarities you could end up with nipples pointing into your armpits.

    That’s fine, provided that they do not belong to you…

  21. #21 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    April 29, 2010

    Null nearly killed himself by eating his own supplements.

    Physician, hoodwink thyself.

  22. #22 Jillian Swift
    April 29, 2010

    This kind of thing doesn’t happen nearly enough. (At least not out where we get to see it.)

    I guess these little pseudo-scientists haven’t learned from the illicit hard drug trade: Don’t use your own supply.

  23. #23 Moggie
    April 29, 2010

    #19:

    I’m having visions of a “magnetic bra” with lots and lots of magnets in each cup. With the wrong combo of polarities you could end up with nipples pointing into your armpits.

    On the other hand, you’d make an attractive fridge magnet.

    So, will Null now become an advocate for tough regulation of the dietary supplement industry?

  24. #24 derek beggs
    April 29, 2010

    Wonder what happens when you throw iron filings at a magnetic bra?

  25. #25 Kobra
    April 29, 2010

    Pretty sure Vitamin D is fat-soluble. So much for dissipating from the body quickly.

  26. #26 Dan Buzzard
    April 29, 2010

    “vitamin D “dissipates quickly in the body”

    But isn’t that the problem?

    Personally I would rather anything with the potential to harm me take as long as possible to become absorbed.

  27. #27 David Marjanovi?
    April 29, 2010

    As they say, dosis fecit vene[n]um.

    Or rather… “alle ding sind gifft / und nichts ist ohn gifft / allein die dosis macht das ein ding kein gifft ist” in the original 16th-century German.

  28. #28 David Marjanovi?
    April 29, 2010

    (BTW, fecit is the perfect. You were probably looking for the present, facit.)

  29. #29 Jeep-Eep
    April 29, 2010

    Live by quackery; Die by quackery. Pity he didn’t actually buy it. :/

  30. #30 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    April 29, 2010

    @Erik

    Is it wrong that as a database administrator and programmer, as well as a lover of puns, that I find his name so apropos?

    If only his name was Dave…

  31. #31 irenedelse
    April 29, 2010

    And the guy nearly got a Darwin Award. Now, there’s a distinction you don’t want to obtain…

  32. #32 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    This is weird and IANAD but I know some one who believes she should take MASSIVE vitamin D supplements for health and beauty. This is as opposed to my mom whose Dr. has her on some kind of vitamin D supplement because of a thyroid problem. This person takes more than my mother and my mom has a prescription for it.

    The person also has a lot of other health problems… many of which are unusual and supposedly completely unrelated (also a number of very rare diseases and drs that don’t know about other drs).

    But anyway, I’m actually concerned after looking up the symptoms that the massive doses of vitamin D she ingests daily (she buys from a special supplier because most vitamin D supplements aren’t all that strong) might be hurting her and contributing to her symptoms and problems.

    This is like fundieland territory here but with woo… is there a way anyone has found to get some one like that to mention (just mention) the amount of supplements they are taking to a Dr.

    She’s already been told based on her bowel symptoms that she may need surgery, but I suspect her of not fully informing the Dr. of her *own* actions.

    So here’s the thing medically savvy people here… can you even lead that kind of a horse to water?

    I am worried maybe it can cause calcium deposits in parts of the body and I can see how that could link together maybe one system of her symptoms. I wish she would ask a doctor :(

  33. #33 tomhuld
    April 29, 2010

    If only his name was Dave…

    He very nearly went that way.

  34. #34 Sclerophanax
    April 29, 2010

    Ol’Greg, do you know how much she is taking? If it’s more than 250 micrograms (10 000 IU) per day, I’d be a bit worried. The human body produces about that much per day when fully exposed to the sun and breaks up the rest, so it’s been considered a safe upper limit.

  35. #35 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    Definitely more than that but I do not know exactly how much more.

    She thinks the recommended dosage is mistaken because new science has shown… blah blah something she read in some hippie vitamin book.

    The thing is I’m so used to that kind of stuff from her that I just tune it out. I guess I know that things like iron can be dangerous to take too much of, but I actually didn’t know vitamin D was.

    The only reason I know she takes that much is that she was telling me how great it is and how I should start taking more and so I was just kind of blowing her off like I usually do. If I’d known it was actually dangerous (I just figured it would be going out the other end) I would have said something then.

  36. #36 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Ol’Greg, all fat soluble vitamins (ie, A, D, E, K) can be trouble, as they accumulate in the body. If an adult eats well balanced meals, they shouldn’t need vitamin supplements, unless they have been diagnosed with a disorder that requires large doses.

  37. #37 Rorschach
    April 29, 2010

    and so I was just kind of blowing her off like I usually do

    Ehm, ok !
    TMI…
    :D

  38. #38 Modoc
    April 29, 2010

    Nothing like a bit of hypervitaminosis to get the day started right!

  39. #39 John Morales
    April 29, 2010

    Actually, I eat a reasonable diet, though perhaps too low on fruit. Nonetheless, I take a multivitamin pill every few weeks, just as a precaution.

    Ol’Greg, maybe start at Wikipedia (there are a lot of references in the article): Hypervitaminosis D.

    Seems like you’d really need to work at overdosing.

  40. #40 Cannabinaceae
    April 29, 2010

    If you “D” reference Null’s pointers, you’re likely to crash.

  41. #41 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    Ugh. Rorschach…

    lol

  42. #42 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    I think what I’ll do is casually mention this story in a did you know that could even happen way and see if she at least looks into it.

  43. #44 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 29, 2010

    I used to work for one of these places. Even when I was working there, I stuck mainly to truth claims I knew were factual. Like, I wouldn’t say “This vitamin C and magnesium supplement will cure your ADD”, I just stuck to what I knew were the effects of Vit. C and Magnesium.

    It’s only recently that I realized what sort of evil that place was really peddling. Well, I sort of knew when I got a tearful call from a gal who’d heard that one of the bunko supplements would help with cancer… ;.;

  44. #45 mxh
    April 29, 2010

    I just can’t wait until one of his “clients” sues him.

  45. #46 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2010

    ericamv

    Can I ask what your link has to do with anything in this thread?

  46. #47 Jeffrey P Goldberg
    April 29, 2010

    I did hear about someone who OD-ed on a homeopathic remedy. He forgot to take it one day.

  47. #48 chuckgoecke
    April 29, 2010

    I’m skeptical that it was Vitamin D that caused his problems. Perhaps the source of the Vitamin D was something that also had high levels of Vitamin A, which will cause big problems. The folks who espouse that ALL vitamins and supplements are crap are being just as dogmatic as the Huffpo loving wackos. There’s a total range of supplements and their relative effectiveness/safety. Many are total crap, some are very good, lots are…meh. I encourage folks to do some research, and find the ones that are worthwhile. Vitamin D is turning out to be enormously important, and at doses that are much higher than the RDA. I think of the RDA as the minimum dose to prevent deficiency problems, not necessarily the optimum. For most people, who eat a diet rich in highly colored veggies, probably no supplements are necessary, except Vitamin D. You’ve got to get some sun, at least 15 minutes per day(more like hours if you have black skin), on a significant fraction of ones skin to naturally get enough D. Most people do not eat said diet or get enough sun. Advice from a couple who are my favorites on this subject, the People’s Pharmacy, is to get your serum vitamin D level measured. Some doc’s that advocate Vit. D say up to 10,000 iu per day should not cause a problem, as this is what a full days sun exposure would produce in most folks. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_D

  48. #49 Sclerophanax
    April 29, 2010

    I’m skeptical that it was Vitamin D that caused his problems.

    The guy reportedly took 2,000,000 IU of it a day. That’s 200 times the dose generally considered safe.

  49. #50 faisons
    April 29, 2010

    I’m on a 50,000 IU dose of Vitamin D3, by prescription, once per week, for a ten week course. Then they’ll re-test my levels. Despite being a person who does a lot of outdoor activity (and probably doesn’t wear sunblock as much as I should), I had a severe deficiency that they think is related to an auto-immune condition. So… 50K IU, once per week, for ten weeks, when you’ve started severely “in the hole”… and that’s by prescription.

    Here’s a guy who was taking, according to the information we can find, 2 MILLION IU per MEAL. That kind of stupidity should be enough to have his Cracker Jack Box PhD taken from him and shredded.

    Not that this quack deserves any help, but I can’t stand it when someone uses a doctoral degree to spread misinformation. ESPECIALLY a person claiming to have medical knowledge of any sort. I sent him this message:

    “Doctor” Null,

    Although I have no personal interest in your product, I was linked to your story by a colleague. I would like to suggest, strongly, that you retract part of the statement you’ve posted on your main page. You wrote, “Fortunately vitamin D dissipates quickly in the body.” If your PhD is worth the paper it was printed on, you know quite well that Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, and that it continues to accumulate in adipose tissue until it reaches toxic levels. The body does not flush it out the same way that excess vitamin C is removed. Misinformation like this is dangerous to the public.

    While it’s important for people to ensure adequate vitamin levels for optimum health, a vitamin overdose can lead to severe problems, including permanent organ damage. By telling people, falsely, that vitamin D “dissipates quickly,” you increase the chance that paranoid consumers and hypochondriacs will take excessive amounts of these vitamins. Rare though it may be, a Vitamin D overdose is dangerous.

    If you wish to consume potent supplements, that is up to you. If you wish to market those supplements and endorse them with the weight of your doctorate, feel free. However, if you do so, you have an obligation to provide accurate information. I work in biomedical research and am far more educated than the average consumer, but for people who are completely unaware, your statement is dangerous.

    Regards,
    M*

    No, I don’t think he’ll listen, but whatever. Seriously, didn’t we all learn the difference between a water-soluble vitamin and a fat-soluble vitamin in high school biology?

  50. #51 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    Yeah, but wasn’t it an accident? I mean my understanding is that he didn’t take that much on *purpose* at all.

  51. #52 Bad Albert
    April 29, 2010

    Some of the commenters at the end of the article are actually defending him, warning us about Big Pharma and the “shady” credentials of Dr. Steve Barrett from Quackwatch.

    This one is from someone named Common Sense:

    quackwatch.org is a front for pharmaceutical companies and tries to discredit anything that isn’t sold by a pharmaceutical company. Western Medicine on focuses on LONG TERM treatments that are caused by our diets rather than correcting the actual problem and removing the need for any treatment. Western Medicine only makes money from sick people so they want to keep you sick and medicated. There’s no money for Doctors and Pharmaceutical Companies in healthy people that don’t require treatment and drugs.

  52. #53 mxh
    April 29, 2010

    @Alerbt #52

    Western Medicine on focuses on LONG TERM treatments that are caused by our diets rather than correcting the actual problem and removing the need for any treatment.

    Yeah, and the supplements that Gary Null, (fake) PhD is selling fixes “the actual problem” and you’ll never have to take his supplements again. The alternative med nuts don’t quite understand the hypocrisy of their claims that Western Medicine is bad because they make you take medicines for life. The supplements they push are LONG TERM “treatments” also.

  53. #54 Ing
    April 29, 2010

    Hasn’t he heard of THE SUN? Sheesh! What’s next? ODing on vitamin A by eating polar bear liver “because it’s packed with vitamins”?”

    Also worms! So it has protein too. Sweet, sweet, parasitic deadly protein.

  54. #55 Peter H
    April 29, 2010

    @ #20:
    ” With the wrong combo of polarities you could end up with nipples pointing into your armpits.

    That’s fine, provided that they do not belong to you… ”

    Which are yours – the tits or the pits?

  55. #56 davecortesi
    April 29, 2010

    Feeble journalism by the NYDailyNews. They drop these rather important tid-bits far down in the story:

    …six consumers being hospitalized with severe kidney damage… dozens of his customers calling him, along with condemning and threatening him…

    This is the real story: (at least) six people with big hospital bills and “dozens” of others affected severely enough to be angry. Big lawsuits can be confidently expected, perhaps a class action. So one major reason for Null to sue now is to divert culpability from himself onto his supplier. However, he is almost surely going to be named in at least some of those suits. He is going to be spending a lot of money on lawyers soon. Schadenfreudelicious!

  56. #57 idle.pip.verisignlabs.com
    April 29, 2010

    There is a fairly well listened podcast that I listen to. The host always pushes vitamin D, and that it is some miraculous cure. He says he gets emails from listeners thanking him, stating they didn’t get their “yearly flu”, or whatnot. The sad thing is, he isn’t a doctor, nor a scientist. Its a Information Security podcast. I respect a lot of the rest of what he says, but when it comes to pushing the Vitamin D, it makes me want to turn off the podcast. Everything he says is just subjective. The emails he gets are just in an echo chamber.

    In some ways, I’m tempted to take extra vitamin D, then email him saying it didn’t help when I get the flu. That would rock his world.

  57. #58 Brownian, OM
    April 29, 2010
  58. #59 MATTIR
    April 29, 2010

    In Australia, and no doubt other sun-kissed nations, some children have been suffering Vit.D deficiency recently. It’s like parents are too afraid of even a few minutes of sunshine.

    It’s really easy to pile onto parents, but give them a break sometimes. It takes a fairly small amount of sun to give someone the right amount of vitamin D, and it can be hard to figure out how to get this balance right. My pediatrician’s office has one of those parenting information television programs, and it had a segment at our most recent visit about how to send your kids out for x minutes a week to play in full sun so as to get the right amount of vitamin D, watch the clock, and then haul them back to get sunscreened so as to avoid sunburn and long-term overexposure. It sounded like quite a lot of work. Public health advocates have been concerned about sun overexposure for a while now (you have heard of melanoma, right?), and obviously haven’t gotten the message right yet.

    A physician told me recently that researchers are learning that vitamin D is required for a lot of different body functions (i.e. ones that haven’t been linked to vitamin D before) and that the amount that is currently recommended is probably way low. (This is not a quack, by the way, but a respected researcher in a non-woo section of the NIH). She handed me a recommendation for vitamin D and folate supplements along with an explanation of exactly how it would augment the actions of a prescription medication I take.

    It would help a lot if physicians would actually learn about nutrition – the one I describe is one of the only ones I’ve ever seen who have asked about diet or nutritional supplements or been able to answer questions about what is or is not helpful. More actual information and medical care might help crowd out some of the ridiculous quacks out there. Or we could just wait for them all to die of various hypervitaminosis…

  59. #60 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    Hmmm… my doctors have usually been pretty informed about supplements. I used to have problems with iron and my dr. recommended I use just a regular supplement and suggested a few he thought were good.

    I was grateful for that because when I got to the vitamin store the salesperson was adamant about trying to get me to buy some chlorophyll tincture which she insisted would cure my iron deficient blood. It was nice to be able to say well my doctor said to ask for this brand, and leave it at that.

    Same with my mom’s doc but things are different I think with endocrinologists anyway because thyroid issues can have such a direct relationship with nutrition problems.

  60. #61 DominEditrix
    April 29, 2010

    Hasn’t he heard of THE SUN?

    Hey, I live in Southern California and still have to take 50,000 units of prescribed vitamin D twice a week. For some of us with fair skin, spending the recommended time in the sun every day just isn’t a good idea – w/o sunblock, I turn bright red after a very few minutes. My sort was meant to live in northern climes, preferably rainy ones.

  61. #62 Quackalicious
    April 29, 2010

    How utterly noble of the Pharyngulites to attack a poisoned man. Thank you, elder God Myers, for unmoderating my postings again. The last, blocked post, is posted under Pharyngula Attacks at http://www.maloneymedical.com (bottom of the page).

    While previously very low doses of vitamin D were thought to be poisonous, we are seeing more and more vitamin D deficiency. Below is a study on pregnant women given a single dose of 80,000 IU without negative effects for themselves or their infants. Given that a third of them were low vitamin D to begin with, perhaps, just perhaps, you could be wrong.

    I should note that Myers is an accomplished atheist, and has no medical training. His random attacks on sickly Quacks are a sideline of dubious merit.

    J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod (Paris). 2001 Dec;30(8):761-7.

    [Winter supplementation in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy by a dose of 80,000 IU of vitamin D]
    [Article in French]

    Madelenat P, Bastian H, Menn S.

    H˘pital Bichat Claude-Bernard, 46, rue Henri-Huchard, 75877 Paris.

    Abstract
    A non-comparative study was conducted to examine the effects of 80,000 IU vitamin D given in a single dose to 59 pregnant women from northern or southern France between their 27th and 32nd week of gestation during the winter season. Serum levels of 25 hydroxy-vitamin D (25 OH D), intact Parathyroid Hormone (iPTH), calcium, phosphates, proteins were measured at the inclusion, at delivery (mother and arterial cord) and in the newborn between the 3rd and the 5th day of life. The mothers’ sun exposure and their vitamin D dietary intakes were evaluated with scores at the inclusion and at delivery. Before vitamin D supplementation, 34% of the women had a 25 OH D concentration below 10 ng/ml and 32% had hypocalcemia. At delivery, only one woman had a low 25 OH D concentration, whereas 15% of the women showed hypocalcemia. No neonatal hypocalcemia was observed and no vitamin D overdose was recorded in this study. The mothers’ vitamin D dietary intakes were quite high; the lack of sun exposure during last summer appeared as a major vitamin D deficiency risk. A single dose of 80,000 IU vitamin D, taken between the 27th and the 32nd amenorrhoea weeks in winter, seems to be a good compromise between efficacy and tolerance.

    PMID: 11917727

  62. #63 Vicki
    April 29, 2010

    I hadn’t realized atheism was a skill; maybe quackalicious is recognizing that our host is an accomplished writer.

  63. #64 KOPD
    April 29, 2010

    Quack:
    How many links did you have in your post? You probably inadvertently triggered the spam filter.

    As far as attacking a poisoned man, he poisoned himself. And I only hope all of his victims are okay.

  64. #65 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    April 29, 2010

    But he won’t learn the lesson.

  65. #66 JME
    April 29, 2010

    Wow. Prof. Myers really has that anti-supplement religion. He tells us that supplements are worthless and/or harmful and those selling them are quacks. He refers us to Quackwatch.org. Stephen Barrett – now there’s a quack. Documented cases of vitamin D overdosing are extremely rare. A more serious problem is widespread vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency.

    Incidentally, The “Expensive Urine” Myth is quite out of date.

  66. #67 AnthonyK
    April 29, 2010

    Myers is an accomplished atheist

    Yes, we think so too! He has a whole wall of certificates attesting to his brilliance in this field, including one from Answers in Genesis.

    But don’t try to flatter him, it won’t work. And I should point out that this was all done without any additional vitamin D!
    I realise that we may seem unsympathetic to a man poisoned by his own ignorance. If so it’s because…ummm…why exactly is that?

  67. #68 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    Quack you weren’t blocked. I looked at your post.
    You can only post a couple links in a post here. I think that may even be a sci blogs thing. Any post that has too many links disappears in the ether. It’s nothing personal. Next time just divide it so it only has one or two links per post, wait a min between posts, and then so long as you’re not copy pasting the same thing over and over you won’t get dinged for spamming either.

  68. #69 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Ah, the Duck of Placebo makes an inane return. Still no evidence for his quackery. Still no citations to JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, or British Medical Journal. Short on real facts per usual. Just a minor and irrelevant factoid.

    Quack, find an honest job. They are always looking for telephone solicitors or used car salesmen. Either would be a step up morally for you. I pity your victims, who pay good money for nothing more active than two cents worth of sugar.

  69. #70 AnthonyK
    April 29, 2010

    Don’t encourage him Greg! He’s already overdosed on vitamin S.

  70. #71 KOPD
    April 29, 2010

    Ol’Greg:

    But you know that Pope Myers strong-armed SciBlogs into putting those spam filters in place just to harass the Quack!

  71. #72 leepicton
    April 29, 2010

    As some of you know, the Husbeast has a number of ailments, so his health is closely monitored, and his doctor recently discovered that his vitamin D was way too low. How could that be? He gets out regularly, and has a fantastically well-balanced diet. The doc said that in this Maryland county where people take sun-block to heart and generally eat well, it had recently become a pervasive problem. He emphasized that it really was important to get proper amounts and recommended a standard supplement of 2000 units per day. And it wouldn’t hurt if I took it too. Now I can’t say I have noticed anything better about my health, but the husbeast’s doctor has verified that his vitamin D level is now considered normal. Special cases may require special treatments (as noted in the preganancy studies above), but it does appear that a relatively modest intake is quite sufficient for this vitamin. In Australia, one has to balance the risk of developing melanoma against vitamin D deficiency. It requires paying attention, something that a lot a people are unwilling to do.

  72. #73 tdcourtney
    April 29, 2010

    the “shady” credentials of Dr. Steve Barrett from Quackwatch.

    Did you read the link the other guy posted? http://www.quackpotwatch.org/quackpots/quackpots/barrett.htm
    It insists double blind trials were banned by “world government” in 1964.

  73. #74 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 29, 2010

    quackwatch.org is a front for pharmaceutical companies and tries to discredit anything that isn’t sold by a pharmaceutical company.

    Where the hell do they think vitamins come from? Rainbows and unicornfarts?

    Newsflash!: Supplements are made of people by BIG PHARMA.

  74. #75 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 29, 2010

    now there’s a quack.

    That’s a bald assertion without evidence. Present some evidence to back up your inane assertion, and you are wrong until you do. Welcome to science.

    It insists double blind trials were banned by “world government” in 1964.

    Funny, double blind studies are considered the gold standard by pharmaceutical regulatory agencies world wide, and required by ICH guidelines. What a lie. If they lie about that, what else will they lie about…

  75. #76 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 29, 2010

    FYI, Quackalicious:
    PZ can’t be a quack. It’s not that I like him or anything; It’s that he doesn’t claim medical credentials. He is, however, a scientist. Specifically, a biologist. He’s well aware of what a clinical trial should look like.

    It insists double blind trials were banned by “world government” in 1964.

    Holy shit, somebody better tell the psychologists, the medical researchers, the sociologists, the…

  76. #77 chgo_liz
    April 29, 2010

    I spend a minimum of one hour every day walking outside with no sunscreen on. I still tested deficient for vitamin D, and have started taking a supplement, per doctor’s orders. So, I’m not willing to jump on the idea that parents are lazy about getting their kids out in the sun. I don’t know what other factors are involved, but it’s not just about sunscreen or not getting outdoors.

  77. #78 broboxley OT
    April 29, 2010

    sounds like most medical science, discovered, experimented with, methods and studies done
    new stuff comes around
    old knowledge gets scarce
    lost to knowledge then rediscovered with abundant quackery all around
    now if you dont know a lot about vities
    get a copy of Adel Davis
    “lets eat right to keep fit” explains what where when and why with anotated studies from the 1930-1950 time frame. Many of the studies done at Duke

    Most modern docs have never heard of her and only the older dieticians remember much of her.

  78. #79 Militant Agnostic
    April 29, 2010

    now if you dont know a lot about vities
    get a copy of Adel Davis “lets eat right to keep fit”

    Ms Davis died of cancer – just sayin’.

  79. #80 FossilFishy
    April 29, 2010

    Wow Quacky, I’m impressed. A study where N=59?! Hooboy, that’s convincing. Oh wait, no it’s not.

    The study’s population was late term pregnant women. You do know that pregnant women have different requirements to even non-pregnant women, let alone men and children, right? But never mind about that.

    If you think a study with a sample size of 59 is significant then you really don’t know anything about science. This study is a preliminary one at best. It could point to a useful therapy in the future. But we won’t really know until we have several well designed and peer reviewed studies with N values in the thousands that all confirm the efficacy and safety of the treatment.

    If you are actively treating patients using therapies based on papers like this you are indeed a dangerous quack.

  80. #81 Sastra
    April 29, 2010

    My understanding is that the science is showing that we need more vitamin D than we once thought we did. They’re upping the daily requirement, and using larger doses for some specific complaints. I’m taking extra vitamin D, per dr’s orders.

    But this is not the same as advocating huge megadoses; you can’t borrow on it, for credibility.

    As for Adele Davis, I thought she was the person who claimed that, if you ate just right, you would never get sick: she ate just right, and died fairly young, of cancer. Instead of revising her hypothesis, she decided that the cancer must have been caused by what she had eaten, 40 years ago.

  81. #82 Haley
    April 29, 2010

    Scary. I take a reasonable dose (5000iud) everyday since I have severely low levels tied to some problem yet unknown, (They ruled out MS today! I’m happy about that!)so my doctor told me to take a supplement. Vitamin supplements aren’t all bad, or even all unscientific. I’m also (on doctor’s orders) taking the pro-biotic Florastor, and I take a multivitamin.

    I’m not anti natural medicine, there is probably a lot of medicinal value in various natural supplements, and I’ll look at the science as a way to prove which ones are effective.

  82. #83 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 29, 2010

    If you are actively treating patients using therapies based on papers like this you are indeed a dangerous quack.

    Almost every paper the Qvack cites has very low numbers of participants. Most usually lack true double blinding, and a lot have self reporting that enhance the placebo effect, which isn’t used as a control. And he wonders why we laugh at his attempts to “scientifically” justify his inane career choice…

  83. #84 broboxley OT
    April 29, 2010

    she died of cancer at 70, I guess that is young.
    In 1938 she received her Masters degree in Biochemistry from the University of Southern California so actually had something of a background

    4. Our Changing Diet: Our grandparents ate smaller amounts of sweets than we do. The consumption of sugar alone has increased almost one hundred pounds per person per year in the last hundred years. Sweets take away the appetite for the good foods which our bodies need. p. 31.

    5. The Need of Healthy Nerves The writer of an article published in a recent Journal of the American Medical Association stated that a large amount of the heart disease seen today in America was undoubtedly due to the widespread lack of vitamin B. p. 48

    Sterility, Pregnancy, and Lactation The old belief that a pregnant woman should eat for two is not true with respect to the quantity of food she must eat, for she need not increase the amount of food except during the last two months, and then only slightly. However, she must eat for two with respect to minerals and vitamins. Her daily diet during this time should include:

    1 quart of skim milk
    16 oz. of orange, grapefuit, or
    tomato juice
    1 egg
    1/2 cup of wheat germ
    2 but preferably 3 fish-liver-oil
    capsules
    1 serving of cottage cheese
    3 or more servings of colored
    vegetables
    2 or 3 servings of fresh fruit,
    emphasizing citrous fruit
    1 serving of meat or fish with
    liver once weekly

    looks like a reasonably balanced diet to me (who is an efficient vegetarian, I prefer eat things that eat grass)

  84. #85 Becca
    April 29, 2010

    I take 50,000 IU of D every 5 days; it’s a prescription strength, which means it’s covered by our insurance. The one thing I’ve noticed is that I used to bruise very easily, sometimes for no apparent reason at all, and that seems to have stopped. On the other hand, the bruising seems to go in cycles, and I could just be in a down part of the cycle.

  85. #86 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    Haley I’m so glad you don’t have MS, it’s a terrible disease.

    I do supplement with a little vitamin D, but not a lot. I don’t ever get in the sun, I wear SPF 50, and I lead a very indoor life so I’m often low on D.

    I also have my families bird bones, so I take calcium as well. I also take an iron supplement, as I said above.

    So I’m not completely anti-supplement. It is hard for me to get proper nutrition although for a while I was doing a better job by eating a fruit and vegetable smoothie in the morning with things like beets and kale in it.

    More recently though I have just not been eating anything till midday when I might cave to some office sweets and several cups of coffee. Very bad for you :(

    My mom also takes prescription D, as I mentioned before because she has Hashimoto’s thyroidism and that can cause deficiency.

    At the same time though I also worked for a vitamin company when I was doing my undergrad and some of the policies and ideas supported by those corporations (and yes they are corporations just like big pharma) were deplorable.

    At one point we were passively encouraged to suggest that creatine was good for your kidneys for instance basically just because creatine levels are used as an indicator of kidney function. You can see how this is not healthy for people.

    I was young and knew nothing of medicine and I felt I was being encouraged to ignorantly suggest things to people that at best would do nothing and at worst might hurt them, but knowing nothing of medicine also made it hard for me to stand up about it too.

  86. #87 Pikemann Urge
    April 30, 2010

    Some interesting comments here – it seems we still don’t know enough about Vit.D.

    I am a little bit worried that science and rational minded persons are giving doctors too much credit – it’s almost as if they were a kind of priesthood or something.

    When you get a GP trained in nutrition and supplements and all that, then you have someone worth taking seriously. Otherwise it’s just matching symptoms to pharmaceuticals. Anyone can play the join-the-dot game.

  87. #88 Peter Ashby
    April 30, 2010

    A Nigerian colleague of mine here in Scotland told me the GP prescribed Vit D supplements for his children. Daylight hours and the climate make skin exposure to the sun problematic through 3/4 of the year. I’m a distance runner and I take Vit D (250Ág) in calcium/magnesium tablets (I don’t digest milk all that well) since when only my face is exposed (and its dark anyway) even I don’t get much exposure over winter.

    There is increasing interest in Vit D supplementation for people living in higher latitudes to prevent cancer and some neurological problems. It has been suggested that the higher levels of MS at higher latitudes might be due to long term Vit D insufficiency.

    So while this guy is a fucktard, that does not mean that all Vit D supplementation is silly and unscientific.

    You also need to beware of the water soluble vitamins too. Some years ago I heard about a pharmaceutical travelling salesman back in New Zealand who was trying to give up ciggies. To occupy mouth and fingers on long drives he was popping what then were new 1000mg (1g) chewable Vit C tablets. He was eating them like sweets. Ended up in hospital with his skin flaking off. So all those people who say that high doses are just fine and dandy are ignorant and dangerous.

    The EU recently banned very high dose vitamins (you could buy 5g and 10g VitC tablets for eg) and when I went into the ‘Health’ Food store (good range of dried fruit and nuts) I was always asked to sign the petition against the change. I always declined.

    2 Cheers for sensible regulation. Have a real need? get a prescription if you can prove it.

  88. #89 Peter Ashby
    April 30, 2010

    Correction, my tablets are 150Ág of Vit D (60% RDA). I take them intermittently in the winter.

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