The author of Natural Causes: Death, Lies and Politics in America’s Vitamin and Herbal Supplement Industry, Dan Hurley, has a three-minute video editorial at Medscape today.
I must admit to being a little ambivalent about his message that, “Evidence-based medicine is the rallying cry of a generation of physicians. So why do so many physicians ignore the evidence when it comes to dietary supplements?”
My issue is that Hurley lumps multivitamins together with herbal supplements. Certainly, many herbal supplements have been failures in double-blind clinical trials (as I reposted earlier today) and some, like St. John’s wort, are the cause of many herb-drug interactions. But Hurley seems to cherry-pick some recent studies that suggest multivitamin supplements may do more harm than good.
Certainly, high doses of antioxidants might be useless or potentially increase mortality. But I’m not so sure that recommending a multivitamin with 100% of the recommended daily value of each constituent flies in the face of evidence-based medicine.
Hurley adequately critiques the herbal supplement industry and has received some critical acclaim for doing so, much to the chagrin of those he targets. Even Business Week, who gave his book 3.5 of 5 stars, noted that, “The book’s irate tone, however justified, grows tiresome.”
I have to admit to still having not gotten around to reading his book but I’m curious as to why he lumps simple multivitamins together with herbal supplements. The former are most often manufactured under high quality standards while the latter are more uneven in their quality control.
I welcome your comments before or after viewing his editorial.
Hat tip: anjou