One day in August, a thirty-three-year-old woman went to her doctor because she had a water retention problem. The family doctor advised the woman to take supplements of vitamin B-6 (also known as pyridoxine).
The doctor didn’t say how much of the vitamin to take, so the woman started eating three or four vitamin tablets at each meal. “I started taking the vitamin in megadoses (large amounts),” she later told reporters. “I believed that was the way that vitamins are supposed to work. Taking large amounts seemed to be the in-thing for the 1980s.”
After taking the B-6 supplements for two months, she still had a water retention problem. “My ankles were swelling, and I was still about twenty pounds overweight from all the water I was holding.” So she returned to her doctor who told her to just start taking larger doses of the vitamin.
“I didn’t bother to ask him how large a dose,” the woman said, “I just started taking more.” By late October, she was taking between six to twelve grams of the vitamin each day. The minimum daily requirement for B-6 is about two to four milligrams per day. This woman was taking 3,000 to 4,000 times the amount needed.
By December, she started having a constant tingling in her feet and difficulty walking. “I coudn’t get down the steps to my business,” she told the newspapers, “and my feet felt like there were 50-pound weights tied to them.”
She still persisted in taking huge doses of vitamin B-6, convinced that her doctor must be right.
Four months later, she could not even hold a fork in her hand or sign her name. The megadoses of vitamin B-6 had so severely disrupted her nervous system that the woman was incapable of performing even the simplest routine task.
“The vitamin ruined my health,” she said, “and it forced me to sell my second business.”
One of the neurologists who treated the woman had this to say: “There is an excellent chance that the large doses of the vitamin had a causative role in her illness. We must assume that megadoses of B-6 can injure both motor and sensory nerves.”
In the same newspaper that this story appeared in, there was also an advertisement for the vitamin by a health food chain. “Vitamin B-6,” the ad stated, “has been used to treat schizophrenia, water retention problems, and to build muscles by athletes. Shouldn’t you add this wonder vitamin to your regular diet-supplementation program?”
Vitamins. Supplements. Minerals, enzymes, amino acids, brewer’s yeast, dolomite—all are extracted, artificial, and fragmented dietary additions, and they have no place in health-promoting nutrition.
Yet the appeal and lure of dietary supplements is strong—so strong that a number of nutritionists and spokesmen have created an entire dietary school and philosophy that prescribes the regular use of potentially dangerous and utterly worthless nutritional additives and aids.
This lesson discusses the dangers of the supplementary approach to nutrition and why such a fragmented view of health is doomed to failure.
- 1. Introduction
- 2. The Supplement Approach To Nutrition
- 3. The Appeal Of The Supplement School
- 4. The Supplementalists
- 5. The Only Safe Source Of Nutrients
- 6. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: The Great Supplement Hoax! By T.C. Fry
- Article #2: Vitamins: A Quarter Billion Dollar Humbug By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #3: Are 90% or More of the Vitamins You Take Going Down the Drain? By T.C. Fry
- Article #4: Resolving the Issue of Supplementation By Drs. Robert and Elizabeth McCarter
- Article #5: The Minerals of Life By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton