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This article may be reprinted free of charge provided 1) that there is clear attribution to the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, and 2) that both the OMNS free subscription link and also the OMNS archive link are included.

Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, May 26, 2006


    Abram Hoffer, MD
    Michael Janson, MD
    Thomas Levy, MD, JD
    Carolyn Dean, ND, MD
    Harold Foster, PhD
    Erik Paterson, MD
    Woody R. McGinnis, MD
    Allan N. Spreen, MD
    Michael Friedman, ND
    H. H. Nehrdtch, PhD
    Andrew Saul, Chairman

Vitamin-bashing articles are typically based on studies with faulty design whose conclusions were preordained. One example is the "meta-analysis." A meta-analysis is not new research, but rather a review of existing research. It is not a clinical study, but rather a statistical look at a collection of studies. If you analyze enough failed studies, you will get a negative meta-analysis. If you exclude enough successful studies, you preordain the conclusion.


Low-dose vitamin studies are the ones that get negative results. Most vitamin research is low-dose. You cannot test the effectiveness of high doses by giving low doses. Any time nutritional research employs inadequately low doses of vitamins, doses that hundreds of orthomolecular physicians have already reported as too small to work, vitamin therapy will be touted as "ineffective."

You can set up any study to fail. One way to ensure failure is to make a meaningless test. A meaningless test is assured if you make the choice to use insufficient quantities of the substance to be investigated. If you shoot beans at a charging rhinoceros, you are not likely to influence the outcome. If you give every homeless person you met on the street 25 cents, you could easily prove that money will not help poverty.


One reason commonly offered to justify conducting low-dose studies is that high doses of vitamins are somehow dangerous.

They are not.

There are those who may not believe this next statement, but it is not a matter of belief. It is a matter of fact: There is not even one death per year from vitamin supplements. (1)

However, there are at least 106,000 deaths from pharmaceutical drugs each year in the USA, even when taken as prescribed. (2) This may be a low estimate. Carolyn Dean, ND, MD, said, "784,000 people are dying annually, prematurely, due to modern medicine." "These are statistics from peer-reviewed journals and government databases." (3)

Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD, who conducted the first double-blind placebo controlled studies in psychiatry, has called for double-blind placebo controlled testing of alleged vitamin side effects. He said, "Let the opponents of vitamin therapy cite the double-blind placebo controlled studies upon which they have based their toxicity allegations. They can't, because there aren't any."


It is ironic that critics of vitamins preferentially cite low dose studies in an attempt to show lack of vitamin effectiveness, yet they cannot cite any double-blind, placebo controlled studies of high doses that show vitamin dangers. This is because vitamins are effective at high doses, and vitamins are safe at high doses.

Health professionals and other interested persons are invited to personally search the literature for evidence of deaths caused by vitamin supplements. You will not find even one death per year. (4)

Physician reports confirm this. A panel of researchers and physicians experienced in high-dose vitamin therapy unequivocally states, "Vitamins are very safe for the public." Woody R. McGinnis, MD, writes: "In my practice, high doses of vitamins and minerals have retrieved hundreds of otherwise desperate patients from severe behavioral disorders without a single severe complication." Adds Michael Friedman, ND: "I have never seen any toxicity with any vitamin prescriptions in my practice."

Michael Janson, MD, said, "In decades of people taking a wide variety of dietary supplements, few adverse effects have been noted, and zero deaths as a result of the dietary supplements." Thomas Levy, JD, MD, said assaults on the theoretical toxicity of vitamins are "ridiculous."

It is the conclusion of the Independent Vitamin Safety Review Panel that high dose vitamin supplementation is strikingly safe and highly effective.


  1. Watson WA, Litovitz TL, Klein-Schwartz W, Rodgers GC Jr, Youniss J, Reid N, Rouse WG, Rembert RS, Borys D. 2003 annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers Toxic Exposure Surveillance System. Am J Emerg Med. 2004 Sep;22(5):335-404.
  2. Lucian Leape, Error in medicine. Journal of the American Medical Association, 1994, 272:23, p 1851. Also: Leape LL. Institute of Medicine medical error figures are not exaggerated. JAMA. 2000 Jul 5;284(1):95-7.)
  3. Dean C and Tuck T. Death by modern medicine. Belleville, ON: Matrix Verite, 2005.
  4. Testimony before the Government of Canada, House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, regarding nutritional supplement product safety (Ottawa, May 12, 2005).

What is Orthomolecular Medicine?

Linus Pauling defined orthomolecular medicine as "the treatment of disease by the provision of the optimum molecular environment, especially the optimum concentrations of substances normally present in the human body." Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information:

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