Increasing popularity of vitamin bashing

With increasing incidence I am receiving comments from my patients that they have stopped taking certain supplements because their MD quoted some research that they did not need them or that they were harmful to them.

This article will hopefully shed some light on this subject which is not going away anytime soon.

When I began practicing back in 1985, patients would tell me that their doctors cautioned them against using alternative medicine because they were just wasting their money. Nowadays, many MDs and the media are reporting that alternative medicine may actually be harmful to your health. I want to encourage readers to think for themselves rather than rely on the media.

In the light of research that shows prescription medications are the fourth leading cause of death in North America and that deaths caused by nutritional supplements are far less than 1.0 per cent, many consumers are looking to regain control over their health and are wanting alternatives to costly prescriptions that have many side effects. This is reflected in the billions of dollars spent yearly by consumers in North America on alternative herbal and vitamin supplements.

Certainly consumers are not always getting what they think they are buying as quality control of the industry varies widely.

This is my job as a naturopathic physician, to use professional remedies that I know contain what is on the label and has the potency that is medicinal. My true job is education which is the real meaning of doctor – “docere” to teach, and in this case, to refute the vitamin bashers.

The official message emanating from the lofty towers of medical academia is that unscrupulous vitamin salespeople are duping the foolish and ignorant public. In fact, the pharmaceutical industry is running out of ideas and the field of nutritional science is exploding with new discoveries.

The situation now exists where self-proclaimed academic experts, many of whom have no formal training in nutrition, make negative assertions about vitamins and dietary supplements. These are then published in well-respected papers such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times or the Globe and Mail and they carry a certain weight of acceptance by the general public.

These assertions are most often scientifically unfounded.

Many times after these negative statements are made, positive articles are published to refute these assertions, showing the overwhelming research proving these negative statements as false. The question needs to be asked “why does the media not report these positive outcome articles?”


Dr. Ingrid Pincott, naturopathic physician, has been practicing since 1985 and can be reached at 250-286-3655 or




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