Health Matters

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What's Wrong with the NYTimes Vitamin Article

The article is an unbalanced perspective that ignores the research on vitamins.

Do Take Your Vitamins
The New York Times article “Don’t Take Your Vitamins” (Opinion, June 8) puts readers at real risk by presenting an unbalanced, over-generalized perspective and selective attention to the body of evidence. First, the title gives a directive about the general category of vitamins, when the body of the article only addresses a subset of vitamins: anti-oxidants. Second, the article draws on studies with arguable design flaws (e.g., the vitamin E used did not contain the full vitamin E complex), when there are many vitamins and antioxidants whose benefits are supported by current research. Third, genomic science is proving that the best medicine is personalized. Yet, the article cites population-based studies, which are known to be inadequate guides to individual care. Most importantly, should people with unique vitamin needs based on age, disease, medication, stress or genetics follow the advice of the article, harmful consequences are likely to develop.

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Robert J. Hedaya, M.D., D.F.A.P.A., is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Georgetown University Hospital and Founder of the National Center for Whole Psychiatry.

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