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reader comments: Matthias Rath


I just read your entry on Matthias Rath. While I agree with you regarding cancer and vitamin C and agree that some of his "micronutrient claims" may be overexaggerated, your entry failed to address cardiovascular disease.

I've been looking into this for quite some time, and there are several studies independent of Rath that show the positive effects of higher doses of vitamin C in heart disease, stroke and blood pressure, and also a very large study showing a 62% reduction in the risk of developing type II diabetes in people with higher levels of vitamin C.

What are your thoughts on the role of proper blood levels of vitamins and minerals on cardiovascular disease? I am interested to know your medical training and what literature you have reviewed regarding heart disease and proper vitamin levels.


Bill Kelleher

reply: The evidence so far does not indicate any general benefit from taking supplements. Of course, people with specific deficiencies require supplements.

Here is what the experts have to say about vitamin C [and other antioxidants] and cardiovascular disease:


As for vitamin C and diabetes, you may be referring to a study that was given this headline by Natural News:

 Diet High in Vitamin C Reduces Risk of Diabetes

If you read the article, you'll find that the study did NOT find that vitamin C reduces the risk of diabetes. The researchers found that participants with the highest vitamin C levels had a 62 percent lower risk of developing Type II diabetes than participants who had the lowest blood levels of the vitamin. This is an interesting correlation, but it does not establish a causal relationship between vitamin C and prevention of diabetes.

Diet is a known factor in the development of type II diabetes. A diet rich in vitamin C is a diet rich in fruits and vegetables (as the authors of the study note). You can't be sure, but people who eat lots of fruits and vegetables may also eat fewer junk foods with their high calorie, high sugar, high carbohydrate, high fat content.

If you are thinking that vitamin C supplements will help prevent diabetes, you are jumping the gun. This study does not provide any such comfort.

My medical training in this area is driven by self-interest. I have type II diabetes, have many relatives with the disease, have read much about it and learned much from classes and talks with doctors. I also know how to read a medical study and determine when an author or headline writer has hyped the study to draw unjustified conclusions. My page on supplements has links to some of the literature I've read.

Last updated 12/09/10

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