Silly me! Why was I afraid of being misquoted by the health media last week? The article of concern, The Truth About Antioxidants in Men’s Health, did justice to the Cochrane Review and to me. The writer clearly made the point that individual antioxidants supplements (beta-carotene and vitamins A, E and C) were not found to work in a major scientific review, and might actually be harmful.
It must be difficult for health writers to communicate complex scientific information, but writers are only as good as their sources, and so I feel responsible to provide accurate quotes. But, in this case, I should have been concerned about the audience who, as it turns out, didn’t want to hear it. Imagine my surprise when I read the comments:
“No, you’re wrong. There have been studies done that show no toxic effects of Vitamin A at doses greater than 100,000 IU. Vitamin E is safe and non-toxic….”
“Really Men’s HEALTH!! Shame on you and get the facts straight please. If you are not an idiot, one knows it is not only the quality of the supplement but the insight to supplement where it is needed on an individual basis.”
“This article is ridiculous. It makes me wonder how many other articles are CRAP on this website as well as the periodical? TO ANYONE READING THIS…Visit the Linus Pauling Institute online. Also, look up the Gerson Therapy.”
“To discredit vitamin supplements like in this article is a joke. Deficiency is the problem in this country – vitamins aren’t (even supplements). Beta-Carotene doesn’t show any side effects in high doses. Vitamin E is safe and non-toxic.”
Alrighty then! Let’s hope those readers (and there were more) are the vocal minority. Skepticism is healthy, but there is a difference between opinion and fact. And while we’re at it, public health recommendations are not based on personal experience. And, finally, don’t shoot the messenger, especially when the messenger is me!
Your thoughts: Is health information in the popular press worth reading? What’s a ‘nutrition expert’ to do?