Life Extension Foundation researchers were not the only ones to identify numerous flaws in the report. Other nutritional scientists inundated us with their critiques demonstrating that the claims and conclusions of this vitamin E study were unfounded.
Why We Are Not Biased
For the past seven years, we at Life Extension have suggested that those who take only alpha tocopherol (vitamin E) might encounter health problems because alpha tocopherol displaces critically important gamma tocopherol in the body.
In fact, since January 1, 1998, we have promoted the benefits of gamma tocopherol and have strongly urged our members to consume this form of vitamin E. From a standpoint of bias, it would have been in our interest to say, look at this negative report on alpha tocopherolwe told you to take gamma tocopherol a long time ago.
While a tremendous amount of data substantiates the importance of gamma tocopherol, the negative report on alpha tocopherol emanating from Johns Hopkins still has no basis, in fact.
Although scientists at Johns Hopkins concur that gamma tocopherol may be an essential form of vitamin E, this does not in any way lend credence to the horrendously flawed alpha tocopherol report released by researchers working at this same institution.
When they could not attribute enough deaths to vitamin E in 17 of these 36 studies, they further reduced the number of studies to be included in their analysis to only 19. Had the omitted studies been included, the Johns Hopkins researchers would not have been able to attack vitamin E as being life shortening.
The basis for attacking vitamin E was the analysis of the remaining 19 selected studies. Based on these hand-selected studies, the Johns Hopkins researchers proclaimed that supplemental vitamin E was not effective in extending life span and may have slightly shortened it in seriously ill people. Omitted were all the positive studies showing decreases in disease risk in those taking supplemental vitamin E.
Instead of raising questions about the omitted positive studies on vitamin E, the media hyped this seriously flawed report by proclaiming that experts say that vitamin E supplements should be avoided.
The report was published in the on-line edition of Annals of Internal Medicine, a respected medical journal. Less than a month later, however, some of the worlds best scientists had unleashed a fire-storm of criticism and rebuttals, challenging the study's design, methodologies, selection bias, findings, and conclusions. Although rebuttals debunking the Johns Hopkins report were posted on the Annals of Internal Medicines website, they were completely ignored by the news media. Perhaps the media did not want the world to find out that their sensationalized reports of just a few weeks prior were baseless. Here is an excerpt from the very first rebuttal found on the Annals of Internal Medicine website:
Note the significance of the last sentence above: Because the Johns Hopkins study authors considered all-cause mortality, if a vitamin E user was murdered or died in an accident, this would have counted as a person whose life was shortened because he took vitamin E. When we say this Johns Hopkins study is baseless, we are not exaggerating!
Some Hopkins Researchers Endorse Vitamin
On January 23, 2004, the media reported that Johns Hopkins Endorses Vitamin E. This report was based on a study showing that daily doses of 400 mg of vitamin E along with vitamin C, beta-carotene, and other nutrients reduced the likelihood of the progression of several health problems. Until this study was released, there was no proven treatment to slow the progression of age-related health problems (AMD).
Clearly, not all Johns Hopkins scientists are opposed to vitamin E supplements.
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