Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Vitamin C Does Not Prevent Colds?

A few years ago, studies debunking alternative health treatments came along maybe every six months. Lately, though, it seems like I could do a blog a day rebutting some new piece of nonsense. I’m beginning to think that it’s actually a requirement that researchers must get a partial lobotomy before they can receive grant money to perform a study. So what’s today’s nonsense?

The Cochrane Library has just published the results of a review of scientific literature that says that taking regular supplements of Vitamin C to prevent colds is not justified unless you are exercising hard or living in an extremely cold place, in which case taking about 200 mg a day may cut your risk by 50 per cent.

And my problem with that is?

The whole premise of the study was to reassess Linus Pauling’s observations that vitamin C supplementation could prevent colds. Pauling’s protocol specifically called for doses of 1,000 mg or more per day. The Cochrane Library analysis started at 200 mg a day, one fifth of Pauling’s recommended dosage.

Let me make this brain-dead simple. If you’re trying to evaluate a health protocol, you actually have to use the protocol in question if you wish to assess it. You can’t arbitrarily cut doses by 80% and conclude the protocol doesn’t work.

This study is akin to deciding to determine whether you can lose weight on a low calorie diet of 1,000 calories a day by feeding people 5,000 calories a day

from John Barron's bloghttp://www.jonbarron.org/blog_published/2007/07/vitamin_c_does_not_prevent_col.html#more