The Problem with Supplements, Herbs, and Vitamins


9 thoughts on “The Problem with Supplements, Herbs, and Vitamins”

  1. i’ve a similar question as the above — trying to get my lipids as low as possible -in addition to the statins- with diest and, supplements. There are several that really shown results in studies — i’m not about to down raw gooseberries so…. supplements – worse: they are from the www. You’ve made me re-think this. What can you say to make me throw them away?

  2. Hi Dr. Anthony,
    I just discovered this site and have been reading as much as I can. I’m Type 2 diabetic with hypertension (160/85) about 3 months ago. I’m down to 140/75 with diet and exercise. I’m not over weight but I think I have my mom’s bad genetics. I’ve been looking into the supplement industry and have ordered a few products prior to reading your page. Garlic pills, CoQ10, Vitamin B12, K2/D3 and fish oil. I’m on Metformin and Lisinopril. I view supplements as just that…supplementing a diet. Do you recommend any in particular or can point me to a website that you’ve vetted as worth while to read up on these? Thanks for the great info. I look forward to learning more.

    • I wrote about turmeric in my first Snake Oil Du Jour posting.
      I’ll give you my take on CoQ 10 right now: Heavily promoted by the snake oil industry with very little scientific support. I have used it at times in patients with statin myopathies but have not found it helpful. I’m putting together a post on America’s #1 Quack Cardiologist which will cover CoQ10. Does anyone care to guess who I have selected for this honor?

      • Dr. Oz is my guess. Heck you may have already written and published the post by now, but I stumbled on this post/comments and wanted to respond…is there a prize? (Kidding!)

    • You have fallen for the life extension pseudoscience writing style. I wrote about these snake oil salesman (and they have lots of different snake oil to sell you) in my post entitled Life Extension Foundation for Longer Life: Would you like some snake oil with your redundancy?
      With regard to homocysteine levels and folate/B vitamin supplementation- A study of over 5000 patients in 2006 called the HOPE study put the nail in the coffin for this theory. Prior to that study based on strong observational data I was checking homocysteine levels on my patients and supplementing with folate those who had low levels.
      Since that study, I and other cardiologists (with the exception of those who are obsessed with measuring multiple questionable blood tests and those who stand to profit from supplement sales) have stopped either measuring homocysteine or supplementing with folate.

      • Yes – but the HOPE study did not say that high homocysteine has no impact on CVD. Due to undiagnosed Pernicious Anaemia I had high homocysteine for a long time and with no other risk factors I really believe this contributed to my CVD.

        • I can’t say that high homocysteine levels have no impact on CVD but there is insufficient evidence to recommend widespread testing of homocysteine and there is proof that reducing homocysteine levels does not impact CVD. In your case the primary problem would be low absorption of B12 levels due to lack of intrinsic factor.


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Anthony C. Pearson M.D., F.A.C.C. is a cardiologist, musician, writer and a regular columnist at MedPage Today

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