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Vitamin A and carotenoids in supplements
Posted by: David
Date: August 28, 2007 7:35 PM

Please explain vitamin A and carotenoids in supplements--what is safe and beneficial, what is dangerous? I try to eat right—good quality whole foods—but also believe a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement makes sense. I have, in the past, used your Ultra product. Recent information on possible dangers of vitamin A and carotenoids in supplements causes me some concern. I’ve enclosed comments by Joel Fuhrman, MD on this issue: "Ingesting vitamin A or beta-carotene in isolation—from supplements, instead of from food—may interfere with the absorption of other crucially important carotenoids, such as lutein and lycopene, thus potentially increasing cancer risk. The precursor to vitamin A, beta-carotene once was regarded as a safe and beneficial antioxidant and even recommended as an anti-cancer vitamin, but has recently been shown to increase the risk of certain cancers when administered as an isolated supplement. Problems may result when beta-carotene is ingested without other carotenoids that would have been present had it been ingested from real food. Beta-carotene is only one of about 500 carotenoids that exist. Beta-carotene supplements are poor substitutes for the broad assortment of carotenoid compounds found in plants.”

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at August 28, 2007 7:47 PM by Dr. Kennedy.

Re: Vitamin A and carotenoids in supplements
Posted by: drron
Date: August 28, 2007 8:05 PM

Vitamins should never be used in exclusion to a healthy diet. They are designed to work synergistically with food and it is best to take them at meal time rather than alone. Now, please understand there is no mechanism in the digestive tract counting and categorizing classes of food which allows in a certain amount of each class of nutrient and then selectively shuts off absorption of the rest. The digestive tract is around 28 feet long and when it works properly everything you ingest is absorbed. Dr. Fuhrman is so far out on a theoretical limb he is in danger of falling off on his nose. "...MAY interfere...POTENTIALLY increasing..." this is the indefinite language of a politicized medical journalist. While I do not know Fuhrman or his motivation for writing such baloney, I can tell you that the pharmaceutical industry spends millions on bogus and biased research to discredit the benefits of supplements. They apparently see the nutritional supplement industry as a direct threat to their insane profits, which of course it is. Not one of their publications has stood up under the criticism of scientific scrutiny.

Re: Vitamin A and carotenoids in supplements
Posted by: David
Date: August 29, 2007 3:56 AM

I agree with your view of the pharmaceutical industry, but Dr. Furman does not seem to be in their grasp. He advocates a natural whole food diet (almost vegan) and sells a muti vitamin and mineral supplement specifically formulated without vitamin A or isolated beta-carotene (formula at So….my confusion--a natural health physician opposed to vitamin A or isolated beta-carotene. Is this new, cutting-edge research I should consider or misguided advice?

Re: Vitamin A and carotenoids in supplements
Posted by: drron
Date: September 1, 2007 12:22 AM

As I said, I cannot divine Dr. Furman's motivation in representing that point of view. Perhaps he really believes it. If so, it is a failure of critical thinking and in understanding of biology - in my opinion. I would prefer to believe this is what it is, i.e., as you say, "misguided advice."

This Thread has been closed


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