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VITAMINS FIGHT DISEASE: Nutrients Effective But Overlooked

Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, Jan 30, 2007

Vitamin supplementation fights disease. Although medical research has repeatedly shown this, such has not always been the case in the news media. Recently, however, the popular press is picking up more of the good news: Nutritional therapy is cheaper, safer, and often more effective than pharmaceutical drugs.


The New York Times just reported1 that inexpensive vitamin B-3, niacin, can increase HDL as much as 35 percent when taken in high doses, usually about 2,000 milligrams per day. It also lowers LDL, . . . (and) triglycerides as much as 50 percent. The Times quoted Steven E. Nissen, M.D., president of the American College of Cardiology, as saying: “Niacin is really it. Nothing else available is that effective.”

Niacin was first used to successfully lower serum cholesterol in 1955.2

Since then, placebo-controlled studies have confirmed that niacin prevents second heart attacks, and niacin also reduced strokes. One study showed that after 15 years, men taking niacin had an 11 percent lower death rate. Although a warm flush is a common side effect of niacin, the vitamin is safer than any drug.


The Associated Press reports3 that An abundance of vitamin D seems to help prevent multiple sclerosis, according to a study in more than 7 million people that offers some of the strongest evidence yet of the power of the sunshine vitamin against MS. Multiple sclerosis is known to be more common among those persons living in northern latitudes. But, says Harvard School of Public Health’s Dr. Alberto Ascherio, “This is the first large prospective study where blood levels are measured . . . (providing) much stronger evidence.”4, 5 AP adds that other studies have linked high levels of vitamin D in the blood to lower risks of a variety of cancers.


People who have vitamin E in their bodies live longer, according to a 19-year study of 29,092 men. National Cancer Institute researchers concluded that Higher circulating concentrations of alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) within the normal range are associated with significantly lower total and cause-specific mortality in older male smokers.6 Vitamin E was found to reduce death from all causes, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. (See also our Resource Article: “Vitamin E”)


One of the largest prospective analyses of the association of plasma and dietary vitamin C levels with gastric cancer risk ever performed on Western European populations.7 indicates that having more vitamin C in your blood plasma reduces your risk of stomach cancer.


And best of all, vitamins are safe. There is not even one death per year from vitamin supplementation. (American Journal of Emergency Medicine, Vol. 22, No. 5, September 2004.

Nutritional Medicine is also known as Orthomolecular Medicine

Linus Pauling defined orthomolecular medicine as “the treatment of disease by the provision of the optimum molecular environment, especially the optimum concentrations of substances normally present in the human body.” Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information:
The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource.

Editorial Review Board: Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D., Harold D. Foster, Ph.D., Bradford Weeks, M.D., Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., Erik Paterson, M.D., Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D., Steve Hickey, Ph.D., Andrew W. Saul, Editor and contact person. email: .


  1. Mason M. An old cholesterol remedy is new again. NY Times, January 23, 2007.
  2. Altschul R, Hoffer A & Stephen JD: Influence of nicotinic acid on serum cholesterol in man. Arch Biochem Biophys 54:558-559, 1955.
  3. Sunshine vitamin protects against MS: Huge study suggests vitamin D reduces risk of debilitating disease. The Associated Press, Dec 19, 2006.
  4. Munger KL, Levin LI, Hollis BW, Howard NS, Ascherio A. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and risk of multiple sclerosis. JAMA. 2006 Dec 20;296(23):2832-8.
  5. Munger KL, Zhang SM, O'Reilly E, Hernan MA, Olek MJ, Willett WC, Ascherio A. Vitamin D intake and incidence of multiple sclerosis. Neurology. 2004 Jan 13;62(1):60-5.
  6. Wright ME, Lawson KA, Weinstein SJ, Pietinen P, Taylor PR, Virtamo J, Albanes D. Higher baseline serum concentrations of vitamin E are associated with lower total and cause-specific mortality in the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Nov;84(5):1200-7.
  7. Jenab M, Riboli E, Ferrari P, et al. Plasma and dietary vitamin C levels and risk of gastric cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-URGAST). Carcinogenesis. 2006 Nov;27(11):2250-7.

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