Original taken from logik_logik in As a Nobel laureate and the greatest charlatan put the whole world on vitamins
10 October 2011 scientific staff of the University of Minnesota (University of Minnesota) found that mortality among women who took multivitamin supplements, and higher than those who did not.
Two days later, researchers from the Cleveland clinic (Cleveland Clinic) found that men taking vitamin E, are at greater risk of cancer of the prostate. “It was a difficult week for vitamins,” said Carrie Genn (Carrie Gann) in the news on TV channel ABC.
Seven earlier studies had already shown that vitamins increased the risk of cancer and heart disease and shorten lifespan. However, in 2012, more than half of all Americans took vitamin supplements.
However, few people realize that the origins passions of vitamins stood one man. This man was so clearly right that he got the Nobel prize, and so clearly wrong that it probably can be considered the world’s biggest charlatan.
In 1931, Linus Pauling (Linus Pauling) published an article in “the journal of the American chemical society” (Journal of the American Chemical Society) under the heading “the Nature of chemical bonds” (The Nature of the Chemical Bond).
Prior to this publication, chemists have been known two types of chemical bonds: ionic, where one atom gives its electron to another atom, and covalent bonds when the atoms share a common electron. Pauling claimed that things are not so simple — total ownership of electrons, in his opinion, should be somewhere between ionic and covalent bonds. The idea of Pauling revolutionized this area by combining quantum physics with chemistry. The concept really was so revolutionary that the journal editor received the manuscript, I could not find anyone who could write her a review. When albert Einstein was asked what he thought of Pauling’s work, he shrugged and replied: “For me it was too hard”.
Per this article Pauling was awarded the Langmuir (Langmuir Prize) most outstanding young scientist-chemist in the United States, he became the youngest member of the National Academy of Sciences, received the title of full Professor at the California Institute of technology (Caltech) and, in addition, he was awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry. The polling at the time was 30 years.
In 1949, Pauling published in the journal Science an article entitled “sickle cell Anemia, a molecular disease” (Sickle Cell Anemia, a Molecular Disease). At that time, scientists have known that hemoglobin (the protein in blood that transports oxygen) crystallized in the cells of people suffering from sickle cell anemia, causing joint pain, minimize blood and death. But they did not understand why this is happening. Pauling showed that sickle hemoglobin has a great electric charge, and is the quality significantly affects how hemoglobin interacts with oxygen. Opening the Pauling gave rise to the scientific field called molecular biology.
In 1951, Pauling published an article in the collection “proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) called “Structure proteins” (The Structure of Proteins). Scientists knew that proteins are composed of groups of amino acids. Pauling suggested that proteins have secondary structure that is determined by how they are superimposed on each other. One configuration he called “alpha-helix” (alpha helix) — later it was used by James Watson (James Watson) Francis Crick (Francis Krick) to explain the structure of DNA.
In 1961 Pauling took blood samples from gorillas, chimpanzees and other apes in the zoo of San Diego. He intended to find out whether you can use mutation in the hemoglobin as a kind of evolutionary clock. Pauling showed that humans separated from gorillas about 11 million years ago, much earlier than expected at the time scientists. One of his colleagues later remarked, “at One stroke he United such science as paleontology, evolutionary biology and molecular biology”.
In 1962 he received the Nobel peace prize and became the first person to receive two Nobel prizes.
But at some point all the thoroughness, hard work and a deep understanding that made Linus Pauling a legend, were frustrated. Speaking of Pauling, one of his colleagues remarked that “his fall was as great as classic tragedy.”
The Bestseller: “Vitamin C”
This turning point came in March 1966 when Pauling was 65 years. He just received the medal of the Carl Neuberg (Carl Neuberg). “While walking in new York, recalled Pauling, I had mentioned how much pleasure I get from reading books about the discoveries made by scientists in various studies of the nature of the world, and said that I hope to live another 25 years in order to continue to receive this pleasure. Back in California, I received a letter from biochemist Irwin stone (Irwin Stone), who took part in the conversation. He wrote that if I follow his recommendations on receiving 3 thousand milligrams of vitamin C, I would live not only 25 five years, and perhaps even more.” Stone, who called himself stone, he studied chemistry at the University. He later received an honorary degree located in Los Angeles chiropractic College and also a doctorate of the University Donsbach (Donsbach University) — non-accredited correspondence Institute in southern California.
Pauling followed the advice of the stone. “I started to feel more fresh and healthy, he said. — Especially in the bitter cold, several times a year throughout my life I’ve had problems, but now these diseases stopped. After a few years I increased my intake of vitamin C is almost 10 times, then 20 times, then 300 times over the recommended dosage (RDA): now this volume is 18 thousand milligrams a day.”
In 1970 he published an article entitled “Vitamin C and the common cold” (Vitamin C and the Common Cold) in which he appealed to the people take 3 thousand milligrams of vitamin C every day (about 50 times the recommended daily consumption). Pauling believed that the common cold may soon become a historical footnote. “It will take several decades to completely eradicate the common cold, — he wrote, — but, as I consider, this disease can be completely brought under control in the United States and some other countries within a few years. I look forward to the moment when I can witness this step to a better world”.
Pauling’s book immediately became a bestseller. Version in paperback under the title “Vitamin C” were printed in 1971 and in 1973 and expanded edition under the title “Vitamin C, the common cold and influenza”, published three years later, contained a promise to prevent the spread predicted in the time of swine fever. Sales of vitamin C doubled, then tripled and even quadrupled. Pharmacies could not cope with the arising demand. By the mid-1970s, 50 million Americans followed the advice of Pauling. Vitamin manufacturers called it “effect of Linus Pauling”.
However, scientists did not share this enthusiasm. On 14 December 1942, about 30 years before Pauling published his first book, Donald Cowan (Cowan Donald), Harold Diehl (Harold Diehl), and Ayb Baker (Abe Baker) has published an article in the “Journal of the American medical Association” (Journal of the American Medical Association) titled “the Use of vitamins for prevention of colds” (Vitamins for the Prevention of Colds). These researchers concluded that “the conditions in their controlled study, in which 980 were studied cases of the flu, … had not received any evidence to suggest that only vitamin C, there is only antihistamines or vitamin C plus anti-histamines, have a large impact on the duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infection”.
He was followed by other studies. After Pauling made the statements, researchers from the University of Maryland began to give 3 thousands milligrams of vitamin C every day 11 volunteers and a sugar pill (placebo) to the other ten participants of the experiment. They were then infected with common colds virus. All cold symptoms were manifested during the same time period. At the University of Toronto researchers observed the effects of vitamin C on 3500 voluntary participants in the experiment. Again, the vitamin C could not prevent colds, and she got sick, even those people who took 2 milligrams a day. In 2002, scientists from the Netherlands were given vitamin C or placebo over 600 volunteers. And again there were no differences. At least 15 the results of conducted research show that vitamin C can fight the common cold. As a result, neither the Management of sanitary supervision of food and drug administration (FDA) nor the American medical Association nor the American dietetic Association, nor the human nutrition Center school of public health Bloomberg the Johns Hopkins University, nor the Department of health and human services — no one recommended that supplementary use of vitamin C to prevent or to treat colds.
Although numerous studies have shown that Pauling was wrong, he refused to believe it and continued to promote vitamin C in speeches, articles for the General public, as well as in books. When he from time to time appeared in front of reporters with obvious signs of colds, he said he suffers from allergies.
After a while Linus Pauling raised the stakes. He claimed that vitamin C not only prevents common cold but also cancer cures.
In 1971 Pauling received a letter from Ewan Cameron (Ewan Cameron), a Scottish surgeon from a small hospital located in the outskirts of Glasgow. Cameron wrote that those cancer patients who were given ten grams of vitamin C every day, feel better than those patients not treated with vitamin C. Pauling came to the wild delight. He decided to publish a letter to Cameron in “memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS). Pauling believed that he, as a member of the Academy has the right to publish the compilations in this article at any time, whenever he wants. Only three articles submitted by members of the Academy were rejected for almost 50 years. However, the article is Pauling was refused, which threw an additional shadow on his reputation as a scientist. Later this article was published in the journal “Oncology” (Oncology) is a professional journal for doctors involved in cancer. When researchers evaluated the data received, their flaws immediately became apparent: those with cancer, to which Cameron gave vitamin C were healthier at the beginning of therapy, and therefore its result and turned out better. After this incident scientists have ceased to take seriously the statements Pauling regarding vitamin C.
However, Linus Pauling still had influence on the media. In 1971 he declared that vitamin C is capable of a 10% reduction in mortality in cancer patients. In 1977 he went even further. “According to my current estimates, a reduction of mortality by 75% can be achieved using only one vitamin C — he wrote, — and an even greater reduction can be obtained by using other food additives”. Pauling claimed that with cancer, reflected, so to speak, in the rear-view mirror of the car, Americans can live longer and be healthier. “Life expectancy will be 100 to 110 years, he said, and over time the maximum age may be extended up to 150 years.”
Cancer patients had received at that moment of hope. Wanting to participate in the Pauling miracle, they demanded that their doctors give them massive doses of vitamin C. “for six or seven years we have received many requests from families of our patients with the requirements to use large doses of vitamin C, recalls John Maris (John Maris), the head of the Oncology Department and Director of the Research center for the study of childhood cancer at the Children’s hospital of Philadelphia (Center for Childhood Cancer Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia). — We tried to resist it. And they said: “Doctor, do you have a Nobel prize?”
Getting hit in an unprotected place, the scientists decided to test the theory Pauling. Charles Tavares (Charles Moertel) of the Mayo Clinic (Mayo Clinic) conducted a study of 150 cancer patients: half of them received ten grams of vitamin C per day, while the rest did not accept it. Patients taking vitamin C, did not differ in symptoms or mortality. “We failed to show therapeutic benefits of high doses of vitamin C,” said Tavares. Pauling was outraged to the limit. He wrote an angry letter to the “Medical journal in New England” (New England Journal of Medicine), in which he claimed that the Mortar had no idea what she is talking about. Of course, the application of vitamin C has not yielded any results: Mortar were treating those patients who have already undergone chemotherapy. According to Pauling, the use of vitamin C gives the result only if the patients did not received chemotherapy.
Hitting refresh, Mertelj conducted another study — the results were the same. “Among patients with measurable disease, none experienced an objective improvement. From which it can be concluded that the therapy with the use of large doses of vitamin C is not effective against malignant disease in an advanced stage regardless of if the patient before or no chemotherapy”. For most doctors it was the end of the story. But not for the Linus Pauling. He just didn’t tolerate any objection. “I’ve never seen him so sad, said Cameron. — He sees the whole thing as an attack on him personally and on his integrity”. Pauling believed that the Mortar study was a “fraud and deliberate misrepresentation”. He had consulted with lawyers about the possibility of bringing the Mortar to the court, but they dissuaded him from this step.
Conducted hereupon studies have shown that the application of vitamin C has no effect in the treatment of cancer.
But Pauling did not give up. Soon he declared that vitamin C, if taken in high doses together with vitamin A (25 thousand international units) and vitamin E (400 to 1,600 international units), as well as selenium (a basic element) and beta-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A) is able to do more than just prevent colds and treat cancer — they can be used to treat almost all known diseases. Pauling claimed that vitamins and vitamin supplements can cure heart diseases, mental disorders, pneumonia, hepatitis, polio, tuberculosis, measles, mumps, chickenpox, meningitis, herpes simplex, herpes fever, aphthous stomatitis, warts, ageing, allergies, asthma, arthritis, diabetes, retinal detachment, strokes, ulcers, shock, typhoid fever, tetanus, dysentery, whooping cough, leprosy, hay fever, burns, fractures, wounds, heat stroke, altitude sickness, radiation poisoning, glaucoma, kidney failure, influenza, disorder of the bladder, stress, rabies and snake bites. When the AIDS virus appeared in America in the 1970s, Pauling claimed that using vitamins can be cured and this disease.
Ketchup as an antioxidant?
6 April 1992 on the cover of Time magazine — among colorful pills and capsules — adorned phrase: “the Real power of vitamins: new research shows that they help fight cancer, heart disease, and the ravages of aging”. Published in the journal the article was written by Toufexis Anastasia (Anastasia Toufexis), and there were heard echoes of insufficiently informed and already refuted notions about the miraculous qualities of vitamins. “More and more scientists are beginning to suspect that traditional medical views of vitamins and minerals have been too limited, said Toufexis. — Vitamins — sometimes in doses far exceeding the recommended is capable to protect the person from many diseases, including birth defects and cataracts, heart disease and cancer. Even more provoking are hints about what the vitamins can delay the devastating effects of ageing”. Toufexis enthusiastically noted that “the pharmaceutical giant Hoffmann — La Roch feels so excited about beta-carotene that it plans next year to open in Freeport, Texas, plant, which will produce 350 tons of nutrients, and this amount will be sufficient to supply a daily 6-miligramos capsule every adult American.”
National Association for foods (NNFA) — a lobby group representing the interests of manufacturers of vitamins — just couldn’t believe my luck and called published in the Time magazine article “a turning point for the industry”. In order to get rid of the attention of the Administration on sanitary inspection behind quality of foodstuff and medicines (FDA), NNFA presented a large number of copies of the journal to each member of the Congress of the USA. Speaking at the specialized exhibition in the end of 1992, Toufexis said: “For 15 of work in Time magazine, I wrote many articles with the illustration on the cover, is devoted to the health problems. But I have never seen such a reaction, as it occurs with the article about vitamins. The entire edition was sold out, and we got bombarded with requests for additional copies. But instances no more. The magazine with the article on “vitamins” is by far the most well-selling issue of the magazine this year”.
Although the research conducted did not confirm his position, Pauling believed that vitamins and supplements have one quality that makes them a universal healing tool, and this quality is found in everything from ketchup to pomegranate juice, and it competes with such words as natural and organic when exposed on sale — we are talking about antioxidants.
In 1994 the national cancer Institute (National Cancer Institute) in collaboration with the National Institute of public health of Finland (National Public Health Institute) conducted a study of 29 thousand Finns, and they were all heavy smokers aged more than 50 years. This group was chosen because they were more exposed to the risk of cancer and heart disease. The study participants were given vitamin E, beta-carotene or both or nothing at all. The results were clear: those subjects who took vitamins and supplements, had a great chance of dying from cancer or heart disease than those who didn’t take it — and this result was the opposite of what scientists expected.
In 1996 the scientific staff located in Seattle Research center for the study of cancer Fred Hutchinson (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center) conducted a study of 18 thousand people who were previously exposed to asbestos and therefore were subjected to higher risk of cancer of the throat. Once again participants in the study had received vitamin A, beta-carotene, both, or nothing. Researchers suddenly interrupted the experiment when they realized that people who took vitamins and supplements were dying from cancer and heart disease by 28% and 17%, respectively, faster than those study participants who did not.
In 2004 academic staff of the University of Copenhagen examined 14 randomly selected control cases with the participation of more than 170 thousand people who took vitamins A,C, E, and beta-carotene, and this was done in order to determine whether antioxidants can prevent bowel cancer. And antioxidants again fell short of expectations, resulting from raised the hype around them. “We were unable to find evidence that antioxidant supplements can prevent gastrointestinal cancer; on the contrary, they apparently increase the overall level of mortality,” concluded the scientists who conducted the study. When these same researchers assessed seven best experiments, they found that the mortality rate was 6% higher in people who took vitamins.
In 2005, the scientific staff of the Medical faculty of the University named Johns Hopkins (Johns Hopkins School of Medicine) has evaluated 19 studies involving 136 of thousands of people and found an increased risk of death when using supplemental vitamin E. Dr. Benjamin Caballero (Benjamin Caballero), Director of the human nutrition Center school of public health Bloomberg University and Johns Hopkins University (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health), said: “This confirms what others have said. Evidence of improvements with the use of any vitamins, especially vitamin E, simply no. The idea that humans are not causing them harm vitamins may not be so simple”. In the same year in a study published in the “Journal of the American medical Association”, were the results of the study, more than 9 thousand people who took large doses of vitamin E to prevent cancer; it turned out that those people who took vitamin E had a greater chance of getting heart disease than those study participants who did not.
In 2007, researchers of the National cancer Institute (National Cancer Institute) conducted a survey of 11 thousand men who took or did not take multivitamins. In the end it turned out that taking multivitamins research participants were subjected to a two times greater risk of death from prostate cancer.
In 2008 a review of all studies, with the participation of more than 230 thousand people who took or did not take the additional amount of antioxidants, have shown that vitamins increased the risk of cancer and heart disorders.
10 October 2011 scientific staff of the University of Minnesota evaluated 39 thousand older women and found that those who took more multivitamins, magnesium, zinc, copper and iron died more often than those who did not. “Based on available data, we see little justification for the General and widespread use of dietary supplements”, said it conducted research experts.
Two days later, on 12 October, researchers at the Cleveland clinic published the results of a study of 36 thousand men who took vitamin E, and selenium, or did not take anything. They found that people who took vitamin E were 17% more at risk of prostate cancer. According to the study, Steven Nissen (Steven Nissen), head of the cardiology Department at the Cleveland clinic, said: “the Concept of the use of multivitamins was imposed on Americans is concerned about its interests nutraceutical industry, and it was done for profit”. October 25, the headline of the Wall Street Journal was submitted question: “will there be an end to the hype about vitamins?” However, published research has had no impact on sales. In 2010, the vitamin industry has received a total of $ 28 billion, which is 4.4% more than in 2009. “As for published studies, we have to move forward, said Joseph Fortunato (Fortunato Joseph), CEO of General Nutrition Centers. — We see no impact on our business”.
How is that possible? Free radicals clearly damage cells, and the people using diets with a large number of substances that can neutralize free radicals are healthier — but why in this case study of supplemental antioxidants has shown that they are actually harmful? The most likely explanation is that free radicals are not as harmful as they are. Although it is clear that free radicals can damage DNA and destroy the cell membrane, this in itself is not always bad. People need free radicals to kill bacteria and destroy new cancer cells. But when people take large doses of antioxidants, the balance between production of free radicals and their destruction can move in one direction and cause, thus, an unnatural condition in which the immune system is less able to kill harmful invaders. Scientists call this the “paradox of antioxidants”. Whatever the reason, the evidence is very clear: high doses of vitamins and supplements increase the risk of cancer and heart diseases; for this reason, no national or international organizations responsible for public health, they are not recommended.
In may 1980 during an interview with the Oregon state University Linus Pauling said, “does vitamin C have any side effects with long-term use in gram quantities?” Pauling’s answer was quick and decisive: “No,” he said.
After seven months his wife died from stomach cancer. In 1994, Linus Pauling died from prostate cancer.