Vitaminteresting Conflict over Arthritis

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Gary Null, Dr. Andrew Weil, General Nutrition Centers, and the other vitamin pitch men trusted by all too many Americans may be responsible for your worsening arthritis.

"Vitamin C May Worsen Arthritis, Study Finds," reports Reuters.

The study, published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, was on guinea pigs and not humans, but these days that seems enough to get everything from plastics to flame retardants banned.

Certainly, the organic-food-promoting "health food" stores believe that animal studies, in the absence of human data, are enough to apply the precautionary principle, and that until we can prove that the product is safe, we should not use it -- not at any dose. You hear them say this about pesticides that are found to cause harm to animals at high doses but not (yet!) to humans.


The only difference here is that vitamin C is, well, a vitamin -- and natural, to boot -- so, well, it must be healthy. The more the better!

The U.S. recommends 90 milligrams of vitamin C to men and 75 to women. But don't tell that to the "health food" stores, where you can easily find 675 mg, more than 10 times what you need -- even if you do not eat the five fruits and vegetables you should be eating daily, which would put you way over the needed amount anyway.

So what is this all about? A call to Dr. Weil's "Vitamin Advisor" made it very clear. Grace, my vitamin advisor (at 1-800-585-5055) looked into my question as to whether Dr. Weil's megadoses of vitamin C "might cause me a problem, if I have arthritis." After a moment on hold (I guess Dr. Weil was not available), she responded that "it may not help, but it certainly won't hurt."

May I take your order?