Skepchick Quickies 7.23


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. I am pretty sure that the Vitamin thing was due to more than just Pauling. Sure he may have been one of the bigger Vitamin quacks but he certainly wasn’t the only one or even the first. And the likes of Kellogs push the benefits of vitamins every day at breakfast.

    The guy who was peddling Laetrile decided to call it a Vitamin (B12) and sell it as a health supplement so as to bypass FDA testing. Now there is a guy telling people that it will cure their cancer. The stuff metabolizes to cyanide.

    1. A possible reason for the popularity of vitamins is that if you have a cold and you take a big glass of OJ you feel a lot better for it. As I have just proved.

      But the feeling better probably has more to do with the intake of sugar than the Vitamin C. The Vitamin C might well have an effect but it is not an effect that you would expect to feel so fast as a sudden rush of sugar in the blood.

    2. I’m doing some academic research that lead me to the whole story of laetrile. I can’t believe that people are still taking it, and therefore still dying from it.

      1. People are still doing the homeopathy thing, still doing the chiropractic thing. I am not at all surprised that Laetrile is still a going thing.

        The idea that a poison could cure cancer is hardly controversial, that is simply conventional chemotherapy. The problem with Laetrile is that while there is pretty good evidence that chemo kills the cancer cells faster than the healthy ones, there is no such evidence for Laterile. The main way these things kill is by persuading people not to get the treatment they need.

        Oh and I got the vitamin wrong, it is B17, not B12 that they claim is Laatrile. Though it was never an official designation by any recognized group.

    1. True, but supplements since then have been associated with deregulation (DSHEA), HIV denialism (Rath), and a lot of other nasty stuff that…The only reason anyone takes supplements is because they don’t know the facts about the supplement industry.

      Now, of course, if you’re a vegan, you need a B12 supplement; the same might be said for a few other extremely restrictive diets. That really is the extent to which people in the First World need vitamin pills.

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