Vitamin Megatherapy and Respectful

Kendrick Frazier

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My father was a small-town pharmacist, and he always told us that vitamins beyond what our bodies need are excreted out of our systems. So why now, many decades later, is that commonsense lesson so little known and heeded? Billons of dollars are spent on unneeded and worthless megavitamin therapy, and the craze continues. In our cover story, medical researcher Reynold Spector examines this situation, especially regarding irrational use of megavitamins C and E. A noted clinical pharmacologist and former research scientist into the inner workings of the blood-brain and blood–cerebrospinal fluid barriers, Spector is in a good position to judge the misinformation and misrepresentations about megavitamin therapy.

He acknowledges that there are certain rare cases where extra doses of vitamins C and E are needed, but in general the mass use of taking megavitamin doses for those who don’t require them is an “unwise and wasteful” practice. It has much in common with other forms of so-called alternative medicine.

Spector didn’t tell us this, but I discovered that there is a Reynold Spector Award in Clinical Pharmacology named for him, “recognizing Dr. Spector’s dedication and contributions in clinical pharmacology.” In retirement, Spector has combined his distinguished biomedical background with explorations of superstitions and misconceptions. This is now, by my count, his seventh article for the Skeptical Inquirer.

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