I already blogged about the evidence that Vitamin C supplementation may make us more insulin resistant and render exercise useless, but the bad news about vitamin supplementation just keeps pouring in.
Vitamin C supplementation, it turns out, is also associated with a higher rate of cataracts. This finding emerged in a long study of 24,593 women 49–83 years old from the Swedish Mammography Cohort who were followed from September 1997 to October 2005. Data about their supplement use was collected by questionnaire, and cataract extraction cases were identified by linkage to the cataract extraction registers in the geographical study area (where there is a public health system).
The study found that
Among women aged 65 years or more, vitamin C supplement use increased the risk of cataract by 38% (95% CI: 12%, 69%). Vitamin C use among hormone replacement therapy users compared with that among nonusers of supplements or of hormone replacement therapy was associated with a 56% increased risk of cataract (95% CI: 20%, 102%)Vitamin C supplements and the risk of age-related cataract: a population-based prospective cohort study in women Susanne Rautiainen et al. Am J Clin Nutr (November 18, 2009). doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28528
Since cataracts are something that are already more prevalent in people with diabetes, this is another reason to limit your Vitamin C intake to what you get in lower carb fruits and vegetables.
Bad News About Niacin
Niacin is heavily promoted as a heart disease fighter but it turns out people with diabetes appear to have less ability to rid the body of niacin and that high levels may promotes insulin resistance.
You can read about this finding here:
Diabetes In Control: Nicotinamide Overload a Trigger for Type 2 Diabetes.
The study discussed in the Science Daily article is:
Nicotinamide overload may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. Shi-Sheng Zhou, et al. World J Gastroenterol 2009 December 7; 15(45): 5674-5684
The authors speculate that the commercial addition of B vitamins to foods like cereal and bread may be harmful. In addition, they note that niacin is eliminated from they body by sweating, which casts an interesting light on why exercise might be helpful to people with diabetes.
Lots of Bad News About Statins
Moving on, hidden in a press release describing a study published in the journal, Ophthalmology, a study conducted to learn whether statins might decrease Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the news that statins not only don't prevent Age Related Macular Degeneration, a major cause of blindness, but
Statin users were at slightly higher risk than non-users for developing advanced AMD,The study is discussed here:
Science Daily: Can Heart Disease Treatments Combat Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
The answer to the question posted in the title of the Science Daily article, turns out to be a resounding "No!" But it takes awhile to figure that out. As is so distressingly common, you will read several paragraphs which make it sound as if low dose aspirin had a protective effect on AMD, only to run up to this phrase,
"Though not statistically significant, the WHS risk reduction is similar to the result of the only other large randomized trial on this question..."Why do people who are supposed to be reputable scientists get away with making statements like this? Not statistically significant means, "Even after we played all the games we could with these statistics we had to admit our results could easily be attributed to chance."
When reporting the association between statin use and an increased risk of AMD the chief researcher struggles to ignore her finding:
Dr. Maguire said several factors may be masking a protective effect for statins, the most important being that most patients who take statins for CVD are also at high risk for AMD. Only a randomized controlled trial could reveal statins' impact on AMD in the wider population, but since so many elderly people take statins it could be difficult to recruit a control groupShe then suggests that maybe a longer study would find the protective effect she couldn't find.
But her whole comment reeks of the religious belief that statins must be good for people. In view of this, the last sentence is particularly disturbing as it tells us that despite the publication of study after study that fails to find benefits for most older people in taking statins, so many older people are now taking them that it is impossible to find a control group who do not.
This also means we will have a tough time linking any rise in "Age Related" blindness to these drugs if in fact statins are contributing to the rise.
And if that doesn't depress you enough, another study found that two different statins have a disturbing impact on several proteins associated with dementia.
Science Daily: Show Statins Show Dramatic Drug And Cell Dependent Effects In The Brain
Differential effects of simvastatin and pravastatin on expression of Alzheimer's disease-related genes in human astrocytes and neuronal cells. Weijiang Dong et al. The Journal of Lipid Research, 2009; 50 (10): 2095 DOI: 10.1194/jlr.M900236-JLR200
You rarely hear about the finding that statins can cause dementia, sometimes irreversibly, because of the saturation marketing for these drugs that has doctors and patients alike completely brainwashed, but it is well documented. You can find the citations to that documentation HERE.
Antidepressants Don't Work Better Than Placebo for Most Of Those Who Get Them
Tragic news for those of you who are reading this blog because you became insulin resistant after taking an SSRI antidepressant is the convincing finding that for people with mild and moderate depression, these antidepressants are no more effective than a placebo--i.e. a sugar pill.
Before you protest that they helped you, I want to define "severe depression" which is the only kind of depression the studies find these drugs apparently can help. If you were able to get up in the morning, get out of bed, make it to work or school, no matter how sad you felt, you did not have severe depression. Severe depression is the kind that ends up causing people to need hospitalization. I've seen it and it's very different from the mild condition that is so common--and so profitable to the people who market SSRIs.
What this study demonstrates is that even though people might attribute feeling better to the drugs, there is no evidence the drugs did anything more than make them think they should feel better. So if the pills helped you, so would laying on of hands, a sprinkle of fairy dust, expensive guga-guga extract from far off Wabutuland, or anything else you believed would have magical powers.
When a large study shows something works no better than a placebo, it means that it is worthless. Unfortunately, these worthless SSRI drugs make people fat, increase their insulin resistance, and may be a factor contributing to the so-called "obesity epidemic." If you need a placebo, go with something harmless like acupuncture, or fairy dust. SSRIs have very bad side effects.
Antidepressant Drug Effects and Depression Severity Jay C. Fournier, et al. JAMA. 2010;303(1):47-53.
And along with that bad news we get the even worse news is that one out of eight people who go to a doctor for help with depression are now being prescribed one of the highly dangerous antipsychotic medications which are known, for a fact, to cause diabetes.
Science Daily: More U.S. Patients Receive Multiple Psychotropic Medications
National Trends in Psychotropic Medication Polypharmacy in Office-Based Psychiatry. Ramin Mojtabai; Mark Olfson. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 2010; 67 (1): 26-36
These drugs are meant for people who are hearing voices and are unable to function without them. For them, the choice of living with diabetes or schizophrenia may be an easy one. But the drug companies are marketing these powerful antipsychotics to family doctors who have no idea how to use them appropriately and they are producing a new generation of diabetics.
That's enough bad news for now. I'm going to have discuss the new marketing efforts being employed to convince doctors that weight loss surgery, despite its significant risk of death, is an appropriate cure for people with diabetes no matter what they weigh. But not yet.