Vitamins, Minerals Need “Black Box Warning” Says Vaccine King Paul Offit
Who pulls Paul Offit, MD’s strings? Offit’s latest interview with Medscape’s Eric Topol, MD, makes the answer completely clear. Discussing ‘Do You Believe In Magic.’ Offit’s latest book, which is explicitly anti-supplement, Topol and Offit openly criticize natural remedies with such absurdities as fish oil has since ‘been found to cause cancer’ and that fish oil, vitamins, minerals and other supplements would come with a “black box warning” if they were regulated. 
Drs. Offit and Topol both conveniently ‘forget’ that natural medicine has been used successfully for hundreds of thousands of years and has benefited millions of users without side effects, worldwide. Equally conveniently, they ‘forget’ that according to the Journal of the American Medical Association and other mainstream journals, properly used pharmaceutical medicines are among the leading cause of death in the US and UK. 
The American Medical Journal states:
“According to information we have received, a statistical study of hospital deaths in the U.S. conducted at the University of Toronto revealed that pharmaceutical drugs kill more people every year than are killed in traffic accidents.” 
Likewise, a study published in 2004 in the British Medical Journal by Munir Pirmohamed, professor of clinical pharmacology, and his team, concluded that:
“The burden of ADRs (adverse drug reactions) on the NHS is high, accounting for considerable morbidity, mortality, and extra costs. Although many of the implicated drugs have proved benefit, measures need to be put into place to reduce the burden of ADRs and thereby further improve the benefit:harm ratio of the drugs.” 
Nutrients, supplements and herbs, on the other hand, kill virtually no one, year in and year out.  But the entire science of clinical nutrition, and biochemistry, its parent science, makes it clear that while drugs may mimic the information and compounds present in nutrients, they do so poorly and toxically at best. Frequently, they act as anti-nutrients, blocking the vital functions of nutrients in the body leading to side effects and toxicities which are often treated not with nutrients, but more drugs, compounding the problem. See Bill Sardi ‘Who’s Hiding the Bodies? Vitamin Makers or Big Pharma’ 
The two doctors appear to have ‘forgotten’ that the consistently nutrition-hostile FDA in the US, the TGA in Australia and other similar agencies in other countries DO regulate nutrients and supplements and any suspected toxicity or infringement of regulatory requirements is selectively enforced against nutrients in a way that pharmaceuticals and vaccines never have.
Dr. Offit ‘Forgot’ that Correlation Is Not Causation
Fish oil is the natural oil found in the tissues of oily cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, fish that we have been encouraged to eat for many years as they are said to boost concentration, brain development and prevent heart disease.
However, when asked by Topol whether or not he would revise his book due to recent studies showing that fish oil didn’t do anything for preventing heart disease, Offit replied:
“Dr. Offit: Absolutely. Harper Collins is the publisher; it is a big publisher. This book was written a year and a half ago, so it takes a while to get those books out. I absolutely would revise it, and there were some recent studies that showed that at least the antioxidant part of omega-3 fatty acids actually could increase your risk for such things as cancer, so I absolutely would revise it. That is the problem with books – they are written at a specific point in time.” (Emphasis added)
If Offit is correct and fish oil can really lead to the risk of cancer, then why do we not see cancer rates spiralling out of control in countries such as Italy and Japan, where these foods have been part of their staple diet for thousands of years?
I am guessing that Dr. Offit is referring to, although it is not specified, the 2012 study by researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre entitled ‘Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk in the SELECT Trial’ . In it, Theodore M. Brasky and his team studied whether there was a higher rate of prostrate cancer among men who took fish oil supplements or omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fatty fish like sardines and salmon. 
The researchers did find a relationship, however, according to Mark Hyman MD who researched this study in depth, their results showed a correlation, not a causation.
Dr. Hyman said:
“This study used what is called a retrospective case controlled cohort design. Simply put, to make their conclusions, researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center used data from a previous study conducted in 2011 called the SELECT (Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial). It’s important to note that the original SELECT study did not have the same objective as this current one. It wasn’t designed to determine whether fish oil led to prostate cancer. The fact that both studies didn’t have the same goal calls into question whether the old data is even relevant to the new study.
What we can be sure of is that association does not prove cause and effect. If this had been an intervention design study, where half the participants got fish oil and half didn’t and they were followed for 20 years to see if they got prostate cancer, then you can say pretty definitively that they are connected. Bottom line, this type of study does not prove cause and effect. If I did a study on sunrise and humans waking up, I would find 100% correlation, but that doesn’t mean that the sun came up because you woke up. Correlation, yes; causation, no.” 
We all know that a correlation is not causation and never will be. Closer inspection showed that the Brasky study is methodologically unsound and dismally lacking in factual content. For example the fish that these men consumed may have been contaminated with mercury or toxic waste. It is generally accepted that mercury is a devastating systemic poison: “exposure to high levels can damage your brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system.” ‘MedicineNet’ 
If the fish had of been contaminated, it may have been the contamination exposure that caused these men to develop from prostate cancer rather than the fish oil itself.
According to the ‘Alliance for Natural Health,’ who also reported on the study, assumptions were made that were not accounted for and this may have led to what they call ‘the misleading conclusions.’ 
I, too, found the study to be seriously flawed: the researchers had ‘forgotten’ (or worse) to look at crucial variables, such as the subjects’ ages, smoking status, alcohol consumption, environmental exposure to known prostate carcinogens, genetic history and general health.
Do You Believe in Magic? Dr. Offit Does, Saying “Large Doses Of Vitamins Can Lead To Heart Disease And Death”
Referring to the section of Offit’s book called ‘What’s Really in the Bottle,’ discussing the vitamin industry, Topol asks:
“I didn’t know the background about how unregulated the industry is until I got into your book. I found it fascinating that this cartel of vitamin supplement companies came together in Santa Barbara and put out this big campaign with Mel Gibson [featured in commercials]. That was amazing to me.
Can you comment about the politics and the background that has prevented the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from having their rightful oversight of this humongous area of health and medicine?”
“People have this sort of false notion that there is big pharma on one side and then on this other side, there are just a group of people who want to make natural products, and that they are being made by elves and old hippies on mountainsides”
Given that the nutrient industry is, in fact, heavily regulated, Dr. Offit reveals in this astonishing statement that he really, does believe in magic – the kind of magic where just by naming something, in this case a supposed ‘lack of regulation for nutrients’, automatically makes it real. I believe that in psychiatry they call this type of magical thinking, psychosis.
What is it called in science? Perhaps ‘self interest’ or ‘conflict of interest’ or even ‘deeply unethical and corrupt distortion’, given the fact that Dr. Offit makes many millions of dollars annually from his support of, participation in, and regulation of, the industry to which the supplement industry is the single largest economic competitor. 
In the above-referenced quote, is Dr. Offit saying that the general public are all incredibly stupid and that none of us is sufficiently educated to know that big pharma has their fingers in all sorts of pies, including making money manufacturing and peddling multivitamins which are generally adulterated, GMO derived and nutritionally worthless?  Or is he suggesting that the general public is led by the continuing ‘poison press’ that declaims constantly, using incredibly poor science, against the use of nutrients to replace pharmaceuticals? 
“That is not the way that it works, and not surprisingly, when you have a big industry, which at least up until the early 1970s was unregulated, initially the interest by the FDA was to regulate the megavitamin industry — because they felt that there was no clear evidence that giving vitamins at 150% or more of the recommended daily allowance was of value, and they worried that it would be harmful. At the time, there weren’t data to show that it was harmful. Now there are. Now there are more than 20 studies to show that if you take large quantities of vitamin A or vitamin E or beta-carotene, which is a vitamin A precursor, you actually increase your risk for cancer and increase your risk for heart disease.”
After listening to his interview with Dr. Topl, here is the response of one of the authors of this article, Rima E. Laibow, MD, Medical Director of the Natural Solutions Foundation, www.DrRimaTruthReports.com:
“What Dr. Offit leaves out (forgets?) is that these studies are invariably conducted with poor quality, substandard, often GMO-derived, poorly available and, in some cases toxic synthetic variants of the nutrients which have already been shown to be toxic. They are often given at the wrong doses and, as in the case of Vitamin E, given as a single molecule (alpha tocopherol) which is known to be toxic unless given as a mixed species (mixed tocopherol) making it very suspicious indeed that the outcome desired was, in fact, a demonstration of toxicity which was achieved by rigging the study.
Further the statement is riddled with inaccuracies. There are, quite literally, thousands of studies showing that nutrient dense diets and supplementation prevent and reverse cancer and heart disease. Offit continues to imply that regulation of nutrients is absent while regulation of drugs is active and this somehow renders drugs safe and nutrients dangerous.
The truth is quite clear: drugs are major killers. Nutrients are not. BUT contaminated, impure, low quality supplements are, as Dr. Offit says, dangerous. So are contaminated, impure, low quality food and ALL pharmaceuticals, including the vaccines that Dr. Offit so loves, as a testament to his commitment to, and belief in, magical. Part of his magic system is apparently the magic of very big numbers: ‘Give me $48 million dollars per year and I will magically believe that your drug or vaccine is good for people!’”
Dr. Offit repeatedly makes his belief in magic clear, by stating just how safe and efficient prescription drugs are in comparison to the massive dangers he says are hidden in the vitamin bottle. Although, as usual, he presents only sweeping generalizations rather than checkable facts (a hallmark of magic as opposed to science), I am guessing that he is referring to the studies he referenced in his June, 2013, article for the New York Times entitled ‘Don’t Take Your Vitamins’ where he says:
“Nutrition experts argue that people need only the recommended daily allowance — the amount of vitamins found in a routine diet. Vitamin manufacturers argue that a regular diet doesn’t contain enough vitamins, and that more is better. Most people assume that, at the very least, excess vitamins can’t do any harm. It turns out, however, that scientists have known for years that large quantities of supplemental vitamins can be quite harmful indeed.
In my experience, nutrition experts definitely do NOT agree that the recommended daily allowance will promote health. Pharmaceutical shills posing as nutrition experts agree on that. Their absurd, anti-scientific position has nothing to do with biochemical individuality, disease prevention or health promotion but does have everything to do with drug sales!”
Offit continues by quoting a 1994 study in ‘The New England Medical Journal’ where 29,000 Finnish men, all smokers, were given one of the following: vitamin E, beta carotene, or a placebo. The study found that those who had taken beta-carotene for five to eight years were more likely to die from lung cancer or heart disease.
However, on reading the study further, I found that the researchers had excluded references to the following information: how long the men had been smoking, how ill they were before the study took place, how many cigarettes they smoked per day and how many other diseases that they may have had before participating in the study. 
This study is deeply flawed and has been widely repudiated for its lack of scientific credibility. 
According to Offit, the same journal published another paper two years later in which 18,000 people at an increased risk from lung cancer due to their exposure to either asbestos or smoking, received a combination of vitamin A and beta carotene, or a placebo. Offit explains that the investigators stopped the study when they found that the risk of death from lung cancer for those who took the vitamins was 46 percent higher.
Flawed Studies Lead To Flawed Results
In the computer world, the useful concept of Garbage In, Garbage Out is widely known by its abbreviation, ‘GIGO’. The studies used by Dr. Paul Offit to support his position are what I would refer to as ‘GIGO Studies’.
Scientists and the medical profession often use GIGO Studies to demonstrate how dangerous a natural product is. These studies are heavily weighted in favor of those funding the study to give the appearance that a product is safe and effective when in reality it is dangerous.
Eli Lilly, the creator of thimerosal, demonstrated this in the original thimerosal studies in 1930. (Thimerosal is a supposed “preservative” used in vaccines: it is approximately 50% ethyl mercury by weight.) To prove that thimersol was safe to use in vaccinations, Eli Lilly ‘tested’ it on twenty-two terminally ill, meningitis patients. When they all died within weeks of being injected, researchers reported thimerosal as safe since they claimed that the patients had died from meningitis and that they would have died anyway! The FDA accepted this GIGO Study and classified thimerosal as a GRAS or Generally Regarded As Safe substance requiring no further investigation. 
How can we trust what we are told when worthless studies like this are regularly taking place and highly enmeshed and financially conflicted ‘experts’ like Paul Offit frequently cite them as evidence for their position?
Prescription Deaths Versus Vitamin Deaths
In an article titled ‘Who’s Hiding The Dead Bodies? The Vitamin Makers or Big Pharma?’ author Bill Sardi asks why it is that ‘The New York Times’ has seen fit to give Dr Paul Offit unopposed space in their opinion pages when in his opinion Offit cannot even accurately interpret a scientific report? I second Mr. Sardi’s question: Why indeed? 
Sardi states that there has not been a single death attributed to vitamin or mineral supplements in the past few years and compares this to the number of patients that have died after being prescribed prescription drugs in hospital. He writes:
“According to authoritative reports, properly–used prescription drugs, administered by nurses in a hospital (not overdosed), kill about 107,000 Americans a year.” [Own emphasis added]
However, despite the mounting and irrefutable evidence that it is not vitamins that are dangerous but prescription drugs, Offit continues to insist that vitamins should be taken off the market and wants the consumer to conclude that vitamins are harmful.
I would counter by suggesting that the consumer asks why it is that approximately 50% of fully approved prescription drugs are quietly pulled from the market within five years of being introduced because of their toxicity and why they were permitted to enter the market in the first place when there are so many safe and effective alternatives to be found among vitamins and minerals!
Jon Rappaport Shows Offit’s ‘Evidence’ Is Absurd
On 7th October 2013, Jon Rappaport gave two excellent quotes from a study by the ‘Dr. Rath Health Foundation’. Rappaport wrote that he found the link to the study in the middle of an interesting article by Dr. Aleksandra Niedzwiecki entitled ‘Commentary on the Safety of Vitamins’ stating that:
“In 2010, not one single person [in the US] died as a result of taking vitamins (Bronstein, et al, (2011) Clinical Toxical, 49 (10), 910-941).”
Rappaport continued by adding that:
“In 2004, the deaths of 3 people [in the US] were attributed to the intake of vitamins. Of these, 2persons were said to have died as a result of mega doses of vitamins D and E, and one person as a result of an overdose of iron and fluoride. Data from: ‘Toxic Exposure Surveillance System 2004, Annual Report, Am. Assoc. of Poison Control Centers.”’ [Fluoride is a known toxin, not a nutritional mineral and should NEVER be consumed for any purpose – Dr. Laibow]
Comparing that to the 2.2 million US hospitalized patients who suffer from serious adverse reaction to properly prescribed prescription drugs every year in the US, Rappaport added that the FDA and it’s quack buster allies (would that include Offit?) go after vitamins, demean what they call ‘unproven remedies’ (‘forgetting’ about the widespread use of off-label prescribing by doctors which is so strongly encouraged by the drug companies that make the dangerous prescription drugs), and generally taking every possible opportunity to ‘warn’ people against natural options, which they demean by calling ‘alternatives’ on the basis that they aren’t scientifically supported.
Rappaport states that:
“Meanwhile, the very drugs these mobsters are promoting—and in the case of the FDA, CERTIFYING AS SAFE AND EFFECTIVE—are killing and maiming people at a staggering rate.” 
Put like that, it does make Dr Offit’s evidence look rather pathetic, doesn’t it?
Offit Compares Vitamins to the Dangerous Temporarily Banned Drug, Vioxx
Towards the end of the interview in response to a question asked by Dr. Topol, Offit compared the lack of regulation of vitamins to the dangerous and fully regulated drug Vioxx, which was briefly taken off the market after it caused tens of thousands of deaths in 2005 (although it was returned to the market soon after and is now approved for use in children, as well) 
“Dr. Topol: But Paul, what I don’t understand is that you have got large randomized
trials published in the highest-impact, most highly regarded journals that take down,
like you said, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin A for various things — and yet no
information goes to the public. There is no oversight. How is this going to get fixed?”
Dr. Offit replies but stating:
“You know this better than anybody. I mean, when Vioxx (rofecoxib) was eventually clearly shown to increase one’s risk for heart attacks, you knew it. The FDA regulated Vioxx. They put out media releases, and ultimately that product was taken off the market.”
Just whom does he think he is kidding?
In the five long years that it took the FDA to finally remove this exceptionally dangerous, regulated, fully unrestricted and approved drug from the open market, it had killed at least a massive 60,000 people in the US alone. Merck, the manufacturer, received little more than a slap on wrist with fines amounting to a mere $321 million in exchange for a guilty plea to a misdemeanour. This is despite the fact that Merck had lied all the way to the bank, even hiring ghostwriters to write their research studies for them. 
Offit’s Shocking Conflicts Of Interest
Maybe Dr. Offit is just protecting his financial assets when he fights so hard to protect the pharmaceutical industry. After all, he does have massive conflicts of interest and can therefore hardly be thought of as impartial, now can he?
These are just a few of these conflicts:
- He is the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), which recently became the first hospital in the world to ban the use of ANY nutrients for its patients!
- He is a consultant to Merck the manufacturer of Rotateq®, a vaccine for rotavirus, for which he is a patent holder and which he developed with Merck.
Despite that (or because of it?) he voted for Rotateq®’s approval as a member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), voting himself vast profits as a consequence. The fact that Rotateq® is well known to be an especially dangerous vaccine, associated with increased incidence of meningitis, life-threatening bowel problems and serious pneumonia was, apparently, not a reason for him to vote against the approval of his own vaccine, nor was the serious conflict of interest enough for him to excuse himself from the panel. Making this into ethical behaviour is, I would say, a good example of very magical thinking, wouldn’t you?
- He is the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) where, presumably, he recommends the use of vaccines and, apparently, moves against the use of nutrients, a magical disregard of both biochemistry and physiology.
CHOP has become the first hospital in the world to forbid the use of nutrients to its patients indicating that they, too, have been infected with Dr. Offit’s particular brand of magic belief: drugs are safe, nutrients are not, drugs are necessary for life, nutrients are not.
- He sits on the advisory boards of Every Child By Two and PKIDS, the Immunization Action Coalition. His vaccine interests are supported handsomely by his membership on these boards, of course.   
Dr. Offit manages to promulgate his views and promote his products at every turn. After all, healthy people do not buy drugs and healthy immune systems do not succumb to infectious and other diseases. Is it any wonder he slams natural remedies in favour of vaccines and prescription drugs? It is surely the height of magical thinking to believe that personal power and gain do not perpetuate themselves and that the actions of a vaccine patent-holding, true believer would not be tainted against those things that make his drug of choice unnecessary.
Offit also believes in the magic of incantation: say something and it becomes real, right in front of our eyes. He often repeats claim that vaccines are safe, so safe in fact that a baby could accept 10,000 vaccines without ill effect. This of course is the purest waving of wands (well, syringes, in this case) and mumbo jumbo. 
The numbers do not lie: more vaccines = more diseases of childhood and the whole life-span (shortened though it may be). More nutrients = fewer diseases of childhood and a lengthened life span. 
However, financially rewarded ‘experts’ lie when they have no moral compass and a huge conflict of interest and this I believe, describes the magical Dr. Offit perfectly.
It is a well-documented fact that Offit condemns vitamins and natural remedies at every opportunity, despite the reality of huge numbers of adverse events and deaths from prescription drugs which so far outweigh the deaths caused by vitamins in such a way that no statistically meaningful comparison is possible. (Any number divided by zero is, after all, a meaningless number.)
Not only is Offit heavily tied into the pharmaceutical industry and therefore has massive conflicts of interest, the studies that he uses to back up his claims are so deeply flawed that they cannot be used as reliable evidence (‘GIGO Studies’).
Incantations in magic frequently rhyme. Here is a little voodoo spell to weave around yourself the next time you might be tempted to pay serious attention to the nonsense and pseudoscience of Dr. Paul Offit and his enchanted buddies:
And, Shazam! The magic of the pronouncements is gone!