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August 11, 1975

Megavitamin This and Megavitamin That

Author Affiliations

AMA Department of Foods and Nutrition Chicago

JAMA. 1975;233(6):538-539. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03260060048021

Elsewhere in this issue (p 550), Prof Thomas Jukes has a piece on megavitamin therapy. It is a bold article addressing a subject that has more popular appeal than scientific credibility. Megavitamin therapy means dosage with massive quantities of the vitamins (usually specified in grams), not dosage with amounts a million times the human requirement. Megavitamin therapy raises questions of propriety, regulatory process, pharmacology, and toxicology as well as professional and public responsibility.

Impressive public figures, from two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling to members of Congress, apparently support the concept. Public acceptance of the practice is so deeply rooted that more than 20 bills have been introduced to weaken proposed regulations published by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and to pave the way for pharmacological lunacy. As pointed out by Prof Jukes, the movement to destroy the FDA regulations was generated primarily by the National Health Federation (NHF).