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February 1980

The Vitamin Craze

Author Affiliations

From the Hematology and Nutrition Laboratory, Bronx Veterans Administration Medical Center, and Department of Medicine, State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY.

Arch Intern Med. 1980;140(2):173-176. doi:10.1001/archinte.1980.00330140031014

There would be no controversy about the role of vitamin use in health and disease if all health professionals and those whose commentary on health matters is addressed to the public adhered to facts rather than promoting sensational anecdotes alleging efficacy, and if they heeded the axiom that, in matters of health, no substance is safe until proved safe, or effective until proved effective.1-4

Thousands of people have been misled by deceptive "nutrition information" from nutritionists whose credentials and anecdotal claims fall apart under close scrutiny.2-5 Among the code phrases often used to promote "nutritional" remedies of unproven safety and efficacy are "orthomolecular nutrition," "ecologic nutrition," and "nutritional," "metabolic," "holistic," "unconventional," "alternative," "unorthodox," and "nontoxic" therapy.2,3,6

LAETRILE AND PANGAMIC ACID  The most egregious, specious use of the code phrases of nutrition cultism is in connection with the lucrative sales of the noxious chemical substances pangamic acid and

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