Are Antioxidant Supplements Such as Vitamin C Harmful?

vitamincDr. Offit says yes. Our experts say no. Here’s why.

Last month we told you about Dr. Paul A. Offit, who wrote a New York Times opinion piece and related book about the dangers of vitamin supplements. In the article, Dr. Offit writes, “When people take large doses of antioxidants in the form of supplemental vitamins, the balance between free radical production and destruction might tip too much in one direction, causing an unnatural state where the immune system is less able to kill harmful invaders.”

Please note that Dr. Offit refers vaguely to “large doses,” although in interviews he seems to oppose any antioxidant supplementation. But is his science right? Might, for example, antioxidant supplements increase the risk of cancer?

Two years ago we discussed a similar article on antioxidants published in Newsweek. You may recall that Dr. Jonathan Wright noted that Newsweek’s view of antioxidants vs. oxidants was too simplistic: “When a molecule loses electrons, it has been ‘oxidized’; when it gains electrons, it has been ‘reduced.’ Since one molecule’s loss is always another molecule’s gain, the oxidation/reduction must always occur simultaneously, and the whole electron-exchange transaction is called a ‘redox reaction.’ ” He showed that it’s not a straight reaction between “antioxidants” and “oxidizing agents.” Instead, antioxidants work on both sides of redox reaction—sometimes donating electrons, and sometimes gaining them. Antioxidants are more accurately described as “redox reaction regulators,” assisting on both sides of the electron subtraction (“oxidation”) and addition (“reduction”) equation.

Dr. Wright also pointed out that vitamins should always be taken with other substances. For example, taking beta-carotene in large quantities without the cofactors found in nature, such as other carotenoids, or taking vitamin E in the common alpha-tocopherol form without other tocopherols, especially gamma, is dangerous. Antioxidants occur in groups in nature, and this should always be considered when supplementing.

ANH-USA board member Dr. Jeanne Drisko provides further context: “Offit’s argument would only be correct for extreme cases of antioxidant overconsumption. White blood cells make an oxidative burst by creating hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and to do this utilize some of what are commonly referred to as our antioxidant vitamins—most notably vitamin C. When vitamin C is oxidized and reacts with a dietary metal like iron, it makes the H2O2 burst that kills bacteria and viruses. After that, we then need to quench or break down that oxidative burst—and once again, antioxidants do the job. At the very least, a multivitamin/mineral complex is necessary to support these important biological reactions.”

Dr. Drisko points out that supplementing with very high doses of antioxidants needs to be approached with some caution. “We need the oxidative burst to make energy, but too much and the mitochondria and the cell as a whole can be damaged irreparably, which can cut down on energy production. So life is a balance. We need good levels, but not too much. Dr. Offit proposes taking no vitamins and mineral supplements, while others propose mega-dosing with no evaluation! Both positions are extreme—and harmful. We need healthcare providers such as trained integrative medical doctors or naturopathic doctors to measure the blood levels of these critical nutrients, and adjust dosages accordingly.”

In addition to the question of whether moderate antioxidant use will reduce or increase the risk of cancer, another related question is whether they should be taken during cancer treatment with poisons such as conventional chemo that are intended to kill cancer cells but which kill normal cells as well.

Conventional oncologists using chemo are usually dead set against any antioxidant supplementation, even if taken well before or after the chemo. In taking this position, they seem to be ignoring important evidence that antioxidants can help protect healthy cells and lead to a better outcome.

Three rigorous studies discussed by Robert Moss in The Townsend Letter provide strong support for antioxidants being used in cancer treatment:

  • In 2009, the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment published the results of their study in the peer-reviewed Breast Journal. Patients with Stage IV breast cancer received, in addition to chemotherapy, an “antioxidant-rich low-fat diet high in whole grain, legumes, vegetables and fruits, individualized supplementation” and other CAM treatments. Median survival was 38 months compared to a median survival of 12 to 24 months treatment at conventional clinics. The five-year survival rate was 27%, compared to 17% at conventional clinics.
  • At a San Francisco Bay-area center for Chinese medicine, clinicians compared survival in two different groups, colon cancer patients receiving antioxidants, vitamins, herbs, and Pan-Asian medical treatments along with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and lung cancer patients receiving the same therapies, to those receiving conventional therapy alone. For colon cancer, the antioxidants-plus-conventional therapy reduced the risk of death in stage I cancer patients by 95%, stage II by 64%, stage III by 29%, and stage IV by 75%. For the lung cancer patients, antioxidants/Pan-Asian therapies plus conventional therapy reduced stage IIIA deaths by 46%, stage IIIB by 62%, and stage IV by 69% compared with conventional therapy alone, with excellent five-year survival rates.

As Dr. Moss points out, “If a single antioxidant, such as N-acetylcysteine or vitamin E, could diminish survival…then what would be the expected impact of a panoply of vitamins and antioxidants [such as those used in these studies]? It would be catastrophic, especially in stage IV disease! Instead, in these studies, we find exactly the opposite. Patients in every stage of the disease did better, sometimes much better, but never worse.”

These particular studies involved diet as well as supplementation. Conventional medicine also willfully ignores the growing evidence that it is possible to use diet to retard cancer growth. All too often doctors tell cancer patients it doesn’t matter what they eat, when good evidence suggests they should, at a minimum, avoid sugar and starchy food.

Dr. Offit is not just against antioxidants. He seems to be against supplements in general. In a radio interview, he hammered away that supplements are not regulated the way drugs are—and seemed to say they should go through the same FDA pre-approval process as drugs. The radio host responded, “Why not? What argument can there be against that?”

The host apparently had no idea that drug-like pre-approval would simply mean the elimination of supplements. As we have often pointed out, nobody can afford to spend an average $1 billion getting FDA approval for a natural substance which, being natural, cannot be patented. This is the “Catch-22” of modern medicine. Why doesn’t Dr. Offit offer a solution to that problem?

He should also realize and admit that supplements are far, far safer than drugs. FDA-approved drugs are responsible for 409 times more serious Adverse Event Reports than for nutritional supplements, as we demonstrated in 2011. But let’s compare apples to apples, and look at the dangers of supplements versus OTC drugs like acetaminophen, which every year is responsible for 100,000 calls to poison control centers, 56,000 emergency room visits, 26,000 hospitalizations, and more than 450 deaths from liver failure. By contrast, our analysis of the 2010 Poison Control data shows that FDA-approved drugs caused 80% of Poison Control fatalities, but only a single death concurrent with supplement use—vaguely and probably irrelevantly concurrent with an “unknown dietary supplement or homeopathic agent”—with no deaths reported before 2009. Supplements’ excellent record of safety is the very reason they don’t need extra regulation or some pre-approval system.

Supplements’ excellent record of safety are another reason they don’t need a drug-like pre-approval system. A third and also important reason is that supplements are concentrated food, not drugs, and in many cases should not either be taken or tested alone. As we mentioned above, vitamin E as alpha-tocopherol should not be taken or tested alone and many supplements are like this. Calcium, in particular, should not be taken without cofactors such as vitamin K2.

Dr. Offit also recently published in the UK Guardian as well. As Dr. Robert Verkerk, executive and scientific director of ANH-Int’l, discusses in his review of the Guardian piece, Offit’s attack on antioxidants is totally without substantiation: “Nowhere does Dr. Offit find space to mention a single piece of scientific evidence in favor of a single vitamin or antioxidant. When one considers how extensive this literature is in the case of resveratrol and curcumin for joint health, to take just two examples and one indication, the bias in Dr. Offit’s article becomes crystal clear. And yet, based on his incredibly selective reading of the literature, he confidently proclaims: ‘The data is clear [sic]: high doses of vitamins and supplements increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.’”
As revealed by CNN, Dr. Offit is a multimillionaire from inventing vaccines—and based on his statements seems to have no concerns about loading more and more vaccines on infants and children. Having made so much money from one of the most controversial areas of conventional medicine, he cannot exactly claim to be a disinterested observer of natural medicine.


  1. He’s a total jack_ _ _. He knows nothing about nutrition and tries to make everyone thinks he does.

  2. Anyone making statements like the “good doctor” should read Linus Paulings work on vitamin C as well as his book on living longer and healthier……d

  3. As I read this, the first thing that popped out at me was “large doses.” I have been on moderate/”recommended usage” of supplements neigh onto 40 years and have never had any reactions to anything. At 75, I am on but one drug for a “goofy” thyroid, which leads me to beleive that I’ve done alright all these years. Oh, and Vit C is one of my dailies!

  4. It is ALWAYS amusing to see headlines like this one.
    Or this one: Is Sugar Toxic? (
    YES: ANYTHING IS TOXIC AND “BAD FOR YOU” if consumed in crazy EXCESS!!!
    No exceptions – ANYTHING!!!!
    INCLUDING VITAMIN C, of course. Yes, yes, yes – Vitamin C is HARMFUL if over consumed.
    DO YOU KNOW THAT A GALLON OF PURE WATER IS DEADLY-TOXIC is you drink it in a matter of 1 hour or quicker???? (READ: Water Intoxication
    BOTTOM LINE: People, please DO NOT harm yourselves with ANYTHING by overeating the stuff…..
    That IS all.

  5. I am a health coach and medical intuitive. I have studied vitamins and supplements for 15 or more years and have taken them my whole life. The truth is, that antioxidants, as well as other vitamins and minerals are very healthy and good for you in the right quantities (moderation). Any time you over use or take high doses of anything, it is dangerous. The foods we eat these days are missing important nutrients due to over farming, poor soil condition, pecticides, gmo’s and other factors. That being said, it is important to supplement with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. You have to learn what the healthy limits are by working with a good holistic doctor. You also should have your hair, saliva and blood tested to see what vitamins and minerals and antioxidants that you are deficient in. If you just take a bunch of some supplement that you already have in your system, you can overdose and cause health problems. I recommend all my patients to get tested for deficiencies before they just go taking a bottle of whatever they read about. Hope this info is helpful.

  6. Dr. Offit has reportedly stated that a child could receive 100,000 inoculations without harm. He does have financial interest in promoting drugs. As a firm believer in Karma, God help him in some future lifetime, as statements of Vitamin C and inoculations, will result in a very heavy payment schedule. All of this garbage for money, not caring who he hurts, kills or maims. It is of course, typical of organized political medicine-they are bankrupting this country and destroying what is left of what is called good health.

  7. Ridiculous propaganda. When it comes to the effectiveness and safety of vitamin supplements, mainstream doctors AND THE FDA are the last two groups that I would EVER take advice from….bunch of greedy fools

  8. Do you folks know that BHT is an anti-oxidant too??? Like any chemicals anti-oxidants are DIFFERENT in their chemical nature. Vitamin C is another example. YES – IT IS HARMFUL is you it it TOO MUCH, as ANYTHING whatever you overeat – ice cream, nuts, lettuce or PURE WATER read
    Read: Vitamin poisoning and the references there in
    THIS PART IS WRONG BECAUSE ITS AUTHOR IS NOT EDUCATED ENOUGH IN ORGANIC CHEMISTRY and Molecular Biology: <<<<>>>> Damn!!! Vitamin C is NOT OXIDIZING TO PRODUCE H2O2 – hydrogen peroxide!!!!! VITAMIN C IS OXIDIZED TO Dehydroascorbic acid – read:
    I am not intended to give you a lecture here, but yes, Vitamin C can be MADE harmful by YOU eating it TOO MUCH. Any anti-oxidant can be turned into its opposite EVIL by the HUMAN’S ignorance.

  9. I am 70 yrs old and from what I can compare, I am a young 70 as everyone else I know in that age group and older act as if they are decrypted, spent a good amount of their leisure time in Drs. offices and are taking a bunch of drugs prescribed by those main stream physicians. Most are taking drugs that have side effects and they are not even aware that this is the case. I am of the opinion that a good many of our main stream Drs are nothing more than drug pushers for the Pharmaceutical companies who send them on vacations or reward their prescription out put with other perks.
    Personally I take vitamins in mega doses, way above any one that I have known. Maybe I am just lucky but so far antioxidants in huge doses have kept me out of Drs offices and Hospitals and keep be going strong as I work out and walk long distances with no difficulty. I guess it is like the old Gonzo joke of Hunter S Thompson, at a speech he gave at Berkley back in the day when street drugs and certain pharmaceuticals were very popular ” I don’t recommend everyone indulge in drugs as I do, but for me it works very well” the same is for me only I take vitamins in huge doses and they work for me. When I ache I go get acupuncture and when I am uptight or stressed out I smoke marijuana. I like the types of holistic herbs that have no side effects and knock on wood I will be this way for some time to come.

  10. My mother believed in taking vitamins and educated herself on the subject. She was in great health until the age of 90 and in reasonable health until she died at the age of 94.
    I have taken vitamins all of my life – will be 69 on my next birthday and have been told that I look no older than 50.
    I have not taken a flu shot for many years despite the pressure that the medical center where i work puts on employees. I have to sign a special form to avoid the shot. The last time i had the flu was 10 years ago.

  11. Ah, so it’s OK to prescribe drugs meant for depression for Hot flashes (another article published today) but not take Vit C? Nice doctor. What other do you have to have an opinion about? As an HIV POZ person I know supplements are very helpful. Yea, folks over do it on everything from food to booze but most vitamins are water soluble and what the body doesn’t need it will wash out of the body. Don’t spread such out and out lies. Do more research before you start in with those of us that use supplements the right way. All you do is give those that want to see them removed from the market more ammo. Not cool or are you one of Big Pharma’s lackey’s? …. More than likely!

  12. Large doses Vitamin C has long been known beneficial to the human body. Dr Linus Pauling knew what he was talking about.

  13. methinks dr offit has a BOOMING business of sick people who never get well because he doesn’t believe in them taking vitamins and minerals.

  14. Dr.Offit is definitely Off IT,
    FDA testing is full of manipulation to get the outcomes they desire to make money poisoning the innocent public who don’t seem to know any better,the medical profession has no ethical/moral connection with the average human being, nor does it ever choose to question itself by looking at the very statistics quoted above exposing the magnitude of harm they do. I am a Div 1 Nurse of 35 years and am totally ambivalent about the medical profession, but at least I see it and can protect myself from it, in Australia it is becoming almost mafia like with their interference and judgement of people and telling them how they should lead their lives, the medical profession/pharmaceutical companies rule the world and have far to much power, very unfortunate for the human race.

  15. The mainstream comments to do away with vitamins are scare tactics for the uninformed. The more folks do not use vitamins the sicker they become and the richer the medical industrial complex becomes. If I were looking to increase my bottom line I would want more illness and fewer effective supplements on the market that prevents illness too. For those susceptible to big media propaganda, just assure them that they only want to increase their profits so you can contribute to that big CEO bonus. Also remind them that there are many many peer reviewed studies showing beyond doubt that taking supplements in reasonable doses produces health and helps recovery from illness. Of course it is up to the individual if they choose to contribute to that poor CEO…or take control over health decisions with many years old peer reviewed studies that show the benefits of antioxidant supplements.

    1. You’ve got that right, Geminga. Dr. Offit is obviously an example of “people will say anything if you pay them enough money”.. I am 68 and I don’t take any medications, not could I ever live that way. I’ve never even worn reading glasses despite the many books that I have written and I never have a cold, headache, etc. I take 27 vitamins and other supplements on days that I don’t lift weights and 29 on days when I do so. I know better than to pay any attention to jokers like Offit, but I’m sure that many people, sadly, will be influenced by him.

  16. Prescription drugs have killed millions more people than vitamins and supplements. Takes a little research to find that information but it is out there and available.

  17. Good article. I am survivor of multiple myeloma since 2008. And have been using high doses of vitamin C, E, selenium, magnesium, and many other nature elements. To this very day, I still have numbness throughout my body from the chemo treatments from August 2008 – June 2009. Please do not misunderstand me, in my opinion conventional medical has it placed and I thank God in Heaven for the doctors and their skills that help to keep me alive. However, convention medical and drugs are not the only path too wellness. Hopefully one day we will see a functional government agency By-and-For the People. At this time, the love of money is too great for a real change.

  18. “We need healthcare providers such as trained integrative medical doctors or naturopathic doctors to measure the blood levels of these critical nutrients, and adjust dosages accordingly.”
    I want a doctor like that! I get my (fairly decent) DO to order blood work for me, but it’s always a battle, some things he just doesn’t want to test for (no idea why.) I try to tell him that I have no other medical support and that I do this by myself. I wish I could order my own bloodwork. If a doctor like that was available, I would be SO happy!! I’m not the only person doing this on their own…

    1. There are companies that you yourself can use for blood work, like

    2. Also a comapny called Any Lab Test is in many states in the US and is very reasonable and confidential.
      I now have a practice where I prescribe and try to educate my patients about the importance of nutrition and searching for the underlying cause of disease instead of covering symptoms with a drug.
      I had a few health challenges 2 years ago (anxiety, fatigue, eczema), and instead of being put on the prescription du jour (citalopram, steroid creams), I found out through another enlightened physician who found that my vitamin D was very low, my B- 12 was also very low (in spite of taking supplements), as well as very low testosterone and progesterone. The changes in my life and energy levels after a few weeks of therapy sent me on a vision quest to learn more, and eventually to changing my practice of medicine altogether.
      If you are in the Savannah area, feel free to contact us at Physicians Laser & Anti-Aging 888-893-5295.

  19. Hello,
    I just wanted to say that my mother had a colon cancer stage 4. She lived for almost 7 years even though her coctors gave her a few months or years. In addition to her chemo I was giving her antioxidants, herbal and chinese medicine. I even watched her diet. She was eating and drinking green leaf vegetables, little or nothing sugar, white pasta and bread. When at the end she got really sick because of her cancer, her doctor said she was very lucky to live this long. She said they would never tell their patients they could live that long!!
    My mother and I both knew that alternative medicine helped her a lot! Of couse pharmaceutical companies and rich doctors would not let naturapathy grow because there would be no profit for them. You can’t give patent for vitamin C or any other antioxidants!! Unfortunately human life has no value for some doctors, pharmaceutical companies and even the governments!

  20. My family is probably the orginal Vitamin C family, since Linus Pauling annouced his discovery to the the world in 1970 and won the Nobal Prize! I did not have a cold for 15 years!
    Especially, since my primary parents died of both lung and brain cancer…..I was desperate to seek and find answers. I began taking Vitamin C daily…..and leveled off at about 3000-5000 mgs per day and when I was understress even more!
    My sister takes 10,000 mgs daily and looks 25 years younger and golfs 18 holes of golf everymorning at 75. She makes sure she had two IV and Myers B Vitamins yearly.
    Alternative Medicine Clinics off of American soil provide high dosages of Vitamin C IV’s in one arm and high dosages of Glutathione in the other arm and Myers Cocktails to fight cancer. I have gained a new respect for glutathione with infants born with brain cancer….within a short time the brain lining is uninflammed and turmor growth as stopped and turmors are shrinking.

    1. 10,000 mg Vitamin C per day may look excessive but that is what some of our pre-evolutionary cousins, larger apes in in the wild, consume daily per Linus Pauling. But Vitamin C is exceptional in that the excess is readily excreted and not stored. Per the late Dr Victor Herbert, a vocal anti-vitamin C activist, it is toxic or even lethal in hemochromatosis patients in whom massive doses of lethal soluble iron may be mobilized.

  21. The FDA and the cronies it hires to try to make supplements look bad lose again. A one peso vitamin would sell for 500 pesos if the FDA and the big drug companies get their ways. Get real–keep your hands off the natural supplements. —-keep you hands off herbs. The competition within the industry will keep it clean and honest without big government intervention.

  22. Bought and paid for by the drug cartel and big pharm.
    He should take those vaccines that he made his millions with and inject them in himself and his elk.

  23. I’ve been taking vitamin C for over 40 years every day, usually 4000mg a day. I can coun’t the number of days lost to colds, flu, and other illnesses on one hand. I intend to keep on taking vitamin C for the next 40 as I plan to get to 100 at least.

  24. If you are intelligent enough to surf the web you’ll find sufficient expert reports and suggestions by respected professionals in the fields discussed in the article. In most cases, you’ll find information that is beyond the knowledge of most general physicians — many times pharmacists know more about certain subjects. While it’s not easy, simple or quick, if you want to get the most up to date information about your situation or health, the internet is a great tool to get you on the right track. I’ve found that “you must be your own doctor” in many cases. A doctor can be necessary in certain critical situations, but when time is not of great essence do your own research.

  25. I was born in 1928. Became familiar with Linus Pauling’s work on vitamin c about 1958. Comenced taking about 3 grams of it per diem and have had only a single upper respiratory infection since . . . and that was when I departed on a business trip, forgot my “C” and could not get any. That’s one cold only since age 30 (now 85 and in good health). About 1975 I received a phone call from a FDA scientist demanding that we send him “for trial” a “whole body’ microtome cryostat. I explained that it was a large, heavy unit (could section a whole monkey for autoradiography) and we could not just lend it to the FDA but I would be happy to meet him at our local airport and bring him to our lab. He accepted, arrived with a shocking cold and demanded to stop by a drug store to obtain some Dristan. We did that. He stayed three days along with his worsening cold. Eventually, he expressed surprise that no one in our small company had cold symptoms. My technician, who was helping the FDA man make whole rat frozen sections, remarked: “Why we all take vitamin C! We learned about it from Mr. Hills! He never gets sick!” Well, the FDA man exploded with rage, stormed into my office and complained that I was misleading my staff. I explained that no one was forced to take vitamin C. Our people just liked to be healthy and absenteeism for health reasons was negligibel. I, as general manager of this small science-based company, merely set the example. Well, the FDA man departed in high dudgeon. He did not buy our expensive “whole-body” microtome cryostat. Just as well. He was not a true scientist.

  26. This is incredible information. It’s good to know that the evidence points to the use of antioxidants as beneficial to cancer patients. There are too many ‘studies”, but the proof is in the results.

  27. Personally I believe that it is better to take antioxidants into the body via whole food sources such as greens, brightly colored vegetables and fruits. Most vitamin C supplements are sourced from GMO corn and beets. These foods contain a whole host of harmful effects on the human body including auto-immune diseases, leaky gut and upsetting the natural flora in the intestine (which can cause all types of other ailments that are hard to trace back to GMO ingestion.) Good news for big Pharma stock values but not for you. Eating plenty of organic veggies and fresh juice will give you a good foundation for protecting yourself from diseases like cancer.

  28. This dr sound greed and does not like fact wealth vimanet fact, or vacine for Kids.

  29. It should be the responsibility of all governments worldwide to finance clinical trials of drugs and supplements that cannot be patented. It is in the public interest and democratic countries should ensure this happens. An example is the financing of anti-cancer effects of DCA (dichloroacetate) research in Canada and I strongly believe that other countries and their governments should follow.
    Actions of doctors like Dr. Offit cause great concern and embarassment to the profession.

  30. When the FDA knows there are 93 symptoms of aspartame poisoning and does nothing to stop the use of this killer found in diet soda and in thousands of foods, only fools can conclude that the FDA wants us healthy, Find those 93 symptoms at: site made by David O. Rietz who had went to 20 doctors in 10 years then stumbled on the FDA list and realized that diet soda was killing him. He made the web site and died in 3 years, keepin a diary of his last days. If Obama wants us healthy, he would stop our extermination by chlorination, fluoridation and bromine that was switched for VITAL iodine by bakers and he would stop subsidies for milk, sugar, tobacco and wars, all killers and he would stop our use of diet soda. Keep in mind that the Federal Reserve was described as an “omnipotent counterfeiter” in Economics, 4th Edition by Nobel Laureate, Paul Samuelson and they said their system “works (us) only with credit” that would keep its value “if there were fewer people bidding against each other” so, Obama is their servant unless you want to second guess Professor Paul Samuelson. Subscribe free to: The head of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins wrote: Don’t Drink Your Milk and said milk can lead to type one diabetes. There are doctors who agree that the cure for type one diabetes is to avoid all dairy products for 6 months. I might add that many commercial bakery products contain milk as whey, casein or other forms. Search any substance like milk or sugar or stevia with the word hazard and you might be amazes. Oh! When the feral sic) Reserve said their system “works only with credit” they have admitted that no one pays taxes since taxes cannot be paid with credit but millions PLAY taxes.

  31. It seems that lately there are more and more attacks on consumers’ choice tp purchase products that enhance health rather than enslave them to drugs via prescriptions to ‘help them live longer and have more productive lives”.
    Americans need the choice to take supplements and vitamins and minerals that sustain the human body. To take this right away, while at the same time advocating to allow companies to profit at the ill-health that results from not being able to buy these supplements is disgusting, and one that should NOT be allowed to happen.
    I am continuously disgusted by groups that are supposed to be advocating FOR Americans and their free choice and good health who instead choose to support companies that are making profits from denying those rights.
    Please support Americans and their choice to purchase supplements, vitamins minerals and other forms of health products, NOT companies who profit from making drugs to replace those products.

  32. “When people take large doses of antioxidants in the form of supplemental vitamins, the balance between free radical production and destruction might tip too much in one direction, causing an unnatural state where the immune system is less able to kill harmful invaders.”
    The profound physiological ignorance of this supposed “doctor” is appalling. To posit that the function of a vitamin is solely as an antioxidant shows an incompetence to treat human beings. Does “doctor” offit not know that the chief component of collagen is vitamin C? Does “doctor” offit not know that massive tissue destruction REQUIRES massive amounts of vitamin C to rebuild the destroyed tissue?
    These are the words of a “doctor” who like so many has been too many years from a good immunology book. How does the good doctor think the natural immune system recharges its antimicrobial peptides to do battle with pathogens newly entering the body? Although in doc offit’s case I doubt he has ever grasped the concept of natural immunity.
    “In Dr. Klenner’s review of his over 3000 cases about 15% required more Vitamin C than the average. This ties in with the idea that we are all different. It also explains why some dogs, who make their own Vitamin C would die of distemper. “I have cured many dogs suffering with distemper by giving several grams of ascorbic acid, by needle, every two hours.” 15% of 300 obstetrical cases required 15 grams of C daily to remain within normal limits. The other 85% needed only 10 grams per day. He felt some spillage into the urine indicated the body was saturated. “White blood cells are useless unless they are full of ascorbic acid.” On the Work of Doctor Klenner on Vitamin C
    Of course I am sure doc offit does not know, or is pretending to not know, that most animals create vitamin C on demand internally, depending on need and that a 150 goat can create 100 grams of vitamin C/day when fighting for his life against an intrenched proliferating pathogen.
    I pity a patient under doc offit’s care should he need 5 grams of vitamin C.

  33. anti oxidants are beneficial….but the pharmaceuticals don’t make money on these products. we need to keep these available and dispute the untruths.

  34. Please read the February 2013 issue of Scientific American or search for scientific american antioxidant.
    The researchers casting doubt on the oxidation theory of ageing and disease are not agents of big Pharma. They started out as believers and were themselves surprised at the results.
    That is how science works!
    One starts by collecting observations, stating what appear to be patterns and eventually formalizing them in a theory. As others try to replicate results and add observations outside of the original envelope exceptions arise. Even a very good theory such as Newton’s description of gravity does not correctly describe the very large, the very small, the very fast or the very massive. While it is as useful as it was for calculating the trajectory of a cannonball, it is insufficient for GPS.
    Our bodies would not produce both pro and anti oxidant compounds if both did not serve a purpose. One would suspect that a sufficiently high concentration of an exogenous antioxidant could alter a cellular compartment that the cell needs to be pro oxidant.
    Holding to a theory that is starting to break down or worse questioning the motives of honest researchers smacks not of science but of marketing. Ideology or religion.

  35. First, well done by the writer rebutting Dr. Offi’s opinion on supplements. I, personally, have taken high doses( not just a multivitamin) of supplements for over 40 years. I am now 70 years of age without any health problems and without any medication other than a thyroid pill which was prescribed well before I knew much about supplements. I suspect I might have been able to eliminate the thyroid medication as well had I known what I know today. At the age of 70 I play tennis several times per week against opponents who are half my age. People tell me I look 20 years younger than my age. Is is genetics? I think not as I have siblings who do not enjoy the health I enjoy. So, as one guinea pig to the world I offer that Dr. Offit is another example of an expert who is not an expert at all. It is a shame people are able to hide behind a credential with an opinion that others unwittingly accept. Dr. Offit appears to be one of those people.

  36. 1) Universal truth, everyone is Different!
    2) Anyone proposing to speak for all of us, simply put, is WRONG!
    3) Five keys to good health are: adequate nutrition; adequate exercise; adequate sleep, inherit good DNA; and don’t do anything stupid such as using addictive drugs including nicotine. This means that everyone, being different will have different levels of each of the first three categories for their optimum health. This means running experiments and taking good notes on the progress of your health in conjunction with your Doctors advice and your own reading. There’s lots of literature out there. Not too much to do about your DNA except allow for your weaknesses. But your can avoid obvious health hazards.
    4) I am 75 and have been a diabetic since the early 80’s, thanks to my maternal grandmother. But I have learned that I need a good multiple vitamin as well as extra B, C, D, and E. In addition, I use cinnamon, turmeric, wheat bran, and freshly ground flax seed. I do not take flue shots and the only extra thing I do when I go out is use a napkin when I use someone’s pen, or phone, or when I open a door. Then when I come home I wash my hands thoroughly.
    5) How do I know what’s right for me? I no longer get sick several times a year as I did in my 20’s and 30’s. Actually, it has been so many years since I’ve even had a cold, I would be hard pressed to remember it. My HDL is consistently above 70 and my LDL is below 80. My HA!C is consistently between 5.5 and 6.2. I still rollerblade 5 miles as often as I can with my two dogs on lead and split all of my winter’s firewood by maul and wedges.
    6) It’s all up to you, no one else.

  37. It is refreshing to read an intelligent and well-informed response to the highly biased and self-serving “opinion piece” written by Dr. Offit which is clearly intended to promote the sale of his book by sparking a controversy – in spite of the fact that the nutrients in food are the fundamental reason to consume food to sustain life. Perhaps Dr. Offit should consider looking into how nutrients function on the cellular and molecular level, and even on the atomic level. The relatively new science of orthomolecular biochemistry could provide some rather insightful information. Dr. Jonathan Wright’s well-informed explanation of the rather complex “redox reaction” is spot-on, yet expressed in an easy to understand way. Dr. Jeanne Drisko provided more well-informed information while stressing the importance of “balance” – without which life could not exist.
    – Michael W. Dixon, Orthomolecular Biochemistry Researcher, Maxcelint Laboratories Inc.

  38. Did I miss where the definition of antioxidant overconsumption was or is it unknown at this point? I take the product LivingFuel every morning which has an ORAC of 119,200+. Is that bad?

  39. My problem with supplements is control. There have been studies on vitamins ,amino acids and minerals, but there is no standardization, true daily amounts by weight and age and purity of product. The FDA should be after these companies to provide all info about the product that is feasible to labeling. Enhanced info should be available by post or internet ,free of charges.
    For example the subbing of natural by manmade or enhanced versions. The consumer is only partially educated by the label. Doses don’t indicate weight , is this a water or fat soluble substance. The bottom line on honest companies is still no good. The consumer should not need a magnifying glass to find and read warnings and instructions. I think safety has two sides, but the consumer should have all the available information on the supplement after being cleared by the FDA.

    1. I wouldn’t trust the FDA as far as I could throw, and would never look to them for any safety information. They follow the money, and it’s not in supplements or natural cures; they have repeatedly aided in trying to get any natural cures that work off the market. Use good judgement, get your own information, and advice from proffessionals that treat with natural substances including supplements.

    2. What about labeling the supplements that do contain corn starch from the GMO corn, or GMO soy-derived lecithin?
      What about to have labels on each of our food item in the first place, as to whether it contains the GMO, since all of them in each of them containing either GMO soy, GMO soy oil, GMO corn, GMO corn oil, GMO cornmeal in each corn chip and muffin, corn syrup, and GMO popcorn in each movie theater, GMO canola oil in cooking and baking, GMO soy in each piece of bread, in each cookie, and each piece of chocolate?
      Yes, what about the honest and precise labeling of everything that lands inside the human body, including the Dr. Officts vaccines content?

    3. Maybe Offits could write his next book on how having brakes on vehicles endangers our health, or how drinking and bathing in polluted water is good for us.
      There’s simply no popular outcry for additional regulations on food supplements, because food supplements (including antioxidants) are inherently safe. The only folks clamoring for additional controls are those affiliated with drug companies. Dr. Offit is just another in a long line of dedicated corporate propagandists, using his professional credentials as a scientist to push false claims & bogus findings that will enrich himself & the drug companies for whom he prostitutes. His book is only useful for two things: fireplace tinder, and toilet paper.
      I’ve been using supplements extensively for decades (even as a child) and I’m not the slightest bit concerned about consuming antioxidants. Since I grow and eat very large quantities of vegetables, in addition to my extensive supplement intake, I should be in the poorest health imaginable according to Offits… but surprise, surprise….I’m not. If it’s harming me, I’d love to know how, because I’m 40 years old now, and haven’t been sick since 4th grade. In fact, I don’t show any signs of any disease, while the people at my high school reunion were presenting with everything from extreme lack of energy, to fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and obesity. It was shocking just how sickly and overweight the vast majority of them were, despite them talking about going to doctors regularly. I really worry that most of them will be either dead or living in very poor health when the age of 60 rolls around. I think I’ll stick with my food supplements & vegetables, and use the propaganda of big pharma puppets, like Offits, to wipe my bottom with.

      1. My comment was a general comment made in response to the article, not replying to the other commenter, Charles. Sorry about that Charles.

  40. My problem with supplements is control. There have been studies on vitamins ,amino acids and minerals, but there is no standardization, true daily amounts by weight and age and purity of product. The FDA should be after these companies to provide all info about the product that is feasible to labeling. Enhanced info should be available by post or internet ,free of charges.
    For example the subbing of natural by manmade or enhanced versions. The consumer is only partially educated by the label. Doses don’t indicate weight , is this a water or fat soluble substance. The bottom line on honest companies is still no good. The consumer should not need a magnifying glass to find and read warnings and instructions. I think safety has two sides, but the consumer should have all the available information on the supplement after being cleared by the FDA.

  41. My problem with supplements is control. There have been studies on vitamins ,amino acids and minerals, but there is no standardization, true daily amounts by weight and age and purity of product. The FDA should be after these companies to provide all info about the product that is feasible to labeling. Enhanced info should be available by post or internet ,free of charges.
    For example the subbing of natural by manmade or enhanced versions. The consumer is only partially educated by the label. Doses don’t indicate weight , is this a water or fat soluble substance. The bottom line on honest companies is still no good. The consumer should not need a magnifying glass to find and read warnings and instructions. I think safety has two sides, but the consumer should have all the available information on the supplement after being cleared by the FDA.

  42. My problem with supplements is control. There have been studies on vitamins ,amino acids and minerals, but there is no standardization, true daily amounts by weight and age and purity of product. The FDA should be after these companies to provide all info about the product that is feasible to labeling. Enhanced info should be available by post or internet ,free of charges.
    For example the subbing of natural by manmade or enhanced versions. The consumer is only partially educated by the label. Doses don’t indicate weight , is this a water or fat soluble substance. The bottom line on honest companies is still no good. The consumer should not need a magnifying glass to find and read warnings and instructions. I think safety has two sides, but the consumer should have all the available information on the supplement after being cleared by the FDA.

  43. My problem with supplements is control. There have been studies on vitamins ,amino acids and minerals, but there is no standardization, true daily amounts by weight and age and purity of product. The FDA should be after these companies to provide all info about the product that is feasible to labeling. Enhanced info should be available by post or internet ,free of charges.
    For example the subbing of natural by manmade or enhanced versions. The consumer is only partially educated by the label. Doses don’t indicate weight , is this a water or fat soluble substance. The bottom line on honest companies is still no good. The consumer should not need a magnifying glass to find and read warnings and instructions. I think safety has two sides, but the consumer should have all the available information on the supplement after being cleared by the FDA.

  44. We have a cynical joke in nursing, “What do you call the dumbest cretin, in a medical school class, who barely survives to graduation? Doctor!” This demonstrates an oft overlooked reality. Not all medical doctors are created equal, and not all medical doctors can be considered physicians. Many are simply shills for Big Pharma. This may be the case here.

    1. I recently learned that almost all vitamin C is corn based, which can include GMO corn! Most vitamin E is now made from soy bean oil, which can also be GMO. The supplement industry should be doing a better job of monitoring ingredients of what people are taking thinking it’s going to make them healthy.
      Fish oil is another example of deception. Most fish oil that says, “purified to remove mercury” does contain what’s considered “safe” levels of mercury and other dangerous chemicals. Only fish oil that says “FREE of mercury and other contaminates” should be used.
      Many supplement ingredients are made in China and contain lead. I take supplements and KNOW they have kept me healthy, but as a CNC I know what to look for. Most people don’t and take as an example, multi vitamins that contain dyes and chemicals.
      The supplement industry better get busy and do something about the problems, because pharmaceuticals, the AMA and other greed mongers are putting forth a massive effort to create a medical monopoly for themselves by taking away our freedom to take supplements under the premise of “unsafe”.

    2. you sure have that right friend. i’m 35 years an RN and most MD’s are dummer’n-a-sack-of-rocks. “Common” sense is deliberately brainwashed out of them in school and the torture of internship, as is all genuine interest or curiosity about symptoms. They’ll order an MRI and every other invasive, uncomfortable, possibly dangerous and certainly expensive test in the world, rather than give the situation a moment’s clear thought. Usually the mystery symptom is a known, published side effect of one of the client’s meds, but the docs can’t see that, because it’s right under their nose. Try and tell them anything and you get: “where did you go to medical school?” the answer to which is : “I didn’t, that’s why i can still think!”
      Then, when the aforesaid tests show up negative, he or she orders an antidepressant or other psych med, especially if the patient is female, or elderly. I’m 67 now, I see a naturopath once in a great while, for a chat and maybe some basic bloodwork, but I don’t carry Medicare part B or D as I never expect to see an MD, nor take any drugs. Ever again. Honestly, I can’t help but hope that this Offit fellow takes his own advice!

    3. I agree. The physicians involved with the death of my daughter Zakara from heavy metal toxicities (see her at, were probably those “doctors” you describe. They said she had munchausen by proxy, that is, until she died… Unfortunately as I write many more “Zakaras” are dying in North America. We must work together as a team, to save as many as we can. See Dr. Jane M. Hightower’s Diagnosis: Mercury, and also Dr. Andrew Cutler’s Amalgam Ilnessness, See Dr. Micheal Lyon, University of Calgary, Youtube Lecture on ADHD, for example.
      Thank you all for doing your own research, carefully, and making a contribution to a healthier earth and world. IQ

  45. Both sides are right and wrong! “Vitamin C” (ascobic acid) is Not the natural vitamin C Complex found in nature. What is the purpose of antioxidants in the plants? It is only the shell to protect the other components of the complex while in the plant from oxidation by air and sunlight. Our body makes an enzyme with only one function… to eliminate ascorbic acid! Why would our body make this enzyme if we needed ascobic acid? Just like an egg where we get rid of the shell to get at the egg, our body gets rid of ascobic acid to get at the good stuff of the C Complex inside. The same relationship applies to “Vitamin E” (Tocopherols) and other compounds that contain antioxidants. The AMA did a “Meta-Analysis” some years ago from all studies that could be found on antioxidants. The bottom line conclusion was, “The higher the level of antioxidants in a person, the greater the risk of death from all causes.”!!!! Cellular damage from free radicals only occurrs inside the cell. Oral antioxidants never make it into the cell. They only act outside the cell. Internal cellular antioxidant reactions are triggered through the “Nrf2″/”ARE” pathway utilizing “Keap 1” To activate this system we need special sulphorophane compounds from our foods that stimulate genes to create protective protiens inside the cell utilizing “Nrf2” and “Keap 1” that activates the “Antioxidant Response Element” (ARE). This internal cellular mechanism reduces 2 Billion free radical per second and continues at that rate for several days with each activation! Even the best and highest ORAC values pale in comparison to this rate of free radical redox! The best foods to trigger this are broccoli, tumeric/curcumin, garlic, green tea, rosemary, and resveratrol. This process also increases cellular Glutathione!
    High intake of isolated antioxidants puts an extra load on the body as it goes to work eliminating them. That is the reaction that forces elimination and carries other garbage out of the body and how ascobic acid and other antioxidants “work”… forcing elimination! Eliminate more garbage and there are less toxins in the body to get sick… but it’s a lot of work for your body to do that and taps your energy reserves.
    Antioxidants are highest in foods that have more exposure to sunlight by surface area. The food that is highest in natural vitamin C Complex, are raw mushrooms! Tyronase and “P” factors in the complex are what does the work,…

  46. What should be specified is what type of Vitamin C is being used. If Ascorbic Acid is used (the most common synthetic form of vitamin c, which really isnt true vitamin c at all) then yes, it can become toxic and acidic in the stomach. There are many different enzymes, co-enzymes and co-factors that go into something like Vitamin C. Taking a cultured, food-based Vitamin C is always the way to go. Something like Acerola would give you a whole food source of vitamin C as well. Cornell did a study that showed 1500 mg of ascorbic acid is equal to 5.7mg of pure whole food vitamin c. Be careful which vitamins you choose…

    1. Anyone can become “sick” by taking too many grams of vitamin C at one time. 4grams at a time will cause lose stool 8grams will cause Diarrhea. if taken on an empty stomach. over time a tolerance builds up. I hear of health nuts taking 10 grams day.

    2. There is absolutely NO study that shows something called “pure whole food vitamin C” nor shows that vitamin C from plants is more efficacious than a vitamin C tablet. This study from Cornell has been reinterpreted to show something that it was not intended to – the actual data shows that there are compounds in apple peel that inhibit radical reactions that are NOT vitamin C – in fact, they never measured vitamin C in the peels! It was all flavonoids.

  47. I have been taking Vitamin C the difference when I don’t take them. Offit is toolie for big pharma. Over ha lf the drugs out shouldn’t be on the market.

  48. Where are all the case studies that demonstrate that vitamins cause numerous diseases? I want to read about them. I have read numerous books that say vitamins are healthy. Without providing any evidence these are just a lot of words that mean nothing.

    1. This is starting to sound like 1984. It is actually quite easy to dominate low IQ general public minds…
      Vitamins are and have ALWAYS been harmful to health, Im pretty sure about that.
      Im sure everybody will know that in a few years. Its actually devastating how easy it is to control peoples minds. Do you americans really don’t see the hole picture Lyme/emerging diseases/banning of vitamins/banning of arms/transgenics/etc)?
      Im going to write a book, as reality overcomes fiction in this case…

    2. Those who are interested in the subject know, who is dr Offit and who is behind his “science” – the same who are behind the “necessity” of .vaccination. .

  49. All one has to do is follow the money trail! & find the truth behind the motivation of these “so called Dr.’s” motivation to spew their lies & innacuracies, meant to scare & confuse the public. Anyone thinking that the gov’t officials that are “supposed to” be the consumers protective watchdog, is so sadly mistaken & naive. Infact, they seem intent on our demise!. If the FDA was patent natural substances such as vitamins & herbs, & then male it a law that we can ONLY purchase these items through Dr.’s, then you can bet how quickly they would be releasing all kinds of documents about how they cure this that & the other diseases. They know so many ways natural substances can cure a slew of maladies, but its all withheld from the public because they can’t monopolize them, & therefore cannot hold the power & control over them. The FDA & Big Pharma are “in bed” w/ one another, & their only interests is power, control, greed, to make as much profits, at the expense of the health of the public.

  50. “Conventional oncologists using chemo are usually dead set against any antioxidant supplementation”
    Please forgive my interjection of some black humor but the words “dead set” provoked this.
    When the chemo pushers are “dead set” against something good I wonder do they realize that chemo is a complete failure 98.2% of the time. Either the chemo is discontinued or the patient dies of the chemo. Once in a while a patient on chemo does not die of the chemo or the cancer. Nothing is perfect.
    This is so because the average chemo kills you four times faster than the average cancer.
    This is all so very, very sad because Intravenous Vitamin C given at rates of up to 300 grams/day is IMO an almost perfect “Chemo”. The vitamin C has a toxicity profile close to water; is selective for the cancer cells; provides the intracellular fluid with a salubrious bath and NUMEROUS other benefits. Chemo has a deadly toxicity profile; kills cancer cells and as many of your 100 trillion non-cancer cells as it is able; suffuses your intracellular fluid with poison and has NUMEROUS other grievous faults.
    Alas IV Vitamin C is relatively dirt cheap; does not kill the patient and has numerous other disadvantages for the Cancer Treatment Racket; for one cancer is a relatively slow killer; these guys do not like to wait.

    1. Regarding your comment about chemo and survival, it must be said that if one survives the onslaught of chemo therapy, there is the probability of epigentic changes and mutations that can cause a re-occurrence of or the development of a new cancer. And since cancer tends to take 10 years to develop, it is not always something that can be easily tracked. Without some kind of guidance from medical pundants (often viewed as gods), the easy alteration of life style, dietary choices balanced against detox load, these new cancers could be avoided….

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