CM critics should welcome evidence: Gibson

spoonful of vitamins

Critics of complementary medicine should welcome evidence to support its use when supplied, Carl Gibson of the Complementary Medicines Association has told the AJP.

Gibson, the CEO of CMA, was responding to comments in and responding to an article on where Dr Ken Harvey, a member of Friends in Science in Medicine, challenged the CM industry to provide evidence on its products.

“The industry agrees that multivitamins and supplements should be used in combination with a good diet and exercise,” Gibson told the AJP.

“However, just last month the Australian Bureau of Statistics released figures showing that the typical Australian does not take sufficient dietary nutrition from the five main food groups.”

Gibson says that the ABS report on Australia’s eating habits showed that the typical Australian is eating plenty of food but is still starving of quality nutrients.

“Based on self-reporting just 6.8% of the population met the recommended intake of vegetables and just over half at 54% met the recommendations for serves of fruit.

“The dire lack of adequate dietary intake in Australia, the benefits of good nutrition, and the low risk of multivitamins are facts that can’t be refuted.

“The mere fact that supplements raise nutritional status and even better, confer other benefits such as reduced cancer incidence are good reasons for their use, in the absence of an adequate diet.

“Ken Harvey calls for evidence, but then when its provided – he dismisses it out of hand, as “just one study in a crowded field”… efficacy of supplements was backed-up by the 2012 Physicians’ Health Study II, which showed a statistically significant 8% reduction in total cancer incidence in male physicians.

“This wasn’t just some other study this was the largest randomised trial of a multivitamins,” Gibson says.

“Ken Harvey should welcome the research by highly respected nutrition researchers Gaziano JM, Sesso HD, Christen WG, Bubes V, Smith JP, MacFadyen J, whom highlight the role that multivitamins can play in improving general health and decreasing the risk of chronic disease.”

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  1. Daniel Roitman

    For anyone interested in the study the 2012 Physicians’ Health Study II being quoted in this article, here is a link where you can read the results for yourself.

    In the paper, multivitamins were found to have a ‘modest’ reduction in cancer risk that was not significant and hardly worth justifying the ubiquitous use of multivitamins in the community. Once again, a CM advocate has cherry picked ‘evidence’ to suit their argument. What a surprise that CM advocates will argue that the source of their income is valid….

  2. Ian Carr

    Mr Gibson, we CAM sceptics DO welcome evidence. We welcome the best-designed, highest quality, most reproduced and most plausible evidence, and not the occasionally reported cherry picked non-significant, possibly anomalous data which suits one’s cause.
    And Mr Gibson draws a ridiculously long bow when he asserts that missing the recommended “five a day” vegetable intake showed a starvation level of nutrient intake. He implies that skipping a veg or two here and there would have us at death’s door. This is nonsense. The human body does not work that way.
    If it were so, we would be stepping over corpses daily in the streets and shopping centres.
    May I recommend to all readers a well researched e-book The Multivitamin Lie, which argues persuasively that the very concept of the “top up” multivitamin is irrational, and that it is easy to get all you need from your diet.

    Meanwhile, Dr Harvey’s specific request for the science behind Swisse’s fifty-plus ingredient super pill remains unanswered.

    The supplement industry is based on marketing attuned to some of our deepest fears. Is my diet good enough? Can I prevent cancer and old age? Why am I not jumping out of my skin with energy like my neighbours? (It could be because they’re on crack).
    According to the supplement pushers, it is no longer OK to be just plain tired once in a while.

    Unfortunately, the prescriptive nature of the Australian dietary guidelines is a gift to the supplement advertisers. Only four vegetables a day? It’s official — take a pill! Or, if you’re a child, a gummy lolly with a couple of vitamins in it.

    The dietary guidelines of Brazil are closer to the advice we need. Read the Ten Steps to Healthy Diets for yourself and marvel:

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