The newest recruit to the (by now quite crowed) coronavirus bandwagon is orthomolecular medicine. In case you are unsure what hides beind this pseudoscientific name, here is a (slightly abbreviated) explanation from my book:
Orthomolecular medicine is the term for a mega-vitamin therapy coined in the 1960s by Linus Pauling (1901-1994). Pauling had two Nobel prizes to his name and was once called one of the 20 greatest scientists of all time. In 1968, he published a paper stating that the functioning of the brain is affected by the molecular concentrations of many substances that are normally present in the brain. The optimum concentrations of these substances for a person may differ greatly from the concentrations provided by his normal diet and genetic machinery. Biochemical and genetic arguments support the idea that orthomolecular therapy, the provision for the individual person of the optimum concentrations of important normal constituents of the brain, may be the preferred treatment for many mentally ill patients. It was the start of his (and the world’s) obsession with mega-doses of vitamins.
Orthomolecular medicine assumes that an optimum nutritional environment in the body is a precondition for good health and suggests that diseases reflect nutritional deficiencies. Treatment for disease, according to this view, involves the correction of imbalances or deficiencies based on individual biochemistry by use of high doses of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, trace elements and fatty acids. The assumptions of orthomolecular medicine lack biological plausibility. Although there are some encouraging reviews, no compelling evidence exists that orthomolecular treatments are clinically effective for patients who do not suffer from nutritional deficiencies. (references: see original book)
But perhaps I was too harsh in my judgement?
Perhaps there is something to orthomolecular medicine after all?
Perhaps Linus Pauling (photo) was right?
Perhaps it even helps against the coronavirus infection?
Dr. Andrew W. Saul, an international expert on vitamin therapy, says, “The coronavirus can be dramatically slowed or stopped completely with the immediate widespread use of high doses of vitamin C.” Yes, this is what proponents of orthomolecular medicine are trying to tell us. They go on to persuade the unexpecting public that:
Physicians have demonstrated the powerful antiviral action of vitamin C for decades. There has been a lack of media coverage of this effective and successful approach against viruses in general, and coronavirus in particular.
It is very important to maximize the body’s anti-oxidative capacity and natural immunity to prevent and minimize symptoms when a virus attacks the human body. The host environment is crucial. Preventing is obviously easier than treating severe illness. But treat serious illness seriously. Do not hesitate to seek medical attention. It is not an either-or choice. Vitamin C can be used right along with medicines when they are indicated.
“I have not seen any flu yet that was not cured or markedly ameliorated by massive doses of vitamin C.”
(Robert F. Cathcart, MD)
The physicians of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service and the International Society for Orthomolecular Medicine urge a nutrient-based method to prevent or minimize symptoms for future viral infection. The following inexpensive supplemental levels are recommended for adults; for children reduce these in proportion to body weight:
- Vitamin C: 3,000 milligrams (or more) daily, in divided doses.
- Vitamin D3: 2,000 International Units daily. (Start with 5,000 IU/day for two weeks, then reduce to 2,000)
- Magnesium: 400 mg daily (in citrate, malate, chelate, or chloride form)
- Zinc: 20 mg daily
- Selenium: 100 mcg (micrograms) daily
- Vitamin C , Vitamin D , magnesium , zinc , and selenium  have been shown to strengthen the immune system against viruses.
The basis for using high doses of vitamin C to prevent and combat virus-caused illness may be traced back to vitamin C’s early success against polio, first reported in the late 1940s. Many people are unaware, even surprised, to learn this. Further clinical evidence built up over the decades, leading to an anti-virus protocol published in 1980.
It is important to remember that preventing and treating respiratory infections with large amounts of vitamin C is well established. Those who believe that vitamin C generally has merit, but massive doses are ineffective or somehow harmful, will do well to read the original papers for themselves. To dismiss the work of these doctors simply because they had success so long ago sidesteps a more important question: Why has the benefit of their clinical experience not been presented to the public by responsible governmental authorities, especially in the face of a viral pandemic?
Yes, exactly: Why has the benefit of their clinical experience not been presented to the public by responsible governmental authorities, especially in the face of a viral pandemic?
Does anyone know the answer to this question?
I suspect it goes something like this:
Their clinical experience is misleading and orthomolecular medicine is bogus.
The linked article’s headline:
This closely resembles the recent Samoan measles crisis, where quacks had the gall to blame doctors and healthcare workers for the death of dozens of children, claiming that these children were deprived of ‘lifesaving’ vitamins, and instead received only Evil vaccines. (And they even blamed the actual outbreak on those vaccines, but I digress.) These were lies packed in lies – as a) extra vitamins were distributed by health officials, and b) these vitamins hardly have any effect on the course of the disease, except in malnourished people.
I very much would like to see some evidence of this. As far as I can recall, studies do show that vitamin C deficiency has all sorts of detrimental effects, including impaired immune function, but also that daily dosage in excess of 500 mg is quite useless, and does not significantly contribute to preventing viral infections. At best, taking an increased daily dose (200 mg) of vitamin C reduces the duration of a cold with perhaps one day. This is rather less impressive than the claime “powerful antiviral action”.
Unfortunately, it still appears to be fully legal to spread myths, nonsense and lies about serious health threats, making people spend money and time on useless treatments at best, and at worst causing unnecessary sickness and death.
I am sick and tired of this bulllshed about prescription drugs, over-the counter-drugs being all bad, and dietary supplements being all good. Vaccines aren’t bad for most children. This anti-vaccine movement is led by quacks, charlatans, and snake oil salesmen. Unless a person is allergic to a particular vaccine, or is undergoing chemo therapy for cancer, there is no reason why he or she shouldn’t have the vaccine.
Dietary supplements such as vitamins and minerals is large quantities can be just as deadly as overdoses of medicinal drugs. Be especially careful about dietary supplements such as herbs and botonics. Knoc off all this bullshed.
I agree with all of this.
As a matter of information the main reason why it is best not to give vaccines during a course of chemotherapy is because they don’t work so well in somebody who is immunosuppressed. It is therefore better to give them before the course of chemotherapy is started, though it is still usually better to vaccinate during chemotherapy than not at all. The exception here is live attentuated vaccines, which carry a small risk of causing a serious infection in an immunocompromised individual and should therefore be avoided.
The term health care freedom is a hypocritical term used by quacks, charlatans, and snake oil salesmen. The people who use the term health care freedon aren’t concerned about the health care freedom of consumers, they mean that quacks, and charlatans should be allowed to flourish and that the Federal Government and state governments shouldn’t intervene and stop them. These quacks and charltans don’t belong in society, they belong in jail.
As far as health care freedom is concerned, by and large consumers do have health care freedom. In fact there is not enough regulation of the health care industry as opposed to too much. Many alternative health care practitioners don’t have any bonifide credentials. Many of them only have fake degrees from degree mills. Don’t fall for their bullshed.
> Why has the benefit of their clinical experience not been presented to the public by responsible governmental authorities, especially in the face of a viral pandemic?
I don’t want to take sides here… but this is the argument? What about the mentioned studies? On the one hand I see hundreds of studies about vitamin C with the earliest from 1933, on the other I see two arguments: “There is no evidence.” and “Not approved by authorities.” That’s not really how scientific arguing works. The principle of falsification means, “that for something to be scientific it must be be able to be proven false. If things are falsifiable (able to possibly be proven false) then they can be used in scientific studies and inquiry.”
Would you be so kind and point to a study that falsifies the claims of the proponents of orthomolecular medicine, i.e. proves the uselessness of higher doses of vitamin C?
(For reference: https://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/)
that’s not how science works.
I do not make the claim that vit C cures/prevents viral infections.
the burden of proof is with the one who makes the therapeutic claim.
I must agree with you. The one who makes the claim must bring proof. But are the studies about vitamin C that show successful treatment not proof, until otherwise falsified? Doesn’t that (just logically) bring the burden of proof to the other side, to bring proof that it’s not working what was initially claimed?
At which point is a study accepted as “proof”? What’s the definition of proof in regards to scientific studies and what are these studies lacking that they are not regarded as valid scientific studies?
Apart from that, there seem to be numerous studies made by researchers not affiliated with the proponents of orthomolecular medicine regarding viral infections, e.g. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14787210.2020.1706483. As an example, would this study be valid?
I’m not trying to say that one or the other group is right or wrong. Right now it’s about analyzing the discourse about these topics I find it quite interesting to see by which not quite obvious standards studies are accepted or disregarded.
Thank you very much.
” are the studies about vitamin C that show successful treatment not proof”?
can you provide the links to some of those that, in your view, show efficacy, please?
Yes, here are some links to studies […] that seem to show the efficiency of high dosages of vitamin C:
The clinical effects of vitamin C supplementation in elderly hospitalised patients with acute respiratory infections, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7814237
Efficacy of Vitamin C in Reducing Duration of Severe Pneumonia in Children, https://www.journalrmc.com/volumes/1405749894.pdf
The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10543583
Vitamin C and Immune Function, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29099763
And here’s an interesting one to watch, just started:
Vitamin C Infusion for the Treatment of Severe 2019-nCoV Infected Pneumonia, https://www.journalrmc.com/volumes/1405749894.pdf
Thank you for your attention.
the studies you linked to are either not showing that vit C prevents or cures infections, or are not related to viral infections, or are not clinical trials at all.
A hypothesis such as “Vitamin C is useful in the treatment of coronavirus” isn’t strictly falsifiable in the way that “swans are white” can be falsified by a trip to Australia where there are black swans with red bills.
Unfortunately biological systems, such as the response of an infected patient, are subject to a huge range of random influences, genetic and environmental, which makes it difficult to tease out real effects from random noise. We have to resort to statistical tools to do this, though unfortunately they aren’t always applied at the design stage of a trial, which can lead to invalid results, and often the analysis of the data is carried out by people who don’t have a clear idea of what they are doing.
Many studies looking at questions of this sort (vitamin C and coronavirus) start their analysis by assuming the null hypothesis, which is that the intervention has no effect and any differences found are due to chance. Stanadard statistical methods then give a probability of getting the results that have been found, and it that probability is low (less than 5% is a commonly used value) then the results are said to be statistically significant (though a significant effect may not be large enough to be clinically useful). Note that this is very different from saying that the results have a 95% probability of being true – the probability of this is usually much lower, requires additional information to calculate which may well not be available, and is not normally given in medical reports of this nature.
Now let’s look at some of your links:
Unfortunately this only links to the abstract, and the full paper is hidden behind a paywall, so we have very little information about how the study was conducted and analysed. Even so, the authors state that the greatest effect of vitamin C was seen in subjects who had very low serum and white blood cell vitamin C levels. This suggests that what they were treating was vitamin C deficiency in these patients, which is quite a common problem in elderly individuals who don’t eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables. From this it might seem a reasonable idea to administer supplemental doses of vitamin C to elderly hospitalised patients, but it doesn’t really tell anything about the effects of vitamin C in well-nourished individuals with respiratory tract infections.
Here we have the full paper, and it is apparent that the study population comes from a deprived area of Pakistan with widespread malnutrition. Unfortunately the treatment and placebo groups are not well balanced, with a higher proportion of children under 1 in the latter, and also a higher proportion of those who are very underweight (and therefore presumably the worst-nourished). This alone is enough to skew the results and invalidate any conclusion other than that vitamin C treats vitamin C deficiency.
This is a review discussing the mechanisms of action of vitamin C, which we already know is essential for normal metabolic function (or it wouldn’t be a vitamin), so while it is interesting and infromative, it isn’t really relevant here as it does not address the question we are investigating.
This links to the paediatric paper from Pakistan that we have already discussed, which presumably wasn’t your intention. OldBob provides the following link:
which I think was the one you meant to put in.
This is a proposal for a clinical trial. It will be interesting to see where it leads but it would be wrong to pre-empt the results.
Real-world clinicians have to make all kinds of decisions concerning the management of the patient in front of them. In this they are guided by their own training and experience, their knowledge of the totality of the medical literature as it applies to their area of specialisation, the opinions of their colleagues, local policies etc. In Britain we have NICE, which provides guidance based on cost-effectiveness, and Cochrane reviews are also very helpful since they present a summary of the data in one place making it easily accessible to busy practitioners.
[Note that I have taken the trouble of replying to you at length since you maintain that you hold a neutral position. I wrote a similarly long reply yesterday and accidentally deleted it just before it was ready to post – I spent the rest of the day in hospital having cancer treatment so I wasn’t able to start again until this morning, with interruptions from phone calls and the grandchildren accidentally smashing a glass jar in the kitchen while the dog was drinking water leaking through the ceiling… Anyway, I hope you find this useful.]
the link you provided is not to a ‘study’!
Hey guys, there’s no need to argue, check this out, the first large-dose trial of vitamin C on coronavirus:
yes, let’s wait until the results of this study are available.
Here are the results:
it is a mistake to read the write-up of Holford. here is the original:
his randomized, controlled, clinical trial was performed at 3 hospitals in Hubei, China. Patients with confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in the ICU were randomly assigned in as 1:1 ratio to either the high-dose intravenous vitamin C (HDIVC) or the placebo. HDIVC group received 12 g of vitamin C/50 ml every 12 hours for 7 days at a rate of 12 ml/hour, and the placebo group received bacteriostatic water for injection in the same way. The primary outcome was invasive mechanical ventilation-free days in 28 days(IMVFD28). Secondary outcomes were 28-day mortality, organ failure, and inflammation progression.
Results: Only fifty-six critical COVID-19 patients were ultimately recruited due to the early control of the outbreak. There was no difference in IMVFD28 between two groups. During the 7-day treatment period, patients in the HDIVC group had a steady rise in the PaO2/FiO2 (day 7: 229 vs. 151 mmHg, 95% CI 33 to 122, P=0.01). Patients with SOFA scores ≥3 in the HDIVC group exhibited a trend of reduction in 28-day mortality (P=0.06) in univariate survival analysis. IL-6 in the HDIVC) group was lower than that in the placebo group (19.42 vs. 158.00; 95% CI -301.72 to -29.79; P=0.04) on day 7.
Conclusion: This pilot trial showed that HDIVC might show a potential signal of benefit for critically ill patients with COVID-19, improving oxygenation even though it failed to improve IMVFD28.
Edzard on Wednesday 14 October 2020 at 07:09 said:
“it is a mistake to read the write-up of Holford…”
In which case no one would discover what he said, either way, there is always something to learn, as Holford points out, the Navy took 50 years to learn from Lind.
if you say so, old man.
you and Holford have one thing in common: one must not take you seriously or else health might suffer.
What Edzard is pointing out is that the statistical analysis provided by the authors of the Hubei study show that there is a fairly high probability that their findings are entirely due to chance. However, they are also consistent with there being a true effect, and the only way to take this forward is by further studies. To base medical practice on a trend in the data which is not statistically significant is very dangerous practice.
I have seen this happen in cancer treatment. A few years ago there was a study looking at the addition of the addition of bicalutamide to standard care (radiotherapy, surgery or observation) for newly diagnosed locally-advanced prostate cancer. An interim analysis of the data showed a small increase in (as far as I can remember) cardiovascular mortality in one of the treated groups; this was a trend which was not statistically significant. On that basis, the regulatory athorities in Canada removed the licence for bicalutamide, which was already an established treatment for metastatic prostate cancer (i.e. a different stage of the disease). The next interim analysis (after further outcome data had accrued) showed that this trend had disappeared and was simply a random blip. However, a great many men had been denied effective cancer treatment by then because a decision had been made by somebody who didn’t understand how numbers behave.
To compare this with Lind, who died more than 200 years ago and was a pioneer in his time, is to deny the progress that has been made in medical trial design and in statistics since then.
I can’t repeat this often enough: A lot of things happen by chance, or at least as a result of so many unknown factors that behave randomly that they might as well be by chance. Although our minds are hard-wired to look for reasons, and we find the idea that “we just don’t know” unsatisfactory, our intuitions about probability and the behaviour of random numbers are completely wrong and very misleading. The only way of finding the truth among all this randomness is by using mathematical tools that have been developed specifically for this purpose, and to use them requires training.
Edzard on Wednesday 14 October 2020 at 08:47 said:
“if you say so, old man.
you and Holford have one thing in common: one must not take you seriously or else health might suffer.”
No, I don’t say so, that report is not even by Holford, (ref 1):
It is by:
“Jing Zhang, Xin Rao, Yiming Li, Yuan Zhu, Fang Liu, Guangling Guo, Guoshi Luo, Zhongji Meng, Daniel De Backer, Hui Xiang, Zhi-Yong Peng”
Also that report shows that oxygen is increased significantly by IVC, whereas mechanical ventilation tends to fail:
I have prepared a post about this for tomorrow
My response to this would be the current state of the scientific consensus on a topic. “Proof” isn’t really the right word. To me, it implies a single thing to demonstrate a claim. Science doesn’t really work like that.
This feels like the situation that homeopathy finds itself in. There’s a mountain or literature on the topic, but most of it is crap. When the crap is filtered out what’s left is collated and, hopefully, it shows a common trend falls out at the end of the process. In the case of homeopathy, it is, in layman’s terms, quite conclusive in showing it doesn’t work.
My understanding of the state of the art on Vit C mega dosing was that it has a similar outcome. Not really useful for any of the things it is typically claimed to be useful for.
This is also why it isn’t worth presenting a single, or even a handful of studies to demonstrate a point like this. When there is enough research on a topic you can find studies to fit any agenda. Individual studies aren’t worth presenting unless you are intentionally trying to manipulate a discussion with people that don’t know better.
Is this a reasonable understanding of how things should work?
yes, that’s why systematic reviews can be helpful, if well-done
This is what I have to say about Vitamin C and preveition of viral infections. Unfortunately there are many people who don’t beleive in prescription and over-the-counter medications, but they beleive in dietary supplements. They believe that dietary supplements are natural, therefore, they must be good. That is far from the truth. Just because a substance is natural, it doesn’t mean that it has to be good. Just because a substance is natural, it doesn’t mean that it is perfectly safe and it doesn’t have any adverse side effects.
Quacks and charlatans often talk about health care freedom. There is health care freedom in the United States. Dietary supplements are legal. Organic fruits and vegetable are legal. In fact dietary supplements are far less regulated by the Food and Drug Administration that prescription and over-the counter medications. Quacks and charlatans tell a bunch of lies and use scare taticts to influence naive simpletons who believe anything.
ummmm….lets not forget the mega industry called PHARMA. Of course they love people who suffer from sibling rivalry or simply need some attention and as a result make other paradigms that differ to their own paradigm wrong/ bad/ QUACK.
How utterly childish, immature and ultimately unethical behaviour – that of actually putting whole websites together for the sole purpose of shooting other people down.
Yes, some authors have a whole bunch of abbreviated certifications -Phd, Dr, FRSB etc… This to me just reveals how much time these people spend in their head and are Master Debaters …say that quickly. Masterdebater…Yes, Mental masturbation is what all those titles tell me..and now I too am guilty of the same so I will leave this toxic website now.
“lets not forget the mega industry called PHARMA”
yes, and let’s not forget that the mega industry called PHARMA owns much of the dietary supplement/vitamin industry.
Your mention of Linus Pauling’s cause of death is really bad form. And certainly, although he named it, he was not the father of orthomolecular medicine.
The orthomolecular medicine approach generates falsifiable hypothesis as Wilhelm points out. Drs. Hoffer, Klenner and (if we include minerals) Abraham could be considered the orthomolecular medicine fathers and their hypothesis are falsifiable: benefit of megadoses of niacin on Schizophrenia is mostly falsified (new acute cases too?) but benefit of megadoses of either vitamin C on bacterial or viral infections, or megadoses of iodine on cancer are certainly not. For example, research on sepsis (now I see vitamin C benefit —without hydrocortisone—, now I don’t —with hydrocortisone) and breast cancer (iodine RCT —preliminar results) is ongoing nowadays; now that of vitamin C on viral infections too.
My claim? Orthomolecular medicine is NOT pseudocientific. You should correct your book.
Moreover, since a risk/benefit analysis on using oral saturation doses of vitamin C is positive (very low risk, highly probable benefit), there are lots of us that will proceed to try it for the coronavirus too if the time comes, even if the intravenous route RCT is not yet completed by then.
Andrés on Monday 17 February 2020 at 14:36 said:
“…there are lots of us that will proceed to try it for the coronavirus too if the time comes, even if the intravenous route RCT is not yet completed by then.”
How about 50 tons of it?
“ Yesterday, we shipped 50 tons of immunity boosting Vitamin C from our DSM Jiangshan plant to the Province of Hubei, of which Wuhan is the capital city. The banner text on the truck reads: ‘In the fight against N-CoV the people of DSM Jiangshan and Wuhan are heart to heart’ ”
(DSM is the Dutch State Mining company.)
This contains three comments from medical staff in China and Korea:
Successful High-Dose Vitamin C Treatment of Patients with Serious and Critical COVID-19 Infection:
Thank you for your post Michael Carney. I really mean that. I am quite intrigued by it and it has caused me to dig dipper. I can attest to my own experiences with orthomolecular medicine that it has benefited me greatly and it is part of what compelled me to create this page. It is a responsibility of each individual to discern for themselves the approach that works best for them. I am not licensed to give any sort of advice and so sharing in opposing points of view is highly welcomed here. Your post has a lot of information to it that I’m still pondering on. I counter you on orthomolecular medicine being bogus though. Here is an article from the US National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health that relates to the posted topic. The study is from 2006 and while I understand that science evolves, the quality of science published is at the hands of us humans. Our society and cultural is not as altruistic as we’d like to believe it is. All the commercials for lawsuits against previously FDA approved drugs is an example of that. It makes me wonder how much of science has become a race for patents, recognition and greed. So I believe that this 2006 article from US National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health still holds valid consideration.
“Overall, research suggests that vitamin C provides a wide variety of benefits in daily doses from 500 mg to 6000 mg, and higher doses may be of value in some conditions. Many of these benefits would be of particular value to the elderly, with compromised immunity, degenerative heart and brain disorders, as well as cancer and inflammatory processes. I typically recommend 3000 mg to 6000 mg daily for many patients.”
Stacie Didier said:
In what sense is this paper from the National Institutes of Health? NIH is mentioned nowhere in the Author Affiliation.
Your link points to an indexing service which NIH provides to enable people to find academic papers, but that does not mean that they had any part in authoring, sponsoring or publishing it, and it is certainly not an endorsement, as you seem to be suggesting.
You mean Linus Pauling who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954 and the New Scientist hailed as one of the greatest scientist of all time!
Who are you again?
It’s funny, isn’t it, how someone can be right about some things and completely wrong about others…
Alan Henness on Friday 10 July 2020 at 22:00 said:
“It’s funny, isn’t it, how someone can be right about some things and completely wrong about others…”
There is nothing special about that, it applies to everyone. You need to give an example e.g. Pauling’s biggest mistake was missing out on the structure of DNA.
Linus Pauling received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954 for his research into the nature of the chemical bond and its application to the elucidation of the structure of complex substances. This work was totally unrelated to his later work in medical research and advocacy for Vitamin C. He also received the Nobel peace Prize for peace activism, again unrelated to his later vitamin C related work.
Linus Pauling was indeed a remarkable man and rightfully earned the title of most remarkable scientist of his time, that is until he passed his prime and lost sight of his capabilities.
After his laudable scientific achievements, he became the scientist who epitomises what came to be known as the Nobel-disease. In his later years he became obsessed with the idea that Vitamin C was a cure for the common cold and many other health problems. He believed this simple substance might be a veritable panacea and spent enormous effort on proving it. His fixation with this crusade became pathological in nature and blinded him to any results, which did not corroborate his infatuation.
Because of the weight his eminence lent the subject, Vitamin C became one of the most studied of vitamins but trial upon trial did not supstantiate Professor Paulings hopes. As a result, he became increasingly aggressive and estranged from his colleagues with advancing age. One of many sad stories tells how his friend and co-worker was thrown out and fired by Prof. Pauling when he dared present him with a negative result of an experiment.
As is the case with most health-related fads and fantasies, others took over and propagated vitamin C as a panacea for easy money. Despite evidence to the contrary it remains a popular item in the bag of tricks of naturopaths and other health-charlatans. The news that it supports sepsis treatment is in no way a corroboration of Linus Paulings mistaken advocacy for it.
Commentary by Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD:
Dr Levy seems unaware of the results of clinical trials of some of the treatments that he is recommending for Covid-19 showing them to be ineffective or harmful. For instance he describes his own observation of six patients who recovered after receiving chloroquine, and seems to regard this as supporting its use, rather than basing his recommendations on the results of a randomised prospective trial in which those patients receiving chloroquine did worse than the control group (though undoubtedly some of them would have recovered following administration of this drug).
Many of the agents he is recommending are known antiseptics, and while they can kill viruses outside the body, they are harmful if administered internally (despite what Trump has said about them).
Yet others are the subject of ongoing clinical trials, the results of which are as yet unknown.
I was curious to see that low-dose radiotherapy to the lungs has been tried, though I don’t know what out-dated equipment was used that took as long as 10 – 15 minutes to give a dose of 1.5 Gy (the dose-rate from a standard medical linear accelerator would be nearly ten times that, though the patient would be allocated a ten-minute treatment slot to allow time for setting up); possibly he is mis-reporting what was done. Of course, the high-dose vitamin C that he is recommending for all patients would have mopped up the oxygen free-radicals that radiotherapy generates, thereby reducing the effective dose by an unknown amount. Low-to-medium dose radiotherapy is sometimes used for treating benign conditions owing to its anti-inflammatory effect, but this is generally avoided if possible because of the risk of radiation-induced tumours. It seems plausible to me that it could help some people with Covid-19 but I have not seen the data and I have no personal experience of using it in a similar way.
I think in the UK he would be on dangerous territory publishing these guidelines. Like all rights, the right to free speech carries responsibilities, and as a doctor he has an additional responsibility to ensure that what he says has a sound basis, and to consider the consequences. I could see the General Medical Council taking an interest here.
Dr Julian Money-Kyrle on Sunday 19 July 2020 at 20:31 said
“…Like all rights, the right to free speech carries responsibilities…”
You cannot have a principle and a compromise at the same time, either you have free speech or you don’t.
You seem to have a very simplistic view of what rights and responsibilities are.
There is rightly a continual debate about what the limits of free speech should be; by statute in England hate speech is currently a crime, as is any communication which is threatening or abusive, or is intended to harass, alarm, or distress someone, and the other countries making up the UK have their own versions of this or are consuling on them. This is to protect minorities and other vulnerable members of society. On the other hand anybody is free to criticise the Government, and indeed here the right to free speech is an essential component of democracy.
If you have the right to own a gun that doesn’t mean that you have the freedom to go round indiscriminately shooting other people, even if some gun owners think otherwise, though it baffles me why so many Americans regard this as an acceptable price to pay for liberal gun laws.
In the case of your gun laws and Dr Levy’s advice the outcome is the same – avoidable deaths. But perhaps you feel that the victims’ right to life can be set aside.
Dr Julian Money-Kyrle on Monday 20 July 2020 at 11:51 said:
“There is rightly a continual debate about what the limits of free speech should be”
Yesterday it was Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
Today it is Hate Crime.
Tomorrow it will be… hang on, Today’s is enough. Hate Crime can be, “…any communication which is threatening or abusive, or is intended to harass, alarm, or distress someone.”
Which means anything at all because there will always be someone in the world who feels threatened or abused or feels the intention of harassment, alarm or distress from someone else – people kill each other for just being looked at the wrong way.
“This is to protect minorities and other vulnerable members of society.”
And who is to decide who needs protection? Those in the protection business, the Tony Sopranos of State protection.
“On the other hand anybody is free to criticise the Government, and indeed here the right to free speech is an essential component of democracy.”
That is no longer true e.g. I am not allowed to say “xxxxx lives matter” – But which one is it? It’s the one we are not allowed to say. Which just goes to show what a mockery of logic non-objective law is.
“If you have the right to own a gun that doesn’t mean that you have the freedom to go round indiscriminately shooting other people.”
That is correct and inherent in one’s right to one’s own life by definition.
“In the case of your gun laws and Dr Levy’s advice the outcome is the same – avoidable deaths. But perhaps you feel that the victims’ right to life can be set aside.”
Dr Levy’s advice saved Alan Smith. There is no reason why the same thing would not likewise avoid most of current deaths from the complications of coronavirus. Gun laws do not “set aside victim’s right to life”, only bad people do that, mainly by other means.
Hate crime has a specific legal definition, and is not just saying something that somebody else objects to.
I think you will find that legally you are allowed to say such things, and it is certain sectors of society who will judge you, not the Law. Unfortunately the Court of Social Media doesn’t have the same checks and balances as the Courts of Law, nor does it presume innocence until guilt has been proven.
That is arguable. Alan Smith is convinced but I am not. It is very unwise, not to say dangerous, to base medical practice on the outcome of a single case.
Mortality statistics say otherwise.
In countries such as the UK where gun laws are stricter, deaths from shooting are uncommon. Restricting access to guns makes it harder for the bad guys to get hold of them, harder to carry them and also less likely to use them. But it isn’t just the bad guys. What about suicides? The urge to end one’s own life often passes quite quickly, unless the means is readily available. What about accidental deaths (e.g. children playing with a parent’s gun)? What about trigger-happy police? What about self-defence where the situation is not actually life-threatening? What about mass shootings (mad guys, not bad)?
Whether restricting access to guns saves lives is not in question – it is a well-established fact. Gun laws allowing ordinary citizens to have ready access to assault weapons result in many lives lost; the question is whether you feel that your right to bear arms trumps another man’s right to life.
I grew up with guns and although I prefer to shoot wildlife with a camera I am grateful for a steady supply of game from other members of my family. However, guns are strictly controlled over here, and are not even routinely carried by the Police. Nobody even considers the possibility that there are situations where they might get shot; it is not part of normal life.
The Application of High-dose Intravenous Vitamin C in Severe Respiratory Virus Infections:
” its effectiveness and safety are still pending verification by large-scale clinical trials.”
so, do you have a point. Old Bob?
I think that is exactly the point that Old Bob was making. Though personally I am surprised to find this review hosted on an orthomolecular medicine Web site.
Edzard on Friday 07 August 2020 at 07:07 said:
“so, do you have a point. Old Bob?”
Yes, plenty, but these are Chinese guys making their points, not mine.
But suppose I do say something such as “…it works for me.” or “…it doesn’t work for me.” – that would be opinion right? And just as valid as Christine’s opinion.
Also Old Bob and Christine are of type-anonymous anyway, that’s two removes from reality.
Please tell what your point is with referring to a discussive article by some “Chinese guys” published in an obscure alt-med paper?
Vitamins C has been found to be a possible[sic] supplement to active drug therapy in the treatment of sepsis, based on theories that vitamin C stores are depleted in this desperate condition. That does not support Linus Pauling’s fallacious fantasies about the general utility of oral or i.v. vitamin C – certainly not in the prevention or treatment of anything from coryza to Covid-19.
Björn Geir commented on ‘Orthomolecular medicine’: more quacks jump on the CORONAVIRUS bandwaggon said:
“Please tell what your point is with referring to a discussive article by some “Chinese guys” published in an obscure alt-med paper?”
I find it interesting.
You are angry about Linus Pauling – why? He is long dead and does not hear you. This is also interesting, human beings watch, fascinated by trivia (such as orange-yellow smoke from NO2)…
My own trivia is my cancer. That’s why I am here, posting this stuff and these links etc, and I learn more interesting things from e.g. JMK.
I am not angry about Linus Pauling. I don’t mind if he is wrong or right – in fact I expect him to be wrong quite often because that is the nature of finding out, it is a cliche to say that the guy who does not make mistakes did nothing (but I know that EE does not like my cliches – sorry EE, about that 🙂 – and anyway, I agree with you, cliches are so lazy!
Björn Geir on Friday 07 August 2020 at 23:41 said:
“Vitamins C has been found to be a possible[sic] supplement to active drug therapy in the treatment of sepsis, based on theories that vitamin C stores are depleted in this desperate condition. That does not support Linus Pauling’s fallacious fantasies about the general utility of oral or i.v. vitamin C – certainly not in the prevention or treatment of anything from coryza to Covid-19.”
You have several errors here:
1 The “…possible supplement to…” is based on the-Result-at-the-sickbed, not “…based on theories…”.
2 “…certainly not…” – this, before the results of the trials are out. There is nothing certain here – except in fantasy or fallacy.
Is there any reason for me to respond to this practically incomprehensible comment by a nameless, apparently non-medically educated person?
Björn Geir on Sunday 09 August 2020 at 17:00 said:
“there any reason for me to respond to this practically incomprehensible comment by a nameless, apparently non-medically educated person?”
No, response remains voluntary…
Björn Geir on Sunday 09 August 2020 at 17:00 said:
“Is there any reason for me to respond to this practically incomprehensible comment by a nameless, apparently non-medically educated person?”
1 “…practically…” – why not “certainly”?
2 “…apparently…” – ditto?
Because, evidently, you don’t know, you cannot know, and yet you are “certain” about Pauling and “…anything from coryza to Covid-19.”, which in the grand scheme of things, includes the workings of the Human Body and its interaction/integration with viruses and vitamin C.
Suppose you did have this knowledge. You would be able to immediately say something like “Vitamin C cannot work because of xyz.” instead of personal attack.
I would say precisely as valid.
From here, page 57:
Regulation dietary vitamin C at mg / kg is for:
monkey == 55mg / kg
guinea pig == 42 -167mg / kg
human == 1mg / kg
The experience of a 78 year old who takes vitamin C:
You misrepresent orthomolucular medicine. It is not only about vitamin C. There are a lot of other su
I didn’t claim it’s about Vit C
The only thing that matters is NOT whether it is regular medicine or alternative medicine, but: if the treatment is EFFECTIVE or not. There are many cases where regular medicine and pharmaceutical products are not effective but are even counter-effective. Are you prohibiting proven treatment of alternative or orthomolecular medicine, because it is not regular, even if there is no cure by regular treatment at the moment? For many diseases, there are still no products of Big Pharma, or even if these exist, they are far too expensive.
To show that orthomolucular science is more than just using vitamin C, see https://www.orthokennis.nl/nutrienten
just right click in chrome for the translation
“Are you prohibiting proven orthomolecular medicine?”
Please show me the proof
“… https://www.orthokennis.nl/nutrienten ….”
OK, let’s look at what they claim about Echinacea: https://www-orthokennis-nl.translate.goog/nutrienten/echinacea?_x_tr_sl=nl&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=nl&_x_tr_pto=wapp
Wow! This almost sounds like it is a miracle herb! Now let’s compare this with some other, more reliable sources:
How strange … All of a sudden, Echinacea does not have any clear therapeutic benefits any more … it may(!) be slightly helpful in preventing colds, but even if this one effect is real, it is negligible.
Then I took a ‘vitamin test’ on a Web site referred to (and used) by lots of orthomolecular practitioners.
First, I posed as a 42-year-old man with a very healthy lifestyle – yet for some reason, these people advised me to start taking no less than four supplement products, at a cost of well over 100 euros per month.
Then I did the test again, now as a 25-year-old woman with an even healthier lifestyle, answering questions in such a way that the outcome should be that I needed no supplements whatsoever.
Unsurprisingly, they came up with even MORE supplements that I should take, at a cost of ~140 euros per month.
These outcomes match the anecdotal evidence from interviewing people who actually consulted orthomolecular practitioners: they were always advised to start taking supplements – which these practitioners very conveniently sold them right away.
Which raises a new question: how exactly do these practitioners diagnose deficiencies? I picked ten practitioners at random from a handy map, and looked at their modus operandi. And it turns out that EVERY SINGLE ONE of them used one or more of these modalities:
– EMB blood test (a.k.a. live blood analysis)
– Biotensor measurement
– Sensi therapy
To prevent any misunderstanding: ALL of these ‘diagnostic methods’ are 100% quackery, and any practitioner using them is by definition a dumb quack – because their diagnoses are completely useless, as is any nutritional advice based on these diagnoses.
Also rather disturbing is that a relatively large number of these quacks apparently ‘specialized’ in treating children. Children don’t need supplements as long as they eat healthy and get sufficient exercise. These practitioners are simply trying to draw in lifetime customers, who mistakenly believe that all those extra pills are needed for good health.
So there you have it: orthomolecular ‘medicine’ is simply a way to part the worried-well from their money. There is no science behind it, just commerce, no matter if practitioners use sciencey-sounding words to impress their customers.