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clogged arteries
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clogged arteries

What is your opinion on the vitamin C-lysine-proline theory?
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74076_tn?1189759432
Hi Jakob,

I am very skeptical.  This therapy is not systematically studied in peer-reviewed journals and is more based on anecdotes then sciences.  The scientific method mandates that a hypothesis or idea be clearly stated and then tested in randomized and blinded fashion.  While I respect Dr. Pauling's contribution to science, this idea is not tested and my opinion is unlikely to make any significant changes in coronary disease unless the patient was already Vit C deficient (very unlikely today).

My clinical decisions are based on randomized studies that show 1) the medication is safe, 2) effective, 3) acceptable low risk of complications.

The vitamin C-lysine-proline is not tested in this way.  I don't think it will do harm, but from what we know about Vitamin C in large randomized trials shows it is not helpful.

Here is food for thought----if pharmaceutical companies thought they could make money on a new treatment and could convince the FDA to approve it, don't you think they would.  I don't want to appear cynical, but big pharma is out to make a dollar anywhere they can safely do it.  My feeling is that if you can only buy it and read about it on the internet or in advertisements, it is probably not worth it.

I hope this helps.
9 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
So doctor your saying that all Supplements and Vitamins that are not approved of FDA are just used to rob money from people's pockets? I mean i always did wonder why don't companies like the Vitamin Shop just go to the FDA and just make them approve of their pills?

I always wanted to ask that.
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Avatar_n_tn
I don't think the doc was saying that all. what I feel he was saying was that drug companies prior to releasing meds must have each medicine go thru a number of trials and tests before being approved for the use in humans. these trials are aimed at attemping to prevent unsafe meds from reaching the market. Vitamins and "supplements" are not similarly regulated so they make claims that are totally without basis. So buying any such substance is done buyer beware.The reason Vitamin shop does not do this is that they don't wish to spend billions on research and development on stuff they know will never pass the FDA's rigorous trials.
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74076_tn?1189759432
Knicks30,

My response to this question might spark a fury of responses, but yes, for the most part, vitamins are all about profit with very little benefit.  I take one generic multivitamin a day.  Trust me, if there was good data to suggest vitamins improved health, prevented or improved coronary disease, or prevented other diseases, I would take them and recommend that my patients take them.

Some companies will publish articles on the benefits of their vitamins or supplements--the only articles I trust are from reputable medical journals like Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, circulation, etc.  The articles in your mailbox from GNC or Vitamin Shoppe are not exactly objective and peer reviewed.

Physicians do not have a financial incentive to prescribe the most expensive drugs or any drugs for that matter.  We do not make money prescriptions.  I say this because it has been suggested in a post several months ago that the reason physicians don't like vitamins because we don't make money on them.  The true financial incentive comes from stores or web sites that sell these products.  They are expensive.  Before the large NIH study that showed no benefit ot Vitamin E, I thought about taking it.  The $15 price tag was enough to convince me to wait for the data.

Thanks for the question--you can probably tell this is a hot topic with me.

I will step off my soapbox now.
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Avatar_n_tn
Vitamins are a multi-billion dollar profit industry..  and the worse part is - they don't have to prove to the public or the FDA in what they say their product will do..  

If vitamins are so GREAT - then why don't the drug companies that manufacture them go to the FDA for approval !!!

Why - because chances are - they can't prove the drug does what they claim and furthermore it may cause some patients more harm than good.  But there are very little studies and we don't hear about that..  Drug companies are not so stupid as to risk their profits for drug that chances are the FDA might not approve and make themselves (drug company) look like money hungry thieves working just for a buck !!!  Kind of reminds me of the cigarette companies.. Only they claimed it was not harmful.. until the FDA said otherwise..      

This is just my personal opinion from reading alot of literature on this subject..

Marilyn (runner)
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Avatar_n_tn
Well thank you for replying. Good to hear an opinion from a doctor about this kind of a subject. A couple of more questions i need to ask if you dont mind me asking is what about Omega 3 fish oil tablets or flax seed oil tablets that are not approved of the FDA but back in May of 2003 the White House urged more consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids? I mean i've seen plenty of supplemental tablets of Omega 3 by brand names like Nature Made, or St. Johns Worts, etc. If you look at the bottom of the bottle it says it is not approved of the FDA which gets me wondering if it really works? I myself have seen people taking these supplements and have had great success. So i guess if the White House urged more consumption of Omega 3 then it's ok to take a supplement not approved of the FDA?

Now im pretty sure we all need a multi-vitamin everyday. You yourself stated that you take a multi everday. Now GNC and Vitamin shop host alot of Multi's like One A Day or Mega man, etc. Recently, ive read upon one of the richest Multi vitamins called Life Extension. It's not approved of the FDA but their articles seem rather believeable. If you don't know what im talking about here's a website www.lef.org. It seems like a rich multi vitamin but again its not approved of the FDA. Now these people from Life Extension seem to battle it out with the people from the FDA, why is that? Who should we believe?

That is my main point from the 2 paragraphs that i wrote above is to which one to believe? I mean yes companies could just talk and talk and make money but ive seen many people taking supplements that work on them probably better than prescription pills. Then again the FDA has been around for quite a while so the FDA is known as the vetern but has been known to make many mistakes. So who should really believe? Do we go with the not so known companies or the FDA?

Thank you again Doctor. God Bless.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Knick,   Alot of people 'believe' in vitamins and such.. But they are still not 'scientifically' proven.  It may appear to work for you.  Heck even drugs that the FDA does approve - have been pulled off the markets at a later date due to harmful effects.  I think its atrocious they can sell these drugs and not be accountable to anyone.  They could just be a placebo !!

If I remember - years ago some company sold some guinea pig droplets as a 'healthy' organic snack..   People actually paid $50.00 for a small bag of them..  Heck they ATE THEM  !!!   Thank god I was to poor to pay that much money for a 'snack'.. what a NUT..  They probably were smiling the whole time they ate them, thinking how 'healthy' they were..  Later, someone actually 'tested' the snacks and 'squealled' on the company....   You really don't know what 'chemicals' are in these over the counter 'organic' products..  

I guess if you want to believe in a product - then you do..  But, I would think some of these 'vitamins' have the potential to interact with other prescription drugs too.  As, I take coumadin and I think if a person takes coumadin they have to watch what vitamins they can take.  I just don't take any..   Rat poison (sold as coumadin) is on the top 10 drug list for interactions and complications with other drugs - and its FDA approved !!!  I can't imagine what would be in it - if it wasn't FDA approved..  

I wonder if the vitamin label warns patients taking these drugs should consult with their physcian before consuming..  

Oh well,  just food for thought.........

Best Wishes
Marilyn (runner)
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Avatar_n_tn
I personally think people take different vitamins regularly for two main reasons:

1) media hyping up the science, like they do everything else (nothing against media, but they do tend to blow things out of proportion), and;

2) the physical act of taking something "therapeutical" often has just as good an effect as the drug itself (assuming the drug is not a 'life-saving' drug as such).  This is often illustrated by clinical trials using placebos.  The mind is a powerful thing, easier than most realize to manipulate.  

Just my 2 cents!

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Avatar_m_tn
Since my heart attack I have tried just about everthing.  At one time I was on about $300.00 worth of vitamins and supplements a month in addition to my $550.00 worth of meds.  Among other things, I did the Linus Pauling thing with high dose vit C, but had to quit because of constipation with my cholesterol meds.  Also having more money in your bank account is a healthy thing also.

I do think that a few of them are worth while.  I currently take a good multi-vitamin (no iron), Vit E, folic acid, and alph-lipoic acid.  I wash down my meds with abouta pint of blueberry juice every day.  

I've read the studies that say Vit E is even counterproductive for lipid control, but believe that it works as a more natural platelet coagulation inhibitor.  Whether that's true or not is more a personal belief system sort of like religion.  But my belief system also says that diuretics, beta blockers, and blood thinners are all counterproductive to people wanting to stop the progression of their coronary artery disease.

I think that your two best chances to stop the progression of coronary artery disease are agressive cholesterol and bp control via multiple medications and daily long duration mildly stenuous exercise such as walking 3 or more miles on a hilly course.

Secondary, is living a happy and low stress life, taking plenty of time off, enjoying the gift of life, loving and being loved, moderate diet and  weight control, etc.

I know that I was givin an extremely bad prognosis after my second failed angioplasty, if I didn't agree to bypass surgery.  My belief is that CABG doesn't address the root cause of the disease and is a poor solution for the long term.  Again that's a belief system, but because my life was at stake, I studied the research pretty hard 4 or 5 years ago.  The stuff I was reading then and incorporating into my therapy, is now proving out in studies almost monthly.

Five years ago doctors generally believed that plaques killed you and needed to be bypassed or stented.  Now they know that the danger is really the leakers causing sudden blood clots in coronary arteries.  So if that is the root cause, it's only natural that you can reduce the risk by drying up those lipid pools ala aggressive lipid control, something bypass surgery doesn't address.  Those old plaque artifacts aren't going to kill you.

Bottom line is that some vitamins and supplements coupled with a healthy diet with a lot of green stuff and not much meat or dairy is probably good for you.  If you have a severe lipid imbalance and existing disease, you are going to need some serious meds to correct it if you want to live.

Best of Luck

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