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Review

Bias against Vitamin C in Mainstream Medicine: Examples from Trials of Vitamin C for Infections

1
Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
2
Biological Data Science Institute, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jeanne A. Drisko, Qi Chen and Giorgio Lenaz
Life 2022, 12(1), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/life12010062
Received: 28 November 2021 / Revised: 14 December 2021 / Accepted: 15 December 2021 / Published: 3 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Mechanisms of Vitamin C)
Evidence has shown unambiguously that, in certain contexts, vitamin C is effective against the common cold. However, in mainstream medicine, the views on vitamin C and infections have been determined by eminence-based medicine rather than evidence-based medicine. The rejection of the demonstrated benefits of vitamin C is largely explained by three papers published in 1975—two published in JAMA and one in the American Journal of Medicine—all of which have been standard citations in textbooks of medicine and nutrition and in nutritional recommendations. Two of the papers were authored by Thomas Chalmers, an influential expert in clinical trials, and the third was authored by Paul Meier, a famous medical statistician. In this paper, we summarize several flaws in the three papers. In addition, we describe problems with two recent randomized trial reports published in JAMA which were presented in a way that misled readers. We also discuss shortcomings in three recent JAMA editorials on vitamin C. While most of our examples are from JAMA, it is not the only journal with apparent bias against vitamin C, but it illustrates the general views in mainstream medicine. We also consider potential explanations for the widespread bias against vitamin C. View Full-Text
Keywords: attitude of health personnel; common cold; dietary supplements; evidence-based medicine; health care quality, access and evaluation; health knowledge, attitudes and practice; meta-analysis; micronutrients; quackery; respiratory tract infections attitude of health personnel; common cold; dietary supplements; evidence-based medicine; health care quality, access and evaluation; health knowledge, attitudes and practice; meta-analysis; micronutrients; quackery; respiratory tract infections
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hemilä, H.; Chalker, E. Bias against Vitamin C in Mainstream Medicine: Examples from Trials of Vitamin C for Infections. Life 2022, 12, 62. https://doi.org/10.3390/life12010062

AMA Style

Hemilä H, Chalker E. Bias against Vitamin C in Mainstream Medicine: Examples from Trials of Vitamin C for Infections. Life. 2022; 12(1):62. https://doi.org/10.3390/life12010062

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hemilä, Harri, and Elizabeth Chalker. 2022. "Bias against Vitamin C in Mainstream Medicine: Examples from Trials of Vitamin C for Infections" Life 12, no. 1: 62. https://doi.org/10.3390/life12010062

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