Prevention Magazine, April, 2010: Vitamin Danger Nonsense
By Michael Mooney, Updated April, 2013

I have been getting questions about an article on page 53 in the April, 2010 issue of Prevention magazine. It's almost heartbreaking to see a falsification of nutritional science in one of my favorite childhood health magazines, but that's exactly what this article is. Prevention was one of the best sources of progressive health information back in the 1960's. Well, that's long gone.

The aricle in question said that folic acid could cause cancer, and that vitamin A, vitamin E and iron could be dangerous in relatively small doses.

The folic acid statement has been corrected on my site at:
Please read this article if you have any questions.

And then on page 56, the author makes the silliest statements about relatively low doses of vitamin A, vitamin E and iron causing terrible health problems. One might ask oneself, if these things are true, wouldn't the FDA be running through health food stores taking products off the shelves, while newspaper headlines screamed how FDA had saved the public from these dangerous vitamins?

I guarantee you that if these things were true, FDA would take action immediately.

The most important consideration when evaluating the probability that these things are true is to look at what the US Government National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine says. After reviewing all published science that looks at what doses of vitamins and minerals cause toxic effects for the last sixty or so years, they give us the Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Levels (LOAEL).

The LOAEL is a dose of the nutrient where, when taken over a period of time, toxicity may occur "rarely, but for some sensitive sub-groups it does occur." The LOAEL is always a very conservative number that is usually far below the dose where adverse effects can really happen, and even then, it takes into consideration the sensitivites of a very small percentage of the population. But prudence dictates that no harm is done to anyone.

The LOAEL for vitamin A is 21,600 IU per day.

The LOAEL for vitamin E is 1,200 IU per day. (However, I find nothing in the published scientific literature to support this number. In fact, a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled study, published in the Journal of Lipid Research, found that it is almosty impossible to take a harmful amount of vitamin E and that more than 90 percent of U.S. citizens have inadequate levels of vitamin in E in their diet.

Please see:

The LOAEL for iron is 100 mg per day.

Since there are no multivitamins sold in the United States that contain more than 5,000 IU of vitamin E, 800 IU of vitamin E, or 40 mg of iron, there are no multivitamins with toxic vitamin A, E or iron in health food stores in the USA.

Please help stop the Prevention misunderstandings and pass this on to your friends and family.

Be well,
Michael Mooney