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Can Doctors Be Trusted to Prescribe Vitamins?

April 2005

By William Faloon

How to Reduce Your Stroke Risk

For the past 25 years, the Life Extension Foundation has discovered novel ways to reduce disease risk that are years ahead of conventional medicine.

Back in 1981, we first recommended that members reduce homocysteine levels by taking folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6.20 In 1999, we published findings indicating that a lot more than high-dose folic acid is needed to reduce homocysteine levels to safe ranges.19 Mainstream doctors did not learn about this finding until it appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association five years later.1 Even then, no recommendation was made to use higher-dose vitamin B6.

Since so many aging people are vulnerable to stroke, we have sought to ascertain every single risk factor that is involved in the development of this horrific disease. We long ago identified components of the blood that, when elevated, dramatically increase one’s odds of having a stroke. Most Life Extension members have their blood tested once a year to ensure that they are suppressing these dangerous blood components that increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.

In this month’s issue, we feature a comprehensive article on stroke prevention. Please be advised that the medical establishment does not agree with much of what we recommend, even though our methods of preventing stroke are based on studies published in the establishment’s own scientific journals.


For those who want to take control of their health, very low-cost blood tests are available by mail order to Life Extension members. To inquire about blood tests such as C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, homocysteine, and others that evaluate correctable cardiovascular risk factors, call 1-800-208-3444. You may also order blood tests online.

Doctors Prove Their Ignorance

Would you trust doctors to dictate what dose of vitamins you take? A stark example of why most doctors are incapable of properly prescribing supplements can be seen in the inept stroke prevention study I just described. The vitamin potencies were too low; the patients were not given individualized doses to optimally reduce homocysteine; and the intervention was too narrow (fibrinogen and C-reactive protein levels were ignored). These stroke victims did not stand a chance in the hands of these vitamin-prescribing doctors.

Those opposed to natural medicine believe that the public is too stupid to know what dose of supplements it should be taking. Yet as demonstrated in this study, most medical doctors remain completely in the dark about nutrition.

There are efforts by those in the establishment to restrict consumers’ access to high-potency dietary supplements. Please be assured that the Life Extension Foundation continues to protect individual health freedom rights against an unholy alliance of drug companies, regulatory agencies, and parts of academia that are determined to maintain the status quo.

As a Life Extension member, you are part of a medical renaissance that is determined to overcome the resistance of those whose economic interests lie in perpetuating the ignorance of the past.

For longer life,

William Faloon


Life Extension wanted to know how much money the federal government spent to fund this stroke-prevention study in which the potencies of vitamins were too low to show a meaningful benefit.

Life Extension filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). What we received back was a complex disbursement schedule indicating that the federal government awarded grants of more than $17 million to fund this worthless study.
As we stated in this article, this study was meticulously and expensively conducted in order to avoid errors that would have rendered the data questionable. The problem was that the vitamin potencies used were far too low, which resulted in a huge amount of tax dollars ($17 million) being squandered on a study that had no chance of producing useful data.

The federal government trusts academic doctors to design vitamin studies, yet in this instance, a knowledgeable health food store clerk could have pointed out that the low potencies of vitamins used in this secondary stroke-prevention study were unlikely to produce worthwhile findings.


1. Toole JF, Malinow MR, Chambless LE, et al. Lowering homocysteine in patients with ischemic stroke to prevent recurrent stroke, myocardial infarction, and death, the Vitamin Intervention for Stroke Prevention (VISP) Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA. 2004 Feb 4;291(5):565-75.

2. Available at: Accessed January 25, 2005.

3. Perry IJ, Refsum H, Morris RW, et al. Prospective study of serum total homocysteine concentration and risk of stroke in middle-aged British men. Lancet. 1995 Nov 25;346(8987):1395-8.

4. Langman LJ, Ray JG, Evrovski J, Yeo E, Cole DE. Hyperhomocyst(e)inemia and the increased risk of venous thromboembolism: more evidence from a case-control study. Arch Intern Med. 2000 Apr 10;160(7):961-4.

5. Tanne D, Haim M, Goldbourt U, et al. Prospective study of serum homocysteine and risk of ischemic stroke among patients with preexisting coronary heart disease. Stroke. 2003 Mar;34(3):632-6.

6. Eikelboom JW, Lonn E, Genest J Jr, Hankey GJ, Yusuf S. Homocysteine and cardiovascular disease: a critical review of the epidemiologic evidence. Ann Intern Med. 1999 Sep 7;131(5):363–75.

7. D’Angelo A, Selhub J. Homocysteine and thrombotic disease. Blood. 1997 Jul 1;90(1):1-11.

8. Welch GN, Loscalzo J. Homocysteine and atherothrombosis. N Engl J Med. 1998 Apr 9;338(15):1042-50.

9. Bostom AG, Rosenberg IH, Silbershatz H, et al. Nonfasting plasma total homocysteine levels and stroke incidence in elderly persons: the Framingham Study. Ann Intern Med. 1999 Sep 7;131(5):352-5.

10. Chasan-Taber L, Selhub J, Rosenberg IH, et al. A prospective study of folate and vitamin B6 and risk of myocardial infarction in US physicians. J Am Coll Nutr. 1996 Apr;15(2):136-43.

11. Acevedo M, Pearce GL, Kottke-Marchant K, Sprecher DL. Elevated fibrinogen and homocysteine levels enhance the risk of mortality in patients from a high-risk preventive cardiology clinic. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2002 Jun 1;22(6):1042-5. 

12. Spence JD. Patients with atherosclerotic vascular disease: how low should plasma homocysteine levels go? Am J Cardiovasc Drugs. 2001 1(2):85-9.

13. Robinson K, Mayer EL, Miller DP, et al. Hyperhomocysteinemia and low pyridoxal phosphate; common and independent reversible risk factors for coronary artery dis- ease. Circulation. 1995 Nov 15;92(10):2825- 30.

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15. Bonow RO, Smaha LA., Smith SC, Jr,. Mensah GA, Lenfant, Claude. World Heart Day 2002: the international burden of cardiovascular disease: responding to the emerging global epidemic. Circulation. 2002 Sep 24;106(13):1602-5.

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17. Available at: Accessed January 25, 2005.

18. Hanley DF. The challenge of stroke prevention. JAMA. 2004 Feb 4;291(5):621-2.

19. Available at: Accessed January 25, 2005.

20. “Anti-Aging News” 1981 Nov;85-86

21. Iso H, Moriyama Y, Sato S, et al. Serum total homocysteine concentrations and risk of stroke and its subtypes in Japanese. Circulation. 2004 Jun 8;109(22):2766-72.