Life Extension

Dear Editor, I disagree with the author of the MediaWatch section (pg. 55) of the last issue. The Reader's Digest should not be in any way commended for their cover story "Can these Pills Help You Live Longer?" This is not the first time the Digest has covered supplements in the news, and, as before, the Reader's Digest article was carefully designed to protect pharmaceutical interests. The technique, damning by faint praise, sounds scientific and conservative, but the article was misleading to the uniformed.

The pattern in the Reader's Digest article illustrates the author Holman's intent. When a supersafe and effective substance competes with a line of pharmaceutical products -- it is "hype." The substances that were discussed and then recommended are substances that cause the least harm to pharmaceutical concerns. (What pharmaceutical company has a drug for spina bifida?). If this article was really about "living longer", what about melatonin? Where was vitamin C -- the most important substance for living longer now known -- and proven by the Enstrom study to extend life? If the Holman article isn't blatant propaganda why mention "Ma Huang" in a piece about Living Longer? Ditto "Ginko Biloba" and "Sal Palmetto"?

The most irritating of all was the recommendation for not taking vitamin E! Holman says: "Experts agree that while the evidence is encouraging, it is not yet strong enough to advise widespread use of vitamin E." For Gosh sake WHY NOT?! The article quoted a reduced risk of 77% in a Cambridge Heart Antioxidant Study. There is no known risk or toxic side affect. Even if these findings are wrong, there is no harm in taking E. All the risks are associated with not taking extra E. Yet the bad advice continues.

Yours truly,

Owen R. Fonorow
Publisher of MEGASCORBATE THERAPIES: Vitamin C in Medicine On-line