Several years ago there were a number of studies published on the effectiveness of vitamin E supplements in helping to reduce heart disease and heart attacks. Since my father had had two heart attacks and two bypass surgeries, I put my typical skepticism aside and hurried to the local drugstore to buy large supplies, making sure to read the label correctly to get the right type of vitamin E at 400 international units since there are different versions (natural and manufactured). I was diligent in taking my daily supplement for a couple years, but eventually got lazy and relied strictly on my daily multi.
This week there was a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealing that, in a seven-year case study, not only did vitamin E NOT reduce the rate of cardiovascular and cancer disease in patients, it actually created INCREASED rates of heart failures among the patients who participated in the study.
How many times have we seen this where the front pages and broadcast news lead-ins reveal these new medical magic bullets, only to learn a few years later that the wonder drug or supplement actually had no effect or caused worse damages? Too many to count, I believe.
As I get closer to that magical age of 50, I find myself taking less and less medications of any kind. I let colds and viruses run their course, for example, or I take only natural remedies. My nephew is in med school right now to become a naturopathic doctor (he just went through the "white coat" ceremony), and I think he's really on to something.
I still think the best advice I ever got was from a client, Dr. Rene Favalaro, who standardized the heart bypass procedure at the Cleveland Clinic in the '60s. Sitting next to him on an airplane 20 years ago he told me to ignore everything I read about heart remedies and drink at least one glass of red wine every night -- that the natural ingredients in the skin of the red grape would keep my veins clean and clear. This was about 5 years before what's become known as the French Paradox, as first reported on "60 Minutes" in 1989.
That's when I started enjoying red wine, collecting and drinking, and I've been doing it ever since. So far, my heart is ticking just fine, thank you.