Understanding which nutrients the body needs and why is just as vital as taking them. Before we get into which nutrients you should be taking, let’s take a closer look at which nutrients you should not be taking.
VITAMINS: THE WHOLE TRUTH
Are they helping you or harming you? Fact vs. Fiction:
Published in Element Fitness, July 20, 2010
We have all heard that we need to take our vitamins. But did you know that if you’re taking synthetic vitamins or herbs, you have swallowed one of the best marketing campaigns ever? Vitamin companies make fortunes from selling and manufacturing chemically produced “nutrients,” which have actually been refined and devitalized of all organic nutrients. These companies then pass off the vitamins to you as “the real thing,” promising they will help prevent progressive degenerative disease.
The average consumer who buys into this propaganda is unfortunately gravely mistaken. In truth, taking synthetic vitamins speeds up the process of lethal degenerative disease because, like prescription drugs, while they make us feel better for a time, they do not help the body’s physiological functions. In fact, they may mask a more serious underlying condition.
No matter how much science goes into making them, synthetic vitamins are not natural vitamins; they have been manufactured in a lab. They are re-created fractions of a whole complex, only a portion of the biochemical activity needed for the precise nutritional complex to have an effect. They are synthetic stimulants.
If you are asking, “What makes a synthetic vitamin, and how do I know if what I am taking is really a whole food supplement?” The answers are not as complicated as you might think. Simply read the ingredients and look at the section that reads “Fillers or Other Ingredients.” The best products on the market will either indicate “No Fillers” or maybe “Veggie Cap,” which means no hormones were used in making the capsule. There may be two or three other ingredients listed, which will have the term “Whole Food” on the bottle.
If, on the other hand, there are more than four ingredients with which you are unfamiliar, then most likely the product contains toxic fillers.
Our food supply and our “vitamin supply” have some serious issues. If you are like most Americans, you are learning that GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms, or as we like to say, “God Move Over”) represents chemical additives, chemical preservatives, and commercial processing, which create serious health conditions for the average consumer.
Dr. Epstein, a world-renowned toxicologist, states that “America’s cancer rate is at an all-time high due to chemicals in our food, supplements, and cosmetics from sources which if cleaned up, we could reverse the cancer epidemic in as little as ten years.”
Sadly, most supplements that companies manufacture do not actually contain real food. Even though they claim to be natural, the ingredients are USP (U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention) synthetic vitamins and commercially processed rocks. Using industrial chemicals, these rocks are altered and poured into supplements such as gluconic acid (a cleaning compound) to form isolated rock salts. While rocks are natural food for plants, they are not for human consumption.
Nature uses these rocks for plant food, which load plants with nutrients; humans are supposed to use the plants as nutrients, not the rocks. Plants are able to change the chemical compounds found in the rocks and purify them. In short, plants need the rocks for nutrients while humans need the plants. This is the simplified food chain supply.
Processed rocks, of course, are considerably cheaper for manufacturing purposes than nutrients found in whole food supplements. It is vital to research and find proper whole food vitamins for the body to use.
You should also know that herbs are natural stimulants. In other words, herbs help the body do something it cannot or is not doing well on its own, such
as filter the liver. Natural stimulants are far better than any synthetic stimulants on the market because they are actually medicinal food—hence, herbal medicine. In taking herbs, one should use caution because herbs do create a certain effect in the body. If someone is taking medication for a heart condition, and then takes an herb that stimulates the heart, there could be a contraindication. This is one reason it is always wise to seek a professional’s advice before beginning an in-depth herbal program. Whole food supplements, on the other hand, ONLY support the body’s physiological functions needed to survive. The chances of taking a whole food supplement with a contraindication is very low. They are, after all, only food.
When switching over from synthetic vitamins to whole food supplements and herbs, you may feel a crash because your body is accustomed to taking high doses of fake nutrients. Once you switch, you may not feel that energy high right away because whole food supplements will not give you a fake high. They will in short time fully rejuvenate the body. This is similar to what one experiences when quitting caffeine. After a short while, you will not feel like you need to be stimulated because you now feel better all the time!
You will encounter many distributors of these products providing research to back up claims that their product is the best on the market. They will swear that it is fine to take supplements with synthetic elements in them; they will say it’s natural. But the truth is that anything added to meet a larger profit margin is probably not something you want in your body! Products can be made without these additives, but the costs and care required in the manufacturing process are greater. I don’t care what company it is, my advice is to stick with products that are as close to their natural forms as God created them and let your body do the rest!
Now that you understand the difference in and importance of choosing the right supplements, let’s look at which ones we need the most.
The body needs fifty essential nutrients, including fat. Most people are so consumed by trying not to eat fat that they forget or don’t realize the need for essential fats. The human brain is 60 percent fat; one third of the fat in your diet should come from essential fats. Essential fats reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, allergies, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, eczema, dry skin, depression, fatigue, infections, PMS, and more.
There are two kinds of fats: saturated (solid) and unsaturated fat. Saturated fat is not essential and is considered a bad fat that should be eaten in limited quantities. Primary sources of saturated fat are meat and dairy. Unsaturated fats––monounsaturated (olive oil) and polyunsaturated (nuts, seed oil, fish)—are good fats and are considered essential
Essential amino acids (leucine, lysine, isoleucine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, valine, phenylalanine, and histidine) cannot be manufactured in the body. They must be obtained from the food supply or some other exogenous source. Essential amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are essential for muscle growth and tissue rejuvenation. The best quality protein foods in terms of amino acid balance include eggs, quinoa, soybeans, meat, fish, beans, and lentils.
Vitamins essential to our health are vitamin A (retinol), B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cyanocobalamin), folic acid, biotin, C, D, E, and K. Because today’s foods are processed, chemically produced, corrupted by pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones, and basically “anti-nutrient,” vitamins are vital. Not only do we need to avoid harmful chemicals in our food to strengthen the body’s system and ability to fight off free radical damage, we also need to concern ourselves with factors we cannot avoid like air pollution and tap water with fluoride. Fluoride and pollution are listed among the top-ten most deadly items we can ingest (Dr. Philip Day – Health Wars).
Many people still do not know that most of today’s diseases are caused by an excess of anti-nutrients, as well as nutrient deficiencies. Three-quarters of all cancers are linked to anti-nutrients, whether from cancer-causing chemicals or excessive free radicals from smoking. Once the body is overloaded with anti-nutrients (e.g., pesticides, alcohol, painkillers) that exceed the body’s ability to discard them, those anti-nutrients begin to accumulate in the fat tissue, bringing on muscle aches and fatigue.
The problem is that the exact quantity of key nutrients needed to combat these anti-nutrients has not yet been established, but it is safe to say that it would be well over the recommended daily allowance (RDA) levels. RDA nutrient guidelines are set by government officials to prevent deficiency diseases like scurvy, but there is a big difference between preventing a deadly disease and maintaining optimal health.
Study after study has proven that RDAs are considerably low and do little-to-nothing for optimal health. For instance, vitamin B12 helps lower homocysteine, which in older people reduces the risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Yet when older people with raised homocysteine levels are given 10 mcg of B12, twice the RDA, it neither corrects the deficiency nor lowers the homocysteine levels. Only 50 mcg of B12––over eight times the RDA––will bring the levels back to normal.
Vitamins and minerals work in conjunction with each other. For example, vitamin B6 pyridoxine is useless in the body until it is converted into pyridoxal-5-phosphate—a job done by a zinc- and magnesium-dependent enzyme. So just taking a B6 supplement to help relieve premenstrual syndrome (PMS) will not alleviate symptoms for someone who actually has a zinc or magnesium deficiency.
The most common essential minerals are calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, selenium, magnesium, iron, sodium, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium. Getting these essential minerals from cell salts is vital for proper cell health.
Herbs are God’s naturally grown, organic, wild-crafted plants that supply us with the purest form of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and amino acids known to humans. Since ancient times, herbs have been “thy healing foods.” To quote Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” An herb is a plant––or part of a plant––valued for its medicinal, aromatic, or savory qualities. Herbal medicine (a.k.a., herbalism and botanical medicine) is using herbs for their therapeutic or medicinal properties.
Herbal medicine is the oldest form of healthcare and has been used by every culture throughout history. The different types of herbal medicine systems used today are European, Native American, Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Western Herbalism. While they may have differences in terminology and in the way the herbs are used, they all base their systems on treating the body as a whole and utilizing the energy of plants synergistically with the natural energy of each individual.
Herbs have an extremely high nutrient content. The most difficult part of utilizing herbs is learning which ones contain what nutrients and their primary functions. Herbs can fall into many categories: blood cleansers, circulation herbs, nervine herbs, and diuretics.
Herbs that assist with the blood, circulation, nerves, colon, and thymus gland will strengthen the entire immune system. Keeping the blood clean will disable toxins from building up in the intestines. Powerful blood-cleansing herbs are burdock, dandelion root, milk thistle, Oregon grape, red clover, and yellow dock.
Good circulation is vital for a healthy immune system because our circulatory system is responsible for increasing a clean blood supply to the heart and throughout the body. High stress and cholesterol will overload a healthy circulatory system. Herbs that help maintain healthy levels of cholesterol include evening primrose, fenugreek, flaxseed, garlic, ginger, and milk thistle. To aid with circulation, try butcher’s broom, cayenne, green tea, gentian root, bilberry, garlic, ginkgo, hawthorn, kelp, licorice root, and turmeric.
The nervous system plays a powerful role in the immune system as it controls and coordinates all the functions of the body, including the pituitary gland, which controls the endocrine system. Herbs used to strengthen the nervous system include alfalfa, dandelion, gotu kola, hops, kelp, lady’s slipper, lobelia, parsley, passion flower, scullcap, and wood betony.
The next generation of wellness will value vitality over longevity because in today’s world people are living longer but dying younger on a host of medications. It’s time to stop the madness and learn to truly rejuvenate the body.