Via anecdotal evidence, all variety of supplements and health products are “curing” everything from hang nails to cancer. How can this be if, from our discussion above, the products consumed are not nutritionally satisfactory, but rather are chemical substances that are either toxic, or lacking the majority of the complete compliment of co-factors that the body so desperately needs for its road back to health?
There are two possibilities why one will feel better when taking a “health product” when in fact it is a long shot from bringing to the body a true supplement of food. The two mechanisms are as follows.
- Provides some semblance of nutrition.
This would apply primarily to the fractionated (crystalline) form of vitamin supplements, in that these contain some residual, minute quantities of the co-factors and have the dextro-spin. The mechanism would thus be as follows.
If you are dying of thirst and hunger in the desert and I hand you one cup of water, for a while you will fee like you’ve been revived. I can continue to hand you all the water you want, and for a time you will continue to improve from your state of desperation. But how long will you continue to improve if all I give you is water when in fact the sum total of the reason you were lacking health was not due totally to dehydration? Your body is also lacking in nutrients – food. Sooner or later, if you are to be totally restored, you will need food. If this is not provided, your health will again begin to slip. You may, at this time reach for a second offering by another passerby – a cola drink. Due to the glucose content, you will again feel somewhat revived relative to how low you felt, because an additional nutrient – glucose – is being supplied. Now you are singing the praises of cola drinks, but your enthusiasm for this too will soon fade since your overall nutrition needs are not being met.
In keeping with the above analogy, many products on the market are composed of some nutrients – fractionated as they may be, but nonetheless, containing some semblance of nutrition. If the body is nutritionally bankrupt and is handed this poor excuse for nutrition – a vitamin product – out of desperation, the body will, if at all possible, capitalize on this and do what healing is possible with the materials given. As low as it may be in nutrition, this product is probably more nutrition than the body has seen in years. Thus initially, for a few weeks, perhaps even months, relative to how the person felt, they will demonstrate some real and actual improvement in their health picture. Given time, their health problems begin to return.
I often ask vitamin pushers if they felt better when they first began taking their product. The common response is an emphatic affirmative. I then inquire if they have been able to reduce the amount of supplementation they started with and still continue to experience the same level of well being. Logic would dictate that if the deficiencies were truly being eliminated, the patient should be able to take less of the product and maintain their health. The usual answer at this point is that they have had to continually increase the dosage, and further, add other products only to find the same frustrating lack of health.
In all fairness, most health product companies do not stress the need for their product consumer to adapt to healthful lifestyle while using the products. The point being, it doesn’t matter how wonderful a food supplement may be, even one that actually contains the full complement of nutrition, its nutritional debt repaying ability is dependent on the patient’s adaptation to a healthful lifestyle- the reduction/elimination of negative input and the introduction of positive input – primarily revolving around their diet, exercise, rest and stress reduction.
- Causes a stimulatory reaction in the body.
Let’s say we have a body with debt of several thousand milligrams of vitamin C. Remember this is a debt of vitamin C complex, not just ascorbic acid. The amount of whole and complete vitamin C in an average orange can range up to 50 mg. The most oranges an average person could consume in one sitting are two to three. This represents 100-150 mg of the vitamin C complex. Due to mechanical limitations of the digestive system, we can conclude that a human cannot consume enough oranges in a day to accomplish the task of paying back the debt in one day.
The obvious answer would be to supplement. But we’re going to run into a problem in we extract and put into a tablet the vitamin C complex from 20 oranges to manufacture a 1000 mg vitamin C supplement. One biochemist said that if we were to make a tablet containing a 1000 mg of vitamin C complex, it would be the size of a softball! But more than that, the thing to keep in mind is that this whole complex vitamin C supplement wouldn’t simply be 1000 mg of ascorbic acid. It would be the whole complement of nutrients that would be so rich the body simply could not process it. At the very least, it would produce diarrhea as the body attempted to eliminate this needed, but non-processable supplement. We can conclude this by the very fact that nature does not have a food that contains high doses of isolated complexes; further, we are mechanically restricted from consuming enough foods to obtain such high doses in the course of a day. All the fiber, fluid and other nutrients in the foods serve to keep us from consuming more than the body can assimilate, thus none is wasted, neither is there any stress on the body from having to deal with excess concentration of individual nutrients.
Motivated by producing supplements at low costs and pandering to the average consumer’s philosophy that “if a little is good then a lot is better,” vitamin manufacturers figured out how to synthesize isolated nutrients in high concentrations to get the debt paid back in a hurry. Thus the birth of the crystalline and/or synthetic vitamins. The problem is, the crystalline form is too high in concentrations of isolated substances. These substances are either not recognizable by the body or if recognizable are certainly way out of balance for the body’s internal chemistry. In the face of this threat, the body must enact some extra-ordinary measures in order to maintain homeostasis either in making this substance into something usable or eliminating it. This would be a similar process the body goes into when caffeine is consumed, which is a mini fight or flight reaction.
Under the influence of this process, a feeling of euphoria is obtained due to excess adrenal function. Adrenaline is an analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine. All of the body’s systems are enhanced, including the immune system. The consumer misinterprets this feeling as that of health or healing. I always tell my patients who insist that their synthetic vitamins are making them feel better, that they should rather drink coffee and save their money.
Thus initially, a sick and worn down body will feel revived. Of course this same effect can be created by drinking a strong cup of coffee. But how long will the feeling of well being continue? A coffee drinker knows that each year or two he must increase how much coffee he drinks a day, or add some other stimulant (extra salt, nicotine, etc) to accomplish the same stimulatory response to obtain a similar level of energy as in previous years.
Often I hear the argument that high concentrations of nutrients taken as a supplement are not harmful because the kidneys just eliminate what the body cannot use. What is being overlooked with that line of reasoning is that these compounds don’t just pass through, they must be actively transported out of the body. For example, in the instance of high doses of ascorbic acid, diarrhea results - an energy consuming process. Whether the synthetic compound is eliminated via the kidney, bowel or other possible avenues, this process costs our body nutrition and energy that would be more valuable if it were available for health and healing. Not to mention that the synthetic contributed little, if anything, to the well being of the body. The saying goes, “you don’t buy synthetic vitamins, you rent them.”