Sunday, December 18, 2016

Chapter 7 VITAMINS, MINERALS, AND PHYTOCHEMICALS

Chapter 7

VITAMINS, MINERALS, AND PHYTOCHEMICALS

Why We Need To Supplement

You often hear doctors say that there's no need to supplement if you eat a balanced diet. If only that were true. Unfortunately, the food we eat today is not the same as the food we ate 50-100 years ago. We have to compensate for the loss of "value" in our food.

>It takes 80 cups of today's supermarket spinach to give you the same iron you'd get from just one cup of spinach grown 50 years ago.

>According to a Rutgers University study, it now takes 19 ears of corn to equal the nutritional value of just one ear of corn grown in 1940.

>There is less than half the protein in today's wheat as in the wheat our grandparents ate.

>Much of our soil is so depleted that our farm crops depend ENTIRELY on the chemical fertilizers they are fed to grow. That means that most of the food we eat is devoid of virtually all the trace minerals we need for survival.


>And on and on. 

  When you think about it, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what's happened. We've exchanged quality for quantity . You can't keep increasing your yield per acre, at the same time steadily depleting your soil year after year, and not expect to lose something in the process. And what's been lost is the quality of our food.

   Organic vs Non-Organic 

   As we've just seen, most of the food sold in our supermarkets is nutritionally compromised. Part of the solution lies in organic foods, which hearken back to the more nutritionally beneficial
foods of 50 years ago. Consider the following comparisons between organic and conventionally grown food.

> Organic snap beans have 30 times the manganese, 22 times the iron, and 23 times the copper of the conventionally grown variety.

> Organic cabbage has 4 times the calcium and 4 times the potassium of the cabbage you buy in the supermarket.

> Organic lettuce is 5 times higher in calcium, 50 times higher in iron, and 170 times higher in manganese.

> Organic tomatoes are 12 times higher in magnesium, 68 times higher in manganese, and almost 2,000 times higher in iron.

    And then there's the difference between organic and super organic. Super organic, when you can find it, has on average, twice the nutritional value of standard organic (which, as we've already
seen, has several times the food value of conventionally grown food). To give you a sense of the extent of these differences, consider:

> Conventional farms use no compost at all in the growing of their crops. Instead, they rely on chemical fertilizers that have a limited range of nutrients—just what the plant requires to grow, which is why they are so deficient in the nutrients that people need.
(And of course, we won't even talk about taste.)

>The average organic farm uses about 3-5 tons of organic matter/compost per acre per year.

>The average super organic farm will use upwards of 100 tons of organic matter per acre per year.

   Nutritional Stress

   A second factor we have to consider is nutritional stress. We're just exposed to far more environmental and pollution stresses than our bodies were ever designed to handle—more than the human body has ever before been required to handle in the history of the world. Even if you were able to consume an all-organic, optimized diet, it takes far more of the protective phytochemicals that food provides than we can possibly get in our diets—even if the food we ate was of the highest quality. Our bodies were never designed to handle:

  High levels of radiation from dental x-rays and high-altitude airplane flights.

  Organo-phosphate nerve-gas pesticide residues.

  Totally artificial fats (hydrogenated oils, trans-fatty acids, and homogenized fat)
  
High levels of refined sugar (with the average American now consuming over 137 pounds a year)

  A totally fiberless white flour diet (including, breads, pastas, cakes, pop tarts, pastries, tortillas, etc.)

  Constant exposure to disruptive electromagnetic fields

  Chlorines and fluorides in our water

  Continued, unrelenting, high-stress jobs and living situations.

  The bottom line is that if you live in any industrialized country in the world today, you must supplement to maintain your health—to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, degenerative diseases
of all kinds, retard the aging process, and protect against toxic injury.

  And What Do We Supplement With?

  Before we can actually determine which supplements we need to take, we need to take a quick look at the fundamentals of nutrition.

  Proteins, Fats, and Carbohydrates

  For many people, this is where their nutritional knowledge begins and ends. They count calories and compare ratios of fat calories to total calories. In most hospitals, the sole concern of the certified nutritionists who prepare hospital "food" is putting together a proper balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. As you will soon learn, this is tantamount to nutritional insanity.

> Proteins are essential for the growth and repair of all body tissue. Proteins are made of amino acids, some of which your body can produce by itself, and some of which must be included in your diet.

   A great deal is made about the need for protein, but the fact is our protein requirements are not really very large and are easy to fill. To figure out your protein requirement, just divide your weight in half. That's your daily protein requirement in grams. If you want to rough that out in ounces, it works out to about 30 grams per ounce. In other words, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need 75 grams (2 1/2
ounces) of protein a day.

    Theoretically, milk is a top-rated protein, but in reality it's not. As we've already discussed, it messes up the pH which results in incomplete digestion. Meat and fish are fine. Eggs are too. Surprisingly, though, some of the best sources are actually vegetarian. Spirulina and chlorella are both not only higher in actual percentage of protein (60-80% vs 20-25% for animal sources) but also in terms of bioavailablity.

> Fats are the ultimate energy storage system. Your body stores fat for long-term energy use. Think of bears who live off their fat for months at a time while they hibernate. On the other hand, if you're eating every day, your body doesn't really need to store fat for future use. Nevertheless, certain fats are essential for life and health.

   Essential Fatty Acids, or EFA's, are among the approximately 50-70 nutrients that have been "identified" as necessary to sustain human life and good health. Unlike saturated fats, EFA's remain liquid at body temperature and, because of their bent shape, they do not dissolve into each other and clog our arteries.

   In point of fact, all fats are actually fatty acids, consisting of one part fat (which is not water soluble) and one part acid (which is). What makes Omega-3 (the kingof EFA's), Omega-6[1], and Omega-9 so important is that not only are they good for you—they are, in fact, essential. And what's more, your body can't produce
them, which means you must get them in your diet. However, due to the extreme sensitivity of EFA's to light and oxygen, they have been removed from virtually all processed foods so that the foods have a longer shelf life.

   The sad fact is that our lack of the key EFA's has been linked to many of today's diseases and afflictions including hair loss, lack of energy, skin problems, heart and circulatory problems, and all of the immune disorders (including arthritis).

   The reason EFA's are so important is that they are the main components of all cellular membranes—inside and out—where they protect against viruses, bacteria, and allergens. They are the key building blocks of all fats and oils, both in our foods and in our bodies. They play a key role in the construction and maintenance of nerve cells and the hormone-like substances called prostaglandins and help decrease cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.

   The bottom line is that essential fatty acids are vital to our health. They quite literally are the primary healing agents in the body and according to some estimates, as many as 90% of all people are deficient in at least one of them.

> Carbohydrates are the body's short-term energy foods. Simple carbohydrates, such as sugar and white flour are utilized by the body in a matter of minutes. Complex carbohydrates take time to break down and are, therefore, utilized over a matter of hours.

  The best carbohydrates are fresh fruits and vegetables—pure and simple. Buy organic. Wash thoroughly.

[1 Actually, Omega-6 (which is found in almost all of the refined oils we buy in the supermarket) we do get in our diet—too much in fact, which presents its own health problems.]

    Minerals

    Your body is actually made mostly of minerals and water. As it turns out, your overall health is determined far more by minerals than proteins, fats, carbohydrates, or even vitamins. Calcium, for example, is not only used to build strong bones and teeth, but is present in every single cell in the body and is instrumental in the transporting of nutrients in and out of those cells.

   Want some iron? Why not grind down a nail and eat the shavings. Want some calcium? Why not do what the Three Stooges do and shuck some oysters, throw the meat away, and eat the shells. Sound silly? Well what do you think is in most of the vitamin pills you buy?

  Well then, how about this as an alternative? Want some iron? How about eating some beets. Want some calcium? How about ground sesame seeds or collard greens or carrot juice?

  The bottom line is that your body can't handle straight minerals. They carry an electric charge which is opposite that of your intestinal wall so that they stick to the wall and can't pass through. Once stuck to the intestinal wall, they are "pushed" along and out of the body. In the end, you absorb only about 3-5% of the straight minerals you consume. Many supplement makers use chelation to mask the electric charge (thereby tricking your body into absorbing the minerals).

    On the other hand, plants pull minerals straight out of the ground, and then biologically transform them into the very substance of the plant itself. Not surprisingly, your body likes this form of mineral better.

     Trace Minerals

     For years, trace minerals were virtually ignored when it came to nutrition. In fact, in the early days of vitamin/mineral supplements, it was rare to even find them included. Since then, however, primarily due to discoveries made in the large-scale raising of cattle, hogs, and chickens, we have learned that trace minerals are among the most important components of good health—and even
life itself.

   A full complement of the 72-84 trace elements is essential for optimum health.

     Vitamins

    The dictionary defines a vitamin as "an organic compound naturally occurring in plant and animal tissue and that is essential in small amounts for the control of metabolic processes." A simpler
definition is that vitamins are co-enzymes whose primary role is to help your body's enzymes do their job.[1] When vitamins are available in limited amounts, enzyme reactions are inhibited.

[1 For example, the enzyme responsible for breaking down alcohol, alcohol dehydrogenase, uses vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) as its co-factor.]

    Phytochemicals

    Phytochemicals are the hot "new" discoveries in nutritional science. They include things such as sulforaphane from broccoli, resveratrol from grapes, and lycopene from tomatoes. Another
way of looking at phytochemicals is simply as vitamins and antioxidants in the process of being discovered. This is not necessarily a quick process. It took 50 years for Vitamin E to be
declared a vitamin after it was discovered.

   It's Not That Simple

   You would think that supplementation would be pretty easy. Figure out just where people are likely to be deficient, then make a pill that supplements for those suspected deficiencies—sort of a
one-a-day multiple-vitamin kind of thing. Determining the best supplement to take would then be a simple job of reading the label.

  Unfortunately, it's not that simple. There are actually several problems.

1. Natural and synthetic vitamins are not necessarily the same thing.

2. In nature, nutrients do not exist in isolation; they exist in nutrient complexes. And as it turns out, our bodies require the complexes, not the isolates.

   Natural vs Synthetic

Actually, vitamins can be classified as either totally natural, co-natural, or synthetic.

  Totally Natural 

Very few vitamins that you buy are totally natural. Why? Quite simply, cost. Direct extraction of vitamins from foods is prohibitively expensive. For example, acerola cherries, the best natural source of vitamin C, contain only 1 percent of vitamin C by weight. Most supplements that list acerola cherries as their vitamin C source contain only a small percentage of vitamin C from the
cherries—the rest is synthesized vitamin C.

    Co-natural

   Co-natural vitamins are derived from vegetable and animal sources through the use of solvent extraction, distillation, hydrolysis, or crystallization—but, by definition, haven't undergone any conversion or chemical alteration during the extraction process.

   Synthetic

   Synthetic vitamins can be derived from either natural or chemical sources. What makes them synthetic is that they undergo a process of "conversion," either as a result of the extraction process or as the result of pure chemical buildup.[1]
Synthetics are, at best, about 50% as effective as natural vitamins and may actually suppress the body's ability to absorb the natural portion of the vitamin.

    What You Actually Get in the Store

   Many commercial-grade vitamin and mineral concentrates are synthesized by the large pharmaceutical and chemical companies from the same starting material that they make their drugs from (coal tar, wood pulp, petroleum products, animal byproducts, waste and fecal matter, ground rocks, stones, shells, and metal.)

> Most Vitamin B-12 (cobalamine) is made from activated sewage sludge—and then stabilized with cyanide (thus becoming, cyanocobalamine)


 > Most vitamin D is made from irradiated oil

 > The bulk of all vitamin E is produced in the labs at Kodak[2]

> Niacinamide is made by boiling sulfur in the presence of asbestos
Supplemental calcium, for the most part, is either mined from the earth, ground from old bones, or made by grinding up oyster shells

   Another surprise is that the term organic, when applied to supplements, does not mean the same thing as it does with food. For supplements, all the word organic means is that the molecule
contains at least one carbon atom (as in organic chemistry). In other words, a supplement can be labeled 100% organic and not be natural at all.

   Many so-called natural vitamins have synthetics added to "increase potency," or to standardize the amount in a capsule or batch. Many vitamins also add a synthetic salt form of the vitamin to increase stability. These synthetics are easily identified by the terms acetate, bitartrate, chloride, gluconate, hydrochloride, nitrate, and succinate.

     The Bigger Problem

    Modern medicine refuses to define the human body as a holistic entity, but rather as a grouping
of separate parts and pieces. Not surprisingly, that same paradigm has been applied to nutrition.
In other words, modern nutrition is based on the concept that key nutrients can be identified
and isolated. Unfortunately, the reality is quite different.

[1 Light passing through a natural vitamin always bends to the right due to its molecular rotation. Synthetic vitamins behave differently. That same ray of light splits into two parts when passing through a synthetic—one part bending to the right (d for dexorotary), the other to the left (l for levorotary). A natural vitamin E fraction, for example, is easily identified by the "d-alpha-tocopherol." the synthetic by "dl-alpha-tocopherol." (Incidentally, the body can't use the l-form of vitamin E, and the l-form may even inhibit the d-form from entering cell membranes.)]

[2 Kodak, Hoffman La Roche, etc]


> Fifteen years ago, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) was all the rage. Then, suddenly, after years of people scarfing down ascorbic acid, it was discovered that your body really couldn't absorb ascorbic acid very well unless the bioflavonoids, hesperidin, and rutin
were present. So, suddenly, all vitamin C was sold WITH the bioflavonoids, hesperidin, and rutin. Then it was discovered that you really couldn't absorb vitamin C very well (even if the bioflavonoids, hesperidin, and rutin were present) unless calcium was also present. So again, suddenly, all vitamin C was sold WITH calcium. Two questions that any thoughtful person might want to ask are:

  What value were people getting all those years they were consuming just ascorbic acid?

  Was there any source for vitamin C available for all those years that packed ascorbic acid with its bioflavonoids and calcium? And the answer is: of course! Oranges package the whole deal together. Grapefruits package the whole deal together. Acerola cherries package the whole deal together. Nature packages the whole
deal together! Several years ago, Beta Carotene was "discovered." Suddenly, Beta Carotene supplements were everywhere. At first the press was touting the anti-cancer properties of Beta Carotene. Then they were touting other studies that proved that it didn't prevent
cancer.[1]
 Then, forget Beta Carotene; suddenly, everyone was touting another carotenoid, lycopene. Lycopene prevents prostate cancer. Then there was Lutein, also a carotenoid.
Lutein prevents macular degeneration. But once again, if we turn to nature, we see that nature already packed all of these things together in a complex. The seaweed, Dunaliella salina, for example, contains all of the popular carotenoids plus a whole slew of others, such as Alpha carotene and Zeaxanthin. Carrots, for that matter,
contain approximately 400 different carotenoids in addition to Beta Carotene, and many of those carotenoids are far more powerful than Beta Carotene.

  A third example is the mineral chromium. Over the past few years, the synthetic versions of chromium, chromium picolinate and chromium polynicotinate, have been all the rage. They're even promoted as being "better" than the original, but as it turns out,
that's not entirely true. In its natural state, chromium comes packed with a whole complex of substances called GTF (glucose tolerance factor), which, among other things, protects against diabetes. Chromium picolinate and chromium polynicotinate, because they are isolates, do not contain GTF.

   I could go on and on giving examples, such as the B vitamins and vitamin E, where science has continually come up short in identifying the key factors that make it all work. The bottom line,
though, is that in nature, vitamins do not exist in isolation; they exist in complexes.

   And here's a final thought for you. Although it is conceivable that science may someday identify all of the key nutrients contained in nature so that we don't keep finding out what nutrients we forgot to include, it is an impossibility that science will ever identify how all of these nutrients interact with and support each other. The mathematical possibilities are just too immense.

[1 Both negative studies evaluated a synthetic Beta Carotene. For what it's worth, almost all of the Beta Carotene on the market today is an isolated synthetic made from acetylene gas. Yummy!]

   In the end, we will find that there are literally thousands of nutrients that our bodies require to remainhealthy,[1]
and the possibilities for the synergistic interaction of all of these nutrients is astronomical.

How Much To Take For Each

In the early 1940s a program was established to determine the Minimum Daily Requirement (MDR) you would need of each essential nutrient to prevent the onset of disease. Testing was
simple. Withhold a certain nutrient (let's say vitamin C) until disease (in this case, scurvy) appeared. At that point, the appropriate nutrient was introduced back into the diet until the disease disappeared. The amount that it took to make the disease go away was the MDR. The RDA(Recommended Daily Allowance) was then established as a small percentage(to allow a safety margin) above the MDR. Recently, RDA was replaced by the term DV (Daily Value), and even more recently by the term RDI (Recommended Dietary Intake).

   The problem with this whole approach is that it deals only with short-term deficiencies. What are the long term implications (10, 20, 30 years down the line) of nutritional deficiency? The answer
is now becoming apparent for all but the blind to see: an epidemic of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc. And what makes it all even more ludicrous, is that as pathetically low as the RDA/DV/RDI is a USDA government survey of 21,500 people found that not one single person consumed 100% of the US RDA, from the foods they ate.

     General Recommendations

    Overall Supplement

   So the question remains, what's the best overall (one-a-day kind of thing) supplement? The best way to look at the question of an overall supplement is to break it into three categories: Optimum,
Acceptable, and Avoid At All Costs.

   Optimum

   > One good choice is to use concentrated "food-based" vitamin complexes. Such supplements will contain concentrated forms of liver, yeast, and wheat germ for example.

   > Another good option is to use "food-grown" supplements. Instead of being chemically manufactured, food-grown supplements are cultivated using a live bio-dynamic growing process. Literally, by growing nutritional yeast in a "super-dense nutrient-broth," you end up with a "living" vitamin/mineral complex that is comprised of a highly complex interlocking system of vitamins, enzymes, minerals, active bio-flavonoid groups, microproteins, complex carbohydrates, and countless other naturally occurring food constituents.

> A third alternative is a superfood combination that contains things like spirulina, chlorella,flower pollen, nutritional yeast, wheat grass, barley grass, powdered beets, etc.

[1 As I've already mentioned, there are some 400 carotenoids that have been identified. Each day there are new phytochemicals, not to mention whole new classes of phytochemicals, being identified. And new antioxidants are being identified, almost daily it seems
to provide a full complement of vitamins and minerals. The actual amount of vitamins and minerals you get will be less than in other options, but the bioavailability will be good.]

  Watch out for fillers. Superfoods are expensive, and many manufacturers cheat their formulas down by adding large amounts of things such as low-grade rice bran and lecithin.[1]
 Also, it's important to make sure that your superfood provides
good sources for the B vitamins and for vitamin D.

  For many years, it was thought that edible seaweeds, fermented soya foods, and spirulina contained high levels of B12. They don't. What they contain are B12 analogues (chemical lookalikes) which your body cannot use. You'll need another source of B12.

  Recent studies have found that more than half of all people have too little vitamin D in their bodies. The big surprise was that 1/3 of those who were deficient were taking vitamin D supplements. Make sure your superfood provides adequate amounts of vitamin D—and get some sunlight on your body.

> Probably the best choice, however, is to use "food-formed" supplements. Instead of being chemically manufactured, food-formed supplements are cultivated using a live biodynamic growing process. Literally, by growing nutritional yeast in a "super-dense nutrient-broth," you end up with a "living" vitamin/mineral complex that is comprised of a highly complex interlocking system of: vitamins, enzymes, minerals, active bioflavonoid groups, microproteins, complex carbohydrates,and countless other naturally
occurring food constituents.
  
    Acceptable

  It's possible to find high-quality vitamin/mineral supplements at the health food store that use only co-natural vitamins and no synthetics. The problem with supplements based on co-naturals is that they can never be complete. What co-naturals are useful for is "spiking up" a supplement based on one of our Optimum options. An example would be a "food-based" supplement augmented with co-natural vitamins E and C.

     Avoid At All Costs

   > Supplements made in whole, or part, from synthetics are not an option. At their best, they are only 50% as effective as a natural vitamin.At their worst, they actually may carry harmful side effects.

    Essential Fatty Acids

  Since the Omega-3 EFA's have been removed from virtually all of the foods we normally eat, supplementation is essential. The best sources for EFA's are:

[1 Don't get me wrong. These are not bad things; they're just not nutrient dense. Their primary value is that they're relatively inexpensive.]

 >  If you're taking your daily dose of ground flaxseed as recommended in Chapter 3, you will be getting all of the alpha-linolenic acid you need. Otherwise, you will want to
supplement with 1-2 tablespoons daily of organic, cold-pressed, high-lignan flaxseed oil.

> Borage oil is more potent and less expensive than evening primrose or black current oil and is the best choice for gamma linolenic acid.

> Fish oil provides DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).

   Recently a variation of a long-chain fatty acid cetyl ester called Omega-9+™ has been discovered. Although not yet officially designated an Essential Fatty Acid, supplementation with this
fatty acid has shown a remarkable ability to reprogram the immune system, relieve pain, reverse the effects of arthritis, and relieve the symptoms of a whole host of diseases.

    Trace Minerals

   There are now many good sources of trace minerals available. You will see them described as "colloidal minerals" or "ionic minerals" or "sea minerals." Take your pick and use one. Trace mineral deficiency is epidemic in America because of the poor quality of our diets. Supplementation is essential. 
Note: you will find it almost impossible to get the trace minerals you need in an overall supplement. Trace minerals are hard to absorb unless they are in a "liquid" form that the body can use.

    Phytonutrients

  At the moment, the best source is still real food. Foods you will want to include in your diet include things such as:
>Soy products of all kinds for the genistein and the isoflavones

>Broccoli, brussel sprouts, and kale for the sulforaphane

>Garlic and onions for the allyl sulfides

>Red grapes (including seeds) for the proanthocyanidins and the resveratrol

>Green tea for the polyphenols

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