Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Are Multi-vitamins and Pre-natal Vitamins Good for You?

Why does a post on vitamins have all these pictures of eggs?

Good Question!

It is very helpful to understand the world of vitamins if you understand the structure of an egg.

There are many vitamins, but all of them (Except Vitamin D) have a similar structure.  There is an outside shell and there are many parts inside.  They have a mineral core.  Vitamin C's core is copper and Vitamin E's core is calcium.  There are many enzymes and micronutrients in the structure.  We do not know nearly all those micronutrients and how they work together.  What they do all have is an anti-oxidant shell.  This mimics the shell of an egg.  It protects the insides of the vitamin from being oxidized by the oxygen that is carried in the blood.  It does have a function in the body as well.

SO, if we don't even know exactly what is in a vitamin, How do we think we can make one?!!!

Short Answer: We CAN'T!

So why do people think that they have to take vitamins?  Well, everybody knows that vitamins are essential to life.  We need them and we don't always eat an adequately nutritious diet to cover our body's needs and so we can fill in the holes with vitamins.  However,  the difference in the vitamins that are found in real food and the things that come from a tablet to our body is like  the difference between dollar bills and Monopoly money to our bank accounts.  They are not equivalent.  Unfortunately, most of the food on the grocery store shelves that isn't raw and unprocessed has had much of the nutrition removed from it, otherwise the food would spoil or mold.  Vitamins from whole real food are easily processed by our bodies and are complete vitamins.  Vitamins from a tablet in the grocery or health food store are equivalent to man made eggshells.  This is true whether we are talking about Vitamin A, B (s) C, E, etc. In other words, when you buy a multi-vitamin you are buying a bottle of eggshells.  They have a purpose, (to protect the whole vitamin inside you) but it is not the purpose of the whole vitamin.  It is like thinking you can eat a pile of eggshells and  get the nutrition of the whole egg, not happening.  Or similarly, thinking you can throw a bunch of walnut shells in your granola and have it be the same as adding a bunch of cracked walnuts.  They are not the same.  They are missing a lot.  All the vitamins are made by the pharmaceutical industry and are not nearly the same as what is in food.  They don't even treat the deficiencies of that vitamin.  Ascorbic acid does not fix scurvy.  During the Korean war many of the vets in the Korean prisons developed BeriBeri from eating a diet consisting primarily polished rice.  The International Red Cross brought them in Thiamine as a pharmaceutical powder.  It did not help much, if at all.  A kind hearted guard brought them in some rice polish, the powder that is scrubbed off the rice, and their symptoms cleared very quickly.  All the B vitamins start as a coal tar derivative (a waste product from the petroleum industry) and have a number of chemicals added until it looks something like the shell of a B vitamin.  Vitamin C starts off as corn syrup and has sulphuric acid and a number of other chemicals added until it looks like the shell of a Vitamin C molecule.  There is no copper anywhere!

In my last post on Vitamin C, I mentioned that Vitamin E (In the form of mixed tocopherols) had increased the rate of prostate cancer in men.  The medical community is clueless on why this happens.  I propose that it is not that difficult to understand.  When the body identifies an 'eggshell' or empty vitamin shell, it tries to put together a working vitamin.  It draws from its reserves and puts it together.  The mineral core of Vitamin E is Calcium.  IT is drawn from the most available source in the body, which is not the bone, but the blood.  Calcium has a major function in the blood in the immune system.  It regulates and keeps it working.  In fact, one of the reasons you get aches and pains with a fever is that the body is removing calcium from the bone to be used in the immune system in the blood. Calcium Lactate works great at decreasing the aches and pains of a fever as well as helping to bring the fever down.  In regards to Vitamin E, the body starts removing the calcium from the blood to make a functioning molecule.  This obviously slows down the immune system.  The result of this is that the immune system can not keep the cancer in check and the cancer develops and spreads at a much higher rate than normal.

I pulled up the following excerpt from an article on this from Medscape...

 As previously reported, men receive no preventive benefit from either selenium or vitamin E supplements; in fact, for certain men, these supplements actually increased the risk for prostate cancer.
The new study, published online February 22 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, explored which men who take these supplements are most at risk for prostate cancer, and why.
However, the ongoing public health message from the trial remains the same, said a trial investigator.
"Men using these supplements should stop, period. Neither selenium nor vitamin E supplementation confer any known [health] benefits — only risks," said lead author Alan Kristal, DrPH, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, in a press statement.
"Many people think that dietary supplements are helpful or at the least innocuous. This is not true," he added.
I have to concur with him.  Synthetic dietary supplements are not just innocuous, but can be harmful!
There have been a number of animal studies back in the 1930's and 40's (when such things were legal) that put the animals on a depleted diet, essentially a cardboard box diet, and gave half the animals a multi-vitamin along with the depleted diet.  They were surprised to find that the animals getting a vitamin showed symptoms sooner and died much sooner than the animals simply eating a depleted diet.  

So what is one to do?  There are a few companies that ONLY use whole food in their supplements.  Unfortunately, most who claim to be a whole food vitamin, still use the pharmaceutical vitamins in a whole food powder and call it a whole food vitamin.  Not even close to the same!!!  To determine if it really is a wholefood vitamin, read the fine print on the back.  Look where it says %DV (Stands for % of daily value) and look down the column.  If it has more than about 15% listed in the column then you know that it is synthetic.  Many times you will see numbers like 300% or even 2000% of daily value.  That's a whole lot of egg shells!  If one happens to be pregnant, then for sure you need a good whole food sourced vitamin and mineral.  Also, make sure you are eating lots of healthy fats! (butter, eggs, coconut oil, olive oil, bacon, lard)

My personal standby for this is is Standard Process.  They are a whole food vitamin manufacturer. They only sell to health care practitioners so you won't find them in the health food stores.  If I have a pregnant patient I get her on wheat germ oil ( a whole food source of vitamin E, traditionally used by doctors and farmers alike to maintain a healthy pregnancy), Catalyn ( a whole food supplement) and trace minerals and a whole food version of folic acid.  So much better than a pharmaceutical blend of egg shells.

I hope this helps some of you who have asked me questions recently on this subject.  I am happy to clarify or provide more information in future posts.

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