1. Foods should be whole foods.
If you isolate a single component or active ingredient in a foodstuff, you create a medicine and it ceases to be a food. The effect of eating an orange is very different to that of taking vitamin C. Medical science does not yet know the exact effect of these isolated substances on the human body. This is not natural - it is natural to eat whole foods, as they are in their natural state. Vitamins are extracted in laboratories. To stay healthy we need to get back to nature, not dose ourselves with synthetic medicines, even if they are made from natural products. Human beings get their nourishment from food, not from individual nutrients.
2. Dosages and interactions between vitamins.
The literature often provides contradictory information on recommended doses and they may change every year. How can you be sure of taking the right amount? It’s impossible, because each person is different, depending on their age, their state of health, weight, gender, etc, etc. So there’s an adult dose and a child’s dose, but this amount is not right for most people. Another example is Omega 3 fatty acids that are said to be suitable for those with cardio-vascular problems. But they are dangerous for people who are already taking drugs to thin the blood and for anyone whose blood is too liquid.
The interactions between different vitamins are extremely complicated. For example, if you take a B vitamin such as B2, that creates an imbalance with other vitamins and you may lack other vitamins such as B1, B5, etc as a consequence. The doses are very dangerous because vitamins can be beneficial in certain doses but toxic in very high doses, B6 for example.
If you stop taking vitamins, you feel worse than before you started. You usually feel better when you start taking them, but your body soon gets used to not having to work. With vitamin supplements, your body no longer needs to work to extract vitamins from the food you eat because it gets the nutrients it needs without having to digest them. But when you stop taking vitamins your body has “forgotten” how to extract them from your food and it takes a long time to recover, sometimes even years. Thus, we become dependent on supplements.
4. Vitamins are expensive.
We have a choice: either we eat whole foods in correct quantities and we treat a lack of vitamins naturally with foodstuffs, or we treat ourselves with supplements. If we opt for the first choice we can closely target the foods that the body tolerates, the sacrifice is greater and the cure takes longer. If we opt for the second choice, we risk becoming dependent on vitamins for our entire lives if we want to stay healthy, with all the costs that it involves, but we will be in good, but artificial health.
Laboratories that are specialized in alternative medicine have the same interest in making money as the conventional pharmaceutical industry. Therapists are trained to use these supplements in the same way doctors are to use conventional medication. In most cases, the prescription of supplements or natural remedies is not intended to attack the root causes of a disease, but simply to alleviate its symptoms.
5. Do foodstuffs lack vitamins?
Today, people justify the need to take vitamins and minerals because modern foods are lacking in them, due to soils lacking in minerals, pesticides, artificial fertilizers, etc. But not all scientists agree. Many scientists think that the modern diet contains sufficient minerals and vitamins. Therefore, if our bodies lack nutrients, perhaps it is not due to insufficient intake but to poor absorption caused by the poor condition of our intestines. The proof is in the fact that there are many people who maintain an adequate vitamin balance by eating a good, balanced diet and without taking supplements.
6. Vitamins are medicines.
They have a function when all other remedies have failed, i.e. when a person’s condition is so poor that the body can no longer recover with food alone, and thus the body must “eat” artificially, as in intravenous feeding in hospitals. Only in cases where the body’s recovery is irreversible or perhaps when we don’t have enough time to recover in a natural way (for example, pregnant women), do I believe that supplements are necessary. In these cases I advise you to visit a medical nutritionist who knows all about vitamins.
Dr. Paul Fanny states in his book "The AAA Diet":
"Nature does not produce isolated proteins, fats, carobhydrates, minerals or vitamins, but all are part of a balanced, integrated, whole food. We do not eat isolated calcium, but collards; we do not eat isolated protein and fats, but nuts; ... It is nature's plan to secure all of these elements when we eat shole foods, and not to frangment and unbalance foods, in the form of isolated, pill or powder form. ....
Nature says, ´Mind your own business, and I will mind mine´Nature does provide su'erior nutrition when it comes to integrating natural food preparations, as they all contain the required minerals, vitamins, proteins, fats, carohydrates, macro- and micro-nutrients and, which, in their correct proportions for optimum assimilation, are necessary for optimum health, peak athletic performance, endurance, and the generation of maximum body power and strength".
Dr. Alec Burton states in his article "The hygienic diet":
"The organism is constructed to ingest and digest foods and thereby assimilate nutrients. We do not secure health by feeding nutrients but by providing foods which contain nutrients. The difficulty is encountered in providing the right food in the proper proportion under the correct conditions, at a time when the organism is capable of using them."
Dr. Douglas Graham states in his book "The 80/10/10 Diet":
"... inevitable imbalances that result when we consume supplements of any kind. ... The body does not appreciate these unnatural concentrates and has to work to expel them similarly to the way it has to eliminate toxic residue from cooked foods.... A person who supplements with single nutrients inevitably creates greater and more confounding imbalances, whether or not the cause and effect are discernible in the short term. It is always better to correct the diet than to supplement it. On a healthy diet, supplements are not needed. On a less-han-healthy diet, supplements do not make up for the nutrition that is lacking."
Dr. Robert Sniadach states:
"The Law of Economy states that where there is no demand for the production of a product (secretion, etc.), the body will not produce said product. If supplements are substituted for a product which is normally the result of a life process within the body, the time will soon come when the supplemented individual will become supplement-dependent, no longer able to manufacture the product so vital to his life. Without the supplement, his health will rapidly deteriorate. No “cure” has been affected, therefore the lack will reassert itself.
When supplements are taken, the body is and will continue to be stimulated while the dosing continues. Supplement-taking cripples the system’s powers of synthesis while the internal deterioration proceeds unabated. The process can be somewhat compared to the addiction that results when so-called “hard” drugs become a way of life. After a time, the individual more often than not finds that he must have recourse to an increased mineral intake in order to obtain the same feeling of well-being. But dosing, of course, has its limits since no healing has taken place."
Ralph C. Cinque, D.C. explains in his article "Nutrition, A Hygienic Perspective":
"We might also consider that when we consume isolated nutrients, we offset rations of various nutrients and that this constitutes an additional stress. It is known, for example, that the body requires ten times as much niacin as it does thiamine or riboflavin. Therefore, when we consume a large quantity of extracted thiamine, we produce a relative deficiency of niacin. We should note that the proportion of various nutrients in natural foods parallels the body’s needs for different nutrients. Natural foods contain many times more niacin than thiamine, which is in keeping with the body’s needs.
Other important nutrient ratios include: sodium/potassium, calcium/phosphorus, iron/copper, Vitamin E/selenium, zinc/molybdenum and Vitamin C/bio-flavinoids. The proportion of these nutrients within natural foods accurately reflects the body’s needs; thus, the greatest synergy of nutrient utilization is achieved. The body requires many times more potassium than sodium, and this is exactly what we find in natural foods. Processed foods that are loaded with sodium disrupt the delicate balance between these two mineral elements that exists at the neuronal membrane, thereby impairing the function of the nerves. Diets that introduce excessive amounts of phosphorus into the system may produce a relative deficiency of calcium even though an adequate amount of calcium may be consumed. A deficiency of copper prevents a thorough utilization of iron.
The important point to realize is that nutrients are utilized in concert and that it is the total ensemble of the diet that determines the state of our nutrition. Consuming isolated nutrients is more likely to do harm than good."
* "Substances that alter body chemistry" by Dr. Lawrence Wilson, MD:
“Substances like alcohol and coffee are addictive because they influence body chemistry in particular ways that produce temporary feelings of well-being in some people. One could become addicted to vitamins or minerals for the same reason. Substance can influence body chemistry in thousands of ways. Vitamins such thiamine and niacin speed up the oxidation rate and can give one a ‘high’ for this reason. While these vitamins have many beneficial effects, if used symptomatically without being part of a total program to promote health, they can easily act as stimulants that may seem to improve one’s health, but are really making health worse. This is why I do not like guessing about what a person needs and I always use the hair mineral test, when properly performed and interpreted, to guide supplement recommendations. This is crucial to understand. Muscle testing, symptomatic recommendations, use of electrical machines and other methods I do not find nearly as reliable to avoid mistakes with vitamins and minerals, for example, or other substances and foods, for that matter. For example, adrenal glandular supplements, thyroid supplements and hormones, ginseng, maca, ephedra, guarana, yohimbe, ginger, cayenne and other stimulant herbs can also give one a temporary feeling of well being. Again, these herbs and products have many beneficial qualities. However, most contain subtle stimulants that are damaging, so they must be used carefully, if at all. Otherwise their addictive properties easily overshadow their benefits and the patient becomes worse over time.”
The principle of the superiority of the wisdom of nature over science should be applied.
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Causes of vitamin deficiency
Most nutritionists identify vitamin and mineral deficiency as the cause of numerous illnesses. They then recommend vitamin and mineral supplements, often products that they themselves sell directly.
Countless scientific studies have been carried out on the benefits of food supplements.
It is true that vitamin and mineral deficiency is the cause of most existing diseases and that supplementation can be used to treat many illnesses. But is this the only solution ?
We can draw a parallel with a car’s broken oil tank : the solution is not to refill the tank every day but rather to repair it. For people it is the same : it is not about topping-up the vitamins and minerals with supplements, but identifying the cause of the deficiency in the first place.
Nowadays we are fully aware of the causes of vitamin and mineral defiency : bad bacterial flora and poor intestinal absorption.
In his book “Ecosystème intestinal et Santé optimale” (« The Intestinal Ecosystem and Perfect Health »), Dr. Georges Mouton says that the bad bacteria feed on the vitamins and minerals that we ingest with food, and as a result they deprive us of these nutrients. Regarding a deficiency of zinc and copper Dr. Mouton says : « They can also be deficient after having been consumed, as growth factors, by the intestinal micro-organisms ; in fact, zinc and iron constitute the growth factor most preferred by the yeasts »… « Iron : we can apply the same logic as above, it is as much the malabsorption as the over consumption by the micro-organisms ; a sudden fall in iron serum and the inability to correct the levels despite a long period of supplementation lead to the same thing: an intestinal dysbiosis, often fungal, or pain in the mucus membrane. »
Most carbohydrates, lipids and proteins are absorbed in the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine, but vitamins and minerals are absorbed in the large intestine. This is where we find the good and bad bacteria. If the dominant flora is made up of lactobacillus and lactococcus, vitamins and minerals will be correctly transformed and absorbed, but this will not happen if undesirable or pathological flora is dominant : enterococcus, yeasts, mildew, clostridium etc. In this case, this bad flora benefits from all the nutrients that are not digested including the vitamins and minerals.
So what causes the proliferation of this bad bacteria ? There are several causes but almost all can be summarised into the following : inadequate diet. When the diet does not suit the person, food is not properly digested by the enzyme system, nor is it absorbed in the small intestine. Instead of nourishing the person, the food nourishes the bad bacteria which in turn multiply.
In his book “Les clés de l’alimentation santé”, ( « The Key to a Healthy Diet ») Dr. Michel Lallement says :
« In the case of acute, multilple defiency, it is important to look for intestinal hyperimpermeability (porousness), as the source of malabsorption. It is thus useless to attempt to correct the defiency by intensive supplements, the wall of the intestine must first be restored to normal. »
What then is the solution ? For a vitamin and mineral defiency, the solution is to regulate our intestinal flora and the intestine walls by identifying the foods that are appropriate and which will help to repair the intestine. The nutritional therapy that I propose, works by finding the foods that best suit each person and allow full recuperation of intestinal health.
Vitamin and mineral levels in analyses
Analyses of vitamins and minerals may be interpreted in several different ways. Normally, when the level in blood is not within the reference values , it is said that there is a deficiency. However, it may be interpreted in other ways.
In his book titled “Introducing Natural Hygiene: The Only True Natural Health System” T.C. Fry writes: “the levels of B-12 in the bloodstream of meat eaters is much higher than that in fruit eaters and vegetarians…They (meat-eaters) may have more B-12 in the system because of increased need due to their condition”
Thus another way to interpret the amount of a certain substance in the bloodstream is not from the point of view of whether the contribution is sufficient, but if the need for this substance is more important.
For example, in the case of calcium, when someone embarks on and follows certain diets, such as diets free from dairy or meat products, the amount of calcium in the blood serum may decrease. Usually the interpretation is that there is a calcium deficiency. But what it indicates in reality is that once there is no need to offset the acidity of certain products, such as meat and milk, the body does not need that much calcium anymore. Calcium is an alkaline mineral which is used in order to counteract the acidity of the products that arise from the metabolization of meat and dairy products. This calcium is extracted from the body's reserves of this mineral, which are the bones. So a high level of calcium in serum might indicate that more calcium is removed from the bones!
The "science" behind vitamins
Dr. Douglas Graham states in his book "Nutrition and Athletic Performance":
"1.- The scientist usually is hired to prove the value of a certain nutrient(s), rather than to discover the truth about that nutrient.
2.- The scientist is hired by a company with vested financial interests in the "positive" results of that scientist's experiments. S/he is obligated to word and state the results accordingly, in order to please the employer. Many of these companies already have a profound history of misrepresenting the "facts" and misleading the public.
3.- People naturally want to eat for pleasure and nutrition rather than consuming pills for the same benefit. Because fo this inborn trait, the results of "scientific" tests are often presented in a misleading light with the intention of fostering emotional dependence on the consumption of supplements.
4.- Extracting nutrients from whole foods, processing them, and then selling them as food supplements is the most costly way to bring nutrients to the marketplace. It can cost the consumer a great deal more to purchase a variety of supplements than it would cost to obtain the same nutrients directly from whole foods.
Recommended books and links:
* Michael Pollan, “In defense of food”,
* Dr. Michel Lallement, “Les clés de l’alimentation santé”
* T.C.Fry “Introducing Natural Hygiene: The Only True Natural Health System”
* Dr. Douglas Graham , "The 80/10/10 Diet", "Nutrition and Athletic Performance"