THE CASE FOR NUTRIENT SUPPLEMENTS

There is no doubt that the body is made from foods. There is no doubt that every molecule in the body originated outside of it. It follows that foods and food quality make an important contribution to the development of not only health, but also of tumors, fatty deposits in our arteries, fatty deposits in our liver, kidney and brain, moles, warts, growths and every kind of cellular malfunction.

Food, therefore, makes an important contribution to building and maintaining health, and for treating disease conditions. Health, by definition, is the right kinds of molecules (foods, water and air), in the right amounts, involved in the right kinds of chemical interactions to build, maintain, and repair a body made out of these foods.

Nutrient Deficiencies 

Because they are necessary for the biochemical reactions basic to life, essential nutrients play key roles in the establishment and maintenance of health. It follows that nutrient deficiencies are important factors in the development of disease. Possible causes of nutrient deficiencies - which have increased dramatically over the last 100 years - are easy to identify. They include: 

Farm-to-Market Practices

  1. Soils are becoming more mineral-deficient. Plants remove 20 or more minerals from soils in which they grow. Commercial fertilizers replace only 4 to 6 of these minerals. Year by year, more minerals leave the farm in foods grown on the soil, which is eaten by humans; the wastes containing these minerals from the soil are flushed via sewer systems into our rivers (polluting our drinking water in the process), and are ultimately swept out to the ocean. Estimates and measurements indicate that crops remove half of the minerals present in topsoil every 50 years.
  2. The University of Texas at Austin analyzed 43 common “garden crops” and found widespread declines in their content of vitamins B and C, iron, calcium and other nutrients. (December 2004)
  3. Plants deficient in minerals may manufacture fewer vitamins. Nitrogen fertilizers “drive” plants to grow faster by absorbing and retaining more water (vegetables with oedema), but do not absorb more minerals. The grower obtains added profit for waterlogged produce regardless of its nutrient content.
  4. Produce is harvested unripe, before all of the minerals have been absorbed and before nutritional qualities have fully developed and matured.
  5. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides rob the soil of microscopic organisms that are crucial to helping crops absorb nutrients.
  6. Transport is as stressful for plants as it is for humans and results in nutrient losses.
  7. Storage results in vitamin losses and also affects essential fatty acid content.

 Advertising

  1. Food preferences and habits have been influenced through advertising that promotes less nutritious, but more shelf-stable, foods (especially true for omega 3 essential fatty acids).
  2. Advertising has helped to increase sales of more processed (less nutrient-dense) foods.
  3. Advertising has led consumers to choose fewer whole foods in their natural state and more prepared, processed, refined, nutrient-poor, convenience foods.

Processing

  1. Refining removes up to 99% of all nutrients from sugar beets and sugar cane.
  2. Processing and refining grains to make white flour removes 50% or more of the vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and up to 33% of the protein.
  3. Processing and refining of oil seeds to make colorless, odorless, tasteless refined oils removes all the protein and fiber, 95% of the minerals and most of the vitamins. Lecithin, phytosterols and other nutrients are also removed.
  4. In canning, potassium is replaced with sodium. Heat destroys up to half or more of some vitamins.
  5. Freezing, drying, pickling, blanching, cooking, canning, baking, deep frying and storage all result in nutrient losses.
  6. Hydrogenation, which produces margarine, shortening, shortening oils and partially hydrogenated oils, destroys essential fatty acids.
  7. Food irradiation, a nutritional disaster, destroys most essential nutrients. It also produces unnatural and toxic substances.

Food Preparation & Choices

  1. We eat fewer raw, sprouted and whole foods.
  2. Cooking decreases the digestibility of proteins.
  3. High temperature food preparation (fry, deep-fry) destroys nutrients by combined exposure to light (generates free radicals), oxygen (oxidizes), and heat (speeds up the rate of chemical reactions). Frying is especially hard on essential fatty acids.
  4. Fast food choices are less nutritious than whole foods freshly prepared with loving care and awareness of the nutrient needs for health.
  5. Fast foods contain many substances that slow down metabolism and clog the biochemical wheels of life. Saturated fats, cholesterol and processed fats (margarines, shortenings) fit into this category.

Increased Nutrient Needs 

  1. An increasingly stressful lifestyle uses up more essential nutrients than one that is less stressed (depression results in loss of vitamin C). Hurried eating and eating while under stress results in poor digestion, poor absorption and the creation of toxic substances.
  2. Artificial flavors, colors, stabilizers, preservatives and other additives increase the need for essential nutrients that the body needs to deal with these unnatural substances.
  3. Consumption of hydrogenated (trans-fatty acid-containing) products interferes with essential fatty acid functions in the body. Also, trans-fatty acids affect heart and arteries negatively, because they lower the protective HDL and increase the detrimental LDL cholesterol. Trans fatty acids also interfere with the liver’s most important detoxification systems (Cytochrome P450), and this compromises not only liver function, but immune function as well. Increased quantities of essential nutrients are necessary to deal with the effects of hydrogenation and trans-fatty acids in foods.
  4. Increased levels of toxins in food, water and air (pesticides, chlorine, ozone, nitrous oxides, and many more) require an increase in the intake of those substances involved in detoxification, the processes by which the body rids itself of its toxic burdens. The essential nutrients - antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids - are intimately involved in these processes. They provide the necessary nutritional support for these cleansing processes.
  5. Increased use of drugs (legal & illegal) that the body must detoxify, also uses up essential nutrients (e.g., birth control pills increase the requirement for vitamin B-6).
  6. Viruses (Herpes I & II, AIDS, Epstein-Barr, etc.) & bacteria, endemic in the population, increase our nutrient needs.
  7. Nutrient needs are increased during pregnancy, lactation, growth and adolescence.
  8. Nutrient needs are increased after injury and during convalescence.
  9. Increased nutrient needs due to aging become apparent after age 30 and increase as age progresses.

Digestive Imperfections 

  1. Genetically, our digestive ability is not being 100% to begin with. Most of us have genetically, pre-determined needs for extraordinary quantities of one or more of the essential nutrients.
  2. Our eating habits may leave something to be desired. We don’t chew properly, eat on the run, eat under stress, eat nutrient-poor foods, etc.
  3. Digestion deteriorates with age. Stomach hydrochloric acid production declines. Enzyme production decreases. Absorption becomes less efficient. Elimination of toxins & wastes becomes more difficult. Cell, gland and organ functions decline.
  4. Illness, especially of the gastro-intestinal tract, decreases digestive and absorptive capacity. Diseases of glands, liver and kidneys also have negative effects on digestion
Increased Performance
In addition to correcting the health-damaging nutrient deficiencies caused by decreased food quality, increased nutrient needs due to stress, toxins, and nutrient enrichment to compensate for digestive imperfections, a case can be made for nutritional supplementation for three positive goals:

Life extension

What about stretching our years beyond those allotted to us on the usual diet of meat and potatoes, or even by a more natural diet of grains, greens and fish? To add years to our life, we can supplement a natural diet with anti-oxidant, anti-aging nutrients, and with a balanced program of supplements above our basic requirements for living “three score years and ten”.

Quality of life

Supplements can improve the quality of our physical condition, adding life to our years as well as years to our life.

Performance extension

    1. Supplements can be used to extend physical performance - strength and endurance - in athletes.
    2. Supplements can improve business performance by increasing stamina, vitality and staying power, extending the time that we can function (with or without added stress) before fatigue sets in.
    3. Supplements can improve active sex life as well as family life by increasing energy levels.
    4. Supplemented maternal diets result in healthier children with fewer, shorter and less severe childhood illnesses and fewer complications from these illnesses.
    5. Supplementation improves children’s ability to concentrate, thus improving their work and raising their grades in school.

Confirmed by Surveys

Surveys indicate that the nutritional quality of the foods eaten by the average individual is declining. At present, the number of people improving their nutritional intake is still quite small.

Foods served in hospitals have been shown to worsen the nutrient status of patients within 2 weeks of their admittance. Nurses’ diets were found to be seriously deficient in essential nutrients.

Some of the nutritional surveys included thousands of people from every part of North America, from every age group and from every economic level (poorer people did even worse than economically advantaged people). The largest of these surveys, carried out by the U.S. government, measured food intakes of 36,000 and 80,000 people, respectively.

Confirmed by Geography

In the 1930’s Dr. Weston Price, a dentist, traveled around the world to study the food habits and health of traditional peoples and tribes. He found that the traditional whole foods eaten by these people resulted in strong bone structure, wide angular jaws such as we like to admire in both male and female models of beauty and health, straight teeth, virtually no tooth decay and perfect dental arches.

Within one generation of trade contact with white “civilized” man and trading white sugar and white flour for the goods of their tradition, these people developed the same incidence of tooth decay, narrow faces and crooked teeth as was common in white populations of the time. His findings are recorded, complete with photos of rows of straight (traditional diet) and crooked (sugar & flour) teeth, in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. 

Traditional food habits around the world support populations in a healthier way of life than our opulent, over-abundant but nutrient-deficient present way of life. Examination of these traditional diets confirms the diagnosis. Whole foods contain more essential nutrients. The populations eating these foods live lives less marred by physical degeneration and degenerative diseases.

Confirmed by History 

The opposite correlation holds true as well. Historical records of food habits confirm that our foods today contain smaller quantities of essential nutrients than they did 100 or 200 years ago, prior the advent of refined sugar, refined flour - refined everything. Records also show that the incidence of today’s degenerative conditions - cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and others - were less frequent before the advent of the technology that gave us refined, shelf-stable, nutrient poor foods. Worsening food habits over the last 200 years correlate with increasing incidence of degeneration. Medicines do not provide real relief of degenerative conditions. They may manage the symptoms, but they don’t slow the progression of these diseases. Medicine’s track record is unimpressive in the treatment of cancer, heart and artery disease, diabetes, arthritis, pre-menstrual syndrome, etc.

Confirmed by Research 

Many vegetables and some fruits really have declined in quality in the past 50 years as crop breeders put size ahead of nutrition, a 2004 study from Texas suggests. The University of Texas at Austin analyzed 43 common “garden crops” and found widespread declines in their content of vitamins B and C, iron, calcium, and other nutrients. The scientists say this reinforces earlier findings from Britain, and raises questions about the wisdom of modern farming practices which focus too much on size.

Confirmed by Reversals

Medical doctors using supplements of essential nutrients, sometimes in large doses, have witnessed remarkable reversals of degeneration in patients. Naturopathic physicians trained in nutritional therapy often get remarkable results after drug-prescribing doctors have given up, unsuccessful. Lay people with an interest and practical knowledge of foods and herbs have also been able to succeed in reversing degenerative conditions where the professionals have failed.

There are people diagnosed with terminal cancer, still alive without any signs of cancer 40 years after doctors told them their last “I’m sorry, but!!. . . ” Natural foods, supplements, changes in lifestyle to minimize stress, certain herbs and other natural remedies, all set the conditions which allowed the body to heal itself. These people are living proof of the healing power of foods and supplements, living proof that degenerative diseases can be stopped, reversed, and even healed.