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This article is intended to expand on my first article entitled "Vitamins Complete". Originally, I was going to profile all of the vitamins in depth in this article but then I found Big Cat's extensive articles on fat and water soluble vitamins. I've decided to focus on vitamins within food and other substances pertaining to what Hippocrates calls "the best medicine". Before getting on to the power of food, I would like to address an important concept known as synergism.
Synergy, in this case, is a phenomenon whereby two or more vitamins combine to create an enhanced vitamin function. An excess of an isolated vitamin may lead to a deficiency in others or symptoms of deficiency of the particular vitamin. Ever heard the expression "Too much of a good thing"? For example, high doses of isolated B vitamins have been shown to cause other B vitamins to be depleted. Also, for substances like bioflavonoids to work properly they must be taken with vitamin C. This is synergism within nutrition.
Another concept I wish to address before continuing is the idea of toxicity or the overdose of a particular substance. My personal opinion on this concept is you only need to worry about vitamin toxicity if you are taking supplements, and lots of them. In my experience, toxicity of a vitamin has never been met through food sources alone. The one exception that I have experienced is the overdose of minerals. For example, I once experimented with the effect of varying levels of sodium on my own body. I'll tell you this: sodium overdose is very uncomfortable to say the least.
Natural vs. Synthetic
Our first goal should be to get all of our vitamins from fresh food sources. This is near impossible for most people thanks to pollution, irresponsible farming techniques, and the common hectic lifestyles that keep many people from having time for fresh food. Our next best choice is supplements; these will come in either natural or synthetic form. Synthetic vitamins are produced in a laboratory from isolated chemicals that mirror their counterparts found in nature. Natural vitamins are derived from food sources.
Chemically there are no major differences between synthetic and natural vitamins except that synthetic supplements contain only the isolated vitamin whereas natural supplements contain the vitamin in its natural form which includes many other nutrients yet to be discovered. Synthetic vitamins are without a doubt lacking when compared to their natural counterparts. One good way to put this idea into perspective is to use an excerpt from an article written by Peter "Big Cat" Van Mol which states: "A kirrilian photograph is a way of showing the aura of things, in living things a rainbow of colours surrounds the subject of the photograph, but in dead subjects these colours are absent...
Now take a synthetic source and take a kirrilian print and it will show an eerie, dark-grey colour. That is the colour I have come to refer to as the colour of cancer. It's an uncontrollable copy of a natural food. Each one of these synthetic copies can cause a wild-growth of cells." This statement alone marks the necessity to limit synthetic vitamin consumption.
Performance Daily Intake
You might here me trash several government agencies (like the FDA) but this is only because I feel they are not acting in the public's best interests. One example of this is the RDA which is drastically low even for the sedentary people whom it was made for. I am a far cry from sedentary and I assume you are as well. Luckily for us there is another form of measurement designed specifically for the athlete.
This measurement is called the performance daily intake or PDI and unlike the RDA, which is designed to provide the minimum for functionality, the PDI is designed to provide for maximum performance. Each PDI will have a low-end and a high-end consumption level which is to allow for a range of body weights and athletic intensity. I suggest that anyone reading this article should follow the PDI's and adjust their intake according to the list provided.
The PDI's Are:
|Vitamin A||5,000-25,000 IU|
|Vitamin B1||30-300 mg|
|Vitamin B2||30-300 mg|
|Vitamin B3||20-100 mg|
|Vitamin B5||25-200 mg|
|Vitamin B6||20-100 mg|
|Vitamin B12||12-200 mcg|
|Vitamin C||800-3,000 mg|
|Vitamin D||400-1,000 IU|
|Vitamin E||200-1,000 IU|
|Vitamin K||80-180 mcg|
|The following are not vitamins but what are called metabolites.|
Never Known Completely
As much as scientists would like to believe that they have the world all figured out, it will never be all figured out. This applies to all things and food is of course part of that category known as "all things". There are thousands of compounds in food. This fact is on a daily increase, constantly teaching us something different. What we must realize is that all food in its natural form IS perfect. Nature does not put up with second rate creations. Plants, for example, have a self-destruct mechanism that is initiated if the plant fails to be within nature's standards of perfection. People think they are making something better by altering its genetic make-up when they are in fact simply overriding the natural balance or synergy.
It is no coincidence that since processing and artificial preservation techniques have been implemented, around the turn of the 1900's, people have been getting sicker and new diseases have been popping up. It is also no coincidence that many of these diseases are afflictions of the immune system. A pioneer in the nutrition world, Doctor Weston Price calls such altered foods "the food of commerce".
We all know that essential vitamins and minerals get stripped away through processing but the value of food goes far beyond essential nutrients. It is always surprising to see how many people, professionals included, do not understand this basic concept.
I have even read magazine articles by these so-called professionals who claim that canned food is just as nutritionally sound as fresh. Some have even gone so far as to say that it is better! Strictly speaking, the level of vitamins and minerals stays intact but let's get one thing straight. Canned food will never be even remotely comparable to the bounty within fresh whole food. I must reiterate that nutrition goes well beyond the elementary idea of vitamins and minerals.
Before moving on, I would like to define some words whose definitions are generally not thoroughly understood.
|Food:||An edible substance that, when taken into the body, provides nourishment for growth and health by supplying the body with calories and nutrients.|
|Dietary Supplement:||A product (other than tobacco) that is intended to supplement the diet and that contains one or more of the following dietary ingredients--a vitamin, a mineral, an herb or other plant substance, an amino acid, a substance that increases total dietary intake, or a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, or extract.|
|Drug:||A chemical compound that is administered to humans or animals as an aid in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a disease. It can also be used to relieve pain or to control or improve a physiological or pathological condition.|
|Nutraceutical:||A food or dietary supplement that is designed for uses other than essential nutrition, such as clinical applications or to treat or prevent a disease. It could be considered a sort of over-the-counter supplement for which specific therapeutic or health claims can be made.|
|Phytochemical:||A compound of plant origin that has beneficial health functions, such as disease prevention. Phytochemicals are also referred to as phytonutrients.|
Food Is Medicine
There exist many phytochemicals and natural substances in food that are highly beneficial for health. Many of these substances can now be extracted and put into supplement form, which is all well and good, but I still recommend that you try to get as much of these substances as possible through fresh whole foods. Why? Well, as soon as a plant is picked or harvested, it starts to lose nutrients. This applies to meat as well as plants and the longer it sits the more the nutrients within the food decay. I call this nutrient degradation the slow death of food. One may argue however, that food can be perfectly preserved in cans and nutrients can be preserved in capsules. But the same is true for the human body when it is frozen. Nobody would consider a frozen human to be alive and yet it is perfectly preserved. Simply because a substance is present does not mean it is alive or, in other words, active. When a substance is inactive it is doing nothing! This is why living foods are the most preferable and potent bearers of nutrients available.
The way people look at the medicinal benefits of food is usually totally backwards. For example: the bioflavonoid rutin is used to treat capillary fragility and easy bruising common in patients with hypertension. I can see someone being afflicted with such an ailment and using rutin temporarily in order to fix the problem. Once the problem is fixed, they stop ingesting their source of rutin and go back to their old habits. Unfortunately, it is their old habits that got them afflicted in the first place. Natural treatments such as rutin aren't just for the cure of the symptom like so many modern medicines are designed to do. Natural treatments are a means of prevention as well as a cure and you only need the cure if you become deficient through poor habits.
Okay! Enough preaching! Basically, the moral is, take care of yourself now so others won't have to do it later. So far I've been pushin' the plant kingdom but let me tell you, I am no vegetarian. I reason that plants are just as alive as animals and humans have to eat in order to live; in that case I'm omnivorous. Not only is it a choice based on reason but it is a choice based on nature. Our digestive systems are not designed for pure meat consumption nor do we have four stomachs like a cow for pure plant consumption. Digestion functions best when a person has a blend of the foods provided by the planet.
What gets in the way of this perfect functioning are things that I call mechanized food. Hot dogs, frozen pizzas, top ramen, hot pockets, meals made in a toaster and pretty much anything "instant". This stuff is anti-food in that it isn't simply less nutritious and full of dangerous additives but it actually lowers your body's ability to assimilate and fully process nutrients. They say you are what you eat and some of the processed food that is on the market seriously resembles feces. Remember, "All food is medicine and the best food is the best medicine."
What ticks me off is that the government is now trying to regulate the use of pro-hormone substances because they feel such substances are possibly unsafe. What the f*ck? There are plenty of over-the-counter drugs that have a much higher potential for misuse and harm than pro-hormones. Name one thing out there that doesn't harbor the ability to damage oneself. Pro-hormones have benefits beyond the world of muscle building and should be available for all people needless of a prescription. After all, the only reason pro-hormones are under attack is because they are associated with bodybuilding.
This is one more instance of the government trying to sneak in and control our lives. How can they even begin to consider pro-hormones unsafe when the FDA has allowed numerous additives into food that have been proven to cause multiple health maladies? I think we all need to watch what regulations are being instilled by the government and take active roles in maintaining our freedom. How does that old saying go, "Give 'em an inch and they'll take a yard". Well, something like that.