"Food Vitamin" Supplements
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Understanding the "food vitamin" supplements is a bit tricky and warrants explanation. There are three general types of products that are often referred to as "food vitamins."
One type is made by taking standard USP (United States Pharmacopia) vitamins (manufactured in laboratories by biochemical processes) and putting them in tablets or occasionally capsules with dried foods and-or herbs (along with fillers and other additives used in production). Taking these vitamins is no different than taking standard USP vitamins with a meal (but a lot more expensive).
A second type of "food vitamin" is supplements made by adding standard USP vitamins to a liquid broth containing yeast. As the yeast grows, the vitamins and minerals are incorporated into the cell structure of the yeast. The yeast is then killed in a drying process, and the residue is pressed into tablets with herbs, binders, and manufacturing additives.
Because of the amount of space taken up by the yeast, products made this way are very low in potency. Even if absorption is superior, the low potency and high cost makes them very cost-inefficient for anyone wishing to take, say, 500 mg of vitamin C, or 100 mg of coenzyme Q-10, or 400 IU of vitamin E, on a daily basis. Another problem I've encountered is that many people taking these yeast-based supplements for any length of time develop yeast sensitivities. This is particularly true for those with a history of candida problems (common in our carbohydrate-addicted culture).
The third kind of "food vitamin" supplements is products that are actually dried foods, often organic, pressed into tablets with the aid of manufacturing additives. Again because of size constraints, these products are necessarily of very low potency in terms of the amount of vitamins and minerals present, although some people feel they have potent effects. While they may be of excellent quality, they are very cost inefficient. Taking these supplements might be compared to eating good organic foods, in very small quantities.
Potency and Purity
For herbs, potency depends on the quality of the raw herb used and the care taken in manufacturing. A tremendously wide range of quality is found in different products. A poor quality product may have no effect whatsoever; the same dosage of a superior product may work wonders.
The herbal products I most often use and recommend are liquid alcohol extracts. We use organic alcohol and the finest quality herbs. A number of fine companies make encapsulated dried herbal extracts.
How potent a given vitamin or mineral product will be depends on what forms the vitamins and minerals are in, and how much of the product is actually absorbed and utilized. Vitamins and minerals may be complexed in various forms, as described above; forms identical or close to those found in foods are generally better absorbed and utilized.
There are two issues relating to purity. First, are the raw ingredients pure? Reputable manufacturers insure that each batch of raw materials is laboratory-tested for purity and can provide users with copies of certificates of analysis. The other issue concerns the additives nearly all manufacturers use in the production of supplements.
Nearly all supplements contain stearates, manufacturing agents used as lubricants to speed up production. Most capsules and tablets are made by "jobbers" in mass production plants, which churn out a multitude of formulas for various companies. Magnesium stearate and stearic acid are lubricants added to raw materials in supplements so that production machinery will run at maximum speeds. This ensures that production schedules will meet profit targets.
Tablets also contain potentially allergenic binders, fillers and often coloring agents. They are coated with shellac (listed in the ingredients as "natural glaze") or vegetable coating (derived from corn, to which many people are sensitive). Potentially allergenic fillers are used to top off capsules.
These additives have a number of effects, including decreased absorption. In a study published inPharmaceutical Technology (April, 1985), the percent dissolution for capsules after 20 minutes in solution went from 90% without stearates to 25% with stearates. These substances clearly effect the dissolution and rapid absorption of nutrients. Another possible problem is an allergenic reaction; many sensitive individuals report that even small amounts of additives cause reactions. Fillers may contain hidden lactose or other allergenic ingredients. This may be why so many people have adverse reactions to supplements, or fail to receive the significant benefits pure supplements will offer. For these reasons, I recommend that when possible, people use additive-free supplements.
Because the supplements industry routinely uses additives in their products, manufacturers and distributors always deny that the presence of these substances is in any way detrimental. Nevertheless, it seems to me a simple matter of common sense that the most desirable products would not contain non-nutrient substances that are added solely to expedite the manufacturing process.
Organs and Glands, Herbs and Other Food-Derived Supplements
We have mentioned a number of special foods, such as cod liver oil, the sea vegetable dulse, and celtic salt. These are foods used in small amounts to provide rich sources of many of the nutrients I’ve described. A number of herbs and food-derived belong in this category, along with freeze-dried organs and glands, essential traditional foods prepared as outstanding food supplements useful in even the best diets.
Organs and Glands
Our Dr. Ron’s individual products include thyroid, liver, heart, brain, thymus, kidney, pancreas,spleen, prostate, adrenal, ovary and testicle. We’ve also created the ultimate traditional superfood –Organ Delight, a combination of liver, heart, brain, thymus, kidney, spleen, pancreas, and adrenal. Until now, these special foods have been unavailable as pure, 100% additive-free supplements. We prepare them by freeze-drying freshly harvested organs and glands at 40 to 60 degrees F below zero. Freeze-drying tissues preserves the unaltered proteins, enzymes and the fat-soluble activators so important in traditional diets. The tissues we use are taken only from grassfed, inspected animals, raised without the use of pesticides, hormones or antibiotics, in New Zealand – where mad cow disease has never occurred.
These are supplied in the diet by raw foods (especially raw animal source foods) and by fermented foods such as cultured dairy products and lacto-fermented condiments and beverages. Most people do not obtain nearly enough enzymes.
Enzymes are provided only in raw and fermented foods, and the enzymes in raw animal foods may be the most valuable. For those unable or unwilling to consume raw or fermented animal foods, I recommend two capsules or more of pancreatic enzymes once a day with a meal. Large doses of pancreatic enzymes can be especially important for some people. Our pancreas capsules are the richest natural source of pancreatic enzymes.
Herbs and Food-Derived Supplements
We have mentioned a number of special foods, such as cod liver oil, the sea vegetable dulse, and celtic salt. These are foods used in small amounts to provide rich sources of many of the nutrients I've described. A number of herbs and food-derived supplements belong in this category, in that they may be consumed often in small amounts with great benefit.
Bilberry helps build strong vision. Clinical studies in recent years have shown improvement in subjects with myopia and glaucoma. I take 1-6 60 mg capsules daily (containing 36% anthocyanosides).
Milk thistle regenerates liver cells and protects us from chemicals and toxins to which we all are exposed. Milk thistle dramatically enhances liver health by protecting the outer membrane of liver cells and acting as a powerful antioxidant in the liver. Milk thistle acts to regenerate damaged and injured liver cells, reversing the liver damage caused by toxins.
I recommend our milk thistle supplement that utilizes both standardized extract with whole plant powder, insuring both guaranteed potency and the presence of the synergistic ingredients found in the whole plants. I recommend 1-6 capsules daily (175 mg milk thistle extract per capsule).
These nutrients are components of cartilage and are supplied in traditional diets by gristle and bone broths. Both have been shown in numerous studies to produce excellent results. Cartilage tissue samples showed that damaged cartilage had been significantly repaired after only three months. I use a combination product that provides 1500 mg of glucosamine and 1200 mg of chondroitin in four capsules. I recommend from two to four capsules daily for many of my patients.
This is a mixture of superfoods including the best quality forms of blue-green algae, seaweeds, mushrooms, herbs, sprouts and green juices, all dried at low temperature so as to preserve the enzyymes and nutrients. A teaspoon or two added to water makes a great morning shake.
Phosphatidyl Serine (PS)
PS is another substance derived from food that enhances brain function. PS was originally isolated from beef brain. Over forty studies have proven that PS can reverse brain aging. State-of-the-art cognition tests have revealed improvements from PS. For example, on name-face recall, an excellent marker for brain aging, PS reversed the average test age of the subjects from sixty-four years test age to fifty-two years test age. That's a twelve-year recovery of cognitive function! Numerous published studies have shown significant improvements in mental function, depressive symptoms and behavior-even in subjects with moderate to severe senility. PS is an important component of our Deep Thought formula.
Additive-Free Supplements and Herbal Products
Dr. Ron's Herbal formulas are high quality, organic and wildcrafted.
Any of the products mentioned in this article may be ordered directly from us.
The following is a partial list of some of our high quality additive-free products.
Organs and Glands:
Our Dr. Ron’s individual products include thyroid, liver, heart, brain,thymus, kidney, pancreas, spleen, prostate, adrenal, ovary
We’ve also created the ultimate traditional superfood – Organ Delight,
a combination of liver, heart, brain, thymus, kidney, spleen, pancreas, and adrenal.
Doc’s Best Multivitamin—The Next Generation:
Many of the nutrients mentioned (calcium hydroxyapatite, buffered vitamin C, magnesium, selenium, chromium, coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid, grape seed extract, tocotriene complex, zinc, boron, manganese) are among those included in our multi.
Living Better and Longer
Whole foods have always formed the core of my approach to health. In the early 1970s, I belonged to one of the first food coops in western Massachusetts. From there I went on to naturopathic medical school believing that if I learned enough about how food affects people, I could help them recover from most medical problems. That has turned out to be even truer than I realized then, as I discovered the work of Weston Price and other pioneers of nutritional therapy.
My studies and my years in practice have shown me that certain high quality food supplements can play a critical role in optimizing health and longevity. Properly understood, these nutrients, herbs, concentrates, special foods and extracts complement even the best diets. As we embrace the wonderful health-giving qualities of traditional whole foods, we should also embrace the best of what modern science has given us. Scientists and clinicians have clearly demonstrated the efficacy of a wide range of products that fall under the general heading of "food supplements." Knowledge is growing rapidly, and so too is marketing hype that would have us believe that every new supplement is a magical elixir. The challenge and realistic goal is to separate the wheat from the chaff and apply this knowledge to live healthier, happier, and longer lives.
Please contact our office by phone (toll-free at 1-877-472-8701) or by e-mail if you are interested in more information.