Why Food Isn't Enough
We believe unequivocally that
grown and prepared is the key to health and vitality - and work for the
day when we will be able to reclaim our soils and waterways. However,
within the context of modern realities, most of us do require
high quality, personally appropriate supplementation.
because declining health
doesn’t show up right after a sub-optimal meal, it is very hard for the
person to make the connection between cause and effect of suboptimal
nutrition. This fact alone permits us to overlook signs
and signals of declining health right along with signs of imbalance - at least
till the damage has accumulated to the point of full-blown catastrophe.
This disconnect between what we eat and how we end up feeling is
bolstered by a world filled to overflowing with suboptimal food to
which we have become financially, socially and emotionally addicted.
the evidence is overwhelming that we
are not getting the nutrients we
need for optimal - or even good - health EVEN WHEN WE SELECT PROPER
FOODS, and even when we choose organic! Over the last 100 years in
particular U.S. soils have become increasingly depleted, as documented
by US Soil and Agriculture Maps and various studies. To illustrate, a
1940 bowl of spinach had 220mg of iron. By 1973 that same bowl of
spinach had just 2.5 mg of iron. As the great soil scientist William
Albrecht once said: "Food is
fabricated soil fertility."
worldwide studies have shown that even organic foods can be
disastrously deficient in major nutrients, especially minerals - and
even organic foods will contain some pesticide residue which represents
a further drain on the body's nutrient stores.
Adding to the obstacles
that impede our efforts to seek out and secure optimal foods is that we
are all too often misled by the information we come across. To use one
simple illustration, food tables which list levels of vitamins and
minerals for foods often are based on out-dated or incomplete
information. And sometimes they are simply misleading. For example, two
carrots sitting side by side on the grocery shelves can vary
by a factor of 1000 or more from each other and from the "book" or
chart value in specific nutrients. [for more on misinformation see our un-nourishing modern
traditions, vegetarianism myths and
facts, notes on the
official pyramid(s), and other pages ]
Most problematic of all is our over-reliance on heavily processed foods, which by 1941 had already become a significant enough problem for then Surgeon General Thomas Parran to issue the following warning: “every survey, by whatever method and wherever conducted, shows that malnutrition of many types is widespread and serious among the American people. We eat over-refined foods, with most of the natural values processed out of them. Because of this, many well-to-do Americans who can eat what they like are so badly fed as to be physically inferior and mentally dull. The nutrition of the very poor is appalling.”
things seem to have gone from bad to worse as nutrient losses in our
foods can occur from a lengthening list of factors, including:
- Overuse of pesticides and fertilizers, the use of which have been increasing since 1950
- "Overtilling" and monocrop agriculture
- Harvesting "Mature green", with various chemicals used to halt and then stimulate ripening
- Handling, tranportation and storage techniques
- Land and resource develpment practices that reduce availability of fertile land
- Military, industial and mining activities which often lead to permanent soil degradation
- Genetic engineering
- "No-waste" farming
- Use of "growth enhancers" such as MSG on crops
- Food Processing
- Home handling methods which include improper cooking and microwaving
Is it any wonder that since Dr. Parran's time, population survey after survey have regularly shown mulitple and often serious nutrient deficiencies across all income and population groups? Although proven in the literature for decades (including the work of Melvin Werbach, M.D., Jeffrey Moss, DDS, CNS, CCN, Patrick Quillin, PhD, Richard Passwater, PhD, Linus Pauling, PhD, Mathias Rath, PhD and many others) still more new scientific studies show that unacceptable numbers of people are dying from simple nutrient deficiencies.
In a series of papers, articles and lectures beginning in 2001, Dr. Bruce Ames - who is Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the University of California-Berkeley - found that a deficiency of folic acid, vitamins C, E, B6, B12, niacin or zinc causes DNA strand breaks, oxidative lesions and increased susceptibility to cancer and says that a deficiency of ANY ONE of these micronutrients can cause damge to DNA similar to that caused by radiation.
In an April 2002 article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dr. Ames wrote that more than fifty genetic disorders can be successfully treated with high doses vitamins which are currently readily available in health stores, and further that there may be many more diseases treatable in a similar way. Moreover, writes Dr. Ames, "I suspect that the big impact is going to be in aging - though younger people too might benefit from supplementary B vitamins to tune up their metabolism. In addition, eliminating vitamin and mineral deficiencies will restore what he calls 'metabolic harmony." Finally says Dr. Ames, zinc and iron deficiency (in select groups), vitamin C, B12 and B6 deficiencies are very common."
What is not addressed in these articles is that deficiencies in one nutrient very often indicate insufficiencies is other nutrients. This is because nutrients function together as a team. Scarcity of one nutrient makes greater demands and reduces the efficiency of all the other nutrients it functions with - and may actually result in malabsorption of other nutrients as well. Calcium for instance needs (at a minimum) vitamins C and k, the minerals magnesium, manganese, boron, copper, zinc and the fat soluable vitamins, including natural animal-sourced A and D.
Moreover, nutrient deficiency (aside from insufficiency) can and does result from both poor quality food AND poor quality food choices (in addition to an excess of insulin stimulants). For example the National Academy of Sciences has called obesity the commonest form of malnutrition. And of course we have all heard of the life-threatening diseases of scurvy, beriberi and pellegra which have been attributed to deficiencies of vitamin C, B1 and niacin repectively. But it turns out that deficiency is more complex than a deficiency of one nutrient or another. Pellegra for instance is attributed to a vitamin B3 deficiency. But it also involves insufficiencies of a number of other nutrients, including vitamin B2, B6 and tryptophan. Niacin deficiency ALSO impairs the absorption of vitamin C, which impairs the absorption of iron and so on and on.
This is why supplementing with one or two vitamins, calcium and E for example, can so often fall so short of the mark. And supplementing with high doses of a particular nutrient - niacin for high cholesterol or B6 for carpal tunnel for instance - may bring about unwanted side effects, which can actually be minimzed even as it produces better overall results by supplementing with a broader, more balanced range of complimentary nutrients in addition to the "targeted" nutrient.
This is why a high quality, high potency, wide spectrum multi-vitamin, mutimineral program can be so helpful. Daily Edge is one of our most affordable, high quality favorites suitable as a basic supplement for the majority of people over the age of 12. Although this formula contains a broad specturm of minerals in their most bioavailable forms, some people may need an addition mulit-mineral supplement as well. One choice would be Osteo Soy. Please contact us for other choices that would best suit specific needs.
The bottom line is that your nutrient levels determine how healthy you are today, and help insure a better level of health tomorrow. Undernutrition impairs your immune system, saps your energy along with your physical, emotional and intellectual function - and can make you fat. And trace nutrient deficiency WILL eventually cause "health bankruptcy."
But the converse is also true. The choice really is up to you.