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Should I Take Vitamins? Part 4 of 6

Dr. Blaine Chambers says this (verbatim, not edited):

“You are ringing my bell now. Your emphatic ‘No’ to multivitmins is quite harsh and certainly not good advice. Also, you assume all vitamins are ‘synthetic.’ My multivitamin by NutraPerfect is one designed by me that is a food grade natural vitamin with no synthetics. I agree that everyone should be getting nutrition from selected foods. Many folks simply won’t eat properly. Shall we let them be in poor health or let them die? Also, it is difficult to determine that the foods we eat (even organic) contain the essential vitamins, minerals and fatty acids the body requires. People may agree with the theory of getting more fiberous foods in the diet but in reality they don’t. Therefore a good food grade vitamin is in order. Incidentally, your comment of fish oil being “problematic” is dead wrong. As you complete your diligence in researching the benefits of plant oils vs marine oils, you will find the marine oils to make a better conversion in the body for the omega 3 fatty acids. Granted, a person should never try to live on vitamins alone but including a good food grade vitamin daily along with selected essential fiberous foods is a better suggestion. By all means, the pregnant lady that commented here should be supplementing daily for the health of her baby. Don’t write things just to get attention.”

My answer:

That’s an issue I have with the whole supplement industry–the emotional hyperbole of suggesting that we’re “letting people die” if we suggest supplements are not going to save us from disease and death.

First of all, I’m all for FREEDOM to eat vitamins if you want to. I’m sure lots of people will continue to put their faith in that and I’d be the first one to defend your right to make and market supplements. (I do not think multivitamins are killing people en masse–I think there’s a very small danger of overdose in some areas.)

Second, “food grade” means more stringent regulations of some kind? Dr. Chambers, please feel free to enlighten us here. I did not, in fact, assume all vitamins are synthetic, as you say. Some non-synthetic isolates are actually cheaper for the manufacturer than synthetics are. Most supplements are a combination of synthetic and otherwise, but even those that started as food are still many steps removed from food. I believe the further we get from the source, well, the further we get from health and real solutions.

Third and most important, if you study this issue, you become very disillusioned with the idea that taking a big handful of pills is going to bridge the nutrition gap and legitimize or excuse a lazy diet. So many macro studies point to results on multi-vitamin use that range from lackluster to dismal. These aren’t single studies, where the funding or the methods are suspect–they cover dozens or more. Where are macro studies showing that multivitamins are improving our health?

My biggest concern is that people say they cannot afford to eat right, and yet we spend well over a billion dollars a year eating vitamins. A secondary concern is that a smaller number of people eating as I do (and as I teach), 60-80% raw, mostly plant-based diet, you will overdose on some nutrients, as I have explained. I am teaching people who come to my site simple, quick ways to get nutritional needs met with FOOD.

One thing I don’t think I have ever explained in detail is that many years ago, I sold multivitamins. It was an expensive package that costs nearly $100/mo. I fell in love with it because along with the supplements, the company had obtained the licensing for a technology that read the carotenoid antioxidant levels in the skin in a matter of seconds. The scientists behind the machine published their work showing that carotenoid levels in the skin are a good indicator of overall micronutrient levels in the body.

I was quite enamored of the technology and I obtained one of the first machines. I traveled all over the U.S. scanning people with it, close to 10,000 people in gyms, doctor offices, nutrition stores, and conventions. The idea was that people get on the supplements and their antioxidant level, fully metabolized and showing up in the endpoints of the body (the skin), would increase.

The rest of this story, tomorrow.

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