I'm not a purist.
There. I said it.
Yes, my naturopathy training tells me everything I use and recommend should be in its 100% natural form.
And it is.
Most of the time.
I spent hours researching the best cod liver oil because most cod liver oil companies have to put isolated vitamins A & D back into the product after processing because it is lost in the processing. So that is why I use and recommend Green Pasture's fermented cod liver oil.
That is also why I prefer food sources of probiotics--they are more natural, more cost-effective, contain higher amounts of probiotics than supplements, and are delicious!
When someone is low in iron, I like to recommend eating grass-fed beef liver for the B12 and iron. For amino acids, I say just eat the foods that contain them!
When it comes to magnesium and calcium, I recommend raw milk and lots of leafy greens!
When it comes to glutathione, I say just support the body so it can make its own rather than supplementing it!
I would recommend fermented foods to increase stomach acid over an HCL supplement.
For enzymes, it's better to eat raw foods and optimize the body's ability to make them rather than taking a digestive enzyme supplement.
98% of the fruits and vegetable our family eats is organic. We wanted the right, naturally-occurring nutrients in our milk so we bought it raw, then bought dairy goats so it could be the healthiest it possibly could. I make homemade probiotics/fermented foods for daily consumption. We take chlorella, spirulina, nettles, garlic, raw honey, and a few dozen other natural "medicines" in their whole, natural form. (Click here to see a week's worth of meals in our home.)
I could go on, but my point is that I am one of the biggest proponents of things in their natural form. There is much to be said about synergy and bioavailability--the easily-absorbable form of nutrients found in plants/foods.
But I'm not a purist. I think isolated vitamins can be a blessing and are, in fact, an essential part of the healing process for some people. And I know that many people who are still eating a diet high in processed foods are more likely to be successful if they start out with isolated nutritional supplements. Let me explain.
In my nutrition and naturopathy studies, I have spent a lot of hour learning about orthomolecular medicine. Orthomolecular medicine uses nutritional therapy, in optimal doses, to prevent and treat severe illness. For instance, in the 1940's, orthomolecular doctors used high-doses of isolated vitamin C to treat polio illness during an outbreak. None of the patients that were given this therapy ended up having paralysis. (Compare that to today's enterovirus outbreaks which are strikingly similar to polio yet are resulting in many cases of paralysis which these high-doses of Vitamin C could have prevented.)
Also in the 1940's and 50's, orthomolecular experts like Dr. Hoffer began using high doses of B vitamins (in isolated forms) to treat severe depression, alcohol addiction, schizophrenia, and much more. They saw the worst cases of these illnesses treated successfully with high doses of isolated vitamins. Here's a more recent example from Dr. Andrew Saul, a leading voice in the field of orthomolecular medicine:
I first saw niacin work on somebody else. He was a bona-fide, properly-diagnosed, utterly-incurable, State-hospitalized schizophrenic patient. I did not see niacin work in the hospital, of course; the only vitamins given there are what you can filter out of your “Jell-O” and your “Tang.” No, the patient was a fellow whose parents were desperate enough try anything, even nutrition. Perhaps this was because their son was so unmanageably violent that he was kicked out of the asylum and sent to live with them. On a good day, his Mom and Dad somehow got him to take 3,000 milligrams of niacin and 10,000 mg of vitamin C. Formally a hyperactive insomniac, he responded by sleeping for 18 hours the first night and becoming surprisingly normal within days. I’d seen him before, and I saw him after. I’d talked to his parents during the whole process. It was an astounding improvement. Sometime afterward, I tried niacin to see if it would help my own touch of sleeplessness. I found it worked nicely, and it only took a little to do so, perhaps 100 milligrams at most. Any more and I would experience a warm “flush.” But then I found that when I ate junk food or sugar in quantity, I could hold 500 mg or more without flushing a bit. And when I took all that niacin, instead of flipping out, I was calm. http://www.doctoryourself.com/review_hoffer_B3.html
Here's another interesting fact supporting the treatment of isolated nutrients:
Niacin is also works in your body as an antihistamine. Many persons showing psychotic behavior suffer from cerebral allergies. They need more niacin in order to cope with eating inappropriate foods. They also need to stop eating those inappropriate foods, chief among which are the ones they may crave the most: junk food and sugar.
And check out this video from Food Matters:
Additionally, researchers have recently discovered a genetic mutation that makes it difficult for a person to methylate B vitamins. This mutation, abbreviated MTHFR for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, is something I am seeing a lot lately in my profession. I have seen numerous clients presenting with health symptoms and/or a health history pointing to this mutation and after my urging to test for it, their tests came back positive for at least one variation of this mutation. These clients NEED methylated ("isolated", "processed") forms of these vitamins. Here's a really good article that details one woman's lifelong battle with severe anxiety that all went back to this mutation and was addressed naturally within one week of starting on a couple of B vitamins.
Heathfield mother-of-three Lutske Rayner, 59, had tried to treat her depression with antidepressants for more than 20 years. “I just generally felt like crap,” she says. “I’d been on medication for many years, felt tired all the time, I was eating well but not losing weight, I had no enthusiasm for life.” In May last year her doctor tested her for MTHFR mutations and prescribed folinic acid and B12. “I felt a change within a month,” she says. “I’m not on antidepressants anymore, I was able to come off my blood-pressure tablets too. I feel like it’s given me a new life and made it a hell of a lot easier to get out of bed.”
If you read my post on Preventing and Treating Childhood Diseases naturally, you can also see many examples of high-dose vitamin C treatment for things like whooping cough, polio, and much more. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in high doses acts as a natural antibiotic, an antibiotic that is much much safer than prescription anibiotics, even if it is a synthetic ascorbic acid (not that I recommend that though!).
(Note: Contrary to popular thought, not ALL ascorbic acid is synthetic. Most of the ascorbic acid in vitamin supplements is made from corn starch. Some are made from fruit.)
The use of doses of tens of thousands of milligrams of vitamin C per day may be the most unacknowledged successful research in medicine. High doses were advocated almost immediately after ascorbic acid was isolated. Notable early medical pioneers of high-dose vitamin C therapy are Claus Washington Jungeblut (1898-1976); William J. McCormick (1880-1968); and Frederick R. Klenner (1907-1984). More recently, important work has been published by Hugh D. Riordan (1932-2005) and Robert F. Cathcart III (1932 – 2007). Jungeblut first published on ascorbate as prevention and treatment for polio, in 1935. Also in 1935, Jungeblut showed that vitamin C inactivated diphtheria toxin. By 1937, Jungeblut demonstrated that ascorbate inactivated tetanus toxin. Between 1943 and 1947, Klenner, a specialist in diseases of the chest, cured 41 cases of viral pneumonia with vitamin C. By 1946, McCormick showed how vitamin C prevents and also cures kidney stones; by 1957, how it fights cardiovascular disease. Beginning in the 1960s, Robert F. Cathcart, M.D. used large doses of vitamin C to treat pneumonia, hepatitis, and eventually AIDS. For more three decades, beginning in 1975, Hugh D. Riordan, M.D. and his team have successfully used large doses of intravenous vitamin C against cancer. The medical literature has virtually ignored nearly 75 years of physician reports and laboratory and clinical studies on successful high-dose ascorbate therapy. http://www.doctoryourself.com/ckorea2008.html
The first physician to aggressively use vitamin C to cure diseases was Frederick R. Klenner, M.D. beginning back in the early 1940's. Dr. Klenner consistently cured chicken pox, measles, mumps, tetanus and polio with huge doses of the vitamin. While vaccines are now available for these illnesses, please remember this was not the case in the 1940's. The following is a list of the conditions that Dr. Klenner successfully treated with aggressive vitamin C therapy:
- Herpes Zoster (shingles)
- Herpes Simplex
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
- Bladder Infection
- Some Cancers
- Ruptured Intervertebral Disc
- High Cholesterol
- Corneal Ulcer
- Burns and secondary infections
- Heat Stroke
- Radiation Burns
- Heavy Metal Poisoning (Mercury, Lead)
- Venomous Bites (insects, snakes)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Chronic Fatigue
- Complications of Surgery
This seems like an impossible list of vitamin C cures. At this point, you can either dismiss the subject or investigate further. Dr. Klenner chose to investigate. The result? He used massive doses of vitamin C for over forty years of family practice. He wrote dozens of medical papers on the subject. http://www.doctoryourself.com/vitaminc.html
Some physicians would stand by and see their patient die rather than use ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) because in their finite minds it exists only as a vitamin. Dr. Frederick Klenner
Dr. Andrew Saul recommends this when it comes to Vitamin C:
I recommend that people take cheap C, AND eat right. Foods are a lousy source of vitamin C but an excellent source of bioflavinoids. Vitamin C tablets are a lousy source of bioflavinoids, but a good source of C. Good match. http://www.doctoryourself.com/bioflavinoids.html
(You can also click on that link to read why Dr. Saul says that ascorbic acid with rose hips added for bioflavanoids are a waste of money.) Dr. Klenner emphasized that small amounts do not work. He said, "If you want results, use adequate ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)."
You can also read in my post above how Vitamin A reduces rates of infectious diseases like measles and also reduces mortality in those infected. (Of course this is one area where I find fermented cod liver oil and beef liver to be the best sources of Vitamin A.)
These are just a tiny sample of the many things I have found in my education, research, and my experience with clients when it comes to the power of specific nutrients in high doses.
I have seen clients go off thyroid medications within a week of starting on "isolated" mineral supplements.
I have seen children with severe psychological problems show improvement within a week of starting on niacin.
I have seen multiple people cure a urinary tract infection within 2 days of high-dose vitamin C therapy.
I have received emails from people saying "thank you" for vitamin C recommendations that saved them from asthma attacks.
The list goes on. I make these recommendations with educated and researched information. For instance, here are a few things that are crucial to know when choosing "isolated" nutritional therapy:
- Iodine should never be taken without selenium. And never in those with Hashimoto's where their thyroid antibodies are over 100.
- Minerals work together and work in pairs so taking a lot of one supplemental mineral can reduce the levels of another mineral in the body. For instance, zinc and copper are corresponding minerals, so supplementing with one can lower another. (This actually works well in some cases where levels are too high.)
- Calcium supplements in the form of calcium carbonate are NEVER recommended. They do more harm than good. Read here for more info: http://chriskresser.com/calcium-supplements-why-you-should-think-twice
- Synthetic Vitamin E is NEVER recommended. Be sure that it is D-alpha-tocopherol and not DL-alpha-tocopherol (notice the addition of the "L" for the synthetic).
- Folic acid should NEVER be taken--or any B-complex containing it. Only folate or methylated folic acid (methylfolate).
- Read labels carefully. Many vitamin supplements contain BAD fillers/ingredients, such as refined/artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, soybean oil, and other things to avoid.
- Vitamin supplements work well to treat health issues but they will NOT work in place of a healthy diet. They must work as a PART of an overall lifestyle change.
There are many more things to know (please don't take this as a complete list--these are just example), which is why any therapy, including high-dose vitamin therapy, should be done under the guidance of a trained practitioner.
We live in a hard world. We are exposed to chemicals on every side and are eating food from soil that has been nutritionally depleted to severely low levels that cannot solely sustain health. Our children enter this world in an unhealthy vaginal canal or worse through c-section, are inoculated with carcinogenic chemicals, are dressed in clothes cleaned with endocrine-disrupting fragrances, fed chemical-laden formula or breastmilk from nutritionally depleted mamas (which is still FAR better than formula of course), and it just gets worse as they get older.
Then as adults we have years of malnutrition and toxicity building up and we want to treat a lifetime of chemical exposure and nutritional deficiencies, we sometimes become "purists" and think only natural whole foods and herbs (grown in nutritionally-depleted soil) will make up for all of that.
I have seen numerous "purists" refuse isolated nutritional supplements and continue to be discouraged in their lack of healing. Those suffering from adrenal fatigue not growing any better while refusing to take a high-dosage B complex and high-dosage vitamin C. Adaptogenic herbs are GREAT, but I have not seen them work on their own.
I have seen natural health bloggers claim that prenatal supplements and vitamin supplements are not healthy, but I see many of them still struggling with their own health issues such as poor thyroid function, adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalance, and much more.
I've seen the same people who pop over-the-counter pain relievers bash those who take high doses of vitamins.
I've seen far too many people consuming sugary foods and caffeine (which deplete the body of minerals) claim dangers of taking supplemental minerals.
I've seen those who filled their body with birth control pills (which can trigger a MTHFR mutation) say that they don't need isolated vitamins.
I've seen people be scared of high-dose therapy for treating asthma and they end up in the ER on steroids and antibiotics (which always make asthma worse in the long-run).
I will be 36 years old in 1 month and feel better than I did in my 20's. I have not had a full night's sleep in many years. I have six children, my youngest still wakes up to nurse a few times at night. My second-youngest did as well until he was 2 1/2 years old. I homeschool. I work from home as a holistic health practitioner. I am finishing up my degree for naturopathy. I make ALL of our food homemade. I take care of all the bills and banking for our home and my husband's business. And I work on our farm/homestead raising dairy goats, ducks, chickens, and gardening. Adrenal fatigue would be middle name if I did not take at least 4,000 mg of vitamin C and a high-dosage B-complex daily.
(Photo: My Sweet Squishy--baby #6--and me (oh and one of our goats), April 2015)
I have energy to spare. I love life and have energy to enjoy it. And despite our very healthy diet, I really do not think that would be possible without the blessing of "isolated" nutritional supplements. I can feel the difference in my energy level when I take adequate vitamin C.
Whenever possible, you will see that I first and foremost recommend whole foods and vitamins/minerals in the most naturally-occurring form.
That should always our first line of defense.
But when that's not enough (and it often isn't), we can find great health in finding good-quality "isolated" nutritional products to supplement our healing regimen. (
So there you have it. I'm not a purist. Well I am most of the time. But I care too much about my clients' health to let them struggle on with health issues when there is a vitamin that can help them live their life more fully. I thank God that He has created these nutrients in food for us to utilize in both their whole form and their isolated form when needed, helping us avoid the risks of chemical, man-made drugs.