Thursday, March 5, 2015

Believe The Anti-Vitamin Scolds And You May Pay For It Later

Comparison histogram showing how nutrients in cornmeal have declined from 60 years ago.

A recent question posed to the "Drs. Oz and Roizen" column was the following:

"There's a lot of talk on how vitamin supplements are unnecessary or even harmful. Do you still think I should be taking a multivitamin? I'm 57 and in good health."

The doctors responded by referencing a recent book making the rounds entitled Vitamin Mania by Catherine Price. They noted this book and other media shots, both in print and TV spots,  have "declared it proves we're overdosed with supplements".  But they also observe that if you read Price's book more carefully, you will note the issue is really that "our food supply and eating habits make most North Americans undernourished even as they're overfed!"

They add that "90 percent of Americans (according to several studies, including the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) don't get even 80 percent of the recommended daily value for one or more essential nutrients."

In a spasm of what can only be called cognitive dissonance, Price admitted in her book that "ideally poor nutrition should be corrected by eating more nutrient packed foods- but we don't want to become a nation of supplement takers to let the highly profitable producers of lousy food get away with being nutritionally bankrupt"
But she misses the point, i.e. that it isn't simply a matter of "junk" food diets being the culprit. Thanks to huge agri-business farming (and GMO foods) the dilution of nutrients occurs across the board, including for kale, spinach, barley, wheat, corn and asparagus. In other words, NO one is reaching their recommended daily allotments no matter how noble their food choices.

Drs. Oz and Roizen concur with this, observing:

"Until our food and farmland  is managed more responsibly  we all NEED nutritional supplements. Even conscientious eaters struggle to get enough nutrients. The protein in wheat and barley has plummeted 30 percent to 50 percent since 1938 and calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin, and ascorbic acid are far less present in today's crops than they used to be."

The graphic shown reinforces this, comparing the selected nutrients in cornmeal to those from 60 years earlier.  Just look at the comparisons for thiamin, riboflavin and niacin and try to tell me that you can obtain the same benefit by eating the foods containing them, instead of taking the supplements. Any such person would have to be a dupe or a moron.

Take the calcium content of broccoli. Widely grown varieties in 1950 had about 13 mg/g of calcium but today's varieties provide only about 4.4 mg/g of calcium. Similar proportionate declines have been documented in meat, eggs, and dairy products.  If you are going to be foolish enough then, to depend on corpora-foods for all the calcium you need - you are going to pay when bones are broken -say from a fall on ice.

Most of our agri-food crops, from lettuce, to broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, kale, beans, peas, cabbage, etc. are so diluted that one would have to eat two to three times the amount daily to obtain an equal nutrient value to what one had in the 1960s. Thus, to do totally without vitamins, get set to eat four cauliflowers each day, a pound of kale, three whole broccoli heads, eight oranges, five bananas (for potassium), ten tomatoes and three pounds of peas or beans!

Rather than this impractical baloney it's much simpler to take vitamin supplements.  Doctors Oz and Roizen give the following recommendation:

"So, if you're 35 or older take half a multivitamin in the morning and half at dinnertime. Get your vitamin D level checked, and take an algal-oil omega 3 supplement (900 mg a day) to reduce inflammation and improve brain and eye health."

They add:

"Until the quality of the food improves you need to make sure you're getting the cancer-, heart-disease and dementia -fighting nutrients from supplements."

Well said, but sadly - so long as corporations are in charge of our food supply the need for supplements won't end anytime soon.

You want heart disease, dementia and broken bones? Then pay heed to the anti-supplement scolds.

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