Nora Gedgaudas

Supplementation: The basics

Supplementation: The basics

So now that you are well on your way toward adopting the most healthful foundational dietary approach in human history, why on earth would we need to talk about supplementation? Can't you get all the nutrients you need from a healthy diet like this one? The answer to this reasonable question is “Well…possibly, but chances are maybe not.”

So now that you are well on your way toward adopting the most healthful foundational dietary approach in human history, why on earth would we need to talk about supplementation? […]

 

An important report published in 2013 titled: “Smart Prevention—Health Care Cost Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements”[i] suggested that the American healthcare system could literally save billions of dollars per year with the appropriate use of dietary supplements. Wow!

As covered by Drug Store News[ii], “[The report] examined four different chronic diseases and the potential for healthcare cost savings when US adults 55 years and older, diagnosed with these chronic diseases, used one of eight different dietary supplement regimens.

It demonstrated that supplementation at preventive intake levels in high-risk populations can reduce the number of disease-associated medical events, representing the potential for hundreds of millions — and in some cases, billions — of dollars in savings.”

Even the notoriously nutritionally stodgy American Medical Association has this to say:

“Pending strong evidence of effectiveness from randomized trials, it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements.”

And:

“Insufficient vitamin intake is apparently a cause of chronic diseases. Recent evidence has shown that sub-optimal levels of vitamins, even those well above those causing deficiency syndromes, are risk factors for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. A large proportion of the population is apparently at risk for this reason.”[iii]

Mind you, the AMA is used to referring to the “standard American diet” (designated with the appropriate acronym, SAD)—knowing full well that the mainstream dietary approach based on government sanctioned “food pyramids” is dangerously lacking.

Many of you reading this that are starting out on The Paleo Way are coming from a history of eating this mainstream diet and suffering some or many of the consequences of its inadequacies and its indulgences. Many people adopting the Paleo way have spent years if not decades eating feedlot/GMO-fed meats and anemic conventional produce, along with grains (and gluten), legumes, processed foods, artificial fats, GMO’s and lots of sugar. Chances are you’ve got a lot of catching up to do when it comes to replenishing your nutrient stores. It can be hard to make up for this (along with all of the other challenges of modern life) with merely diet, alone, for many.

So what are the most common ways in which you are likely to be deficient?

Well, if you have been eating/drinking significant quantities of:

  • Sugar– you are likely to be deficient in B vitamins, magnesium and chromium
  • Sodas- you are likelier to have more mineral deficiencies than just with sugar, alone– in addition to deficiencies of B vitamins, magnesium and chromium
  • Feedlot meat/farmed fish- you are likely to be deficient in omega-3’s
  • Factory farmed chicken and eggs- you are likely to be deficient in omega-3’s, and vitamins A, D, and E
  • Grains/Legumes (rich in phytic acid)- you may be prone to deficiencies in minerals, (especially zinc), omega-3’s, as well as the amino acid, L-tryptophan.

Also, if you happen to have a history of:

  • Being a vegetarian- you are likely to have deficiencies in vitamin B-12, plus vitamins A (retinol), D3 (cholecalciferol) and K2 (menaquinone), in addition to many minerals (especially zinc and iron) and protein/several amino acids.
  • Eating low fat diets- you are likely to be deficient in critical fat-soluble nutrients (Carotenoids, A, E, D and K and K2), essential fatty acids such as omega-3’s and GLA, and minerals.
  • Stress- you are likely to be depleted of magnesium, zinc, electrolytes and water-soluble nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin C complex
  • Low stomach acid/acid reflux (WAY more common than you think – and yes, I mean LOW stomach acid and not high)- you are quite possibly amino acid/protein deficient, mineral deficient (especially zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus), and B12 deficient.
  • Drinking distilled water- you are likely to be mineral deficient.
  • Eating non-organic/conventional produce- you are likely to be deficient in many beneficial minerals, nutrients, antioxidants and phytonutrients as a result of produce being grown with pesticides in depleted soils and the toxic effects of these chemicals.

It is true that the more nutrient-dense your diet is (such as the one associated with this program) the less of a need you will ultimately have to reach for supplemental vitamins and minerals or other nutrients elsewhere.

The problem, even so, is this:

We are no longer living in the pristine world of our ancestors. The last few thousand years worth of agriculture has had a devastating effect on soil quality and mineral content, not to mention global chemical and pesticide contamination. The last 200 years or so of the industrial revolution–especially since World War II have served to further contaminate the environment in which we grow our food— even organic food. It is unavoidable (but still worth the expense of buying organic). Food processing and genetic modification yield their own nefarious effects upon human and planetary health. Furthermore, all of us are exposed to environmental toxins through the air, water and food supply to one degree or another, and all of us have significant amounts of internal toxic burden to reckon with. We are all being exposed to radiation contamination, EMF pollution, toxic heavy metals, rampant stress, and who knows what else. In this day and age this is tragically 100% unavoidable. Even if it were possible to eat as nutrient dense a diet as was available to our ancient ancestors that still might not be sufficient to protect us from the toxic environment we have created for ourselves.

There is a place and a role for supplementation in any health regimen. Still, one could go broke buying everything that might be somewhat beneficial, so it makes sense to logically prioritize. When it comes to making generalized recommendations regarding supplementation my approach is one of efficiency, affordability and practicality.

I am personally biased toward natural, organic and food-sourced forms of supplementation, particularly in the form of what are commonly termed “superfoods”. I tend to avoid the big name brands, drug store brands and other cheap “bargain” sources of vitamins/minerals and other supplements. For instance, many people don’t realize that nearly all commercially available B-vitamins sold are petroleum-based. Or that cheap commercial vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is commonly extracted from GMO corn. Most “one or two a day” multivitamins out there make for expensive urine, at the very best. –Supposedly “bargain” or mass-marketed commercial supplement companies will commonly seek out the cheapest and least bioavailable sources of multiple vitamins and inorganic minerals—counting on the idea that their customers don’t understand what to look for on their labels– and cram meaninglessly miniscule amounts of each questionable ingredient into a capsule or tablet that is filled with so many binders, coatings, synthetic ingredients, additives, artificial colors and fillers that you end up taking as much that could compromise you as there is anything to benefit you. –Assuming your digestive tract is even able to break the tablet down in the first place.

Obviously, I am generalizing. There really are quite a few quality supplement manufacturers out there that are trying hard to do the right thing–most of which are health care practitioner brands, which are held to a much higher standard with better quality control oriented toward real health results (again, in general) than most commercial brands of supplements. Basically, you do get what you pay for– and it is well worth the cost to buy something that your body can actually healthfully use and not be compromised by. It pays to be fussy.

Something to understand, too, is that individual vitamins are always more potent and effective in tandem with the naturally occurring nutrients that normally come with them in nature. It turns out that certain vitamins such as vitamin C or vitamin E (for example) are actually part of a complex, requiring several interdependent components in order to function optimally within the human body. Vitamin E, for instance is made up of a variety of tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma and delta), tocotrienols, xanthine, lipositol…and it cannot effectively function in your body without the help of the trace mineral, selenium. Vitamin C complex is made up of ascorbic acid plus rutin (vitamin P1) and bioflavonoids (vitamin P) all together. If you’re eating something with naturally occurring vitamin C, getting the whole complex typically isn’t a problem. But taking something like commercial ascorbic acid in isolation from vitamin C’s other essential cofactors can ultimately result in deficiency and imbalances over time. Also, if you’re getting your vitamin C from regular vitamin pills, you should know that the majority of commercially sold vitamin C supplements are made from GMO corn. Look for a brand that is based in something natural, like acerola powder, instead.

 

It’s important to understand that any given food is going to contain hundreds of nutrients—not all of which have even been properly studied for their potential benefits as yet. The composition and synergistic interactions between all the nutrients in your food have yet to be fully understood or appreciated and are nearly impossible to replicate in any supplement that is not whole food-based. A single carrot has easily 200 or more potential nutrients (I say “potential” due to variability in soil quality in which it may have been grown, or pesticide use).

That isn’t to say that there cannot be a benefit to taking a particular supplement in isolation for a specific purpose. This is a more specialized area and requires greater understanding in order to implement with optimal results. There is definitely a time and a place for taking isolated nutrients– but most of the time this applies best to certain specific conditions (example: CoQ10 or ubiquinol for more intensively supporting cardiovascular health). –Or taking a specific amino acid as a precursor to beneficial and potentially deficient neurotransmitters. Sometimes it can also be beneficial to increase your intake of a particular mineral (such as magnesium, for instance) known to be deficient under certain circumstances, such as stress or history of excessive carbohydrate intake/alcoholism. Zinc deficiency is common following infections, stress, excessive grain/legume consumption, hypochlorhydria/GERD, and eating disorders. Certain supplements clearly demonstrated to have a benefit but are very hard to get in sufficient quantity from food (like Resveratrol—known to be highly synergistic with turmeric/curcumanoids) might also be worthwhile. You get the idea. In these instances reading labels really pays and you want to find the purest sources of these nutrients, free of unnecessary and potentially deleterious additives.

Dietary minerals are nearly always best absorbed in the presence of sufficient hydrochloric (stomach) acid—which is most readily produced in the presence of animal source foods. Unfortunately, many, many individuals lack sufficient hydrochloric acid due to age, stress, thyroid issues, nutrient deficiencies and other problems. Once certain mineral deficiencies occur I have often seen the best results with supplemental minerals taken in their ionic form. A few companies out there make these available. Trace minerals are also exceedingly important and readily lost through stress, illness and athletic activity. Trace minerals complexed with naturally sourced liquid fulvic acid may also be more bioavailable/absorbable, and are considerably more beneficial and usable than anything you could get from a pill.

When it comes to rounding out your Paleo Way diet, there are a few sensible, basic supplements/”superfoods” I think makes sense for a lot of people to consider as general “added insurance”:

  • Cod liver oil/fermented cod liver oil – this traditional superfood is a superb natural source of primarily preformed vitamin A (retinol), a little bit of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), and a small amount of elongated omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA. Fermented cod liver oil is even more nutrient dense. A little goes a long way toward supporting your health. If you aren’t a big fan of liver, then cod liver oil becomes a must in order to supply sufficient necessary vitamin A (retinol).
  • Omega-3 fish oil/Antarctic krill oil – given the fact that our oceans have become increasingly contaminated by toxic chemicals from oil spills, radioactive nucleotides, and who knows what else, I have become considerably fussier in recent years when it comes to my omega-3 sources. Fish oil in my opinion is best sourced from smaller fish swimming in pristine, southern hemispheric waters. If the source can be found where the quality and manufacturing omits the need for molecular distillation, so much the better. My personal preference, though, is actually for Antarctic krill oil, as it is sourced in among the most uncontaminated of oceans in the world and obtained from small, antioxidant carotenoid-rich (astaxanthin) krill, very low on the food chain and therefore lowest in potential bioaccumulation of potential contaminants while being extremely high in quality EPA and DHA. Antarctic krill oil is about twice as expensive as fish oil but one needs roughly half of the amount. Krill is also the most abundant biomass on earth, is highly renewable, and less than 1% of all the krill out there are actually harvested for human consumption.
  • Probiotics- I’ll bet you didn’t know that more than 90% of the cells in your body are alien in origin. Huh?? Yes, you heard right. Before you start getting flashbacks to movies like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” or visions of aliens flying around in UFOs, you should know that I am speaking to the massive presence of microbes occupying virtually every cavity and tissue in your body, not the least of which is the all-important microbiome present in your gut. It pays to be kind your tiny internal wildlife, as they not only influence the health of your gut, but also your brain and nervous system (including your moods and cognitive function), your immune system, and just about anything else you can shake a stick at.

We should all have at least 85% beneficial bacteria occupying our G.I. tract. Unfortunately, in many people the majority of the bacteria taking up residence and their bodies are anything but beneficial. Widespread antibiotic use– not just by prescription, but also through the addition of antibiotics to livestock feed, together with the chlorination and fluoridation of the water supply and other unfortunate factors readily lead to compromised microbiome health. It really does make sense to supplement with a variety of quality, viable strains of healthy probiotics, including what are called SBO’s (soil based organisms). It is important to do your due diligence when it comes to researching quality brands. My recommendation has always been to change up brands and formulations periodically so that you are able to be exposed to a greater variety of potentially beneficial probiotics. We are loaded naturally with literally hundreds, if not thousands of species and as yet we understand little about more than just a few of them.

 

When it comes to supplying your body with healthy probiotics through superfoods, coconut yogurt and kefir are delicious and can be made at home at little cost and provide some wonderful benefits. Low sugar versions of kombucha may also provide a healthy and tasty probiotics source. One particular form of cultured food is one everyone should adopt with every meal if possible, and that’s cultured vegetables!   The potential benefits of culturing your vegetables (sauerkraut, kim chi, etc.) are huge. This is truly a superfood, rich in enzymes and more nutrients than you ever would have gotten from eating the raw vegetables—even fresh out of the ground–alone. Kim Chi, for instance, contains a lactobacillus species (L. plantarum) that has been shown to help heal a leaky gut! These are all superb sources of healthy and highly beneficial probiotics that can help improve the health of your gut and improve your digestion, just for starters. They are inexpensive to make and pay huge dividends for your health. Plus, they taste wonderful!

  • Bone broth- Again, this one might also surprise you a bit, but bone broth is an utter superfood powerhouse of minerals, collagen supporting gelatin, rich in the amino acids proline and glycine. It is superb for gut health/healing, bone and connective tissue health. If it is made from pasture-fed bone stock it can also be a rich source of essential fatty acids (omega-3’s) and a wide range of other beneficial nutrients and amino acids. It is easily digested and absorbed and may be especially helpful as a transitional superfood for those with malabsorption issues, former vegetarians or anyone with compromised gut health.
  • Liver- Of all the organ meats (and all organ meats may be considered superfoods in their own right), liver is really king. It has an incredible array of minerals, including the single most bioavailable source of iron (known as heme iron) for building your blood, as well as other minerals like zinc and copper, B vitamins and easily the richest natural source of preformed, true vitamin A (retinol). For those that just can’t wrap themselves around the taste of liver, supplement manufacturers to make whole desiccated liver supplements available. –Some are better quality than others and I encourage you to find sources that are organic, pastured, processed at very low temperatures and of the highest quality.

 

  • Himalayan and/or Celtic sea salt – you may never have thought of salt as being something that qualified as a supplement, much less a superfood. Indeed, conventional refined salt tends to contain toxic aluminum and other contaminants and recent evidence has suggested it can be highly pro-inflammatory[iv]. Also, sodium chloride in the absence of other trace elements can create imbalances in the body, while also leading to undesirable water retention. But full-spectrum salts like Himalayan and/or Celtic sea salt actually contain a very broad spectrum of trace elements that can help support your body’s electrolyte system, digestion, adrenal function and a whole host of other benefits. I actually travel with a small shaker in my purse in order to avoid using the typical saltshakers found in restaurants.
  • Turmeric/Curcumanoids – If you take no other supplement or adopt no other cooking spice, this is the one. Turmeric (and its associated curcumanoids)—quite possibly the single most broadly beneficial spice/supplement of all is profoundly:
    – neuroprotective/neurorestorative– anti-inflammatory–antioxidant– heavy metal chelating– anti-cancercell-protectivehepato-protective (i.e., liver)improves blood sugar/insulin sensitivityDemontrates nearly 600 positive health effects throughout the human body demonstrated through extensive peer reviewed research. WOW! 
  • Garlic – While we’re talking spice cupboards, garlic (and to some degree its other allium-containing counterparts such as onions, leeks, scallions, chives, and shallots) has proven itself again and again to be a powerhouse of numerous healthy compounds demonstrated to be:
    – anti-canceranti-microbialgood for cardiovascular health, showing benefits for reducing arterial plaqueing, lowering blood pressure, enhancing vasodilation (i.e., improved circulation), anti-clotting, and endothelial health. Use with caution on date night. Aged (odorless) garlic supplements may help improve your social life.
  • B12 as methylcobalamin or adenosylcobalamin – these are the two forms of B12 most commonly found in the human body and naturally occurring in animal source foods. Both are available commercially as supplements. Liquid sublingual forms are far more easily absorbed (directly through the oral mucosa) than any swallowable pill form. Methylcobalamin is especially active in the brain and liver and functions as a quality methyl donor throughout the body. Research evidence has shown that the lower the levels of serum B12 as you age the more brain shrinkage you are likely to experience (which is also potentially associated with dementias) as you age.[v], [vi] Yikes! Since there is no toxicity associated with B12 supplementation, and since common digestive problems can make it difficult or impossible to absorb from food, quality B12 supplementation is a sensible precaution. I tend to avoid synthetic and poorly utilized cyanocobalamin forms (containing cyanide, of all things). Hydroxycobalamin, though also synthetic lacks the cyanide (a plus) and is more readily bioavailable.
  • Vitamin D3 – (cholecalciferol) – Found dietarily within exclusively the fat of animal source foods, vitamin D3 sulfate is also made in the human body from cholesterol with sufficient sunlight exposure. Since people living in more northern latitudes tend to lack sufficient sunlight exposure (and even people living where there is ample sunshine tend to lack sufficient exposure due to indoor lifestyles and the use of sunscreen lotions), supplementation becomes an important consideration. Vitamin D has numerous critical properties and has proven itself again and again to be a nutritional superstar. It has widely proven benefits related to:
    antioxidant propertiesanti-cancer effectsimproved bone healthanti-inflammatory effectsimproved mineral utilizationneuroprotective properties
  • Vitamin K2 (menaquinone: MK-4 AND MK-7) – Vitamin K2 in its MK-4 form is exclusively found in animal source foods (and fermented skate/cod liver oil) and has more recently demonstrated itself to be both widely beneficial, as well as widely deficient. Grass-fed sources of fat are among the richest dietary sources, though in many cases supplementation may be warranted. The MK-7 form (derived from natto) has greater supplemental potency. Menaquinone forms of K2 have been shown to improve calcium utilization and reduce abnormal calcification of joints, arteries and other bodily tissues. Plant-based vitamin K1 is almost exclusively associated with blood clotting effects. Other benefits of animal-based vitamin K2 include:
    positive effects on cardiovascular healthanti-cancer effectsgreatly improves bone/dental health and improves bone mineral densityimproves mitochondrial healthis anti-inflammatory

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR WHEN SHOPPING FOR SUPPLEMENTS

The commercial supplement industry (like any other industry) is highly variable in its integrity from manufacturer to manufacturer. Close to 70% of supplement companies today, in fact, are owned by Big Pharma. Centrum vitamins and Alcer (that makes “Emergen-C”) are manufactured by Pfizer and One-A-Day and Schiff vitamins are owned by Bayer, for instance. Unilever, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline and other big pharmaceutical companies also make or sell supplements. Procter & Gamble, who is a partner of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, purchased supplement maker, New Chapter in 2012. By doing this pharmaceutical companies are not only adding to their multi-billion dollar revenues, they are also controlling and buying up the competition and making it harder for smaller, more ethical companies to survive. Ever hear the old phrase, “Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer?” By additionally aggressively lobbying politicians to create biased legislation, Big Pharma (fully backed by the FDA) is making it nearly impossible for small, quality dedicated “mom and pop” supplement companies working hard to do the right thing, to make it. And don’t think for a minute that these huge companies are investing in the best possible natural (or even safe), organic ingredients to improve the effectiveness of the supplements you are buying from them. They typically buy the cheapest sources of bulk ingredients as a way to further maximize their profits, which is their #1 priority and corporate obligation. Remember, a supplement is only as good as the raw materials that were used to make it. Quality matters!

Smaller companies that manufacture their own supplements are typically a better choice when you’re looking for quality. A supplement company that is dedicated to self-manufacturing in part helps indicate a highly professional company dedicated to the utmost quality of the finished product. This is in contrast to those “contract manufacturers” that are mostly just marketing companies in disguise and out to make a quick buck through taking advantage of the average consumer’s lack of knowledge. This doesn’t mean that all other supplement manufacturers are necessarily bad or even poorer quality, but without knowing more details, the practice of self-manufacturing can be a stronger indicator of committed effort to product excellence, as can seeking health care professional brands. And don’t be suckered into thinking the term “pharmaceutical grade” means much—all it refers to is meeting basic hygiene standards. –Mind you, I’m not saying that this is a bad thing, but in no way does it ultimately imply the best and most effective supplements for your health in the end.

It pays to read labels carefully and to avoid cheap drug/grocery store and mass-marketed brands of supplements made from the cheapest possible raw materials and often containing serious contaminants, toxic compounds, binders, fillers, coatings and additives best avoided by anyone that cares about their health.

It’s ironic, I know.

I believe (and endless research amply and undeniably supports this) that appropriate supplementation cannot only be highly beneficial, but may be critical in helping to support innumerable health-related issues and challenges, as well as helping to optimize your health. I also personally believe that there should never be a trade-off when it comes to supplementation. I take issue with the industry’s practice of including various health compromising additives and other unnecessary substances in tandem with potentially beneficial nutrients. One has to wonder what these companies are actually thinking (or smoking).

Actually, it’s fairly simple to understand: the use of cheap ingredients and additives is simply based upon good-old profit-based motives. To me, this is simply not acceptable. I strongly urge everyone reading this to not compromise when it comes to the quality of the supplements you purchase. Yes, you will pay more for uncompromising quality— but that’s far better then completely wasting your money on something that offers you one meager step forward (at best) and two steps back with respect to your health. I also urge anyone reading this to contact certain companies and let them know that you won’t be purchasing their product as long as they include inacceptable additives and inferior or compromised ingredients. Unless they know why you aren’t buying their product they have no motivation to change their behavior. I’m just saying. We all need to be activists in order to safeguard the quality of our food, water and supplements!

BE AWARE OF SYNTHETIC AND/OR INORGANIC SOURCE NUTRIENTS

Although antioxidants are certainly known to be beneficial for addressing the problem of rampant free radical activity as a result of stress, pollutants, advanced glycation end-products (A.G.E.’s) and toxins, research has shown that synthetic antioxidants (such as synthetic beta-carotene, vitamin E and vitamin A) actually do more harm than good![vii],[viii]

In fact, isolated synthetic antioxidants have been linked with increased rates of mortality, increased risk of cerebral hemorrhage, decreased healthy apoptosis, impaired ovulation and fertility, increased rates of lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, and prostate cancer while making no difference whatsoever in cardiovascular disease. Yikes!

What constitutes synthetic supplements?[ix] Look for an avoid the following:

  • Vitamin C as ascorbic acid
  • Vitamin A as Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Retinyl Acetate
  • Vitamin E as dl-alpha tocopherol acetate (look especially for the “dl”)
  • Vitamin D as vitamin D2/ergocalciferol, calciferol or irradiated ergosterol

Among the water soluble nutrients such as B-vitamins and vitamin C, look for synthetic versions labeled as:

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) as Thiamine Hydrochloride or Thiamine Mononitrate,
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) as Riboflavin
  • Pantothenic Acid as Calcium D-Pantothenate
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) as Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B12: Cobalamin
  • PABA (Para-aminobenzoic Acid) as Aminobenzoic Acid
  • Folic Acid as Pteroylglutamic Acid (it always best to seek out methylfolate. Avoid folic acid, in general)
  • Choline as Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate
  • Biotin as d-biotin
  • Vitamin C as ascorbic acid

Be suspicious of any supplement claiming to be “100% natural,” as supplement manufacturers can legally claim their product as being “natural” if even as little as 10% of it comes from actual natural sources. Look for “100% animal/plant-based” or “food-sourced”, instead. Additional warning signs to look for on the label include the presence of any “salt” form of nutrient, such as, chloride, gluconate, bitartrate, hydrochloride, nitrate, succinate and/or acetate. Any “dl” form of a nutrient is a dead-giveaway of being synthetic (i.e., dl-alpha tocopherol vitamin E).

Beta-carotene that is synthetic, instead of being extracted from carrots or other whole foods is instead made using petrochemicals like benzene (a known carcinogen derived from acetylene gas and crude oil) and solvents. Synthetic beta carotene has been associated with an increased risk of cancer.[x] Astonishingly, the law does not require labeling as to whether supplements are synthetic or not, so watch for telltale signs of whether other more recognizable synthetic vitamins are present (odds are the beta carotene is in that case, too), and watch for whether there are any references to “whole food derived/based”. If not, then assume it’s synthetically derived and AVOID IT!

Watch out, too for labels claiming “100% of the RDA in each serving”. –It would be nearly impossible to achieve such perfect round percentages with naturally sourced nutrients. Fat-soluble synthetic isolate antioxidant supplements are also typically encapsulated with rancid and partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) from GMO-sourced “foods” that are hugely detrimental all by themselves and commonly linked with insidious complications (for an unparalleled crash course in what GMO’s are and do to you watch–for free online–the outstanding and important documentary, “Genetic Roulette”). Food-based/organic/naturally sourced antioxidants are definitely always the way to go! Also, always avoid any supplement containing canola oil, soybean oil or some unspecified “vegetable” oil. I typically go for a glycerin base if I have a need to supplement with a specific fat-soluble nutrient and I always make sure that I am also getting that nutrient’s natural cofactors somewhere in my diet or supplementation.

And keep in mind (and this one really gets to me) that beta-carotene is NOT vitamin A—it is PRO-vitamin A…and nearly impossible to effectively convert into meaningful amounts of true vitamin A (known as retinol). It takes no less than six—and perhaps as many as 20 units of beta-carotene (even food sourced) to make a single unit of retinol under optimal circumstances! If you are a young child/baby, have thyroid issues, celiac disease or are a diabetic you simply can’t make this conversion at all. You absolutely MUST get your vitamin A from animal food/fish-liver oil sources!

Also, try to avoid supplements containing “folic acid”. Folic acid is not healthfully usable in this form and must be in its methylfolate form in order to be a benefit and not a detriment to you even if you lack any MTHFR defects).

Also, watch for cheap, poorly absorbed or even occasionally toxic sources of inorganic minerals such as:

  • Calcium as Calcium carbonate
  • Magnesium as Magnesium oxide
  • Zinc as Zinc oxide
  • Iron as Ferrous sulfate or iron oxide (basically, rust)
  • Selenium as Sodium Selenite or Selenate

Most mass-market vitamins (like Centrum and One-A-Day) contain chemicals masquerading as minerals that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not even allow in public drinking water at levels above 50 parts per billion per liter. As pointed out by Sayer-Ji of Green Med Info,

Centrum, manufactured by Pfizer, the most powerful pharmaceutical companies in the world contains the following chemicals:

Chemical: Amount Found in Centrum/ EPA Maximum Allowed Limit in 1 Liter of Drinking Water

  1. Sodium selenite : 55 mcg/ 50 mcg
  2. Nickelous sulfate: 5 mcg/ 100 mcg
  3. Stannous chloride (tin): 10 mcg/ 4 mcg
  4. Ferrous fumarate (iron): 18 mg/ .3 mg
  5. Manganese sulfate: 2.3 mg/ .05  mg
  6. Cupric sulfate: .5 mg/ 1.3 mg

In the left hand column above you will see the quantities of inorganic minerals found within each dose of Centrum. In the right hand column are the maximum quantity allowed by the EPA in one liter of drinking water.  In the case of stannous chloride (tin), ferrous fumarate (iron) and manganese sulfate there are significantly higher doses in Centrum than are considered safe for human consumption in a liter of water. Also, cupric sulfate is used as an herbicide, fungicide and pesticide!  Although the others listed are at levels well under the EPA’s allowable limit, it is simply amazing that they are found in a product for human consumption at any quantity given their known toxicity.[xi]

Sodium selenite/selenate can cause DNA damage associated with cancer and birth defects, whereas the selenium found within food, or laboratory chelated forms like selenomethionine has beneficial, chemopreventive properties.

If you want to look any of these listed substances up, just go to: toxnet.nlm.nih.gov. It isn’t pretty.

The following is excerpted from my book, Primal Body, Primal Mind:

“Magnesium Stearate” and/or “Stearic acid” are unnecessary additives and most sources contain trans fats. Studies by the University of Texas Health Science Center and the East Carolina University School of Medicine reveal that these toxic excipients cause a rapid collapse of T-cell membrane function and cell death, therefore suppressing the immune system (Immunology, 1990, Jul.).

Also, “When cells were exposed to stearic acids and palmitic acids, there was a dramatic loss of cell viability after 24 hours. Cell death was induced by stearic and palmitic acid” (Ulloth).

Not the kind of stuff you’d expect to find in a health food supplement.

Another additive of concern is titanium dioxide, which “rapidly damages neurons at low concentrations in complex brain cultures” (Long et al, 2007). Also, titanium dioxide has recently been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as an IARC Group 2B carcinogen ‘’possibly carcinogenic to humans’’ (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety). This substance is also widely used in cosmetics and sun-block lotions. In addition, it has been strongly linked to autoimmune conditions (Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD). Just because you find a supplement in a health food store (or pharmacy) does not automatically make it healthy for you. Always read labels, including “other ingredients.”

Watch out, too for additives like MSG, either referred to directly as “monosodium glutamate” or disguised as “natural flavors” and avoid “carnuba wax”—commonly used on shoe polish and car wax. Yeeesh.

Remember—it’s not that supplements are bad—it’s BAD (i.e., cheap, synthetic) supplements that are bad!

Remember, too that vitamins require minerals for their proper utilization and that even natural vitamins and minerals are simply cofactors– they truly need food and its naturally containing synergists in order to be healthfully used by your body!

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: BE AWARE OF AND BEWARE OF CODEX ALIMENTARIUS!

“If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls who live under tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson.

This whole ‘caveat emptor’ with respect to supplement quality aside—a vigilance that one should rationally apply to the products of any type of industry—ready access to quality and unadulterated supplementation should be an inalienable and fundamental human right. This access in many cases is what stands between legitimate preventative medicine and illness—or worse: total domination by the pharmaceutical industry. Think I’m exaggerating?

Meet ‘Codex Alimentarius’—a Latin term that translates to “Food Law”. It is often abbreviated as just “Codex”. Codex is an international, intergovernmental program created by the World Health Organization (WHO) of the United Nations (UN) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) roughly 50 years ago in an effort to set “global standards” for food production (not necessarily quality food production and not necessarily committed to human health). The highly complex trade agreements overseeing decisions surrounding Codex have been created by multinational corporations working in collusion with governments, with virtually no oversight and next to zero public input. The most frightening part of this is the fact that the decisions of Codex are able to override both local and national laws.

Say WHAT???

As stated on the National Health Federation web site, “Codex guidelines and standards are automatically implemented by the General Agreement on Trade & Tariffs (GATT) of the WHO and become binding for all international trade among GATT signatory countries.”   In other words, if a country happens to disagree with or somehow refuses to follow Codex standards, the World Trade Organization (WTO)—the controlling, governing and enforcing body behind this– applies pressure by withdrawing trade privileges and imposing crippling trade sanctions. The US Congress (surprise) has already bowed to this pressure numerous times and so have the governments of many other countries. The tendrils of this massively controlling and nefarious bureaucratic monster are spreading unchecked worldwide.

The United States, Canada, European nations (EU), Japan, Australia, most of Asia, and South America have already signed agreements pledging total harmonization of their laws including food and drug laws to these international standards in the future. The Codex and WTO objectives are custom designed to solely benefit multinational industry (at the obvious expense of planetary and human health).

“Codex is completely controlled by the WTO—an entity whose sole purpose is binding governments to trade agreements that supercede national laws in an effort to maximize corporate profits—human and environmental health be damned.” – Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, Author of “Death By Modern Medicine”

One particular committee within Codex called “The Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Use (CCNFSDU)” is responsible for overseeing Dietary Supplements and Medical Foods. The original stated purpose of this was to ‘harmonize’ regulations for dietary supplements worldwide and set international safety standards for the purposes of increased trade. Then pharmaceutical interests stepped in and began exerting their controlling influence. Instead of focusing on food safety, Codex is using its power to promote worldwide restrictions on vitamins and food supplements, severely limiting their availability and dosages.

Ultimately, any food with a therapeutic effect—like garlic, turmeric, rosemary, peppermint…even water—could technically be eventually regulated as a controlled substance. I am not making this up. Pharmaceutical interests are already looking into ways of reclassifying natural substances as drugs and controlling them.

“This year, Codex has decided to add a new committee to its roster with the Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) in February 2014, the potential for unnecessary regulatory control has NHF concerned.”[xii]

As you read this, Codex is effectively working diligently toward eliminating or severely restricting all access to dietary supplements across the world (as has already occurred in places like Norway, the UK, Denmark, Australia, France and Germany. Efforts are well underway in Canada, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands and the US—and elsewhere throughout the world). Part of the means of limiting supplement access and effectiveness is by making them available strictly by prescription, in doses far too low to have any meaningful physiological effect. I am not kidding. The intergovernmental committees in charge of implementing these objectives are almost exclusively made up of MAJOR multinational and pharmaceutical corporate interests, including various elements of Big Agribusiness. One regulatory trade group working to erode supplement access includes the (supposed) the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). –Sounds supplement friendly, doesn’t it? Well, the member’s list of this group is anything but: CRN, for instance, is made up of the nutritional divisions of Bayer, BASF, Cargill, Monsanto, Wyeth, and Archer Daniels Midland. The few mega-giant nutrition companies (including three large MLM companies) that participate are those owned by pharmaceutical interests and/or seeking to dominate the market at the expense of smaller, quality companies.

Ready access to quality natural supplements and herbs may soon be a thing of the past! I’m not joking. –I wish I were. The goal is for food supplements to become redefined and controlled as pharmaceutical drugs. In fact, Codex is seeking to limit the amount of supplements and vitamin dosages you can buy without a prescription. The implication is that natural food-based supplements are as dangerous to your health as pharmaceutical drugs and therefore need to be both limited and tightly regulated.

So…ARE NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS SAFE?

All this Codex talk might have you questioning the safety and risks associated with many of the nutritional supplements in your cupboard—After all, why would they pick on these products unless there was something to it? The Alliance for Natural Health International (www.anhinternaional.org)[xiii] discovered through a detailed analysis in the UK an extraordinary measure of safety with respect to nutritional and herbal supplements. Eight key findings in the analysis of the relative risks data suggest that[xiv]:

  1. On evaluation of the most widespread sources of preventable risk, smoking still appears the single riskiest activity for a UK citizen: by comparison, you’re 797,940 times more likely to die from smoking than from taking a food supplement!
  2. A person resident in the UK is an incredible 293,006 times more likely to die from preventable medical injuries than from taking a food supplement. For herbal medicines, it’s a still-enormous 36,625 times!
  3. A spell in a UK hospital poses a similar risk of death to active military service in Iraq or Afghanistan!
  4. The risk of death from pharmaceutical drugs in the UK is 62,000 times that of taking food supplements
  5. Pharmaceutical drugs pose nearly double the risk of death than motorcycle accidents on UK roads
  6. The UK bar chart (below)[xv] reveals that herbal medicines and food supplements can both be regarded as ‘supersafe’, posing no significant risk of death. The risk of death is less than 1 in 10 million people exposed to food supplements!
  7. By contrast, preventable medical injuries in UK hospitals are in the ‘Dangerous’ category, with a risk of death greater than 1 in 1,000 – along with smoking and military service in Iraq and Afghanistan
  8. UK residents are about as likely to be hit by lightning or to be killed on the London Underground than to die from taking herbal remedies or dietary supplements

Yep – that vitamin cupboard is looking pretty dangerous.

According to John Hammell, a legislative advocate and the founder of International Advocates for Health Freedom (IAHF), “If Codex Alimentarius has its way, then herbs, vitamins, minerals, homeopathic remedies, amino acids and other natural remedies you have taken for granted most of your life will be gone. The name of the game for Codex Alimentarius is to shift all remedies into the prescription category so they can be controlled exclusively by the medical monopoly and its bosses, the major pharmaceutical firms. Predictably, this scenario has been denied by both the Canadian Health Food Association and the Health Protection Branch of Canada (HPB).

The Codex Alimentarius proposals already exist as law in Norway and Germany where the entire health food industry has literally been taken over by the drug companies. In these countries, vitamin C above 200 mg is illegal as is vitamin E above 45 IU, vitamin B1 over 2.4 mg and so on. Shering-Plough, the Norway pharmaceutical giant, now controls an Echinacea tincture, which is being sold there as an over the counter drug at grossly inflated prices. The same is true of ginkgo and many other herbs, and only one government controlled pharmacy has the right to import supplements as medicines which they can sell to health food stores, convenience stores or pharmacies.”[xvi]

AUSTRALIA – CODEX GROUND ZERO

According to a well-referenced article written by Scott C. Tips of the National Health Federation for GreenMedInfo.com, Australia was actually one of the original founders of Codex 50 years ago and its voting record at Codex meetings reflects a steadfast, consistent and time honored opposition to health.

To quote Scott Tips (who works for the NHF and has 14 years of experience in attending Codex meetings around the world):

“So, what lofty and noble accomplishments can the Australian Codex Office claim?  Let’s see … from personal observation on my part at the meetings I have attended over the last fourteen years, these are Australia’s accomplishments for health:

  1. Successfully opposed labeling of Genetically Modified/Genetically Engineered (GM/GE) foods at the Codex Committee on Food Labelling in Canada, so that consumers could not make informed choices about whether or not to buy GM foods.[3]
  2. Successfully pushed Ractopamine-doped meat products on the rest of the World through a forced vote at the Codex Alimentarius Commission meeting in Rome, in July 2012.[4]  (Ractopamine is a steroid-like vet drug, the residues of which remain in the slaughtered animal to then be consumed by meat-eaters, and which is banned or prohibited in most countries because of its likely carcinogenicity and harm to animals.)
  3. Successfully pushed for maximum upper limits on “dangerous” vitamin-and-mineral supplements in actual contravention of what was allowed in Australian health-food stores at the time.[5]
  4. Unsuccessfully pushed for a “the sky’s the limit” industry exemption for infant-formula contamination by the proven-killer contaminant Melamine in the 2009-2011 sessions of the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods, to be thwarted only by the National Health Federation and an ad-hoc alliance of Central and South American countries at the very last minute.[6]
  5. Partially unsuccessfully opposed removing toxic Aluminum as a food additive at the Codex Committee on Food Additives meetings, the most recent of which took place in Beijing, China, in March 2013.[7]
  6. In a contest not yet resolved, has strongly and repeatedly pushed for the “dumbing down” of Nutrient Reference Values for vitamins and minerals[8] from already abysmally low levels to even lower levels that will prove nutritionally worthless for consumers.[9]

The above list of Australian government positions on health is by no means exhaustive.  If I were to take the time, I could easily come up with at least another half-dozen instances of anti-health stances taken by Australia at Codex meetings – and that is just at Codex.  That does not include any other health-organization meetings.[10]  

I suggest writing anyone and everyone in the Australian government who is responsible for this travesty and demanding to know exactly why the Australian government representatives – particularly those in the Australian Codex Office – are not (1) supporting the removal of toxins and contaminants from our foods, (2) supporting the labeling of GM food products, and (3) supporting the increase of healthy vitamins and minerals in our diets at the precise time when we need them the most with modern diets that are full of toxins and already lacking in nutrient content that was present in our grandparents’ day.

Before contacting your Member of Parliament or the Australian Codex Office, I would suggest that you read Bill Sardi’s excellent article, “Here We Go Once Again,” which deconstructs the Australian government position favoring lowering nutrient values in foods and supplements.  (See http://www.thenhf.com/article.php?id=3652)  You can cut and paste at will from his arguments (and mine) in order to make your own to your government officials.[xvii]

Rest assured– this issue IS coming to a country you happen to live in, if it is not already destroying (or has not already destroyed) your access to supplements that you may really need— even the very quality natural supplements that could potentially save your life. This is no joke, and it is not some “conspiracy theory”. It is fact and it is global. These policies must be resisted and legislated against at all costs. It is already a criminal offense to sell herbs in some parts of Europe. There is an agreement called EEC6565 that basically equate selling herbs to selling illegal drugs. It’s insane. Other European countries are being pressured into what the Codex committees refer to as “harmonization,” as well.

Welcome to Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World.’ –Only it’s far scarier than he ever envisioned.

I strongly urge everyone reading this to financially support the National Health Federation (NHF) – http://www.thenhf.com/. The NHF is literally the only consumer rights representative fighting for YOUR rights related to supplementation and food quality that is allowed to be officially present and speak out at international CODEX meetings. —The ONLY one.   I strongly recommend the important book by Scott Tips titled: CODEX ALIMENTARIUS: Global Food Imperialism. It’s a real wake-up call and it is anything but fiction.

For more information elsewhere, check out:

Consumer Health Organization of Canada: http://www.consumerhealth.org/articles/display.cfm?ID=19990303190257

John Hammell’s International Advocates for Health Freedom
website: http://www.nocodexgenocide.com/nocodexgenocide.html

“The Health Movement Against Codex Alimentarius” – article from Dr. Rath’s website: http://www4.dr-rath-foundation.org/PHARMACEUTICAL_BUSINESS/health_movement_against_codex/index.htm#top

‘U.S. and European Leaders Agree on Principles to Harmonize Dietary Supplement Regulations: ‘http://www.crnusa.org/shellnr112000.html

Federal Register where the FDA states its intention to harmonize with Codex standards: http://iahf.com/codx-fda.txt

Read, “WHOSE TRADE ORGANIZATION? Corporate Globalization and the Erosion of Democracy” by By Lori Wallach and Michelle Sforza,

Public Citizens Global Trade Watch:
http://www.tradewatch.org/publications/wtobook.htm

Sign the petition – Click on ‘Sign Health Freedom Petition:’
http://www.iahf.com/index2.html

Also sign the European Anti-Codex petition at: www.laleva.cc


 

[i] http://www.crnusa.org/CRNfoundation/HCCS/chapters/CRNFrostSullivan-fullreport0913.pdf

[ii] Drugstorenews.com September 23, 2013

[iii] R. Fletcher, MD, MSc ; K.M. Fairfield, MD, DrPh; “Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention In Adults.” JAMA 2002; 287(23): 3127-3129

[iv]Kleinewietfeld M, Manzel A, Titze J., et al. “Sodium chloride drives autoimmune disease by the induction of pathogenic TH17 cells.” Nature 496, 518–522 (25 April 2013) doi:10.1038/nature11868

[v] Miller DR, et al. “Vitamin B-12 status in a macrobiotic community.” Am J Clin Nutr 1991; 53: 524-9.

[vi] Vogiatzoglou A, et al. “Vitamin B12 status and rate of brain volume loss in community-dwelling elderly.” Neurology 2008; 71(11): 826-32

[vii] Analysis by the Cochrane Collaboration of 67 different studies, with nearly 400 participants. 2008

[viii] G. Bjelakovic, MD, DrMedSci; D. Nikolova, MA; LL Gluud, MD; et al. “Mortality in Randomized Trials of Antioxidant Supplements for Primary and Secondary Prevention: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” JAMA. 2007;297(8):842-857. doi:10.1001/jama.297.8.842

[ix] Brian Clement PhD NMD. “Nutri-Con: The Truth About Vitamins & Supplements”. The Vitamin Myth Exposed. 2005 December 31. https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/nutri-con-truth-about-vitamins-supplements

[x] “The Effect of Vitamin E and Beta Carotene on the Incidence of Lung Cancer and Other Cancers in Male Smokers.” N Engl J Med 1994; 330:1029-1035. April 14, 1994. DOI:10.1056/NEJM199404143301501

[xi] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/your-multivitamin-toxic-0

[xii] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/will-codex-and-drug-companies-raid-spice-rack-steal-your-eyesight

[xiii] http://www.anh-europe.org/sites/default/files/UK_Bubbles_Graph_2012_9_July_Fin.pdf

[xiv] http://anhinternational.org/news/anh-exclusive-natural-health-products-ultra-safe-and-drugs-dangerous-war

[xv] http://www.anh-europe.org/sites/default/files/UK_Relative_Risks_2D_2012_9_July.pdf

[xvi] http://www.natural-health-information-centre.com/codex-alimentarius.html

[xvii] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/great-australian-health-mystery

By Nora Gedgaudas

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