Archive for Author Darlene

Darlene
About the Author: Darlene
As the Student Advisor at Genesis School of Natural Health my purpose is to guide students through their studies. I also take on projects as needed. ~~ My business is called The Herbs & The Bees, LLC, which has a fully-stocked apothecary and provides holistic wellness consults and services utilizing upon nutritional augmentation, herbal and homeopathic remedies, as well as energetic modalities.

Whole Food or Synthetic Vitamins ~ Does it Really Matter?

There sure are a lot of good reasons to incorporate whole food vitamins into our diets.  Work and family make life too busy to prepare food like we should, we need a strong immune systems to stay healthy especially during the cold and flu season, and those with chronic illness desire restored health and vigor.

Any one of these (or a host of other reasons) are enough to cause one to choose to supplement their diet with vitamins.  If what we’re lacking is nutrients, then nutrients are what we need.  But what is a vitamin anyway?

“Vitamins are organic molecules that function in a wide variety of capacities within the body. The most prominent function of vitamins are to serve as cofactors (co-enzymes) for enzymatic reactions. The distinguishing feature of vitamins is that they generally cannot be synthesized by mammalian cells and, therefore, must be supplied in the diet. The vitamins are of two distinct types, water soluble and fat soluble.”1  “In nature vitamins are never isolated: they are always present in the form of food-vitamin complexes.”2

So where do vitamins come from?

Vitamins should come from foods. –Dr. Royal Lee

 

Well, in the beginning and up until about a hundred years ago humans received all of their nutrients directly from food!  However, in the past one hundred year time-frame, much has changed.  Modern conventional farming practices have stripped much of the original thirteen feet of topsoil off the land in the United States.  Sadly, we are left with only a few inches.  The mass-produced crops used up the vitamins and minerals long ago.  To keep the plants from dying and to keep up production limited nutrients have been added to the soil.

Much of what is added back into the soil of conventionally grown plant products are industrial waste products along with the natural and synthetic “nutrients” called NPK; nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.  These are three essential nutrients necessary for vigorous plant growth and protein production, stimulating cell division, cellular structures, root growth, seed germination, and photosynthesis as well as fruit formation, disease resistance and water levels within the plants.3

Unfortunately, there are many more nutrients in our soil that are not being replaced.  Therefore, ultimately, if they are not getting into the plant, they are not getting into us.

“Federal statutes allow reclassified industrial wastes to be used in the manufacture of fertilizers, provided that such use constitutes “beneficial recycling,” and that the concentrations of hazardous constituents in the resulting fertilizers do not exceed the treatment standards specified for wastes (40 CFR 266.20)”4  This is troubling as certain plants used for phytoremediation are also used for food.

Perhaps it is time to reflect upon the thoughts of Dr. Royal Lee.  He was a pioneer in the field of nutrition long before it ever occurred to folks that vitamins and minerals affected health.  Nearly one hundred years ago Dr. Lee asserted that vitamins were complex groups of interdependent compounds, a biological mechanism made by living organisms.  He firmly believed that the best state of the vitamin was in the whole, unprocessed food.  (This was before industrial waste had become an acceptable plant growth medium.)

As a biological mechanism, Dr. Lee clearly stated what a vitamin was not.  It was not a chemical.

Every vitamin is a biological mechanism, not a chemical. –Dr. Royal Lee

 

“It must be remembered that the metabolism of the human body, being animal in function, is a breaking down process of complex compounds that are built up by the synthetic processes of plant metabolism. The animal or human body cannot build up organic compounds and is wholly dependent on the vegetable kingdom for organic foods. Vitamins are a class of organic compounds that are probably the most complex of food constituents.  …all of the ductless glands (the thyroid, parathyroid, thymus, pineal body, pituitary, adrenals, gonads, pancreas, islands of Langerhans, spleen) must have one or more of the three classes of vitamins in order to secrete their vital fluids and if deprived of the vitamins will atrophy and cease to function.”5

This makes sense.  The body needs food to live and in this day and age our bodies also need a little “extra help.”  So now we find ourselves standing in front of a vitamin display at the local health food store, trying to interpret the differences in brands, technical language, and pricing.  It is enough to confuse even the brightest health-conscious individual.  So where does one begin while considering vitamin supplementation?

First we need to distinguish the major difference between vitamins.  Those that are derived from whole foods and those that are isolated chemicals.  Yet to add to the confusion of the general public, a majority of the information marketed by allopathic medical authorities and pharmaceutical companies promote synthetic vitamins.  Since supplements are now a $37 billion dollar industry,(6) this isn’t exactly chump change.

The battlefront for better nutrition today is clouded with publicity spread by promoters of theories through which they profit. – Dr. Royal Lee

 

“There is a growing school of nutritionists called orthomolecularists who argue that there is no difference between a ‘synthetic’ and a ‘natural’ vitamin molecule.”7  They purport that the molecule-match or ‘bioidentical’ molecular structure itself is what is important, because of the theory that “receptors on the surface of animal cells control the uptake of individual molecules regardless of how or why these molecules appear in the blood stream.” 7

This unproven theory has not been studied out as it would not be advantageous to financial interests in the synthetic vitamin industry.  We must tread carefully and with wisdom regarding the lack of cofactors in synthetic vitamins.  Doctor Lee stated:

Just as the chemist cannot create life, neither can he create a complex vitamin — the life element in foods and nutrition. This is a mystery the chemist has never solved and probably never will, and the synthetic vitamins he creates on the basis of chemical formulae bear as much resemblance to the real thing as a robot does to a living man, lacking an elusive quality that chemistry cannot supply. —Dr. Royal Lee

 

Humans have animalistic digestive systems that have developed to use naturally-occurring nutrients as they are presented primarily in fruits and vegetables.  Synthetic, isolated molecules, while appearing to be a molecular match are not associated with the health-enriching cofactors found within plants.  Human digestive enzymes use these cofactors to enzymatically convert plant nutrients into bioactive compounds, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants whether they are water or fat soluble.

Conversely, our bodies lack the capacity to use or optimize synthetic nutrients derived from petrochemicals, vinyl or coal tar derivatives (depending on the manufacturer), irradiated or solvent extracted animal fat/cattle brains, hydrogenated sugar, formaldehyde and acid processes among others.  Isolated molecular structures made in this way can be called natural or ‘USP’ pharmaceutical grade.  In addition, “most synthetic, petroleum-derived, supplements will call their products ‘vegetarian’, not because they are from plants, but because they are not from animals.”8

Chemical deficiencies do not cause dis-ease, however, whole food nutrient deficiencies are causative of many dis-eases.

 

Simply stated, synthetic vitamins trick the body to “believe that it doesn’t need to utilize more of the same nutrients from food.  Consequently, the enzymes that normally utilize complex plant nutrients into vitamin molecules are inhibited and the body is losing its ability to fully assimilate food’s nutrients, as well as the capacity to regulate and optimize healthy vitamin concentrations.  In reality, synthetic vitamins are received by the body as drugs and like all drugs, they can potentially disrupt normal metabolic functions often with devastating side effects.”7

What nourishes are whole food vitamins.  However, we’re going to have to continue to stand here at the vitamin counter a bit longer because the profiteers have snuck into these bottles as well.  Let’s take a look.

What we have here are three different multivitamins.  They are simply ones that come to mind, so I have no “agenda” sharing them with you other than to point out the differences between them.  Centrum® our first example, is the second-best selling vitamin in the United States.  Notice the vitamins are made completely of bioidentical isolates.

 

Isolated Bioidentical Molecules

(Only vitamins are noted)

 

Centrum® Adults

“Providing essential micronutrients, Centrum® is backed by 40 years of nutritional science to bring you the most complete multivitamin.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at those shelves of vitamins in the store, there’s a huge selection of isolate vitamins.  We have to search to find the small section containing only a few different brands of whole food vitamins.  What a relief!  At last, FOOD nutrients!  …but not so fast…

 

Whole Food Base w/Sprayed-on Isolates

 

 

Most “whole food” vitamins are made using a base of actual whole food that has been processed and dehydrated before having synthetic isolates sprayed on.  Does this make it a better vitamin?  By law a vitamin can be considered ‘whole food’ if the food base is at least 10 percent as it is in the case of MegaFood’s® Women’s One Daily vitamin and Dr. Mercola’s® Whole-Food Multivitamin Plus.  Note that they do have a better form of what is called ‘natural’ vitamin E than Centrum®, although it is still chemically processed.  The form in Centrum®, dl-alpha-tocopherol, is known to have some devastating side effects, especially at higher doses.

 

MegaFood Women’s One Daily

  “Fresh From Farm To Tablet”

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Mercola Whole-Food Multivitamin Plus

“…provides you with high-potency amounts of an exclusive antioxidant formula…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whole Food Multivitamin

 

Here is an example of a “whole food” multi-vitamin completely made using food.

 Food Research Vitamin-Mineral

“100% Food Nutrients”

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is typical of how the list of whole food nutrients should appear:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The preceding examples were given to demonstrate the variability in vitamins from pure isolates to whole food based and then whole food only vitamins.  Hopefully, clarity has been gained in this one important aspect of vitamin supplementation.

“Studies suggest that the bioavailability of natural food complex vitamins is better than that of most isolated USP vitamins, that they may have better effects on maintaining aspects of human health beyond traditional vitamin deficiency syndromes, and at least some seem to be preferentially retained by the human body.  It is not always clear if these advantages are due to the physiochemical form of the vitamin, with the other food constituents that are naturally found with them, or some combination.  Regardless, it seems logical to conclude that for purposes of maintaining normal health, natural vitamins are superior to synthetic ones.”9

– – –

References

1 Introduction to Vitamins and Minerals

2 Natural Vitamins May Be Superior to Synthetic Ones by Robert J. Thiel

3 Polymeric Microparticles for Modified Release of NPK in agricultural applications

Heavy Metals in Fertilizers

5 The Systemic Causes of Dental Caries

6 The $37 Billion Supplement Industry is Barely Regulated

7 Vitamin Poisoning: Are We Destroying Our Health with Hi-Potency Synthetic Vitamins

8  Naturopathy for the 21st Century by Robert Thiel, Ph.D.

9  Natural Vitamins May Be Superior to Synthetic Ones by R. J. Thiel

Products from the Hive – Part IV: PROPOLIS

Which product of the hive is an amazing immune-booster, cold and flu remedy, and even dental therapy?  If you answered propolis, you are correct!  Propolis helps calm the histamine release associated with seasonal allergies, assists with various dental problems, systemic inflammation, and anywhere antioxidants are needed.

Propolis is one of the most researched honeybee products, second only to honey.  It has been found to be protective of both the liver and the kidney[1,2], beneficial in the treatment of nail fungus[3] and warts, useful in managing the pain of neuropathy[4], is neuroprotective related to systemic inflammation and neuroinflammation in neurodegenerative diseases[5], and has potential merit in protecting and reducing BPH levels in elderly men.[6]  “Propolis has shown efficacy against brain, head and neck, skin, breast, liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder, prostate, colon and blood cancers.”[7]  One invitro study found that propolis (Brazilian Green Propolis) kills colon cancer cells.[8]   In a comparative assessment of Columbian samples, propolis was also found to be cytotoxic (antitumor) toward osteosarcoma (bone cancer) cells.[9]

“In fact, Hippocrates noted that propolis is beneficial for promoting wound healing, both internal and external, while Pliny the Elder documented that propolis may be used to treat tumors, muscle pain and ulcers. This bee product was also documented in the Persian manuscripts as a remedy for various conditions, including eczema and rheumatism.”[10]

 

A substance with all these health benefits (and more) warrants consideration by the holistic health professional.  So where does one find propolis?

Well the word ‘propolis’ given by the Greeks, is very telling.  Translated, the “pro” part of pro-polis means ‘before’ while “polis” is the word for city.  Therefore, pro – polis means “coming before” – “the city” of the bees.  That is exactly where this sticky resinous substance is found.  Before the colony of bees.

Industrious little creatures that they are honeybees use this sticky, resinous, antimicrobial substance to coat every bit of the interior of the wood that surrounds their hive chambers.  If there are openings or cracks in the surface surrounding the hive, the bees will fill them with propolis.  No one accesses the interior of a hive without first having to cross this disinfectant, antimicrobial layer.  It indeed comes before the city (dwelling place) of the bees.  But what is propolis?

The amazing substance is called bee propolis or “bee glue,” to which propolis is sometimes referred.  It is yet another amazing substance crafted by honeybees.   In the early spring, especially, honeybees gather a resin-like substance from the buds of poplar and conifer trees.  Honeybees make this substance by mixing beeswax with the resins along with essential oils from plants and their own salivary secretions.

The bees then use propolis to cover the interior of the hive, make repairs, and patch holes.  It is sticky, and caramel to reddish or brownish-colored.  When it freezes it hardens, becomes, brittle, and loses its tackiness.  When it is warm it is pliable, glue-like, and very sticky.  Think… toffee!

There are beekeepers who upon examining a hive early in the spring, have found an expired mouse to be completely encased in propolis.  Apparently, the wary little travelers enter the hive to find warmth in the winter and subsequently died.  The bees (smaller yet) and unable to remove such a large creature from their hive, did the next best thing.  They encased it in propolis to prohibit the decay from adversely affecting the colony within.

To collect propolis, beekeepers scrape it from the interior of the beehives.  If they did not the industrious honeybees would invariably glue everything in the hive together, making it extremely difficult to harvest honey and check on the general health of the hive.

The ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks, used propolis as a healing medicinal.  “The ancient Jews considered tzori (the Hebrew word for propolis) as a medicine. Tzori and its therapeutic properties are mentioned throughout the Old Testament. The biblical Balm of Gilead (tzori Gilead in Hebrew) is nearly indistinguishable from propolis.”[11] The knowledge of the healing properties of propolis fell into obscurity during medieval times with only limited awareness passed on in traditional folklore.  Fortunately, the lowly beekeeper held the mysteries of the honeybee close to their heart.

It was not much more than a century ago that scientific research on propolis began to prove the healing properties of propolis.  To date over 180 chemical compounds have been identified in propolis and it is a confirmed antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anesthetic agent.

Propolis.  A potent, natural, healer.

 

As an immune-booster, propolis increases the quantity of immune cells along with their immune-boosting activities.  It also increases the production of antibodies, activates and increases the number of macrophages and their responsiveness and ability to kill bacteria.  It also increases natural killer cell activity.

“A number of [cold and flu] symptoms have been found to be relieved with the use of propolis, including fever, headaches, body aches, coughing, and sneezing, demonstrating surprising effectiveness at this. Also a Russian study of 260 patients saw a reduction in sore throats and coughs in 90% of cases.  Propolis “plays well with others” an Israeli study of 400 children revealed.  A combination of propolis, echinacea, and vitamin C were utilized to shorten duration and lessen severity of symptoms.”[12]  It has also been found helpful as an ingredient in a nasal spray for sinus infections.

Propolis “plays well with others.”

 

Other “studies suggest that propolis has positive effects on the regulation of blood sugar by modulating blood lipid metabolism and scavenging for free radicals. This makes propolis a possible alternative for diabetes management.  Propolis may aid in blood sugar regulation, which may be beneficial for diabetes patients. However, it may also pose some dangers, especially when taken in conjunction with diabetes medications, as it may magnify their effect.”[13]

In dental applications propolis resin, warm and pliable, can easily be packed into a tooth.  A small piece of the resin itself can be placed in the mouth near the point of concern and left between the tooth and the cheek.  Propolis tincture is most frequently used as a mouth rinse when addressing inflammation of the gums and for general mouth health.[14]  In an intervention group where patients were given propolis, researchers found that those patients had a significantly lower risk for severe oral mucositis.[15]

There are literally thousands of studies documenting the health benefits of propolis, only a few of which have been presented here.  Like other products of the hive, any chemicals introduced to the hive such as antibiotics, fungicides, miticides, etc., will toxify the entire hive, including the propolis.  Be sure the propolis you use medicinally is high-grade propolis and that chemicals were not used in the keeping of those bees.

Caution:  People with allergies to bee products such as honey or pollen should avoid propolis.  It may contain the same materials that trigger allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis and contact dermatitis

 

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

References:

1 Evaluation of antiproteinuric and hepato-renal protective activities of propolis in paracetamol toxicity in rats
Biochemical and morphological evaluation of the effects of propolis on cisplatin induced kidney damage in rats
Propolis for the Treatment of Onychomycosis
Caffeic acid phenethyl ester attenuates neuropathic pain by suppressing the p38/NF-κB signal pathway in microglia
Connection between Systemic Inflammation and Neuroinflammation Underlies Neuroprotective Mechanism of Several Phytochemicals in Neurodegenerative Diseases
Caffeic acid phenethyl ester guards against benign prostate hypertrophy in rats: Role of IGF-1R/protein kinase-B (Akt)/β-catenin signaling

Emerging Adjuvant Therapy for Cancer: Propolis and its Constituents
8  In vitro Cytotoxic Effect of Brazilian Green Propolis on Human Laryngeal Epidermoid Carcinoma (HEp-2) Cells

The Chemical composition and events related to the cytotoxic effects of propolis on osteosarcoma cells

10  Immune System Boosts and Other Impressive Propolis Benefits
11  Historical Aspects of Propolis Research in Modern Times

12 Propolis – Keeping Us Healthy Through Cold & Flu Season

13  Immune System Boosts and Other Impressive Propolis Benefits
14  Dental Herbalism: Natural Therapies for the Mouth by Leslie M. Alexander, PhD, RH (AHG)

15  Propolis Mouthwash Treatment Effectively Eases Severe Oral Mucositis

How to Begin Your Herbal Quick Reference Project

Imagine yourself, a new herbal professional just getting started with clients and you suddenly can’t recall which herb pairs with milk thistle to support the liver, or you are finishing up with one client and have another one waiting and you know the name of the herb you want to use but it slips your mind with the added pressure of knowing someone is waiting for you. What do you do?  What is available to help you quickly browse through the actions of the herbs in your apothecary? Oh yes of course, grab the Herbal Quick Reference! » Read more

« Older Entries