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ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS – SEVEN ARGUMENTS FOR NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS

Fred Liers PhD nutrients nutritional supplementsAlmost daily articles, reports, or studies appear claiming nutritional supplements are not effective. The claims vary, but the verdict is always there is little or no scientific evidence proving supplements (or the nutrients in supplements) work. Others assert that people who take supplements have the world’s most expensive urine. This is nonsense! The scientific evidence is clear, available, and it has been for a long time.

Among the many problems with these reports is bashing supplements based on studies using low dose or non-therapeutic levels of nutrients. There is frequently failure to consider the importance of synergy among nutrients. Often there is data manipulation via statistical methods (often in meta-analyses).

Well beyond the question of whether supplements support health are the factors in modern life that create a greater needs for supplementing with important vitamins, minerals, cofactors, and other nutrients.

This month we present “Seven Arguments for Nutritional Supplements.” As the title implies, there are at least seven solid arguments for nutritional supplementation. There are actually a lot more.

To preview these arguments in favor of taking supplements, they are: 1) reduced food quality, 2) nutrient density varies by location, 3) modern lifestyles and stress, 4) environmental pollution, 5) too low RDAs, and 6) promotion of health and delaying of aging, and 7) the human right to correct information.

essential nutrients fatty acids EFA supplement

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) are one type of essential nutrient required for health.

We at HPDI re-publish articles from the Orthomolecular News Service  (OMNS) because the authors provide much needed truth. Truth the form of correcting the false assumptions of anti-supplement propagandists to clarify the benefits of nutritional supplements. This information can help people be healthier easily and at relatively low cost.

HPDI offers a full line of foundational nutritional supplements, including multivitamins, vitamin C and antioxidant formulas, essential fats, and high-RNA Rejuvenate! superfoods. We also offer nearly 100 other nutritional supplements from single nutrients to condition specific formulas. See our full product overview.

Enjoy this article from the Orthomolecular News Service (OMNS). ~

Seven Arguments for Taking Nutritional Supplements

by Dag Viljen Poleszynski, PhD

(OMNS Sept 12 2018)

One of the most vitamin-restrictive countries in the world is Norway. There, authorities limit potencies to only slightly higher than RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) levels for dietary supplements sold outside of pharmacies. The traditional reasoning is that most people receive the nutrients they need from a “balanced diet.” [1]

The authorities are also obsessively concerned that some vitamins and minerals are harmful in high doses. And, since an intake of water-soluble vitamins in excess of needs is excreted in the urine, Norwegian “experts” advise that taking supplements is a waste of money.

Accordingly, the argument goes, the public should be protected not only from possible harm, but also from wasting money on unnecessary nutrients. The official policies on nutritional supplements vary within OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries. Some are more liberal, while others are even more restrictive.

The official view on the connection between nutrient intake and possible toxicity is illustrated by the Norwegian Food Authority in a graph. [2]

Perceived risk from intake of nutrients. (Source: Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals. Safe upper limits for Vitamins and Minerals. May 2003: Food Standards Agency, UK.)

The graph illustrates the official view on nutrients, assuming that nutrients function in the same way as pharmaceuticals, which they do not. Supplements of most vitamins, but also minerals and other nutrients, do not have very serious side effects even when taken at very high levels – in contrast with most drugs. [3,4] The fact that most of the chemotherapeutic drugs used against cancer have none or even just marginal effects against most cancers [5], while at the same time cause a lot of serious side effects, is rarely up for discussion.

The idea that nutritional supplements are not safe has a legal underpinning in Norwegian Food Law, which in section 16 prohibits sale of any food which is not safe: “Any food shall be considered not to be safe if it is seen as detrimental to health or not fit for consumption.” [6]

However, the Norwegian authorities do admit that vitamin D supplements are needed during part of the year. [1] Only part of the year? One third of Norway is within the Arctic Circle. Norway has far too little sunshine (especially during winter months) to get adequate levels of vitamin D from UVB radiation on the skin.

The authorities also recommend that pregnant women take folic acid to prevent birth defects, and omega-3-fatty acids may be advisable for those who do not eat fish regularly. Norwegians have a long tradition of giving children cod liver oil, which in a daily tablespoon provides enough vitamin A and D and essential fatty acids to cover basic needs.

Essential and conditionally essential nutrients

There are thousands of dietary supplements on the market, including 40+ essential nutrients alone and in various combinations, i.e. vitamins, minerals, trace elements and fatty acids. However, a number of other nutrients are “conditionally essential”, meaning that the body normally can make these molecules, but some people do not make optimal amounts. Examples are L-carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, the methyl donor betaine, [7] chondroitin sulfate, coenzyme Q10, choline, amino acids such as tyrosine or arginine, and “essential” sugars normally formed in the body. [8]

Healthy young people normally make sufficient amounts of conditionally essential molecules in the body, although the levels are not always optimal. With inadequate levels of minerals or vitamins, key enzymes in biochemical pathways may not function optimally.

Due to genetic mutations, some enzymes may have increased needs for certain cofactors (vitamins), which can prevent them from functioning optimally.[9] Some enzymes only function normally when supplied with cofactors in greater amounts than normally required.

If supplements of essential nutrients prove insufficient for optimal enzyme function, “conditionally essential” nutrients may be added as part of a comprehensive, therapeutic program.

Some reservations

Parents are advised to become familiar with the literature on essential nutrients, for instance by consulting the Orthomolecular News Service. Children should be given supplements in appropriate doses and in a suitable form. Pills should not be given before children can control the swallowing reflex. Multivitamin powder can be given dissolved in water or juice. Parents should not dose vitamin C so high that a child comes to school or kindergarten with loose bowels or diarrhea.

In high doses, niacin may cause unpleasant side effects such as flushing and itching lasting up to several hours. [10] Although this is not dangerous, it may cause a child to feel unwell and anxious. Starting niacin supplementation with a low dose and gradually increasing it will allow the body to adapt and avoid the niacin flush.

A multivitamin supplement containing moderate amounts of niacin is often adequate until a child is 8-10 years old. For younger children, the dosage should start with only a few tens of milligrams, and not increased to more than 50-100 mg/day. Adults may gradually get used to taking 1,000-1,500 mg/d divided into 3 doses per day.

When it comes to omega-3 fatty acids (omega = ω) such as EPA and DHA, children may be given cod liver oil and served fish and/or other seafood 2-3 times a week. It is important to check the dose of vitamin A supplied, as it can be toxic in high doses, especially for children. One problem with cod liver oil today is that vitamin D has been removed during processing, thus changing the natural ratio of the two vitamins so that we ingest relatively too much of vitamin A. [11]

Higher dosages may be given after having consulted a therapist who has measured the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in relevant cell membranes (red blood cells). In most industrialized countries, many people get too much of the omega-6 fatty acids, and would therefore benefit from eating more seafood or taking supplements with omega-3 fatty acids derived from organisms low in the food chain (algae, krill).

Flax seeds contain a high level of the essential omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, and freshly ground flaxseed meal or flax oil can be mixed with breakfast cereals or smoothies. Note that it may be advisable to limit eating farmed fish to once per week, since their fodder contains less omega-3 fatty acids than the food eaten by wild fish, and possibly also contains more contaminants. [12] Some researchers even warn against letting children eat too much fish because of the content of environmental toxins. [13,14]

Reasons for high-dose supplements of micronutrients

I have identified a number of arguments in favor of supplementing the modern diet with essential nutrients, here summarized with seven headlines. Most people should consider taking a multivitamin supplement containing vitamins and minerals even if they eat a nutritionally balanced diet.

Additional nutrients may contribute to better health and, in some cases, can be of vital importance in our modern world. The arguments are presented in random order, i.e. the order does not reflect priority.

1. The agricultural revolution has reduced food quality

The transition from an existence as hunter and gatherers to urban agriculture around 10,000 years ago began an epoch when foods were mass-produced but had lower nutritional density, compared with the previous food eaten by our ancestors. The nutritional density in many foods has fallen significantly since human societies transformed from hunter-gatherers into resident farmers. This is especially true in the last 60-70 years after agriculture was changed from small, versatile ecologically driven family farms to large, chemical-based, industrial agriculture. [15]

The reduction of nutritional content in modern crops, compared with older varieties, is well documented. [16] It is a consequence of soil erosion, loss of essential minerals from continual heavy use, combined with breeding of new varieties, which has increased the size and growth rate of plants by increasing the content of sugar and water and decreasing their mineral content compared to ancient species. At the same time, the relative content of other macronutrients (fat, protein/amino acids) and antioxidants may have been reduced.

Reduced nutritional density in many foods, combined with the use of refined “foods” like sugar, white flour and refined oils, places a greater priority on eating the most nutritious foods.

Farm produce grown organically generally has higher levels of essential nutrients such as trace minerals because the soil contains higher levels of trace minerals and the produce grows slower and thus has more time to absorb nutrients from the soil. Examples of nutrient dense foods are sardines, wild salmon, shellfish, eggs, liver, kale, collards and spinach, sea plants (seaweed), garlic, blueberries, and dark chocolate. [17]

2. Nutritional content of food varies with geographical location

Nutritional density varies considerably geographically between different regions, even with the same agricultural methods. This was documented in the United States in 1948 by a researcher at Rutgers University in the so-called Firman Bear report. [18] At that time agriculture was little mechanized, and artificial fertilizers and pesticides were hardly used.

The analysis found large differences in the content of minerals in the same food. The largest variations were found for potassium, sodium, boron and iron in spinach, while the greatest differences in calcium, magnesium and copper content were found in tomatoes.

The soil in areas with relatively low rainfall may in some cases contain an extremely high concentration of minerals, which is reflected in the plants growing there. This was well documented 70 years ago in the book Tomorrow’s Food. [19] The dentist George W. Heard found that the soil in Hereford, Texas, was exceptionally rich in minerals.[20]

Hereford became known as the “town without a toothache” after a newspaper article from January 29, 1942, reported that Hereford had the lowest incidence of tooth decay of any city in the United States. [21] Dr. Heard found that people in Hereford had exceptionally few dental cavities and also that the soil locally was especially rich in minerals. He emphasized that the population in the county ate unprocessed food and was drinking raw milk. [19]

Recent research shows that differences in the content of the selenium in the soil can cause major differences in the concentration of selenium in meat. [22] For instance, since the soil in Finland is poor in selenium, the authorities decided in the early 1980s to add selenate to commercial fertilizers. A survey of selenium status among 108 healthy young people showed an increase in the blood selenium level of about 50 percent after four years. [23]

A similar problem with the level of minerals in the soil exists for the content of magnesium. Often when the soil gets depleted of magnesium from heavy use, this essential mineral is not included in soil amendment with fertilizers. Produce grown in soil with an adequate level of magnesium will contain more magnesium than produce grown in soil deficient in magnesium.

Perhaps as many as 70-80% of the US population is magnesium-deficient, which causes many health problems. [24] Magnesium supplements (chloride, malate or citrate) can provide an adequate level when vegetables grown in soil with adequate magnesium are not available.

3. Stress and the modern lifestyle increase the need for nutrients

Mental stress increases the excretion and hence the need for many nutrients. Among the most important are magnesium and vitamin C, both of which are used by the body in larger quantities during periods of physical and mental stress. [24,25] Compared with our past as hunters and gatherers, today´s stress is often of a more permanent nature. Instead of experiencing occasional situations where we had to fight or flee, many of us live with recurring stress day in and out.

Vitamin C protects the brain and nervous system from damage caused by stress because the synthesis and maintenance of chemical neurotransmitters such as adrenaline and noradrenaline requires adequate levels of vitamin C. [25]

Vitamin C is also needed to repair collagen which is essential for skin, blood vessels, bones and joints, and muscles. When these are damaged by physical stress, extra vitamin C is necessary.

A controlled trial of 91 adults who experienced increased anxiety and stress 2-3 months after an earthquake in New Zealand in 2011 was divided into three groups, two were given a broad spectrum supplement of micronutrients in low or higher doses. [26] The supplements were found to alleviate the experience of stress, with the biggest dose having the biggest effect.

Our sedate, modern lifestyle reduces the need for energy from food, which implies a lower food intake or obesity. Loren Cordain, PhD, and coworkers have estimated that hunter-gatherers had significantly higher energy needs than the typical modern office worker. [27]

A lower energy intake generally reduces the absolute intake of all nutrients, while the need for some nutrients is not always reduced proportionally with energy intake. Overall this suggests that more exercise along with a more nutritious diet, including supplements of essential nutrients and less carbohydrates, will help to prevent obesity and maintain health.

Processing of food reduces its nutritional content, and the finished products are often based on fractions of the original foods. One example is milling grain to make white flour, [1] which has a lower nutritional density than whole grain flour.

The reduction in nutritional value has accelerated since whole foods are now divided into pieces, for example, boneless chicken breast. When meat is injected with saline to increase the volume, the relative level of essential nutrients is reduced. In the United States, many supermarkets in low-income rural and inner city areas have a limited selection of nutrient-dense foods, compared with high-income areas. [28]

4. Environmental pollutants increase the need for nutrients

The need for efficient detoxification and excretion is greatly increased by environmental pollution from the chemical industry, herbicides and pesticides used by industrial agriculture, antibiotic treatment of animals, transport, and plastic packaging. [29]

In our polluted world, the increased toxic load may be compensated for by an increase in nutrients to promote detoxification. One can respond by taking large doses of supplements of essential nutrients, for example, antioxidants vitamin C and E, and an adequate dose of selenium, which help the body detoxify harmful chemicals. Also helpful is regularly taking sauna baths, fasting periodically, and eating an excellent diet that includes generous portions of dark green leafy vegetables and colorful vegetables and fruits. [30]

A recent study predicts that global warming may reduce the nutrient density in many foods worldwide. [31] Atmospheric CO2 is estimated to surpass 550 ppm in the next 30-80 years, leading to larger crops with lower content of protein, iron and zinc per energy unit.

Assuming that diets remain constant, while excluding other climate impacts on food production, the researchers estimated that elevated CO2 could cause an additional 175 million people to be zinc deficient and an additional 122 million people to be protein deficient in 2050. Anemia would increase significantly if crops lose even a small amount of iron. The highest risk regions – South and Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East – are especially vulnerable, since they do not have the means and access to compensate using nutritional supplements.

5. The RDA for essential nutrients is too low

The recommended nutrient reference intake (NRI) has been defined by UK authorities and the EU Food Safety Agency as the dose that is adequate for 95 percent of the population. [32] These authorities have given recommendations for a total of 41 chemical substances, [33] including 13 vitamins, 17 minerals/trace elements, 9 amino acids and two fatty acids. The problem with such guidelines is that when using the same 0.95 fraction for just 16 of the essential nutrients, the fraction of the overall population that has their needs met with the RDA is less than half (0.9516 = 0.44).

Given the above assumption, the proportion of the population having all nutrient needs met falls below 25 percent for 30 nutrients (0.9530 = 0.21). These 25 percent will not necessarily get optimal amounts, just enough so that they probably will have no deficiencies in accordance with established standards. Each individual is different and has different biochemical needs, so we all need different doses of essential nutrients. Many vitamins and minerals can give additional benefit when taken at higher doses.

The need for several essential nutrients increases with age and sickness. This applies, for example, to vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, and iron. In 2017 the Norwegian Food Safety Authority proposed to revise the official maximum levels for vitamins and minerals in dietary supplements. [34]

Their proposal introduced four different age categories with separate maximum intakes. Initially, the agencies proposed to revise the daily doses allowed in dietary supplements for folic acid, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C and D. At the same time, maximum rates were temporarily suspended for vitamins A, E, K, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenate (B5), pyridoxine (B6), cobalamine (B12), biotin, and for phosphorus, iron, copper, iodine, zinc, manganese, selenium, chromium, molybdenum, sodium, potassium, fluoride, chloride, boron and silicon.

The upper limits for some nutrients may be changed in the future. Unfortunately, Norwegian nutrition “experts” will likely continue to limit allowable doses below those freely available in the US and even Sweden.

6. An optimal nutrient intake promotes health and delays aging

A spokesperson for optimal nutritional intake is the well-known biochemist Bruce Ames, who proposed the “triage theory of nutrients,” in which enzymes responsible for cell maintenance functions evolved to have lower affinity for the essential vitamin and mineral cofactors than the enzymes responsible for short-term survival, to preserve life during times of famine. [35]

Thus, higher levels of vitamins and minerals may delay mitochondrial aging, speed up the repair of large molecules such as DNA and collagen, and generally improve other cellular functions. This is an important rationale for taking higher doses of vitamins and minerals than recommended reference intakes.

Dietary supplements can slow the aging process, in part by reducing the harmful effects of free radicals, known to be involved in many diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. [36]

Naturally occurring hormones and/or supplements of cofactors needed for optimal hormone production in the body can have a significant life-prolonging effect if the body produces less than optimal amounts. [37] This is especially relevant for those with a genetic predisposition for disease.

An optimum intake of all nutrients is difficult to achieve even for those who eat almost exclusively an excellent diet of nutrient dense foods, such as meat and innards, fish, shellfish, fowl, eggs, nuts, mushrooms, and vegetables, berries and nutritious fruits. Some nutrients such as folic acid or carotenoids in vegetables are absorbed better from processed than unprocessed foods.

Although vegetables are often considered to be a good source of vitamins, for example vitamin A from carrots, vitamin A is only found in animal products such as liver, egg yolk, fish cod and cod liver oil. Although eating raw vegetables is helpful for several reasons (vitamin C, fiber, microbiota), carotenoids (alpha/beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene) in vegetables are less well absorbed from raw than cooked food and better absorbed in the presence of added fat. [38,39].

Nutrients in vegetables are better absorbed when finely chewed, graded, or mashed [38], and cooking and grinding meat reduces the energy required to digest it [40] and increases nutrient absorption [41].

Orthomolecular pioneer Abram Hoffer and Orthomolecular News Service Editor Andrew W. Saul suggested this list of daily intakes of vitamins and minerals. [42] The Norwegian 2017 recommendations for adult men and women [43] are given in comparison. Individual needs may vary substantially from person to person and also with health status.

The figures for optimal intake are obtained from the Independent Vitamin Safety Review Panel of physicians, researchers and academics, who concluded:

“People are deceived in believing that they can get all the nutrients they need from a ‘balanced diet’ consisting of processed foods. To achieve an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals, a diet of unprocessed whole foods, along with intelligent use of dietary supplements is more than just a good idea: it is vital.” [44: 55]

A well-known example is vitamin C, which can effectively fight viral infections, prevent or reverse disease caused by bacteria, and help the body detoxify organic and inorganic toxins. [45] Vitamin C also reduces the risk for cancer, strengthens connective tissues (collagen), and counteracts stress by increasing the adrenal´s production of cortisol. The dose required is set according to the body’s need.

Nobel Price Laureate Linus Pauling suggested that an optimal daily intake of vitamin C could vary from at least 250 mg up to 20 grams per day. [46] Because unabsorbed vitamin C attracts water into the gut, some people may experience loose stools, gas and/or diarrhea by ingesting only 1-2 grams at a time, while others with a higher level of stress may tolerate 5-6 grams or more. The dose that causes loose stools is called the “bowel tolerance” for vitamin C. [47] To avoid the laxative effect of high doses, it is best to take vitamin C throughout the day in smaller divided doses.

When the body is stressed by disease, the gut will naturally absorb more vitamin C because the body needs more. To find the optimal dose, the intake should be increased until bowel tolerance is reached. Some people can tolerate more than 100,000 mg/d of vitamin C in divided doses during serious illness without having loose stool.

Liposomal vitamin C bypasses the normal bowel tolerance because it is absorbed directly through cell membranes, so higher doses can be tolerated without diarrhea.

7. A human right to receive correct information

Access to correct information about food and essential nutrients, including knowledge about the importance of food for health is a fundamental human right. Such information should not only provide a summary of the nutrient content of food, but in our opinion should also explain how dietary supplements can counteract deficiencies and prevent and reverse disease caused by nutrient deficiencies.

We should be free to purchase quality-controlled supplements of essential nutrients and to use them to counteract aging and damage from stress as part of a long-term health plan. The right to reject recommendations by doctors for symptomatic treatment with synthetic, some times life-threatening, drugs to alleviate symptoms should be included. [48,49]

I have not found any formulation of such rights from the Norwegian authorities. The role of parents and their right to receive correct health information is addressed in a book by lawyer Anne Kjersti C. Befring, a fellow at the University of Oslo since 2014. [50]

Summary

The use of dietary supplements is widespread. High doses of vitamins are thought to be helpful because they help the body recover from damage and maintain itself long-term. Many vitamins are not harmful in doses even 10 to 100-fold higher than officially recommended.

Some governments warn about possible negative side effects, even including increased mortality from “excessive” intake of certain supplements. However, supplements of essential nutrients have been available for more than 80 years. They are known to be safe, and the observed side effects are generally mild with few exceptions.

It is possible to ingest too much of certain vitamins and minerals (vitamin A, calcium, iron, copper, selenium) which may exacerbate an existing imbalance or lack of another mineral (magnesium, zinc). It is also important to balance intake of fatty acids in the omega-6 and omega-3 series, as most people get too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3.

Small children can be overdosed with adult doses of for example vitamin A or iron, and pills may be dangerous for babies or young children because they can get stuck in the throat. Therefore, I recommend consulting a doctor or nutritionist educated in orthomolecular medicine. Most people are likely to benefit from taking a broad-spectrum multivitamin/mineral supplement as a basic insurance against deficiencies.

Compared to pharmaceutical drugs, supplements of most essential nutrients are quite harmless. However, some supplements may have poor quality, or contain toxic metals such as lead or cadmium. Therefore, it is the duty of our authorities to ensure that potentially hazardous products or supplements of poor quality are not sold, and that consumers are offered fair prices in a free market.

An example where the Norwegian authorities do not follow up such basic duties is that pharmacies demand more than 1,600 Norwegian Kroner (about $190) per kg of vitamin C in powder form, which would cost less than $20 with free competition and no restrictions in permitted doses or outlets.

Those who want to use natural healing methods, such as the use of food and supplements of essential nutrients to prevent or reverse illness, should consult therapists who are qualified to give advice on how natural therapies can help.

I recommend that anyone interested in supplements read the references for this article as well as the archives of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/ and the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml . Both are free access online.

(Dag Viljen Poleszynski, PhD, is the editor of Helsemagasinet [Health Magazine] https://vof.no/arkiv/ . He has translated and published a large number of OMNS releases in Norwegian.)

 

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38. Edwards AJ, Nguyen CH, You CS, et al. a- og ß-carotene from a commercial carrot puree are more bioavailable to humans than from boiled-mashed carrots, as determined using an extrinsic stable isotope reference method. Journal of Nutrition 2002; 132: 159-67. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/132/2/159/4687130

39. Unlu NZ, Bohn T, Clinton SK et al. Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oil. The Journal of Nutrition 2005; 135: 431-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15735074

40. Boback SM, Cox CL, Ott BD et al. Cooking and grinding reduces the cost of meat digestion. Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, molecular & integrative physiology 2007; 148: 651-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17827047

41. Carmody RN, Wrangham RW. Cooking and the human commitment to a high-quality diet. Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Quantitative Biology 2009; 74: 427-34. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19843593

42. Hoffer A, Saul AW. Orthomolecular medicine for everyone. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications, Inc., 2008. ISBN-13: 978-1591202264

43. Hjartåker A, Pedersen JI, Müller H mfl. Grunnleggende ernæringslære. 3. utgave. [Basic nutrition] Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag AS, 2017.

44. Levy TE. Vitamin C, infectious diseases, & toxins. Curing the incurable. 3rd Edition. (c)Thomas E. Levy 2011. Medfox Pub. ISBN-13: 978-0977952021

45. Pauling L. How to live longer and feel better. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1986. ISBN-13: 978-0870710964

46. Cathcart, RF III. The method of determining proper doses of vitamin C for the treatment of disease by titrating to bowel tolerance. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine 1981; 10: 125-32. http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/1981/pdf/1981-v10n02-p125.pdf

47. Lazarou J, Pomeranz BH, Corey PN. Incidence of adverse drug reactions in hospitalized patients. A meta-analysis of prospective studies. JAMA 1998; 279: 1200-5. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/187436

48. Moore TJ, Cohen MR, Furberg CD. Serious adverse drug events reported to the Food and Drug Administration, 1998-2005. Archives of Internal Medicine 2007; 167: 1752-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17846394 .

49. Hitchen L. Adverse drug reactions result in 250 000 UK admissions a year. BMJ 2006; 332: 1109. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16690649 .

50. Befring AKC. Helse- og omsorgsrett. [Health and Care] Oslo: CappelenDamm AS, 2017.

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GUT HEALTH – EFFECTS OF GLYPHOSATE AND ANTIBIOTICS

Dr. Hank Liers, PhD leaky gut glyphosateFred Liers PhD leaky gut glyphosateWe recently added a category of products for Gut Health to the HPDI foundational supplements program. We did this not only because there is a documented increase in gut-related health issues, but also because we hear about gut health issues from our clients and resellers. They desire effective means for solving the gut health problems prevalent today.

One of the biggest gut health problems we see today is leaky gut syndrome. The syndrome goes by other names and encompasses various symptoms. These symptoms broadly encompass food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances.

Yet, the symptoms can also include low energy, fatigue, immune disorders, as well as obesity and blood sugar issues. It also encompasses celiac disease and certain brain disorders.

In fact, most of these gut-related conditions and symptoms today go beyond what was historically meant by “leaky gut syndrome.” Today leaky gut and the conditions associated with it largely seem to relate to a combination of factors, including modern agricultural methods, use of antibiotics and certain other pharmaceuticals, and toxic chemicals in foods and the environment.

glyphosate herbicide spray

Studies show the herbicide glyphosate adversely impacts gut health.

TOXIC INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURE

Agriculture was not so long ago an organic affair. Chemical fertilizers were unknown, soils were healthier, and crops were at least non-GMO.

Things got worse with the introduction of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. The green revolution of the 1960s brought more changes, including the rise of monoculture crops and more dependence on chemicals.

Chemicals used in agriculture destroy soil microbes. These chemicals induce plant growth without simultaneously improving the quality of the soil. Consequently, the result is depletion of nutrients in soils. This has been proven by measurable declines in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in food crops.

When soils are continuously depleted and are nutrients are not replaced or augmented (as in Biodynamic agriculture, for example), soils have fewer nutrients. Eventually crops grown in these soils will be nutrient-poor and therefore not optimal for health. Nutrient declines in soils are significant, and soils continue to be depleted of nutrients.

The combination of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides has created an unsustainable system of agriculture that does not produce nutritious food crops. Herbicides such as 2,4-D and atrazine, and pesticides like DDT (which remains in soils) are examples of chemicals that can significantly harm human and environmental health.

The introduction of genetically modified (GMO) crops has accelerated the negative effects of industrialized farming methods. This is especially true in terms of the lowering soil-quality and adversely impacting soil microbes, reducing nutrient levels in crops, and both directly and indirectly harming human health.

GMO crops have not been properly tested for safety. The dangers of GMO crops are significant. Bt corn is a crop whose genetic modification is associated directly with gut health issues (see charts below). Bt corn was created to damage the intestines of insects, but that also damages the health of the human gut.

When combined with specialized herbicides designed for use on GMO crops, the dangers of GMOs increase significantly. The primary herbicide used for GMO crops is glyphosate, which is a mineral chelator, endocrine disruptor, and biocide with antibiotic effects that kill bacteria (beneficial and harmful) indiscriminately leading to an imbalanced human microbiome.

Glyphosate appears to be associated with an increasing number of adverse health conditions partly because many health problems can be caused or exacerbated by nutrient deficiencies, endocrine disruption, microbiome imbalances, and other toxic effects. These health conditions include leaky gut syndrome which not only may result from an imbalanced microbiome, but also from a loosening of the necessarily tight junctions in the gut wall that protect us from exposure to foreign proteins not unlike the blood-brain barrier protects our brain.

TOXIC GLYPHOSATE

Use of the herbicide glyphosate has increased dramatically in recent years. Glyphosate is the primary (but by no means the only) ingredient in the herbicide RoundUp.

Glyphosate kills plants including weeds, and it does this partly by acting as a mineral chelator that prevents the uptake of nutrients by plants. This starves the plant until it dies. However, plants genetically modified to withstand glyphosate still contain fewer nutrients and are therefore less nutritious.

Moreover, any glyphosate you consume acts as a chelator in your body that  blocks your uptake of minerals and nutrients. This will not be good, especially if the GMO foods you consume are already nutrient deficient. Glyphosate also interferes with how you uptake and process nutrients (like manganese) in ways that guarantee depletion in the body, as will be discussed further below).

gmo crops glyphosate

Source: N. L. Swanson, “Genetically Modified Organisms and the Deterioration of Health in the United States” (2013)

A major reason for increasingly larger applications of glyphosate on crops is the rise of glyphosate-resistant “super weeds.” This was not predicted to happen, but clearly it is happening. Thus, the “solution” to the development of super weeds has been simply to apply more glyphosate. This means greater amounts of poison in crops, and of course, greater profits for the herbicide company.

The problem is that glyphosate is extremely toxic. If there were a perfect storm scenario for herbicide use, then glyphosate would be one component of it. Many scientists are concerned about it, including former genetic engineers like Thierry Vrain, who now advocates growing and consuming organic foods (see more below).

Increased use of glyphosate will in turn accelerate the rise of super-resistant weeds, and accelerate damage to the health of those who consume it.

Not to mention the unknown health risks of the genetically modified (GMO) crops themselves, which are sprayed with glyphosate. How would you be able to tell which is more damaging to health, the toxins embedded in GMO crops or the sprays that soak both GMO and non-GMO crops alike. None have been properly tested, or test results are hidden or suppressed.

Beyond all this, non-GMO crops like wheat, oats, barley, beans, and nuts are routinely sprayed with glyphosate at the end of the season as a means to dry these crops to make harvesting easier. So much for trying to eat verified non-GMO.

You’re likely getting a lot of glyphosate in your diet…unless you eat 100% organically grown foods that are not contaminated with glyphosate by direct spraying, spraying for the purposes of drying, or from drift related to nearby spraying.

And with increased levels of spraying to apply more of this herbicide, the likelihood is you’re getting glyphosate not only from foods, but also from a contaminated water supply (wells, rivers, streams), and from rainfall (with more than 65% of rain samples testing positive).

GLYPHOSATE ADVERSELY IMPACTS HEALTH

A noteworthy article on the topic of glyphosate and genetically modified organisms (GMO) is N.L.  Swanson’s “Genetically Modified Organisms and the Deterioration of Health in the United States” (2013). This was originally published as a series of articles on the Seattle Examiner website.

Scientists may disagree on the level of veracity of the article, and quibble over the finer points of statistical correlation. Meanwhile, people are getting sicker, not healthier. And that is the point.

If indeed glyphosate is impacting human health adversely at even a fraction of the levels argued by Swanson, then individuals should reduce their consumption of GMO foods as much as possible to avoid health consequences.

Foods containing GMOs should be clearly labeled, like they are in many other countries. Consumers have a right to know if foods contain GMO. There is no valid objection to labeling since many other (and far less harmful) ingredients in foods are labeled. This is a transparency issue. It is the least consumers deserve.

In July 2016, the US enacted the so-called DARK Act, which requires labels for GMO products. However, this law is far weaker than the Vermont law that preceded it. The US law preempts state laws. It represents a poor attempt to address consumers’ desire for labeling of GMO foods. It offers no standard labeling requirements, nor any means to enforce compliance for companies that fail to label. And while some may consider the US law progress for consumers, consider that in Europe GMO labeling went into effect back in 1997 – nearly 20 years ago.

In addition, proper scientific testing of the health effects of GMOs and in particular the herbicide glyphosate, as well as the adjuvants and surfactants contained in glyphosate-containing products—and how these ingredients act synergistically—must be carried out. Consumers should never be guinea pigs when science is available that can protect them and help them make informed decisions.

Not unlike tobacco companies that suppressed and downplayed the harm of their products, today’s purveyors of agricultural chemicals (and especially GMOs and glyphosate) are not particularly concerned about the adverse health effects of their products. In fact, it appears to be just the opposite, as studies indicating harmful effects frequently have been suppressed.

Several of the studies used to indicate safety of GMOs were short-term studies (three months) conducted by companies who make and sell the products themselves without peer review or release of data. Whereas longer-term, independent studies indicate probable harm to health, therefore showing the precautionary principle was disregarded in approving GMOs for human consumption.

In order for consumer to protect themselves, GMO labeling is a minimum measure. Most nations already require clear labeling or ban GMOs.

AVOID ANTIBIOTICS IN FOODS AND ELSEWHERE

The use of antibiotics in livestock results in a tainted food supply. This means that foods ingested contain antibiotics that damage and destroy beneficial microbes in the human gut. This contributes to reduced microbiome diversity and paves the way for a takeover by harmful bacteria.

Then there is the overuse of antibiotics in human medicine. The use of antibiotics significantly damages microbiome health and diversity. The importance of the microbiome for human health is such that antibiotic use that kills beneficial bacteria and imbalances the gut flora is proven to reduce overall health and can contribute to major health problems throughout life. This is especially true when antibiotics are used in childhood when the microbiome is establishing itself.

Glyphosate is not considered an antibiotic per se, but it exerts antibiotic-like effects. That is, glyphosate destroys microbes by acting on the Shikimate pathway, and therefore acts like an antibiotic. This pathway is not present in human beings, but is present in plants and most microbes important for the health of the human gut.

Glyphosate interferes with the synthesis by gut bacteria of aromatic amino acids (including tyrosine and tryptophan) as well as methionine. This leads to shortages in critical neurotransmitters such as serotonin and melatonin as well as folate.

There is evidence to show that glyphosate produces resistance to antibiotic drugs, just as overuse of antibiotics themselves contributes to the increase of so-called “superbugs,” or bacteria resistant to most or all antibiotics. This fact is another reason glyphosate contributes to the health problems relating to antibiotic use and to gut health issues, in particular.

The overuse of antibiotics both in humans and animals is an ongoing problem with many authorities calling for a reduction in use so that antibiotics are not rendered useless by the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

Current policies regarding antibiotics virtually guarantee that not only will microbiome health be harmed by the consumption of antibiotic tainted foods and by the use of antibiotics too easily prescribed, but also that harmful bacteria will become stronger rendering antibiotics less useful in applications where they are truly needed.

An interesting fact in this regard is that Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a gram-negative bacteria, is a major problem in hospitals today due to its resistance to multiple antibiotics. It is one of only three bacterial species that can break down glyphosate. However, it produces formaldehyde as a by-product. Formaldehyde is a well-established neurotoxin. It is likely that the growth of this harmful bacteria is stimulated by the presence of glyphosate in the gut.

Avoidance of antibiotics in foods and when not medically necessary are ways individuals can help keep themselves healthy.

ENDOCRINE DISRUPTION

While this article deals primarily with the topic of gut or gastrointestinal health, it is noteworthy that glyphosate is considered to be an endocrine disruptor.

Endocrine disruption is associated with birth defects, reproductive problems (like infertility), breast cancer, and developmental problems in babies and children before and after birth, as well as a host of other health effects.

Endocrine disruptors are common in the environment, and we have written about them in previous posts. Glyphosate’s role as an endocrine disruptor is important not only because it is another harmful element among its many dangers, but also simply because of its ubiquitousness in the environment.

The amount of glyphosate spray in the US and the world in extraordinary. As weeds have become resistant to glyphosate (leading  to the rise of super weeds), the solution has been to spray more of it. Therefore, the amounts to which individuals are exposed have skyrocketed along with the increase in its application on crops and elsewhere.

Also, as noted, the practice of spraying glyphosate as a desiccating agent on non-GMO crops (such as wheat, oats, sugar cane, and peanuts) contributes significantly to human exposure. So too does “household” use in gardens and use by municipalities for spraying to decrease “weeds” in public places, such as parks and schools.

NUTRIENTS, HORMONES, AND NEUROTRANSMITTERS DISRUPTED BY GLYPHOSATE

Dr. Stephanie Seneff is a leading researcher in the area of the harmful effects of glyphosate. The following YouTube presentation by Dr. Seneff and Dr. Sachin Patel (interviewer) provides a wealth of information for the reader and is highly recommended: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpoGUPwe40c

In Dr. Seneff’s presentations she has pointed out that the following nutrients, hormones, and neurotransmitters are disrupted by glyphosate:

  1. Folate, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and cobalamin (Vitamin B12).
  2. Aromatic amino acids and methionine
  3. Iron, manganese, cobalt, selenium, zinc, and sulfur
  4. Serotonin, melatonin, dopamine, epinephrine
  5. Melanin (skin tanning agent), thyroid hormone
  6. NAD, glutathione (key antioxidant defenses)

Clearly it would be wise to take in foods and nutritional supplements that could replete the body with these  substances.

In order to compensate for these effects of glyphosate Dr. Seneff recommends the following supplements:

  1. Curcumin (see HPDI CURCUMIN C3 COMPLEX)
  2. Garlic
  3. Vitamin C (see HPDI PRO-C™ and Ultimate Protector™)
  4. Probiotics (see Prescript-Assist™)
  5. L-5-Methytetrahydrofolate (see HPDI 5-MTHF)
  6. Vitamin B-12 (see HPDI Methylcobalamin)
  7. Glutathione (contained in HPDI GLU-NAC Plus)
  8. Taurine (contained in HPDI Hepa Plus)

GLYPHOSATE DISRUPTS PROTEINS AND ENZYMES RELYING ON GLYCINE

Recently, Dr. Seneff and collaborators have identified the fact that glyphosate – a glycine amino acid based molecule – can disrupt a large number of enzymes in the body by inserting itself into proteins during the synthesis process where glycine would normally be inserted. When this happens, the function of the enzyme is completely negated. For further details see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snNRfAfSeUk

LEAKY GUT AND BT TOXINS

Another class of worrisome genetically modified crops are Bt corn and other Bt crops (cotton, potato, and soy). Note that there are also glyphosate tolerant/resistant strains of corn (maize), so all types of GMO corn are potentially hazardous to health.

Bt corn is a variant of maize genetically altered to express proteins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. Thousands of different Bt strains exist that produce proteins toxic to insect pests. Particular strains are chosen to target specific plant pests, such at the European Corn Borer (ECB).

 When an insect consumes Bt-containing plant tissues, one or more Bt proteins become activated in its gut, creating toxins that paralyze its digestive system and form holes in its gut wall.

Bt toxins bind to receptors in the insect’s gut. This causes the  gut wall to break down and allows toxins, as well as normal gut bacteria to enter the insect’s body. Toxins and bacteria proliferate in the insect’s body causing death. Notably, many insects have developed resistance to glyphosate, just as have weeds.

It has been noted by commentators that the human digestive system appears to be damaged in a similar way by proteins in Bt corn. In any event, as the number of acres planted with Bt corn increases, it appears that human digestive disorders also increase.

irritable bowel syndrome gut health bt corn

Source: N. L. Swanson, “Genetically Modified Organisms and the Deterioration of Health in the United States” (2013)

Disorders of the digestive system associated with Bt toxins not only include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and constipation, but also Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

inflammatory bowel disease crohn colitis gut bt corn

Source: N. L. Swanson, “Genetically Modified Organisms and the Deterioration of Health in the United States” (2013)

While the effects of the Bt toxin are different than those of glyphosate and other chemicals in glyphosate-containing crop chemicals, the fact is that evidence shows that the Bt toxins appear to adversely impact gut health.

KEY TAKEAWAY: CONSUME 100% ORGANIC DIET

Among key takeaways from examining the literature of problems associated with antibiotic use, as well as with the chemicals associated with modern agriculture and genetically modified foods (i.e., glyphosate and other herbicides, pesticides, and various surfactants and adjuvants used with them): Choose to eat organic foods as much as possible for best health.

Only by consuming organic foods can individually significantly reduce the amount of glyphosate, pesticides, antibiotics, and other harmful chemicals in the diet to support good health in general, and gut health in particular. Organic foods are also more nutrient dense, and therefore more nutritious.

After it is understood how current industrial agricultural methods contribute to damaging human health, then organic foods can be seen as a solution helping ensure avoidance of most or many of harmful elements in foods.

Organically grown foods may be tainted by drift or by toxins in the soil existing before the adoption of organic farming methods. Yet, the amounts of such toxins will be significantly reduced overall by consuming organic foods. The longer-term solution is adoption of organic methods (and corresponding reductions in use of chemicals and GMOs in agriculture) that will result in a cleaner, safer food supply for all.

Some say that organic foods are no better, or cost too much, or do not improve health. But the truth is that they are better, should not cost more, and are far more sustainable for human and planetary health. In fact, at this point in time, consuming organic foods may be the only practical solution for avoiding health problems, especially gut-health problems, associated with industrialized, chemically based agricultural methods.

Growing food yourself is another option, as is purchasing organic or locally grown organically grown produce at your Farmer’s Market. These foods will not be sprayed with toxins and will not suffer the same level of nutrient declines found in conventional produce. Having even a relatively small garden at home will allow you to supplement organic foods you obtain locally. Some neighborhoods support community gardens where you can grow foods organically.

Between consuming foods you grow, purchasing organic or non-sprayed produce locally and/or at natural foods stores, emphasizing grass-fed, free-range animal products (e.g., eggs and meats), and reducing meals at restaurants that serve conventional foods (as well as ordering organic and non-GMO foods whenever possible), you can largely bypass or reduce the toxicity and gut-health issues associated with the toxins and GMOs in foods sold in grocery stores and ubiquitous in our food distribution system.

A 100% organic diet is recommend, entirely possible, and at the very least a worthy goal. It will pay dividends in terms of good health and how you feel.

Others recommend to detoxify from glyphosate by consuming an organic diet.

AVOID WHEAT, GLUTEN, AND SIMPLE CARBS

Wheat stands out as a singular food to avoid. It been hybridized beyond all recognition with many genes being added because wheat genes are additive. The wheat protein gluten has been linked to many types of health problems.

Gluten has long been a problem for gut health. Now with glyphosate being sprayed directly on wheat crops (as well as oats, sugar cane, and peanuts) as a desiccating agent, it seems that opening tight junctions in the gut and then having exposure to gluten is a prescription for disaster.

glyphosate wheat leaky gut intestinal infection

Glyphosate increasingly is sprayed on wheat (a non-GMO crop) for drying before harvest. How does poisoning wheat this way make sense?

Some commentators (like Wheat Belly author William Davis, MD) show that gluten is linked with obesity, diabetes, celiac disease, and many others.

Avoidance of wheat, gluten, and other simple carbohydrates is a good idea if you would maintain and retain good gut health.

celiac glyphosate wheat goo

Celiac disease has significantly increased with the practice of spraying glyphosate on wheat.

HEALTH EFFECTS LINKED TO GLYPHOSATE

In the article “Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases,” Stephanie Seneff and Anthony Samsel state that there are many pathologies to which glyphosate may contribute:

“The pathologies to which glyphosate could plausibly contribute, through its known biosemiotic effects, include inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, depression, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, cancer, cachexia, infertility, and developmental malformations.” (Entropy 201315(4), 1416-1463; doi:10.3390/e15041416)

SUMMARY

Industrial agriculture, including the practices associated with the cultivation of GMO crops, harms the soils and human health.

Dangers to human health from industrial agriculture and GMOs includes harm to gastrointestinal health. This encompasses many conditions, including Leaky Gut Syndrome.

Leaky gut does not always result from a single cause, but can involve multiple factors, including exposure to glyphosate (and its adjuvants), Bt toxins, depleted nutrient levels, wheat and wheat protein (gluten/gliadin) exposure, microbiome imbalances or disruption, antibiotic use or consuming foods containing antibiotics, other chemical exposures, and additional factors.

Ways to avoid leaky gut: 1) Consume a 100% organic diet, 2) Avoid GMOs, 3) Avoid antibiotics, 4) Maintain a healthy microbiome, 5) Avoid wheat and simple carbohydrates (and simple sugars), 6) Improve nutrient levels through diet and dietary supplements, 7) Use specific supplements that help restore and maintain gut health 7) Detoxify on a regular basis using juices, herbs, and other practices.

We will continue writing articles for blog series on the topic of gut health. In coming months, we will write about various means for improving gastrointestinal structure and function. These means include restoring tight junctions in the gut using Restore (lignite formula).

 

SOURCES & RESOURCES

Center For Food Safety (CFS)

Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT)

The Detox Project (Glyphosate Portal)

ARTICLES & STUDIES

Glyphosate-based herbicides are toxic and endocrine disruptors in human cell lines

Genetically Modified Organisms and the Deterioration of Health in the United States“, N. L. Swanson, MIT

Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases

Plants have a microbiome just like humans — and it could transform how our food is produced

Understanding Glyphosate Toxicity: Interview with Genetic Engineer Thierry Vrain (Mother Earth News)

HPDI-RELATED ARTICLES

Gut Health – Intestinal Rejuvenation Formula

Amending the HPDI Foundational Supplement Program

Microbiome, Diet, and Prescript-Assist Probiotic and Prebiotic

Kidney Cleansing with Juices & Herbs

Liver Cleanse with Juices & Herbs

Rejuvenation Program: Part 2 (Detoxification)

Death by One (Or Two) Thousand Cuts

Dr. Mark Sircus’s blog article at www.DrSircus.com:
“Apples – Pectin – Intestinal Formula”

BOOKS

Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain for Life by Dr. David Perlmutter

Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar – Your Brain’s Silent Killers by Dr. David Perlmutter

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by Dr. William Davis

VIDEOS

PRODUCTS

INTESTINAL REJUVENATION FORMULA

PRESCRIPT-ASSIST™ Probiotic Formula (soil-based organisms)

RESTORE For Gut Health (lignite formula)

PROLYT
(proteolytic enzymes)

DIGASE
(full spectrum plant enzymes)

Nascent Iodine

Magnesium Oil, Flakes, Gel