As the year draws to a close, it is a good time to reflect on the past year, as well as to look forward to the New Year with respect to one’s health goals. This includes assessing your nutritional supplement regimen. There is more confusion about nutritional supplements than ever. With this in mind, we present “Megavitamin Myth-Busting” from Andrew W. Saul, PhD and Helen Saul Case from the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service to clear confusion about vitamins and other nutritional supplements, and set the record straight. Enjoy! ~
Commentary by Andrew W. Saul and Helen Saul Case
(Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, Dec 23, 2019)
People are so confused about endless internet vitamin legends. Now it’s time to be blunt and set the record straight.
It’s been said that the FDA does not regulate nutritional supplements. Is that true? NO. “FDA regulates both finished dietary supplement products and dietary ingredients.” [U.S. Food and Drug Administration, http://www.fda.gov/Food/DietarySupplements/ ]
I have heard that “vitamin supplements are useless” and that “supplements do not prevent or cure disease, and they do not help you live longer.” Is that accurate? NO.
I get enough vitamins from my diet. NO, you don’t.
Aren’t foods a more economical vitamin source than supplements? NO.
Should I really stop all vitamin supplements for a week (or more) prior to surgery? NO.
Do I need special vitamin preparations for my body to absorb them? NO. With vitamins, there is usually no absorption issue. All animals need and absorb nutrients, including vitamins. If they didn’t, they’d be long extinct. The surface area of your small intestine, if all the nooks and crannies were flatted out, would be half the size of a regulation basketball court. There is ample opportunity for nutrient absorption.
Doesn’t taking vitamins just make expensive urine? NO.
Does vitamin C causes kidney stones? NO.
Does vitamin C interfere with chemotherapy? NO, vitamin C actually enhances chemotherapy.
I have heard that ascorbic acid is not really vitamin C. Is that true? NO.
Will vitamin C from a genetically modified (GMO) source hurt me? NO.
Does the acidity of ascorbic acid vitamin C destroy probiotics? NO.
If I take too much vitamin C during pregnancy, will it cause a miscarriage? NO, vitamin C is highly protective of your developing baby.
Does taking too much vitamin C during pregnancy causes infantile rebound scurvy? NO.
Is liposomal vitamin C as good as intravenous vitamin C? NO.
Will I get to much sodium from taking sodium ascorbate vitamin C? NO, says cardiologist Thomas Levy, MD, JD.
Does G6PD mean no supplemental vitamin C? NO. The Riordan Clinic has administered 15,000 mg vitamin C by IV to G6PD patients without harm.
But since Linus Pauling died from cancer, didn’t he fail to benefit from all the vitamin C he took? NO.
Some persons have a genetic trait that makes it more difficult for them to convert dietary carotene into active vitamin A. Does this mean they must take preformed oil retinol A? NO. Even a poor converter can still make sufficient vitamin A from carotene if they eat lots of fruits and vegetables . . . which we should all be doing anyway.
Does beta carotene cause cancer? NO. (But cigarettes do.)
Is niacin clinically incompatible for people with methylation issues? NO. Theoretically, perhaps. But Dr. Abram Hoffer, the world’s most experienced niacin physician, has said it is not clinically significant.
Aren’t B-vitamins so poorly absorbed that they need to be methylated? NO. Comparing their molecular weights with the simplest of all sugars, we find:
• Glucose (C6H12O6) weighs 180 grams/mole
• Niacin (C6H5NO2) weighs 123 g/mol
• Pyridoxine 169 g/mol
• Pantothenic acid 219 g/mol
• Biotin 244 g/mol
• Thiamin 265 g/mol
• Riboflavin 376 g/mol
• Folic acid or folate 441 [Methylated may be better. However: 1) See: Bailey LB. Dietary reference intakes for folate: the debut of dietary folate equivalents. Nutr Rev. 1998;56(10):294-299. And 2) The Linus Pauling Institute says: “Unmetabolized folic acid concentrations returned to baseline levels at the end of the study, suggesting that adaptive mechanisms eventually converted folic acid to reduced forms of folate.”
• Cobalamin 1,355 g/mol [methylated is probably better in this case]
I get plenty of magnesium in my diet! NO, you probably don’t.
Is vitamin E dangerous? NO. The safety record of all forms of vitamin E is exceptionally good.
Do I need to consume vitamin K-2 because K-1 in foods is ineffective? NO. Your body will make the conversion for you. John Cannell, MD, writes that the conversion “occurs through an intermediary molecule, vitamin K3, which is made in the intestine from vitamin K1. [Hirota Y, et al. J Biol Chem. 2013 Sep 30.] “[M]odern humans are deficient in K2 because they do not eat large quantities of vitamin K1 containing foods. If we look at Paleolithic humans, they probably got high amount of vitamin K2 from eating large quantities of kale and spinach-like foods, very high in K1, which then supplied their tissues with all the vitamin K2 they needed. [A]s far as getting enough vitamin K2, the best thing to do is eat your greens.”
I drink milk, and I spend time in the sunshine. Don’t I get plenty of vitamin D? NO. If your shadow is longer than you are, you are not making vitamin D from sunlight, says William Grant, PhD. Thus, little vitamin D is made by your body in the six colder months of the year. This is also true in the summer months if only exposed to sun mornings and afternoons.
(Andrew W. Saul, OMNS founder and Editor-in-Chief, has coauthored four books with Abram Hoffer, MD, and is editor of the textbook The Orthomolecular Treatment of Chronic Disease. OMNS Assistant Editor Helen Saul Case is the author of The Vitamin Cure for Women’s Health Problems, Vitamins & Pregnancy: The Real Story, and Orthomolecular Nutrition for Everyone.)
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