Published on 07-24-2008
As an "alternative" health practitioner my patients often expect me to suggest something along the lines of a strict vegetarian diet full of nuts and berries and accompanied by lots of "healthy" minerals and supplements. I just as often surprise them when I make recommendations that are often contrary to popular trends and beliefs in nutrition. The diet we often advocate is what my Chinese teacher, Master Tam, often calls the "eat like a human" diet. I'll discuss some of the details of that in subsequent articles, but today I'm going to talk about vitamins and related supplements.
"Take the garbage out", is what Master Tam says when discussing vitamins - or, when he's busy, he'll just say "garbage!" Now as much as I follow what my many esteemed teachers have said, some things are hard as they often contradict what we have been lead to believe and a little more personal research is required before changing ideas. Supplementation is something that I've always been reluctant to firmly trust, however, so this wasn't as hard as some other things I've had to digest along the path of my Chinese medical training.
The truth about vitamins is that the scientific research that has been done indicates very low possibilities that supplements do anything at all. So why not take them - "no harm, no foul," right -- well, many studies indicate that they may be dangerous - even in the amounts consumed from a daily multi-vitamin intake. And this is our general stance.
The studies, discussed in the articles and research links listed below, are, of course, a bit controversial. Outside of scientific reasoning, any time you are dealing with a billion dollar industry you are going to receive some feedback from studies saying vitamins could shorten your lifespan. Our view comes down to three major points:
1) Eating a balanced diet with a range of -whole- foods is the only way to ensure you will get what you need (limit packaged food, foods with hormones, etc.).
2) The body is all about balance, so combinations of vitamins that would never occur naturally and large amounts of anything (fruit juices, etc.) are - un-natural. They have you taking in more than you could possibly receive in a whole foods, natural format.
3) Don't waste your bodies energy and your money.
People will have many opinions on articles such as these stating all kinds of information about vitamins, etc. And, the research is mixed to be sure. That said, following general common sense, the more we obtain from natural sources in natural formats the better - we are after all natural people. So, rather than argue about vitamins, throw them in the trash, grap an apple, take a walk, and spend the money you are saving on something fun! "Enjoy the life", as Master Tam says...
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