Do We Need to Eat Vitamins and Minerals?

Let’s be really ‘basic’ with this particular post, as the subject matter can be so vast…

Simply put, our bodies cannot produce all of the nutrients and minerals that we need; nor, can it process all the nutrients needed from eating most foods, anymore. Without these nutrients, our bodies can start developing ‘issues’ which can be misinterpreted a number of different ways; very often, even antiquated issues (disorders such as Scurvy) can arise and be misdiagnosed… as doctors simply are not aware of new nutritional deficiencies or recognize antiquated ones anymore. Of course, doctors ALWAYS have a medication to treat most of these disorders; which, (some of which, anyway), could be effectively treated with the proper type of nutrition!

Why nutritional issues in this day and age? It can be for a number of reasons; but, one main reason is, we simply do not eat as well as we used to, say, 100 years ago. Plus, with the ‘Fast Food’ we now have to eat, many times, the nutrients are processed right out it!  “Processed Food;” who hasn’t heard of that? Couple processed foods with GMO’s, chemicals, artificial colors, flavorings, preservatives, hormones, and etc., and there, often, isn’t any nutrition left for the body to absorb.

Lets break this post down to just a few, choice, vitamins and add a simple patient example.  First, lets start off with something common to most people… Oranges and Orange Juice.

Often, when I lecture, I mention Valencia Oranges as an example. Not all brands, mind you, but enough substantial brands to make a ‘generic’ heading here.  At one time, Valencia Oranges were the healthiest, sweetest, most tasty Orange one could purchase – especially, in juice form; but these days, they hardly resemble the Orange our parents grandparents grew up on – nor, is the juice we find in the stores the same.  More and more newer crops/trees, have been genetically altered (for various reasons) – and many juices, have already be altered and put on the market.

As most of the natural nutrients have been used up or taken out of the ground, artificial fertilizers are added; couple that, with artificial pesticides. If that wasn’t bad enough to take nutrients out of the ground and the fruit, some companies actually pick the fruit in an ‘unripened’ condition. This is to help it last longer while going to market. Once the fruit has reached its processing destination, it is often ‘fumigated’ to artificially ripen it. In other words, the fruit (oranges) have not, naturally, formed/grown the normal nutrients that our parents and grandparents found in them!

So, to make matters worse, some people, like my own family, seldom eat fresh oranges; but choose to drink orange juice. What do we see on the label? “Calcium (as well as other ingredients and chemicals) Added!”  Fresh fruit never needed to have any added ingredients! But, when it comes to ‘Orange Juice,’ it often doesn’t stop there!

After the oranges are squeezed, their juice is put into holding tanks, for upwards of a year! During this time, oxygen is removed from it.  Why? To help keep it from spoiling; but, this ‘liquid,’ is far from what we would call ‘Orange Juice’ in both appearance and taste!

When juice is stripped of all of its oxygen, it is also stripped of its flavor chemicals. The processors, will then use ‘outside flavor and fragrance companies’ to engineer flavor and aroma to put back to the juice and give it the appearance of ‘Freshness!’ Very often, these engineered flavors are not listed as ingredients on the label because they are derived from orange essence and oil – in much the same way perfume is made. Unfortunately, these so-called ‘natural’ flavor essences, hardly resemble what might be found on a tree!  Many of these flavorings contain high amounts of ethyl butyrate; a chemical in the fragrance of fresh squeezed orange juice.  Processors have found that Americans, especially, like enjoy this flavor. However, they will take this same, processed juice, and fabricate a different flavor essence, for other parts of the world to fit their taste… and it all says “Fresh Squeezed” on many of the cartons or bottles!

Interesting enough, these engineered flavors are not required to be even mentioned on the Orange Juice label by the FDA. Go figure!

Now, if one is looking for Vitamin C from the Orange or Orange Juice to supplement their nutrients… they are pretty much out of luck! Vitamin C in supplemental form must be taken; as the human body simply cannot ingest enough so-called ‘natural’ Orange Juice to make much of a difference. Then, surprisingly, for some strange reason, kids start developing scurvy as they did a couple hundred years ago! Or, in the case of Vitamin D… Rickets!  These disorders were supposed to have been ‘wiped out’ decades ago!

The same is to be said from other food stuffs (and, don’t get me started on meats!).  Unless one is going to purchase ‘truly Organic’ fruits and vegetables, many of the nutrients have been removed or simply not allowed to develop in the plant. I, especially, find this with patients with Peripheral Neuropathy.

Here is an example; last year, I had a patent come into my office whom stated that she “had not been able to wear shoes in 3.5 years;” as her feet were so swollen and hurt so badly. Against her Neurologists advice, she came to me as a “last resort.”  After performing an extensive Intake and examination, I asked the patient “How do you eat? Do you keep natural for the most part? Do you eat organic?”  She responded the way most doctors like to hear: she ate, “almost, all natural and organic!” This was something of a tip off to me, as ‘where’ she indicated she purchased her organic spinach and other ‘leafy greens,’ for example, I knew was right across the street from a farm which didn’t have organic vegetables. I explained to her, that her “Organic” food, was only as organic as the ground, water and wind would allow; and that “pesticides and artificial fertilizers” were, most likely, ‘blowing’ across the road and/or carried in the wind from across the street when the other farm was sprayed by crop duster.  In addition, “Chico water” and a lot of particulates and pollutants in it (which some in authority would deny… but, even its level of Prozac is high!) also added to the problem. Plus, did she “know for sure” that this spinach or other vegetables were not a GMO products?  She didn’t know, but just presumed that since she was paying TOP DOLLAR for her spinach, it was “top of the line!”

As I see so many odd disorders, with there being over 100 different forms of neuropathy, Intake and exam made me suspect Dry, Beri Beri (a thiamine deficiency) as the root cause of her neuropathy. She could, hardly, believe that, as it is such an antiquated disorder. I reminded her that I don’t diagnose, but it would be in her best interest if she saw her doctor and asked him about it. Of course, he dismissed the idea entirely, as she “ate so well and natural!”  

Be as that as it may, I sent her to a lab, as her doctor wouldn’t do it, to have her vitamin levels checked. Just as expected, she was deficient in just about everything; Vitamin D and the full range of B vitamins; but, especially, B1 (thiamine). My suspicions confirmed, she had Dry, Beri Beri.

I started her on high doses of B1 and other vitamins/minerals as well as neuromuscular stimulation for her symptoms. Within only three weeks, although she still had a lot of burning in her feet, her edema had totally reversed and her neuropathy almost disappeared. She was back in shoes.  Of course, upon returning to her doctor to show him her results in only three weeks, he stated the usual that my patients hear: “Well, sometimes with people your age, miracles happen!”

We have, only, dealt with a couple of vitamins here; but one can imagine how important other vitamins can be to issues such as sight, digestion, memory, heart health, immune system levels and more! Simply put, if our bodies don’t get the nutrition we need from our food, we are going to have to get it from someplace else… such as vitamin and mineral supplements!

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