1.1 The Role Of Vitamins In Human Nutrition: A Hygienic View
1.1.1 Misconceptions About Vitamins
The role of vitamins in nutrition is one of the most widely misunderstood subjects in a study of nutritional science. Today, in this age of technology, industry, food products, pills, powders and potions, vitamin supplementation is considered essential for good health in most circles—from the medical circles to the holistic groups and naturopaths. Some advocate a multiple vitamin each day from the drug store; others promote several bottles of a variety of vitamin tablets from the natural foods stores or distributors. Some say we also need to get a balanced variety of minerals in our supplementation program, and others say we also need a protein powder supplement. Both of the latter emphasize the need for a “complete” nutritional supplementation program and not just vitamins alone.
The cons of using food supplements and why they are harmful and unnecessary will be treated in greater depth in a later lesson. Here we will only note that the current preoccupation with vitamins is totally inappropriate and that, while vitamins are necessary, they are amply supplied in natural raw foods of our biological adaptation.
Keep in mind, also, that foods are not to be prescribed in place of supplements as “cures” for symptoms that people often interpret as vitamin and other nutrient deficiencies. Foods should be consumed as much for their carbohydrate (calorie) content as for their vitamin, mineral or protein content. Also, the importance of the water and the undiscovered nutrients in whole fresh foods should not be underestimated. At all times foods should be considered in their entirety and not as specific sources of specific vitamins and other nutrients.
In the following lesson, foods particularly rich in each vitamin will be listed, but this is not so you or your clients can eat certain foods to obtain certain vitamins; rather, it is just to show you how the foods of our biological adaptation (fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds) provide adequate amounts of all the known vitamins that we need.
1.1.2 The Quantity of Vitamins We Need Is Small
In a national bestseller, Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Nutrition, Dr. David Reuben pooh poohs our preoccupation with vitamins by pointing out that if we took all the vitamins we need in the quantities recommended (which is much higher than actually required), a whole year’s supply would not fill a thimble!
For further perspective as to the minuteness of our quantitative needs, let’s look at vitamin A. It is recommended that the average adult get 5,000 international units daily to meet needs. One IU weighs one microgram, or one-millionth of a gram, and there are 28 1/2 grams in an ounce. Therefore, 5,000 IUs of vitamin A equal one 5700th of an ounce. If 5,000 IUs were supplied in the diet every day, it would be more than fifteen years before we would have consumed a single ounce!
Or look at vitamin D. This vitamin is formed by the interaction of sunlight and ergosterol in the skin. Our needs are met by so little sunlight that Dr. Reuben has pointed out that while a vitamin D deficiency could occur to a black nun living in Norway, it is an unlikely occurrence in most cases.
Dr. Reuben has observed that, despite the atrociousness of most diets, it is difficult to keep from getting enough vitamins. We can’t avoid repleteness of some vitamins even if we try. Let’s examine vitamins B-12 and K as examples. Scientists who tried to test for these deficiencies could not create them. Why? Because bacteria in the gut formed an ample supply of these vitamins.
Or examine vitamin C. A single ounce will meet our needs for about 2 years. Despite a denatured diet of deranged and depleted foods, most Americans get enough vitamin C from vegetable salads, slaws and fruits to meet needs. Scurvy hasn’t been observed in ages, though some symptoms of vitamin C deficiency have been noted in smokers.
Americans think in terms of deficiencies when, as Dr. Reuben says, almost no American physician has ever witnessed a case of beriberi, pellagra, rickets, scurvy or other disease due to vitamin deficiency.
1.1.3 Toxemia, Not Deficiencies, Causes Most Diseases
We Hygienists recognize that deficiency is not the problem nearly so much as is toxemia. The reason why toxemia and not deficiency is the cause of symptoms is twofold. First, some vitamins are depleted because they play a role in the body’s detoxification of harmful substances within. Vitamin C is a notable example of this. Secondly, drugs and drug-like substances, such as coffee, teas, colas, aspirin, medications, junky foods, sugar, alcohol, birth control pills and, in fact, all non-food substances, interfere with the body’s absorption and/or utilization of vitamins and other nutrients. Also, certain foods contain toxic substances and should not be consumed. Notable examples of this are foods containing mustard oil—onions and garlic.
The causes of symptoms of ill health that are blamed on vitamin and mineral deficiencies are really drugs and drug-like (toxic) substances ingested—and not vitamin or mineral deficiencies at all! This is a key fact to keep in mind. So, instead of prescribing food supplements or recommending certain foods containing large amounts of certain vitamins (or minerals), which is legally outside the purview of non-physicians anyway, the Hygienic practitioner will simply have the client eliminate the causes of toxemia and consume a wholesome natural diet that contains no toxic substances. Not only will the real causes of disease symptoms be removed and health be regained, but also a natural diet of all or mostly raw foods of our biological adaptation will supply ample amounts of all the vitamins we need—without the expense or harmfulness of supplements.
Let’s look at vitamin B-12 as an example. Its insufficiency results in pernicious anemia. Most sufferers are meat-eaters who obtain B-12 from their diets. So what gives?
Toxemia has impaired the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B-12. The body has numerous substances that are engaged in active transport of nutrients from one medium to another through separating membranes. The transport mechanism for vitamin B-12 is called intrinsic factor. It is loss of this factor that accounts for B-12 deficiency and anemia. Pernicious anemia is due to toxemia, not deficiency. A fast will restore the lost faculty in almost all cases, and the anemia disappears even before the end of a fast! Such are the powers of the body when liberated from the baneful influences of toxicity.
Vitamins are absolutely essential in our diet—make no mistake about that. But, if we’re on a proper diet of mostly fruits with some vegetables, nuts and seeds, we do not have to worry any more about vitamins or other nutrients than we have to worry about each heartbeat, the secretion of bile, or millions of other physiological processes.
1.2 Hygienic Perspectives On Vitamins Compared With Medical Perspectives — Marti Fry
As this is a course not just in nutritional science, but also in Natural Hygiene, or Life Science, it is appropriate that we point out how the Hygienic perspective on the subject of vitamins differs from the generally accepted conventional perspective.
1.2.1 Attempts To Be Scientific
Thanks to scientific research and experimentation, we have learned a great deal about vitamins (and other nutrients). In fact, thanks to the efforts of “science,” we have “discovered” the existence of vitamins. We are now able to make a large variety of statements about vitamins—their functions in the body, approximate amounts needed and many other interesting facts.
However, it should be kept in mind that “science” or technology is also responsible for the refining and processing of foods that led to the discovery of vitamins. What the texts fail to note overtly is that many humans (and animals) have suffered (and, in some cases, still suffer) because of the tampering with foods by food industries, who are usually in intimate association with the scientific laboratories. Oftentimes the scientific studies done relative to nutrition are done in laboratories and research centers owned, operated and/or supported by the food processing and refining firms.
The point is that “science” does not always do the favors for humanity that they lead most of us to believe they do. Much suffering has stemmed from “scientific meddling” in the regular order of nature. This is not to condemn the efforts of scientists as much as it is to enlighten students of nutritional science of certain realities. We are not saying that scientists should stop studying phenomena, but that their approach and motives ought to be changed so that humans are truly benefitted by their efforts instead of allowed to believe they are benefitted while much suffering and harm is done. A shockingly high portion of scientific study is done to discover new drugs (poisons) to “cure” diseases, when, in fact, diseases cannot be “cured.” The causes of disease must be removed and then the body will spontaneously heal without interference by drugs, medications, herbs, colonies or anything else.
1.2.2 The Scientific Approach to Vitamin Study
A look in physiology and nutrition texts shows that, while many facts about vitamins have been discovered, much more is unknown than is known. Not only that, but much of what is “known” is based on studies in which many animals and some humans have had to suffer. The rationale is that, in the long run, a greater number of living creatures, especially humans, will suffer less due to the greater store of knowledge.
However, this rationale is to be seriously questioned because the reality is that humans suffered less disease before “science” became so advanced and before technology started refining rice and flour and sugar and marketing these products, along with milk and other unwholesome foods, to the people of the world. In other words, humans, in their pristine state, do not need the supposed benefits of so-called “science” to maintain radiant, sickness-free health. Fresh, untampered-with raw foods of our biological adaptation, not from the food industries, but from the garden and trees, will amply provide all our needs without the need for scientific studies. We certainly do not object to studies that uncover interesting information for our entertainment and use, but we do object to the thinking that we are dependent on and forever grateful to “science” for making it possible for us to live healthfully. We can live much more healthfully without science—at least the way science’s priorities stand today.
This is the basis of Natural Hygiene. It involves a simple, wholesome lifestyle and diet that is in full harmony with our needs. Diseases will not occur if the simple, basic laws of life are not violated. If orchards predominated our lands instead of cattle, drug industries, food industries, chicken farms and dairy farms, etc., it would be a lovely and healthful world!
Life Science is, however, scientific. The basic laws of life and principles of Life Science are all provable in scientific laboratories. Many have already been proved. There is absolutely nothing unscientific about Hygiene. In fact, the attempts of so-called “scientists” to discover drugs to “cure” diseases is unscientific in that these efforts are not based on the laws of life. As stated earlier, the ingestion of drugs and medications can result in only harm and can lever, under any circumstances, bring about true health.
As stated in Lesson 5, a tiny cell has more intelligence than a team of scientists seeking “cures.”
1.2.3 The Deficiency Approach to Vitamin Study
Perhaps the most revolting aspect of the medical/scientific approach to vitamin study is the preoccupation with deficiencies, and especially with deficiency diseases. The grotesque photos in texts of people suffering with various “deficiency diseases” graphically illustrate the distorted perception the medical scientists have of the role of vitamins—”to prevent horrible deficiency diseases.” That whole concept of “prevention” is erroneous, as has been stated in earlier lessons. Deficiency diseases are not normal or natural and do not have to be “prevented.” We have only to live in accord with the laws of life and nature, and we will be healthy—as nature intended.
A conventional/medical study of vitamins, as presented in textbooks, leads people to think in terms of deficiencies when they think about vitamins. But the study of vitamins should not be a study of deficiency diseases; it should be primarily a study of their role in human nutrition. In fact, identifying individual vitamins and naming the deficiency, disease connected with the lack of each is totally unneccessary. All we really need to know is that they are present in sufficient quantities in natural foods and that we will meet our needs for them on a natural diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, sprouts and seeds. It is also well to realize that food processing, storage and preservation destroy Vitamins in foods and that drugs and drug-like substances deplete vitamins in the body and interfere with their absorption and utilization.
- 1. Prologue
- 2. Introduction
- 3. A Study Of Each Individual Vitamin
- 4. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: Caution: Megavitamins May Be Dangerous To Your Health By Dr. Alan Immerman, D.C.
- Article #2: Vitamins And Disease Causation By Marti Fry
- Article #3: Why RDAs Are Too High By T. C. Fry
- Article #4: Vitamin B-12 And Your Diet By Dr. Alan Immerman
- Article #5: Do We Need To Take Vitamins? By Alan M. Immerman, D.C.
- Article #6: Antivitamins And Vitamin Antagonists By Marti Fry
- Article #7: What To Do About Vitamin Antagonists By Marti Fry
- Article #8: Factors That Lower Vitamin Needs By T. C. Fry
- Article #9: Factors That Interfere With Vitamin Utilization And The Applicable Principles By T. C. Fry