Whole, unprocessed, organic, real food is hands down the most important part of our diet. One cannot live on processed supplements alone, no matter how hard you might try. The move to supplement bars, or instant breakfast meals in a bar/drink are utterly crazy to me, and in my opinion, not good for anything other than a short term fix. I love some of the good bars available only for long hikes or other outdoor activities where a meal is not an option. There are some really good raw bars out there I really like.
However, no matter how hard we try to eat well all the time, supplements do play an important part in our daily regimen. Like our use of garlic, we have staved off many simple colds, and who knows how many other unwanted invasions of good health by a small core of basic supplements. At the moment, we prefer a select few individual vitamins, minerals and a fish oil versus a “multi-vitamin” because you just cannot get enough of the quality ingredients or the highest dose into a capsule when you’re trying to make an “all in one” product. In addition, we do eat very well in our house, with most every meal eaten as a family with fresh, home-cooked foods.
Orthomolecular Medicine is the term coined by chemist Linus Pauling back in the 1960’s describing a form of alternative medicine built around maintaining optimal health through nutritional supplementation; aka vitamins and minerals. Generally, my entire family takes 2 grams of Vitamin C each day….a gram with breakfast, and a gram with dinner. This is a maintenance dose for us especially October through May despite the RDA being only 60 milligrams. We step it up to one gram an hour when a cold threatens. There are virtually no side effects, until you get bowel discomfort, and once you reach that (no one in our family ever has, even our youngest) we know that is the limit and would simply back off at that point.
A close family member was diagnosed with shingles last summer. What an unpleasant and somewhat scary experience. We were past the time window where any pharmaceutical might have worked (successful treatment with most drugs is questionable at best, apparently). After some research, VC was taken at about a gram per hour as long as she was awake. There were some other supplements she took and applied topically, but in the end the shingles was gone…simply gone in under 2 weeks. In fact, what looked like it could have left an ugly, permanent scar had no remains whatsoever just a few weeks after that. Our brief experience with shingles wasn’t fun by any means, but we clearly beat the odds and hope to not see that one again anytime soon.
Vitamin C initially came into importance as a supplement to ward off scurvy, which it did in relatively low doses through the addition of citrus into one’s diet. Over time, research has shown that it is incredibly safe, even in enormous doses, with little to no side effects, especially when compared to the side effects of the pharmaceutical alternatives. The theory of VC causing kidney stones has been repeatedly dis-proven, as discussed here although countless other sources are available.
The list of conditions successfully treated is long and there are numerous success stories even with many types of cancer. Success has been shown in both a cure rate as well as in a boost in quality of life during standard cancer treatment. In these scenarios, the VC is delivered in ultra high doses intravenously, but the effects are the same.
Living in a generally over medicated and undernourished country, I think basic supplementation offers benefits that far outweigh any negatives or potential side effects. I don’t believe in popping pills for every ailment that comes our way, but rather keeping a strong, vibrant immune system that is well equipped to fight whatever may come down the pike, as the body was so well designed to do on its own.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” ~Hippocrates
By the way….one of the all time best documentaries is available for a few more days for FREE! Viewing is online only. FOOD MATTERS is a must see, and covers food and supplements to the nth degree.