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VITAMINS & SUPPLEMENTS

Vitamin C and E

"Vitamin C does exist in different forms - water soluble ascorbic acid and a multitude of ascorbates (i.e., salt forms in combination with elements like sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium), along with fat soluble forms like ascorbyl palmitate, so vitamin C is not just one thing. There's no question (in my mind, anyway) that vitamin C is far more potent when ingested in its natural state, which would complex it with phytonutrients called bioflavonoids (as in citrus fruits for example). Like anything else, rarely is a single compound by itself the best way to achieve optimal
nutrient status.

"However, I'm not aware of actual damage being caused by the use of (for example) pure ascorbic acid. Robert Cathcart, MD, Fred Klenner, MD, Linus Pauling, PhD, Archibald Kalakerinos, MD, and many others have done amazing things using vitamin C intravenously in huge doses (even up to 100 grams [100,000 milligrams] over a few hours' time). Such efforts have shown benefit against SIDS, snake bite, typhoid, cancer and other serious situations. (Note: One 'sort of' exception might be the early efforts of Linus Pauling and Ewan Cameron, a Scottish surgeon, using immense doses of vitamin C on some highly advanced cancer patients. When some died even earlier than expected, autopsies found that the vitamin C had killed cancer cells so rapidly that the tumor masses tended to 'die' and crumble in on themselves, causing blockages that killed the patient.)"

"Concerning vitamin E, however, things are a bit different. Bear in mind that synthetic vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is the identical molecule to what's naturally made in nature, only differing in its lack of accompanying phytonutrients. Synthetic vitamin E, on the other hand, is not the same as its natural counterpart. Chemically it is dl-alpha tocopherol (a mixture of 'd' forms and 'l' forms), the significant
difference being that little 'l' in the beginning. This is a molecule shape that the body is not designed to handle, whereas the 'd' form alone is the one the body is able to use. It is important (again in my opinion) to use the 'dl' form only topically, going with the natural stuff for oral
use.

"Unfortunately, for vitamin E it gets even a bit more complicated. A 'natural' form of alpha tocopherol still presents a problem because there are three other (known) fractions of vitamin E- beta, delta and gamma. Use of the alpha form alone (all that was available years ago) has been
shown to lower the body's levels of the other three. Therefore, I only recommend the use of what's called 'mixed tocopherols,' which contains all the fractions in their natural state. To ice the cake I also like to add some selenium, which is known to accompany vitamin E as a synergist in many reactions (and adds positive effects in its own right).

"Therefore, when you get down to it, natural state is always better, assuming you can get adequate amounts to accomplish the job you're dealing with."

"There are a few (read that a FEW) pill forms that break down quickly, but they are rare.  I always use capsule, powder or liquid forms whenever possible, as they at least guarantee that the individual gets what he swallows (whether the dose is adequate is another issue). 

"For the same reason I don't use time-release forms, as you're then using a preparation deliberately designed not to give its contents to you. I prefer to have the individual be his own 'time-releaser' by multiple dosing throughout the day.

"One caveat to what preparation is used is to make certain you know the dose amounts of the contents. Some products hedge on that, and as good as they may be, you have no way of evaluating just what you're paying for."


Dr. Allan Spreen

(Known for his original 'Nutrition Physician' online sites for both America Online, and iVillage's 'The Women's Network', offering nutrition information directly to the public.)

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Hard Pill Test

Allan Spreen, M.D., has previously told us that the contents of hard pills are not easily absorbed, here are his comments: "Theoretically, 'proper' testing is supposed to use vinegar, I believe. However, I don't know because I wouldn't consider such a test. If a pill doesn't disintegrate almost immediately in water I don't use it. Many people don't produce nearly enough acid, so even if they're taking digestive enzymes (but as hard pills), they may never actually absorb anything. "Hard pills are cheaper than capsules for one thing, and another thing is that more 'stuff' can be pressed into them. That does NOT mean you can get it back out. If I'm forced to use hard pills I at least break them in half, and I'd crush them if I knew I could tolerate the taste. Capsules are the way to go. Just ask a septic tank cleaner, most of whom can attest to the tons of undigested pills that settle to the bottom of tanks!"For the same reason I'd also avoid 'time release' types, which are specifically designed NOT to release! Be your own time-releaser and take the capsules more often. "Nutrient supplements are taken to enhance nutrient levels that should be in our food (but often aren't, due to the poor quality of our 'civilized' diet), so they should survive stomach acid if mixed with food. Supplements shouldn't be taken alone, anyway... a waste of money.

"Vitamin B-12 may be one exception, where injections and sublingual types (under-the-tongue) are superior to oral, where acid may really lessen the dose."

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Iodine Test

You'll love this quick $1 cure for low energy...cold hands & feet...and body weakness: If you've ever had any of these symptoms, you may have a low thyroid function. Taking thyroid supplements won't do a thing if you are deficient in iodine.

There is a quick test you can do right at home to check your iodine level. Just take a Q-tip and paint an area about the size of a silver dollar with two-percent tincture of iodine (get from any drugstore). Paint it on your thigh or tummy.
If your iodine level is normal, the yellowish stain will disappear after 24 hours. But if the stain disappears in less than 24 hours, it means your body is deficient and has thirstily sucked it up.

Solution: Keep applying iodine in the same way in different spots daily until it no longer disappears before the 24-hour period.

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