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Beware--Food is Your Medicine, Not Supplements

Around 2,500 years ago Hippocrates first popularized the "food as medicine" concept, which, unfortunately, fell into obscurity by the 19th century. The first 50 years of the 20th century saw the discovery of the essential elements and vitamins, particularly in the context of deficiency diseases. This led to "enrichment" of processed foods to help people regain the health they lost when they abandoned real whole foods. This article greatly expands on that concept.

Unfortunately, its foundation is seriously flawed. The answer in no way, shape or form involves the wide scale supplementation of dead and denatured foods. The real solution to the epidemic of chronic degenerative disease in the world is to establish new and improved food distribution systems that allow the regular consumer to obtain whole foods of high quality at a reasonable price. It is only unprocessed foods that contain all the perfect nutrients in the proper concentrations with the essential cofactors that will reverse and treat the disease. Relying on supplements to perform this miracle is idealistic fantasy.

As an example of this the article reviews some of the many benefits of folic acid. Ideally, this nutrient is best obtained through organic, fresh whole vegetables. But supplement companies (many of these are drug companies) have rushed to provide cheap chemical look alikes that do not work. The form of folate in supplements and in fortified foods is pteroylmonoglutamate (PGA), a form that does not occur in nature. It is both cheap and stable unlike most native forms of the vitamin. The article goes on to warn that we have no idea, read this as WE ARE CLUELESS, as to the consequences of using high doses of this cheap synthetic to reap the benefits of folic acid that researchers have found from natural foods.

The bottom line on this folks is don't be fooled by cheap substitutes, you need to get your supplements from foods, not pills, and if you chose to do otherwise beware of the unforseen consequences.

British Medical Journal January 24, 2004;328:211-214 Full Text Journal Article

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