“It’s good food and not fine words that keeps me alive.” Molier
There are times when words need to be uttered that may spell salvation from the bad effects of ‘good food’ in our bodies. The world-wide explosion in the consumption of dietary vitamin and trace element supplements is one such time.
Let’s consider this question, Does the body of a well-nourished person need dietary supplementation? You decide: The body is an incredible instance of self-regulating, self-healing biological engineering. In terms of absorbing what is good for it through the bowel, it is generally able to take in enough of what it needs whilst disposing excess amounts as waste. The role of medications generally constitute crude, destabilizing interventions into this honestly amazing scenario. They function mainly to jog the body into healing itself. But when steeply excessive amounts are ingested, absorption is notched higher, leading to toxicity. We are aware that with respect to the body’s metabolism, it is like comparing the levels of operation of data-capturing to the apices of systems engineering. In common with all complex living matter, the body operates on certain foundation processes, a finely-tuned machine – and within often rigid parameters defining the boundaries of normality.
The biochemical parameters of operation of the body are, for many organs, particularly rigorous, with multiple intricate and interdependent series of processes working to bring about the end-result of ‘good health’ or ‘wellness’.
Unwellness, or dis-ease comes into existence when either, one or more of these biochemical processes or their interactions have either become abnormal, or their individual parameters have been transgressed. Again, all these have been designed to operate on a basic foundation containing other normal parameters such as, amongst others, the body’s vitamin and trace element content. Thus, if the body’s content of vitamins and trace elements is low or high, ill-health results.
In our times there is a preoccupation with supplementing vitamins and trace elements, based on the assumption that their levels, left on their own, tend to become lower than normal. This is assumed most commonly by the world-wide middle class, and has resulted in the highly lucrative vitamin supplement industry. For the middle classes worldwide, the notion that there is a need for vitamin and trace element supplementation is potentially dangerous social herding.
Whilst the tail-end of twentieth century agricultural production brought a global glut in food supply overall, the truth is, our health-view has remained fixated on a past era that focussed on correcting under-nutrition. We seem to have missed the point at which the pendulum swung into the opposite extreme, especially in developed parts of the world, where we find it now.
Because people on these supplements generally enjoy a balanced diet, faddish vitamin and trace element supplementation is unnecessary, wasteful and in and of itself, a cause of ill-health.
This dictates TWO lifestyle changes:
· 1. Desisting from the vitamin and trace element fad
· 2. Mentioning the fact that you are on vitamin and trace element supplementation to your doctor so
he/she can factor this into the current diagnostic process.
Below is a table showing the normal values/parameters of major vitamins & trace elements required for normal body function, as well as some known effects of excess ingestion:
EFFECTS OF EXCESS INTAKE
20-50 micro Gm/dL
Dry rough skin, cracked lips, headache, joint pains
(>2mg per day is excessive)
Balance & sensation disturbances - permanent
8.5- 10.5 mg/dL
Thirst, rash, loss of weight, kidney stones & other kidney damage, renal failure.
Intake of 2 mg/day required
Sepsis & bowel disease in infants
Normal activity tested using clotting tests
Anemia, bowel disturbance
Blood cell damage, brain damage , kidney failure, blood in urine, repeated miscarriage.
Part of Vit B12 formation.
Heart disease – often fatal.
Loss of hair & nails. Nervous disorders.
With the prevalence of ‘health’ and dietary supplementation currently in vogue, this article is a heads-up to the danger of finding ourselves inadvertently at the opposite end of the spectrum, nutritionally speaking, to where we think we are.
This is important because of the potentially serious – even life-threatening – results of excessive vitamin and trace-element ingestion.
©Thabo Seseane. All rights reserved.2013
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