DO WE NEED VITAMINS AND SUPPLEMENTS?
DO WE NEED VITAMINS AND SUPPLEMENTS?
Conventional medical practitioners have yet to recognize the value of vitamin and dietary supplements. Talking with a cardiologist friend of mine recently at the bar of Tauraso’s Ristorante, when I brought up the value of Coenzyme CoQ10 in patients with heart disease, he told me that studies have shown that CoQ10 had no beneficial effect.
Other cardiologists swear that CoQ10 is so beneficial that they would not think about not giving their patients both CoQ10 and L-carnitine, two of a long list of anti-oxidants found to positively influence cardiac patients. (Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., “The Coenzyme Q10 Phenomenon,” Keats Publishing, 1998; Emile G. Bliznakov, M.D., “The Miracle Nutrient Coenzyme Q10,” Bantam Books, 1987)
Table I describes the “Symptoms of Early Vitamin Deficiencies.” We can easily appreciate that vitamin deficiencies, especially the water-soluble B-complex group, causes symptoms similar to those experienced in cerebral allergies.
TABLE I: SYMPTOMS OF EARLY VITAMIN DEFICIENCY
Loss of appetite, depression, irritability, confusion, loss of memory, inability to concentrate, sensitivity to noise.
Anxiety, depression, fatigue, hyperactivity, headache, insomnia, hyperesthesia (increased sensitivity to touch). Later symptoms include: failing vision, hypersensitivity to light and odors, dizziness, dulled sense of taste and hallucinations.
No specific symptoms. This vitamin is a precursor for at least 50 enzymes necessary for normal body function. It is also required for zinc utilization.
Depression, agitation and hallucinations.
Irritability, depression, tension, numbness, dizziness, and a sullen disposition. This vitamin is needed to respond to stress.
C (Ascorbic acid)
Listlessness and blood vessel problems. Rats need three times as much vitamin C when stressed. Humans apparently also require additional vitamin C for mental and physical stress.
We should appreciate that prolonged consumption of the “empty calories” of refined carbohydrates (e.g., sugar, white flour and rice, and alcohol) lead to vitamin deficiencies, especially the water-soluble B-complex.
The subtleness of the consequences is one of the problems. Dr. Lansdale and Shamberger found that many juvenile offenders were deficient in thiamine (vitamin B1), referring to this condition as sub-clinical beri-beri. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February, 1980).
To correct this problem, the doctors gave each youth between 150 to 200 mg of thiamine a day for three weeks, while carefully monitoring when the blood levels returned to normal. This dose of thiamine was 100 to 200 the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of B1 which is 1.5 mg. It took three weeks before the thiamine blood level reached the desired normal.
This emphasizes the fact that symptoms may not disappear as immediately as one would expect from symptoms related to simple uncomplicated allergy, sensitivity, or deficiency. The personality traits (e.g., poor impulse control; easily angered; sensitive to criticism; easily irritated; and usually hostile and aggressive) exhibited by the juvenile offenders disappeared over the three week period.
When the RDA’s were established medical researches were determining what levels of thiamine were needed to prevent clinical beri-beri. Little was known at the time about subclinical beri-beri. We tare now beginning to appreciate that preventing sub clinical beri-beri may require more than what was thought needed to prevent overt beri-beri.
When an individual is deficient in a vitamin, it may take weeks, if not months, of high supplementation before blood levels return to normal. And we should keep in mind that blood levels may not reflect tissue levels which may lower. This, I believe, may well be the case with magnesium deficiency (covered in a previous Blog).
Role of Zinc
Several prominent allergists are establishing the relationship of zinc deficiency with sensitivity/allergic manifestations and with symptoms similar to those experienced in cerebral allergies.
Zinc is not only critical to the prevention of rare diseases like acrodermatitis enteropathica and Crohn’s disease (regional enteritis), but essential for normal growth, wound healing, resistance to infections, healthy prostate function, keen night vision, and sharp senses of taste and smell. Zinc also seems to reduce inflammation, reduce body odor, and clear up acne.
It has now been established that zinc is also required for learning, memory, and concentration, and for establishing integrity of the immunological system dealing with allergies. Additionally, zinc spurs growth and sexual maturity.
Zinc deficiency can be signaled by loss of weight and appetite, listlessness, rough and scaly skin, poor night vision, dull sense of taste and smell, white spots on fingernails, and eczema.
Acquired immune dysfunctions in humans occur with deficiencies of iron, zinc, vitamin A, B-6 (pyridoxine), B-12, and folic acid, and with excesses of essential fatty acids and vitamin E. (J. American Medical Association, 245:53-58, 1981.)
Generalized sensitivities and allergies have been associated with zinc deficiency. Once corrected with zinc supplementation, the clinical manifestation of allergy disappears.
Since nutritionally-induced immune dysfunction is generally reversible, it is important to recognize and identify clinical illnesses in which immunological malfunctions are of nutritional origin. Correction of the malnutrition should lead to prompt reversal of acquired immune malfunction.
When supplementing with zinc, it is always important to remember that it must be given with pyridoxine (B-6). Zinc requires B-6 for proper utilization in the body.
nicola michael c. Tauraso, M.D.
Director, Tauraso Medical Clinic