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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

DO WE NEED VITAMINS AND SUPPLEMENTS?

DO WE NEED VITAMINS AND SUPPLEMENTS?

The short answer is: YES.

Conventional medical practitioners have yet to recognize the value of vitamins and dietary supplements. I was talking with a cardiologist friend of mine about two years ago at the bar of Tauraso’s Ristorante, a restaurant I once owned and ran successfully for 20 years in Frederick, MD but which has since ceased to exist because the man who bought it from me did not know how to run it. 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. This indicated to me the lack of his knowledge of the experiences of other reputable cardiologists.

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 positively to 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)

On another note, Table I describes the “Symptoms of Early Vitamin Deficiencies.” We can easily appreciate that vitamin deficiencies, especially the water-soluble B-complex group, cause symptoms similar to those experienced in cerebral allergies.

TABLE I: SYMPTOMS OF EARLY VITAMIN DEFICIENCY

B1 (Thiamine)
Loss of appetite, depression, irritability, confusion, loss of memory, inability to concentrate, sensitivity to noise.

B3 (Niacin)
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.

B6 (Pyridoxine)
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.

B12 (Cyanocobalamin)
Depression, agitation and hallucinations.

Pantothenic acid
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 mich 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 times 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 values.

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 behavior) exhibited by the juvenile offenders disappeared over the three-week period.

When the RDA’s were established medical researchers were determining what levels of thiamine were needed to prevent clinical beri-beri. Little was known at the time about sub-clinical 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. Conventional medical practitioners do not really understand this because they were trained and educated to appreciate those values needed to prevent overt diseases caused by deficiencies. However, modern nutritionists and more holistic practitioners do appreciate this.

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 acrodermititis 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.


Water-soluble vitamins are not usually stored within the body. They must be consumed daily as part of one’s diet, and they are cleared easily from the body in the urine. Fat-soluble vitamins are usually stored in body tissues. Care must usually be exercised not to take high doses regularly, although is some situations higher than recommended doses should be given to overcome deficiencies.

When chronic deficiencies of some vitamins and supplements exist, an affected individual might need to consume large doses to overcome the problem. This may be due to the fact that whatever might have caused the deficiency, perhaps a deficiency in an enzyme or enzymes required to create or process the supplement within the body, might be overcome if the supplement were supplied in large amounts.

If a deficiency disease exists medical supervision of one’s treatment might be necessary.

nicola michael c. Tauraso, M.D.
Director, Tauraso Medical Clinic
www.drtauraso.com

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