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Orthomolecular Medicine

  • WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VITAMIN B12

    Dr. Hank Liers, PhD vitamin B12 B-12 cobalamin methylcobalaminI previously wrote METHYLATION CYCLE, GENETICS, B VITAMINS in which I considered in-depth how the Methylation Cycle functions, how genetics affect metabolic pathways, and how B vitamins (including vitamin B12, folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B2) are used in Methylation Cycle pathways. In today's article, I take an in-depth view of what you need to know about vitamin B12, including the effects of not having sufficient amounts of Vitamin B12 in the body.

    vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 contains the biochemically rare element cobalt positioned in the center of a chemical ring structure.

    Vitamin B12 is one of eight B vitamins. It is the largest and most structurally complicated vitamin. It consists of a class of chemically related compounds (vitamers), all of which show physiological activity. It contains the biochemically rare element cobalt positioned in the center of a chemical ring structure.

    Vitamin B12 (also called cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in the metabolism of every cell of the human body. It is a cofactor in DNA synthesis, and in both fatty acid and amino acid metabolism. It is particularly important in the normal functioning of the nervous system via its role in the synthesis of myelin and in the maturation of developing red blood cells in the bone marrow.

    YOUR NEED FOR VITAMIN B12

    Vitamin B12 deficiency is thought to be one of the leading nutritional deficiencies in the world. An extensive 2004 study showed that deficiency is a major health concern in many parts of the world, including the North America, Central and South America, India, and certain areas in Africa. It is estimated that 40 percent of people may have low levels of vitamin B12.

    Vitamin B12 affects your mood, energy level, memory, nervous system, heart, skin, hair, digestion and more. It is a key nutrient regarding adrenal fatigue and multiple metabolic functions including enzyme production, DNA synthesis, and hormonal balance.

    Because of vitamin B12's extensive roles within the body, a vitamin deficiency can show up in many different symptoms, such as chronic fatigue, mood disorders such as depression, chronic stress, and low energy.

    SOURCES OF VITAMIN B12

    The only organisms to produce vitamin B12 are certain bacteria and archaea. Some of these bacteria are found in the soil around the grasses that ruminants eat. They are taken into the animal, proliferate, form part of their gut flora, and continue to produce vitamin B12.

    Products of animal origin such as beef (especially liver), chicken, pork, eggs, dairy, clams, and fish constitute the primary food source of vitamin B12. Older individuals and vegans are advised to use vitamin B12 fortified foods and supplements to meet their needs.

    vitamin B12 salmon Salmon is a good source of Vitamin B12

    Commercially, Vitamin B12 is prepared by bacterial fermentation. Fermentation by a variety of microorganisms yields a mixture of methylcobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, and adenosylcobalamin. Since multiple species of propionibacterium produce no exotoxins or endotoxins and have been granted GRAS status (generally regarded as safe) by the United States Food and Drug Administration, they are the preferred bacterial fermentation organisms for vitamin B12 production.

    Methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin are the forms of vitamin B12 used in the human body (called coenzyme forms). The form of cobalamin used in many some nutritional supplements and fortified foods, cyanocobalamin, is readily converted to 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin in the body.

    Hydroxocobalamin is the direct precursor of methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin. In mammals, cobalamin is a cofactor for only two enzymes, methionine synthase (MS) and L-methylmalonyl-coenzyme A mutase (MUT).

    Unlike most other vitamins, B12 is stored in substantial amounts, mainly in the liver, until it is needed by the body. If a person stops consuming the vitamin, the body’s stores of this vitamin usually take about 3 to 5 years to exhaust. Vitamin B12 is primarily stored in the liver as 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin, but is easily converted to methylcobalamin.

    ABSORPTION OF VITAMIN B12

    Vitamin B12, bound to protein in food, is released by the activity of hydrochloric acid and gastric protease in the stomach. Intestinal absorption of vitamin B12 requires successively three different protein molecules: Haptocorrin, Intrinsic Factor and Transcobalamin II. If there are deficiencies in any of these factors absorption of Vitamin B12 can be seriously decreased.

    When vitamin B12 is added to fortified foods and dietary supplements, it is already in free form and, thus, does not require the separation from food protein step. Free vitamin B12 then combines with intrinsic factor, a glycoprotein secreted by the stomach’s parietal cells, and the resulting complex undergoes absorption within the distal ileum by receptor-mediated endocytosis.

    Approximately 56% of a 1 mcg oral dose of vitamin B12 is absorbed, but absorption decreases drastically when the capacity of intrinsic factor is exceeded (at 1–2 mcg of vitamin B12).

    Vitamin B12 – 5 mg methylcobalamin sublingual lozenge Vitamin B12 – 5 mg Methylcobalamin sublingual lozenge.

    VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY

    Vitamin B12 deficiency can be difficult to detect, especially since the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can be similar to many common symptoms, such as feeling tired or unfocused, experienced by people for a variety of reasons.

    Vitamin B12 deficiency is commonly associated with chronic stomach inflammation, which may contribute to an autoimmune vitamin B12 malabsorption syndrome called pernicious anemia and to a food-bound vitamin B12 malabsorption syndrome. Poor absorption of vitamin may be related to coeliac disease. Impairment of vitamin B12 absorption can cause megaloblastic anemia and neurologic disorders in deficient subjects. In some cases, permanent damage can be caused to the body when B12 amounts are deficient.

    It is noteworthy that normal function of the digestive system required for food-bound vitamin B12 absorption is commonly impaired in individuals over 60 years of age, placing them at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency.

    A diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency is typically based on the measurement of serum vitamin B12 levels within the blood. However, studies show that about 50 percent of patients with diseases related to vitamin B12 deficiency have normal B12 levels when tested. This can cause individuals to ignore taking in adequate levels of vitamin B12 with potential serious consequences.

    FUNCTIONS AND ISSUES ASSOCIATED WITH VITAMIN B12 STATUS IN THE BODY

    • Vitamin B12 or cobalamin plays essential roles in folate metabolism and in the synthesis of the citric acid cycle intermediate, succinyl-CoA.

     

    • Vitamin B12 deficiency is commonly associated with chronic stomach inflammation, which may contribute to an autoimmune vitamin B12 malabsorption syndrome called pernicious anemia and to a food-bound vitamin B12 malabsorption syndrome. Impairment of vitamin B12 absorption can cause megaloblastic anemia and neurologic disorders in deficient subjects.

     

    • Normal function of the digestive system required for food-bound vitamin B12 absorption is commonly impaired in individuals over 60 years of age, placing them at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency.

     

    • Vitamin B12 and folate are important for homocysteine metabolism. Elevated homocysteine levels in blood are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). B vitamin supplementation has been proven effective to control homocysteine levels.

     

    • The preservation of DNA integrity is dependent on folate and vitamin B12 availability. Poor vitamin B12 status has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer in some, but not all, observational studies.

     

    • Low maternal vitamin B12 status has been associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects (NTD), but it is not known whether vitamin B12 supplementation could help reduce the risk of NTD.

     

    • Vitamin B12 is essential for the preservation of the myelin sheath around neurons and for the synthesis of neurotransmitters. A severe vitamin B12 deficiency may damage nerves, causing tingling or loss of sensation in the hands and feet, muscle weakness, loss of reflexes, difficulty walking, confusion, and dementia.

     

    • While hyperhomocysteinemia may increase the risk of cognitive impairment, it is not clear whether vitamin B12 deficiency contributes to the risk of dementia in the elderly. Although B-vitamin supplementation lowers homocysteine levels in older subjects, the long-term benefit is not yet known.

     

    • Both depression and osteoporosis have been linked to diminished vitamin B12 status and high homocysteine levels.

     

    • The long-term use of certain medications, such as inhibitors of stomach acid secretion, can adversely affect vitamin B12 absorption.

     

    • Vitamin B12 is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis.

     

    MORE DETAILS ASSOCIATED WITH VITAMIN B12 STATUS IN THE BODY

    1. Vitamin B12 is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis. Vitamin B12 as methylcobalamin functions as a cofactor for methionine synthase. Methionine synthase (MS) catalyzes the conversion of homocysteine to methionine. Methionine along with ATP is required for the formation of S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), a universal methyl donor for almost 100 different substrates, including DNA, RNA, hormones, proteins, and lipids.
    2. Vitamin B12 as 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin functions as a cofactor along with L-methylmalonyl-CoA mutase (MUT) to convert L-methylmalonyl-CoA to succinyl-CoA in the degradation of propionate, an essential biochemical reaction in fat and protein metabolism. Succinyl-CoA is also required for hemoglobin synthesis.
    Metabolic Pathway

     

    3. Vitamin B12, bound to protein in food, is released by the activity of hydrochloric acid and gastric protease in the stomach. When synthetic vitamin B12 is added to fortified foods and dietary supplements, it is already in free form and, thus, does not require this separation step. Free vitamin B12 then combines with intrinsic factor, a glycoprotein secreted by the stomach’s parietal cells, and the resulting complex undergoes absorption within the distal ileum by receptor-mediated endocytosis. Approximately 56% of a 1 mcg oral dose of vitamin B12 is absorbed, but absorption decreases drastically when the capacity of intrinsic factor is exceeded (at 1–2 mcg of vitamin B12).

    4. Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disease that affects the gastric mucosa and results in gastric atrophy. This leads to the destruction of parietal cells, achlorhydria, and failure to produce intrinsic factor, resulting in vitamin B12 malabsorption. If pernicious anemia is left untreated, it causes vitamin B12 deficiency, leading to megaloblastic anemia and neurological disorders, even in the presence of adequate dietary intake of vitamin B12.

    5. Vitamin B12 status is typically assessed via serum or plasma vitamin B12 levels. Values below approximately 170–250 pg/mL (120–180 picomol/L) for adults indicate a vitamin B12 deficiency. However, evidence suggests that serum vitamin B12 concentrations might not accurately reflect intracellular concentrations. An elevated serum homocysteine level (values >13 micromol/L) might also suggest a vitamin B12 deficiency. However, this indicator has poor specificity because it is influenced by other factors, such as low vitamin B6 or folate levels. Elevated methylmalonic acid levels (values >0.4 micromol/L) might be a more reliable indicator of vitamin B12 status because they indicate a metabolic change that is highly specific to vitamin B12 deficiency.

    6. Vitamin B12 deficiency is characterized by megaloblastic anemia, fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Neurological changes, such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, can also occur . Additional symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include difficulty maintaining balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory, and soreness of the mouth or tongue. The neurological symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can occur without anemia, so early diagnosis and intervention is important to avoid irreversible damage. During infancy, signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency include failure to thrive, movement disorders, developmental delays, and megaloblastic anemia. Many of these symptoms are general and can result from a variety of medical conditions other than vitamin B12 deficiency.

    7. Typically, vitamin B12 deficiency is treated with vitamin B12 injections, since this method bypasses potential barriers to absorption. However, high doses of oral vitamin B12 can also be effective. The authors of a review of randomized controlled trials comparing oral with intramuscular vitamin B12 concluded that 2,000 mcg (I like 5,000 mcg) of oral vitamin B12 daily, followed by a decreased daily dose of 1,000 mcg and then 1,000 mcg weekly and finally, monthly might be as effective as intramuscular administration. Overall, an individual patient’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 is the most important factor in determining whether vitamin B12 should be administered orally or via injection. In most countries, the practice of using intramuscular vitamin B12 to treat vitamin B12 deficiency has remained unchanged.

    8. Large amounts of folate can mask the damaging effects of vitamin B12 deficiency by correcting the megaloblastic anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency without correcting the neurological damage that also occurs. Moreover, preliminary evidence suggests that high serum folate levels might not only mask vitamin B12 deficiency, but could also exacerbate the anemia and worsen the cognitive symptoms associated with vitamin B12 deficiency. Permanent nerve damage can occur if vitamin B12 deficiency is not treated. For these reasons, folate intake from fortified food and supplements should not exceed 1,000 mcg daily in healthy adults.

    Groups at Risk of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

    The main causes of vitamin B12 deficiency include vitamin B12 malabsorption from food, pernicious anemia, postsurgical malabsorption, and dietary deficiency. However, in many cases, the cause of vitamin B12 deficiency is unknown. The following groups are among those most likely to be vitamin B12 deficient.

    Older adults: Atrophic gastritis, a condition affecting 10%–30% of older adults, decreases secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, resulting in decreased absorption of vitamin B12. Decreased hydrochloric acid levels might also increase the growth of normal intestinal bacteria that use vitamin B12, further reducing the amount of vitamin B12 available to the bodY.

    Individuals with atrophic gastritis are unable to absorb the vitamin B12 that is naturally present in food. Most, however, can absorb the synthetic vitamin B12 added to fortified foods and dietary supplements. As a result, the IOM recommends that adults older than 50 years obtain most of their vitamin B12 from vitamin supplements or fortified foods. However, some elderly patients with atrophic gastritis require doses much higher than the RDA to avoid subclinical deficiency.

    Individuals with pernicious anemia: Pernicious anemia, a condition that affects 1%–2% of older adults, is characterized by a lack of intrinsic factor. Individuals with pernicious anemia cannot properly absorb vitamin B12 in the gastrointestinal tract. Pernicious anemia is usually treated with intramuscular vitamin B12. However, approximately 1% of oral vitamin B12 can be absorbed passively in the absence of intrinsic factor, suggesting that high oral doses of vitamin B12 might also be an effective treatment.

    Individuals with gastrointestinal disorders: Individuals with stomach and small intestine disorders, such as celiac disease and Crohn’s disease, may be unable to absorb enough vitamin B12 from food to maintain healthy body stores. Subtly reduced cognitive function resulting from early vitamin B12 deficiency might be the only initial symptom of these intestinal disorders, followed by megaloblastic anemia and dementia.

    Individuals who have had gastrointestinal surgery: Surgical procedures in the gastrointestinal tract, such as weight loss surgery or surgery to remove all or part of the stomach, often result in a loss of cells that secrete hydrochloric acid and intrinsic factor. This reduces the amount of vitamin B12, particularly food-bound vitamin B12, that the body releases and absorbs. Surgical removal of the distal ileum also can result in the inability to absorb vitamin B12. Individuals undergoing these surgical procedures should be monitored preoperatively and postoperatively for several nutrient deficiencies, including vitamin B12 deficiency.

    Vegetarians: Strict vegetarians and vegans are at greater risk than lacto-ovo vegetarians and non-vegetarians of developing vitamin B12 deficiency because natural food sources of vitamin B12 are limited to animal foods. Fortified breakfast cereals and fortified nutritional yeasts are some of the only sources of vitamin B12 from plants and can be used as dietary sources of vitamin B12 for strict vegetarians and vegans. Fortified foods vary in formulation, so it is important to read the Nutrition Facts labels on food products to determine the types and amounts of added nutrients they contain.

    Pregnant and lactating women who follow strict vegetarian diets and their infants: Vitamin B12 crosses the placenta during pregnancy and is present in breast milk. Exclusively breastfed infants of women who consume no animal products may have very limited reserves of vitamin B12 and can develop vitamin B12 deficiency within months of birth. Undetected and untreated vitamin B12 deficiency in infants can result in severe and permanent neurological damage.

    The American Dietetic Association recommends supplemental vitamin B12 for vegans and lacto-ovo vegetarians during both pregnancy and lactation to ensure that enough vitamin B12 is transferred to the fetus and infant. Pregnant and lactating women who follow strict vegetarian or vegan diets should consult with a pediatrician regarding vitamin B12 supplements for their infants and children.

    Health Risks from Excessive Vitamin B12

    The IOM did not establish a UL for vitamin B12 because of its low potential for toxicity. In Dietary Reference Intakes: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline, the IOM states that “no adverse effects have been associated with excess vitamin B12 intake from food and supplements in healthy individuals”.

    Findings from intervention trials support these conclusions. In the NORVIT and HOPE 2 trials, vitamin B12 supplementation (in combination with folic acid and vitamin B6) did not cause any serious adverse events when administered at doses of 0.4 mg for 40 months (NORVIT trial) and 1.0 mg for 5 years (HOPE 2 trial).

    Interactions with Medications

    Vitamin B12 has the potential to interact with certain medications. In addition, several types of medications might adversely affect vitamin B12 levels. A few examples are provided below. Individuals taking these and other medications on a regular basis should discuss their vitamin B12 status with their healthcare providers.

    Chloramphenicol: Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin®) is a bacteriostatic antibiotic. Limited evidence from case reports indicates that chloramphenicol can interfere with the red blood cell response to supplemental vitamin B12 in some patients.

    Proton pump inhibitors: Proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole (Prilosec®) and lansoprazole (Prevacid®), are used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease and peptic ulcer disease. These drugs can interfere with vitamin B12 absorption from food by slowing the release of gastric acid into the stomach. However, the evidence is conflicting on whether proton pump inhibitor use affects vitamin B12 status. As a precaution, healthcare providers should monitor vitamin B12 status in patients taking proton pump inhibitors for prolonged periods.

    H2 receptor antagonists: Histamine H2 receptor antagonists, used to treat peptic ulcer disease, include cimetidine (Tagamet®), famotidine (Pepcid®), and ranitidine (Zantac®). These medications can interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12 from food by slowing the release of hydrochloric acid into the stomach. Although H2 receptor antagonists have the potential to cause vitamin B12 deficiency, no evidence indicates that they promote vitamin B12 deficiency, even after long-term use. Clinically significant effects may be more likely in patients with inadequate vitamin B12 stores, especially those using H2 receptor antagonists continuously for more than 2 years.

    Metformin: Metformin, a hypoglycemic agent used to treat diabetes, might reduce the absorption of vitamin B12, possibly through alterations in intestinal mobility, increased bacterial overgrowth, or alterations in the calcium-dependent uptake by ileal cells of the vitamin B12-intrinsic factor complex. Small studies and case reports suggest that 10%–30% of patients who take metformin have reduced vitamin B12 absorption. In a randomized, placebo controlled trial in patients with type 2 diabetes, metformin treatment for 4.3 years significantly decreased vitamin B12 levels by 19% and raised the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency by 7.2% compared with placebo. Some studies suggest that supplemental calcium might help improve the vitamin B12 malabsorption caused by metformin, but not all researchers agree.

    REFERENCES

    FROM: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/71/2/514/4729184
    Plasma vitamin B-12 concentrations relate to intake source in the Framingham Offspring Study

    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 71, Issue 2, 1 February 2000, Pages 514–522, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/71.2.514

    ABSTRACT

    Background: Low vitamin B-12 status is prevalent among the elderly, but few studies have examined the association between vitamin B-12 status and intake.
    Objective: We hypothesized that vitamin B-12 concentrations vary according to intake source.
    Design: Plasma concentrations and dietary intakes were assessed cross-sectionally for 2999 subjects in the Framingham Offspring Study. The prevalence of vitamin B-12 concentrations <148, 185, and 258 pmol/L was examined by age group (26–49, 50–64, and 65–83 y), supplement use, and the following food intake sources: fortified breakfast cereal, dairy products, and meat.
    Results: Thirty-nine percent of subjects had plasma vitamin B-12 concentrations <258 pmol/L, 17% had concentrations <185 pmol/L, and 9% had concentrations <148 pmol/L, with little difference between age groups. Supplement users were significantly less likely than non-supplement-users to have concentrations <185 pmol/L (8% compared with 20%, respectively). Among non-supplement-users, there were significant differences between those who consumed fortified cereal >4 times/wk (12%) and those who consumed no fortified cereal (23%) and between those in the highest and those in the lowest tertile of dairy intake (13% compared with 24%, respectively), but no significant differences by meat tertile. Regression of plasma vitamin B-12 on log of intake, by source, yielded significant slopes for each contributor adjusted for the others. For the total group, b = 40.6 for vitamin B-12 from vitamin supplements. Among non-supplement-users, b = 56.4 for dairy products, 35.2 for cereal, and 16.7 for meat. Only the meat slope differed significantly from the others.
    Conclusions: In contrast with previous reports, plasma vitamin B-12 concentrations were associated with vitamin B-12 intake. Use of supplements, fortified cereal, and milk appears to protect against lower concentrations. Further research is needed to investigate possible differences in bioavailability.

     

    INTERNET REFERENCES

  • IRENA OSSOLA UPDATE – ROLE OF SUPPLEMENTS IN PROFESSIONAL CYCLING

    Irena Ossola pro cyclist nutritional supplementsHPDI's sponsored athlete Irena Ossola has been a bike tour leader in Italy this summer and fall. During that time, she scaled back her nutritional supplement regimen. This is partly because the summer and fall period is one of rest from high-intensity competitive bike training—and because her training for the new racing season has not yet begun. However, she recorded her observations regarding nutritional supplements. She concludes they are important whether or not she is actively training for races. – editor

    I have been working like a maniac and nonstop since I arrived in Italy for my bike touring job at the end of August. However, I am feeling good and recovering well and happy to to move forward for next year in training. I am starting to really look forward to getting in some hard solid winter training now and especially being in Tucson will be amazing!! I can't wait to get back into my regular training regime. On another note, I've recorded some observations during my time in Italy about my nutrition and vitamins.

    Beginning August:

    "As I am now at the beginning of my touring/working season I’d like to use this time as my sort of off for supplements. From vitamins, as I have found in the past that I have trouble staying on schedule and taking them while working. I feel that my nutrition is still adequate as I eat vegetables and meat and other necessary things for the amount of effort and activity I am putting my body through. But I also know I will feel the difference without a constant flow of vitamins and supplements from integrated health."

    Beginning September:

    "Now that I am in my moment of break and I’ve been working constantly for about a month, I must stay that I have also not been taking vitamins for a couple weeks and I can definitely feel the difference. Especially in my diet when I am not eating as healthy (as I do when training) or being as consistent with consuming vegetables.

    I notice a lack of energy when I am working and lack of intensity on the bike when I'm riding. This is fine for now, and a good test for me as during this time I do not need a high-intensity effort while riding and it is a good test of my energy levels to see the contrast while I'm working compared to training.

    I will begin taking some supplements again regularly which I think will help and will also demonstrate the necessity to have a regular schedule of nutritional supplements even when my work and travel schedule is so busy."

    Beginning October:

    "Boy do I feel the difference! Since I have been regularly taking supplements again I can feel my energy going up and my willingness to push more and have more intensity on the bike. I feel the difference in my regular diet as well as I feel more motivated to eat healthy. This is a big contrast and difference I can see from the period when I was taking supplements to when I stopped and now again to taking them. This shows how big the influence of nutritional supplementation is for my body.

    I will continue taking my vitamins and being active while working and also eating a healthy diet to maintain my energy levels and physical ability. I am so busy while working that supplements are often hard to take while changing hotels or setting things up for the day. But if I have my vitamin bag and make sure to keep it somewhere easily accessible, then I am more willing to take them and can easily.

    It is great to be working so closely with an amazing company like Health Products Distributors where I can do this sort of test to see the differences. It shows a huge difference in their products compared to just food and how they affect my body. I have been taking Mighty Multi-Vite!, Ultimate Protector, Omega Plus, and Myo-Mag.

    The supplements are amazing and I LOVE them and again I cannot wait to return to my competitive training this winter in Tucson." ~

    ==

    Editor's notes: Irena primarily takes HPDI Foundational Supplements which are the base or core of a nutritional supplement program. Foundational supplements include a high-potency multivitamin (Hank & Brian's Mighty Multi-Vite!), vitamin C/antioxidant formulas (Ultimate Protector Nrf2 activator formula), essential fats (Omega Plus), and Rejuvenate! high-RNA superfoods (Rejuvenate! PLUS and Rejuvenate! Berries & Herbs). She also takes other HPDI formulas like Myo-Mag (magnesium formula), pH Adjust alkalinizing formula, Warrior Mist (topical pain reliever). and other formulas depending on her needs.

  • ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS – SEVEN ARGUMENTS FOR NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS

    Fred Liers PhD nutrients nutritional supplementsAlmost daily articles, reports, or studies appear claiming nutritional supplements are not effective. The claims vary, but the verdict is always there is little or no scientific evidence proving supplements (or the nutrients in supplements) work. Others assert that people who take supplements have the world's most expensive urine. This is nonsense! The scientific evidence is clear, available, and it has been for a long time.

    Among the many problems with these reports is bashing supplements based on studies using low dose or non-therapeutic levels of nutrients. There is frequently failure to consider the importance of synergy among nutrients. Often there is data manipulation via statistical methods (often in meta-analyses).

    Well beyond the question of whether supplements support health are the factors in modern life that create a greater needs for supplementing with important vitamins, minerals, cofactors, and other nutrients.

    This month we present "Seven Arguments for Nutritional Supplements." As the title implies, there are at least seven solid arguments for nutritional supplementation. There are actually a lot more.

    To preview these arguments in favor of taking supplements, they are: 1) reduced food quality, 2) nutrient density varies by location, 3) modern lifestyles and stress, 4) environmental pollution, 5) too low RDAs, and 6) promotion of health and delaying of aging, and 7) the human right to correct information.

    essential nutrients fatty acids EFA supplement Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) are one type of essential nutrient required for health.

    We at HPDI re-publish articles from the Orthomolecular News Service  (OMNS) because the authors provide much needed truth. Truth the form of correcting the false assumptions of anti-supplement propagandists to clarify the benefits of nutritional supplements. This information can help people be healthier easily and at relatively low cost.

    HPDI offers a full line of foundational nutritional supplements, including multivitamins, vitamin C and antioxidant formulas, essential fats, and high-RNA Rejuvenate! superfoods. We also offer nearly 100 other nutritional supplements from single nutrients to condition specific formulas. See our full product overview.

    Enjoy this article from the Orthomolecular News Service (OMNS). ~

    Seven Arguments for Taking Nutritional Supplements

    by Dag Viljen Poleszynski, PhD

    (OMNS Sept 12 2018)

    One of the most vitamin-restrictive countries in the world is Norway. There, authorities limit potencies to only slightly higher than RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) levels for dietary supplements sold outside of pharmacies. The traditional reasoning is that most people receive the nutrients they need from a "balanced diet." [1]

    The authorities are also obsessively concerned that some vitamins and minerals are harmful in high doses. And, since an intake of water-soluble vitamins in excess of needs is excreted in the urine, Norwegian "experts" advise that taking supplements is a waste of money.

    Accordingly, the argument goes, the public should be protected not only from possible harm, but also from wasting money on unnecessary nutrients. The official policies on nutritional supplements vary within OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries. Some are more liberal, while others are even more restrictive.

    The official view on the connection between nutrient intake and possible toxicity is illustrated by the Norwegian Food Authority in a graph. [2]

    Perceived risk from intake of nutrients. (Source: Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals. Safe upper limits for Vitamins and Minerals. May 2003: Food Standards Agency, UK.)

    The graph illustrates the official view on nutrients, assuming that nutrients function in the same way as pharmaceuticals, which they do not. Supplements of most vitamins, but also minerals and other nutrients, do not have very serious side effects even when taken at very high levels - in contrast with most drugs. [3,4] The fact that most of the chemotherapeutic drugs used against cancer have none or even just marginal effects against most cancers [5], while at the same time cause a lot of serious side effects, is rarely up for discussion.

    The idea that nutritional supplements are not safe has a legal underpinning in Norwegian Food Law, which in section 16 prohibits sale of any food which is not safe: "Any food shall be considered not to be safe if it is seen as detrimental to health or not fit for consumption." [6]

    However, the Norwegian authorities do admit that vitamin D supplements are needed during part of the year. [1] Only part of the year? One third of Norway is within the Arctic Circle. Norway has far too little sunshine (especially during winter months) to get adequate levels of vitamin D from UVB radiation on the skin.

    The authorities also recommend that pregnant women take folic acid to prevent birth defects, and omega-3-fatty acids may be advisable for those who do not eat fish regularly. Norwegians have a long tradition of giving children cod liver oil, which in a daily tablespoon provides enough vitamin A and D and essential fatty acids to cover basic needs.

    Essential and conditionally essential nutrients

    There are thousands of dietary supplements on the market, including 40+ essential nutrients alone and in various combinations, i.e. vitamins, minerals, trace elements and fatty acids. However, a number of other nutrients are "conditionally essential", meaning that the body normally can make these molecules, but some people do not make optimal amounts. Examples are L-carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, the methyl donor betaine, [7] chondroitin sulfate, coenzyme Q10, choline, amino acids such as tyrosine or arginine, and "essential" sugars normally formed in the body. [8]

    Healthy young people normally make sufficient amounts of conditionally essential molecules in the body, although the levels are not always optimal. With inadequate levels of minerals or vitamins, key enzymes in biochemical pathways may not function optimally.

    Due to genetic mutations, some enzymes may have increased needs for certain cofactors (vitamins), which can prevent them from functioning optimally.[9] Some enzymes only function normally when supplied with cofactors in greater amounts than normally required.

    If supplements of essential nutrients prove insufficient for optimal enzyme function, "conditionally essential" nutrients may be added as part of a comprehensive, therapeutic program.

    Some reservations

    Parents are advised to become familiar with the literature on essential nutrients, for instance by consulting the Orthomolecular News Service. Children should be given supplements in appropriate doses and in a suitable form. Pills should not be given before children can control the swallowing reflex. Multivitamin powder can be given dissolved in water or juice. Parents should not dose vitamin C so high that a child comes to school or kindergarten with loose bowels or diarrhea.

    In high doses, niacin may cause unpleasant side effects such as flushing and itching lasting up to several hours. [10] Although this is not dangerous, it may cause a child to feel unwell and anxious. Starting niacin supplementation with a low dose and gradually increasing it will allow the body to adapt and avoid the niacin flush.

    A multivitamin supplement containing moderate amounts of niacin is often adequate until a child is 8-10 years old. For younger children, the dosage should start with only a few tens of milligrams, and not increased to more than 50-100 mg/day. Adults may gradually get used to taking 1,000-1,500 mg/d divided into 3 doses per day.

    When it comes to omega-3 fatty acids (omega = ω) such as EPA and DHA, children may be given cod liver oil and served fish and/or other seafood 2-3 times a week. It is important to check the dose of vitamin A supplied, as it can be toxic in high doses, especially for children. One problem with cod liver oil today is that vitamin D has been removed during processing, thus changing the natural ratio of the two vitamins so that we ingest relatively too much of vitamin A. [11]

    Higher dosages may be given after having consulted a therapist who has measured the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in relevant cell membranes (red blood cells). In most industrialized countries, many people get too much of the omega-6 fatty acids, and would therefore benefit from eating more seafood or taking supplements with omega-3 fatty acids derived from organisms low in the food chain (algae, krill).

    Flax seeds contain a high level of the essential omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, and freshly ground flaxseed meal or flax oil can be mixed with breakfast cereals or smoothies. Note that it may be advisable to limit eating farmed fish to once per week, since their fodder contains less omega-3 fatty acids than the food eaten by wild fish, and possibly also contains more contaminants. [12] Some researchers even warn against letting children eat too much fish because of the content of environmental toxins. [13,14]

    Reasons for high-dose supplements of micronutrients

    I have identified a number of arguments in favor of supplementing the modern diet with essential nutrients, here summarized with seven headlines. Most people should consider taking a multivitamin supplement containing vitamins and minerals even if they eat a nutritionally balanced diet.

    Additional nutrients may contribute to better health and, in some cases, can be of vital importance in our modern world. The arguments are presented in random order, i.e. the order does not reflect priority.

    1. The agricultural revolution has reduced food quality

    The transition from an existence as hunter and gatherers to urban agriculture around 10,000 years ago began an epoch when foods were mass-produced but had lower nutritional density, compared with the previous food eaten by our ancestors. The nutritional density in many foods has fallen significantly since human societies transformed from hunter-gatherers into resident farmers. This is especially true in the last 60-70 years after agriculture was changed from small, versatile ecologically driven family farms to large, chemical-based, industrial agriculture. [15]

    The reduction of nutritional content in modern crops, compared with older varieties, is well documented. [16] It is a consequence of soil erosion, loss of essential minerals from continual heavy use, combined with breeding of new varieties, which has increased the size and growth rate of plants by increasing the content of sugar and water and decreasing their mineral content compared to ancient species. At the same time, the relative content of other macronutrients (fat, protein/amino acids) and antioxidants may have been reduced.

    Reduced nutritional density in many foods, combined with the use of refined "foods" like sugar, white flour and refined oils, places a greater priority on eating the most nutritious foods.

    Farm produce grown organically generally has higher levels of essential nutrients such as trace minerals because the soil contains higher levels of trace minerals and the produce grows slower and thus has more time to absorb nutrients from the soil. Examples of nutrient dense foods are sardines, wild salmon, shellfish, eggs, liver, kale, collards and spinach, sea plants (seaweed), garlic, blueberries, and dark chocolate. [17]

    2. Nutritional content of food varies with geographical location

    Nutritional density varies considerably geographically between different regions, even with the same agricultural methods. This was documented in the United States in 1948 by a researcher at Rutgers University in the so-called Firman Bear report. [18] At that time agriculture was little mechanized, and artificial fertilizers and pesticides were hardly used.

    The analysis found large differences in the content of minerals in the same food. The largest variations were found for potassium, sodium, boron and iron in spinach, while the greatest differences in calcium, magnesium and copper content were found in tomatoes.

    The soil in areas with relatively low rainfall may in some cases contain an extremely high concentration of minerals, which is reflected in the plants growing there. This was well documented 70 years ago in the book Tomorrow's Food. [19] The dentist George W. Heard found that the soil in Hereford, Texas, was exceptionally rich in minerals.[20]

    Hereford became known as the "town without a toothache" after a newspaper article from January 29, 1942, reported that Hereford had the lowest incidence of tooth decay of any city in the United States. [21] Dr. Heard found that people in Hereford had exceptionally few dental cavities and also that the soil locally was especially rich in minerals. He emphasized that the population in the county ate unprocessed food and was drinking raw milk. [19]

    Recent research shows that differences in the content of the selenium in the soil can cause major differences in the concentration of selenium in meat. [22] For instance, since the soil in Finland is poor in selenium, the authorities decided in the early 1980s to add selenate to commercial fertilizers. A survey of selenium status among 108 healthy young people showed an increase in the blood selenium level of about 50 percent after four years. [23]

    A similar problem with the level of minerals in the soil exists for the content of magnesium. Often when the soil gets depleted of magnesium from heavy use, this essential mineral is not included in soil amendment with fertilizers. Produce grown in soil with an adequate level of magnesium will contain more magnesium than produce grown in soil deficient in magnesium.

    Perhaps as many as 70-80% of the US population is magnesium-deficient, which causes many health problems. [24] Magnesium supplements (chloride, malate or citrate) can provide an adequate level when vegetables grown in soil with adequate magnesium are not available.

    3. Stress and the modern lifestyle increase the need for nutrients

    Mental stress increases the excretion and hence the need for many nutrients. Among the most important are magnesium and vitamin C, both of which are used by the body in larger quantities during periods of physical and mental stress. [24,25] Compared with our past as hunters and gatherers, today´s stress is often of a more permanent nature. Instead of experiencing occasional situations where we had to fight or flee, many of us live with recurring stress day in and out.

    Vitamin C protects the brain and nervous system from damage caused by stress because the synthesis and maintenance of chemical neurotransmitters such as adrenaline and noradrenaline requires adequate levels of vitamin C. [25]

    Vitamin C is also needed to repair collagen which is essential for skin, blood vessels, bones and joints, and muscles. When these are damaged by physical stress, extra vitamin C is necessary.

    A controlled trial of 91 adults who experienced increased anxiety and stress 2-3 months after an earthquake in New Zealand in 2011 was divided into three groups, two were given a broad spectrum supplement of micronutrients in low or higher doses. [26] The supplements were found to alleviate the experience of stress, with the biggest dose having the biggest effect.

    Our sedate, modern lifestyle reduces the need for energy from food, which implies a lower food intake or obesity. Loren Cordain, PhD, and coworkers have estimated that hunter-gatherers had significantly higher energy needs than the typical modern office worker. [27]

    A lower energy intake generally reduces the absolute intake of all nutrients, while the need for some nutrients is not always reduced proportionally with energy intake. Overall this suggests that more exercise along with a more nutritious diet, including supplements of essential nutrients and less carbohydrates, will help to prevent obesity and maintain health.

    Processing of food reduces its nutritional content, and the finished products are often based on fractions of the original foods. One example is milling grain to make white flour, [1] which has a lower nutritional density than whole grain flour.

    The reduction in nutritional value has accelerated since whole foods are now divided into pieces, for example, boneless chicken breast. When meat is injected with saline to increase the volume, the relative level of essential nutrients is reduced. In the United States, many supermarkets in low-income rural and inner city areas have a limited selection of nutrient-dense foods, compared with high-income areas. [28]

    4. Environmental pollutants increase the need for nutrients

    The need for efficient detoxification and excretion is greatly increased by environmental pollution from the chemical industry, herbicides and pesticides used by industrial agriculture, antibiotic treatment of animals, transport, and plastic packaging. [29]

    In our polluted world, the increased toxic load may be compensated for by an increase in nutrients to promote detoxification. One can respond by taking large doses of supplements of essential nutrients, for example, antioxidants vitamin C and E, and an adequate dose of selenium, which help the body detoxify harmful chemicals. Also helpful is regularly taking sauna baths, fasting periodically, and eating an excellent diet that includes generous portions of dark green leafy vegetables and colorful vegetables and fruits. [30]

    A recent study predicts that global warming may reduce the nutrient density in many foods worldwide. [31] Atmospheric CO2 is estimated to surpass 550 ppm in the next 30-80 years, leading to larger crops with lower content of protein, iron and zinc per energy unit.

    Assuming that diets remain constant, while excluding other climate impacts on food production, the researchers estimated that elevated CO2 could cause an additional 175 million people to be zinc deficient and an additional 122 million people to be protein deficient in 2050. Anemia would increase significantly if crops lose even a small amount of iron. The highest risk regions - South and Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East - are especially vulnerable, since they do not have the means and access to compensate using nutritional supplements.

    5. The RDA for essential nutrients is too low

    The recommended nutrient reference intake (NRI) has been defined by UK authorities and the EU Food Safety Agency as the dose that is adequate for 95 percent of the population. [32] These authorities have given recommendations for a total of 41 chemical substances, [33] including 13 vitamins, 17 minerals/trace elements, 9 amino acids and two fatty acids. The problem with such guidelines is that when using the same 0.95 fraction for just 16 of the essential nutrients, the fraction of the overall population that has their needs met with the RDA is less than half (0.9516 = 0.44).

    Given the above assumption, the proportion of the population having all nutrient needs met falls below 25 percent for 30 nutrients (0.9530 = 0.21). These 25 percent will not necessarily get optimal amounts, just enough so that they probably will have no deficiencies in accordance with established standards. Each individual is different and has different biochemical needs, so we all need different doses of essential nutrients. Many vitamins and minerals can give additional benefit when taken at higher doses.

    The need for several essential nutrients increases with age and sickness. This applies, for example, to vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, and iron. In 2017 the Norwegian Food Safety Authority proposed to revise the official maximum levels for vitamins and minerals in dietary supplements. [34]

    Their proposal introduced four different age categories with separate maximum intakes. Initially, the agencies proposed to revise the daily doses allowed in dietary supplements for folic acid, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C and D. At the same time, maximum rates were temporarily suspended for vitamins A, E, K, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenate (B5), pyridoxine (B6), cobalamine (B12), biotin, and for phosphorus, iron, copper, iodine, zinc, manganese, selenium, chromium, molybdenum, sodium, potassium, fluoride, chloride, boron and silicon.

    The upper limits for some nutrients may be changed in the future. Unfortunately, Norwegian nutrition "experts" will likely continue to limit allowable doses below those freely available in the US and even Sweden.

    6. An optimal nutrient intake promotes health and delays aging

    A spokesperson for optimal nutritional intake is the well-known biochemist Bruce Ames, who proposed the "triage theory of nutrients," in which enzymes responsible for cell maintenance functions evolved to have lower affinity for the essential vitamin and mineral cofactors than the enzymes responsible for short-term survival, to preserve life during times of famine. [35]

    Thus, higher levels of vitamins and minerals may delay mitochondrial aging, speed up the repair of large molecules such as DNA and collagen, and generally improve other cellular functions. This is an important rationale for taking higher doses of vitamins and minerals than recommended reference intakes.

    Dietary supplements can slow the aging process, in part by reducing the harmful effects of free radicals, known to be involved in many diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. [36]

    Naturally occurring hormones and/or supplements of cofactors needed for optimal hormone production in the body can have a significant life-prolonging effect if the body produces less than optimal amounts. [37] This is especially relevant for those with a genetic predisposition for disease.

    An optimum intake of all nutrients is difficult to achieve even for those who eat almost exclusively an excellent diet of nutrient dense foods, such as meat and innards, fish, shellfish, fowl, eggs, nuts, mushrooms, and vegetables, berries and nutritious fruits. Some nutrients such as folic acid or carotenoids in vegetables are absorbed better from processed than unprocessed foods.

    Although vegetables are often considered to be a good source of vitamins, for example vitamin A from carrots, vitamin A is only found in animal products such as liver, egg yolk, fish cod and cod liver oil. Although eating raw vegetables is helpful for several reasons (vitamin C, fiber, microbiota), carotenoids (alpha/beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene) in vegetables are less well absorbed from raw than cooked food and better absorbed in the presence of added fat. [38,39].

    Nutrients in vegetables are better absorbed when finely chewed, graded, or mashed [38], and cooking and grinding meat reduces the energy required to digest it [40] and increases nutrient absorption [41].

    Orthomolecular pioneer Abram Hoffer and Orthomolecular News Service Editor Andrew W. Saul suggested this list of daily intakes of vitamins and minerals. [42] The Norwegian 2017 recommendations for adult men and women [43] are given in comparison. Individual needs may vary substantially from person to person and also with health status.

    The figures for optimal intake are obtained from the Independent Vitamin Safety Review Panel of physicians, researchers and academics, who concluded:

    "People are deceived in believing that they can get all the nutrients they need from a 'balanced diet' consisting of processed foods. To achieve an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals, a diet of unprocessed whole foods, along with intelligent use of dietary supplements is more than just a good idea: it is vital." [44: 55]

    A well-known example is vitamin C, which can effectively fight viral infections, prevent or reverse disease caused by bacteria, and help the body detoxify organic and inorganic toxins. [45] Vitamin C also reduces the risk for cancer, strengthens connective tissues (collagen), and counteracts stress by increasing the adrenal´s production of cortisol. The dose required is set according to the body's need.

    Nobel Price Laureate Linus Pauling suggested that an optimal daily intake of vitamin C could vary from at least 250 mg up to 20 grams per day. [46] Because unabsorbed vitamin C attracts water into the gut, some people may experience loose stools, gas and/or diarrhea by ingesting only 1-2 grams at a time, while others with a higher level of stress may tolerate 5-6 grams or more. The dose that causes loose stools is called the "bowel tolerance" for vitamin C. [47] To avoid the laxative effect of high doses, it is best to take vitamin C throughout the day in smaller divided doses.

    When the body is stressed by disease, the gut will naturally absorb more vitamin C because the body needs more. To find the optimal dose, the intake should be increased until bowel tolerance is reached. Some people can tolerate more than 100,000 mg/d of vitamin C in divided doses during serious illness without having loose stool.

    Liposomal vitamin C bypasses the normal bowel tolerance because it is absorbed directly through cell membranes, so higher doses can be tolerated without diarrhea.

    7. A human right to receive correct information

    Access to correct information about food and essential nutrients, including knowledge about the importance of food for health is a fundamental human right. Such information should not only provide a summary of the nutrient content of food, but in our opinion should also explain how dietary supplements can counteract deficiencies and prevent and reverse disease caused by nutrient deficiencies.

    We should be free to purchase quality-controlled supplements of essential nutrients and to use them to counteract aging and damage from stress as part of a long-term health plan. The right to reject recommendations by doctors for symptomatic treatment with synthetic, some times life-threatening, drugs to alleviate symptoms should be included. [48,49]

    I have not found any formulation of such rights from the Norwegian authorities. The role of parents and their right to receive correct health information is addressed in a book by lawyer Anne Kjersti C. Befring, a fellow at the University of Oslo since 2014. [50]

    Summary

    The use of dietary supplements is widespread. High doses of vitamins are thought to be helpful because they help the body recover from damage and maintain itself long-term. Many vitamins are not harmful in doses even 10 to 100-fold higher than officially recommended.

    Some governments warn about possible negative side effects, even including increased mortality from "excessive" intake of certain supplements. However, supplements of essential nutrients have been available for more than 80 years. They are known to be safe, and the observed side effects are generally mild with few exceptions.

    It is possible to ingest too much of certain vitamins and minerals (vitamin A, calcium, iron, copper, selenium) which may exacerbate an existing imbalance or lack of another mineral (magnesium, zinc). It is also important to balance intake of fatty acids in the omega-6 and omega-3 series, as most people get too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3.

    Small children can be overdosed with adult doses of for example vitamin A or iron, and pills may be dangerous for babies or young children because they can get stuck in the throat. Therefore, I recommend consulting a doctor or nutritionist educated in orthomolecular medicine. Most people are likely to benefit from taking a broad-spectrum multivitamin/mineral supplement as a basic insurance against deficiencies.

    Compared to pharmaceutical drugs, supplements of most essential nutrients are quite harmless. However, some supplements may have poor quality, or contain toxic metals such as lead or cadmium. Therefore, it is the duty of our authorities to ensure that potentially hazardous products or supplements of poor quality are not sold, and that consumers are offered fair prices in a free market.

    An example where the Norwegian authorities do not follow up such basic duties is that pharmacies demand more than 1,600 Norwegian Kroner (about $190) per kg of vitamin C in powder form, which would cost less than $20 with free competition and no restrictions in permitted doses or outlets.

    Those who want to use natural healing methods, such as the use of food and supplements of essential nutrients to prevent or reverse illness, should consult therapists who are qualified to give advice on how natural therapies can help.

    I recommend that anyone interested in supplements read the references for this article as well as the archives of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/ and the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml . Both are free access online.

    (Dag Viljen Poleszynski, PhD, is the editor of Helsemagasinet [Health Magazine] https://vof.no/arkiv/ . He has translated and published a large number of OMNS releases in Norwegian.)

     

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    Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

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    Helen Saul Case, M.S. (USA), Assistant Editor
    Ralph K. Campbell, M.D. (USA), Contributing Editor
    Michael S. Stewart, B.Sc.C.S. (USA), Technology Editor
    Jason M. Saul, JD (USA), Legal Consultant

    Comments and media contact: drsaul@doctoryourself.com OMNS welcomes but is unable to respond to individual reader emails. Reader comments become the property of OMNS and may or may not be used for publication.

  • METHYLATION CYCLE, GENETICS, B VITAMINS

    Dr. Hank Liers, PhD geneticsI previously published "Homocysteine Genetics – Coenzyme B Vitamins" in which I considered in-depth how homocysteine (an intermediate chemical in the Methylation Cycle) is formed from methionine, how genetics affects the metabolic pathways, and how B vitamins are used in metabolic pathways. I also wrote "Folate Ingredients – Folinic Acid & 5-MTHF" which discussed how coenzyme folate vitamins are far superior to the synthetic folic acid form. In today's article, I take a broader view of the topic that encompasses the Methylation Cycle, genetics, and B vitamins.

    THE METHYLATION CYCLE

    The Methylation Cycle is considered to be one of the most important metabolic pathways in the human body. Its most important function is to provide methyl groups via SAM (S-adenosyl methionine) to hundreds of different body substrates. Methylation is continually occurring in the body, transforming many millions of molecules throughout the body every second. Molecules receive methyl groups, then separate and recombine continuously, transforming and reforming constantly in the ongoing process of life!

    As a reminder of the pathways involved in the Methylation Cycle, the following figure provides a flow chart showing the details.

    Methylation Cycle

    Figure 1. Metabolic Pathways in Methylation Cycle

    A key purpose of this cycle is to provide methyl groups (CH3) needed by a broad range of of body functions (over 200 different functions). Examples include:

    1. Influences the genetic expression that parents give their children and helps guide the development of the embryo.
    2. Is needed by the nervous system to produce neurotransmitters and maintain the nerves.
    3. Mobilizes fats and cholesterol so they do not accumulate where they are harmful, such as the arteries and liver.
    4. Regulates hormones, including, estrogen, adrenaline, and melatonin.
    5. Detoxifies harmful chemicals and histamine a prime substance involved in inflammation.
    6. Helps repair damaged proteins in the cells so they can function properly.
    7. Protects the DNA in the genome (genetic code) to reduce the chances of mutation.
    8. Creates antioxidants used in the antioxidant defense system.

    DESCRIPTION OF PATHWAYS WITHIN THE METHYLATION CYCLE

    The overall flow of the Methylation Cycle begins with dietary methionine (an essential amino acid) which combines with ATP (adenosine triphosphate - body energy) to form SAM (S-adenosyl methionine) – the common cosubstrate involved in methyl group transfers, transsulfuration, and aminopropylation. When SAM transfers a methyl group to a body chemical the residue from this reaction leads to the production of homocysteine.

    Homocysteine can be converted in the transsulfuration pathway that requires coenzyme vitamin B6 to produce cysteine, glutathione, taurine, and sulfates. These sulfur containing substances provide important antioxidant protection and detoxification functions in the body.

    Homocysteine can be converted back to methionine through the betaine (trimethyl glycine) pathway which requires zinc and magnesium. This pathway also requires dietary betaine or choline which the body can convert into betaine.

    Also, homocysteine can be converted back to methionine via the remethylation pathway which requires 5-MTHF, coenzyme vitamin B2 and methylcobalamin (B12).

    GENETICS

    It is important to understand that each of the pathways described above are able to be executed only in the presence of enzymes (shown in blue boxes in the diagram) created by specific genes in your genetic code. For example, Betaine-Homocysteine S-Methyltransferase (BHMT) is the enzyme required in the betaine pathway, Cystathione Beta Synthase (CBS) is the enzyme required in the transsulfuration pathway, and Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (MTHFR) and Methionine Synthase (MS) are enzymes required in the remethylation pathway.

    Assuming that you have perfect genetics (no mutations, SNPs, free radical damage, insertions/deletions, etc.), the proper functioning of these pathways are still subjected to the fact that the required vitamins and minerals (vitamin B6, vitamin B2, Folate, vitamin B12, zinc, magnesium, and betaine) need to be provided by your diet or from supplements for the body to function correctly.

    In addition, exposure to high levels of toxins from your environment and high levels of stress require that the nutritional needs will be even higher for the pathways to work properly. For example, exposure to high levels of toxins requires that the transsulfuration pathway be more active possibly reducing the amount of available methionine to support necessary methyl transfer reactions.

    For these reasons alone the consensus of knowledgeable practitioners is that you should be eating an organic whole foods diet, taking appropriate nutritional supplements, avoiding and eliminating toxins from food, water, and air (living in a clean environment), and avoiding an unduly stressful life. All of these actions fall into the category of Epigenetics which you generally have control over!! Doing these things alone could significantly balance the functioning of your Methylation Cycle and improve your health.

    Unfortunately, few people have perfect genetics which often causes the various pathways in the Methylation Cycle to become imbalanced and unable to correct the dysregulation imposed upon the body. For example, the enzyme MTHFR can have heterozygous (single chromosome) genetic variations in up to 50% of certain populations and homozygous genetic variations (both chromosomes) in 10% or more of certain populations.

    Some disorders that researchers have associated with MTHFR genetic variations include:

    • Alzheimer’s disease
    • Asthma
    • Atherosclerosis
    • Autism
    • Bipolar disorder
    • Bladder issues
    • Blood clots
    • Breast problems
    • Chemical sensitivity
    • Chronic fatigue syndrome
    • Down syndrome
    • Epilepsy
    • Fibromyalgia
    • Gastric problems
    • Glaucoma
    • Heart murmurs
    • High blood pressure
    • Irritable bowel syndrome
    • Leukemia
    • Male infertility
    • Methotrexate toxicity
    • Migraines with aura
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Myocardial infarction
    • Nitrous oxide toxicity
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Pulmonary embolisms
    • Schizophrenia
    • Stroke
    • Thyroid issues
    • Unexplained neurologic disease
    • Vascular dementia

    This extensive list is highly significant and tells us that it is very important to have  genetic testing done for the genes/enzymes in the Methylation Cycle pathway. I prefer the BodySync genetic test which evaluates the key Methylation Cycle genes plus many other important genes in a single test.

    B VITAMINS AND MINERALS

    We are strong believers that everyone should start their nutritional program by eating a balanced, organic, whole foods diet. We have been doing this ourselves for the past 30 years. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of people follow this advice and in most cases this leads to poor nutritional status that does not adequately support the body's needs. This is especially true with respect to obtaining the nutrients needed to support the Methylation Cycle.

    Nine of our family members and associates have taken the BodySync genetic test which evaluates the condition of 45 different enzymes including CBS, MTHFR (2 variations), MTR (related to B12 and 5-MTHF as they relate to methionine synthase - MS), and MTRR (related to maintaining B12 levels needed by the MTR enzyme). In every case the results showed at least 2 and up to 4 enzymes had genetic variations. These results indicate that the nutritional requirements for folate as 5-MTHF, vitamin B12 as methylcobalamin, vitamin B6, vitamin B2, magnesium and zinc will likely be significantly greater than normal.

    Given the above information, it seems essential for good health to take nutritional supplements that provide the important nutrients. Below I will discuss various formulas that I have developed and refined over many years that are useful especially for the Methylation Cycle.

    Please note that Health Products Distributors, Inc.  (HPDI) is the preferred supplier of nutritional supplements by the BodySync genetic testing company.

    MULTIVITAMINS

    When looking at the total needs the body has for nutrients that the body does not produce, including fat soluble vitamins (A, D (some), E, K1 and K2), vitamin C, B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folate, B12, biotin, choline, and inositol), minerals (Ca, Mg, Zn, Se, Cu, Mn, Cr, Mo, K, boron, and vanadium), and betaine it only seems wise to include as a top priority a Multivitamin that includes all of these in what I term therapeutic amounts (carefully selected after evaluating thousands of research studies carried out over many years.)

    In this context, it is important to recognize that every enzymatic reaction in the body requires mineral cofactors in order to carry out its function. A good multivitamin provides many of these required minerals.

    Additionally, the multivitamin should contain ingredient forms that research has confirmed to be the most absorbable and usable by the body. These include coenzyme B vitamins, Krebs cycle (citrate, alpha-ketoglutarate, succinate, fumarate, & malate) minerals, and amino acid chelates.

    In the context of supporting the Methylation Cycle we are looking for specific forms and amounts of B vitamins that can adequately provide the body's needs. The means that there should be coenzyme folate as 5-MTHF of at least 400 mcg, coenzyme vitamin B-12 as methylcobalamin of at least 200 mcg, Vitamin B6 (including significant amounts of pyridoxal 5' phosphate) of at least 40 mg, and Vitamin B2 (including significant amounts of riboflavin 5' phosphate) of at least 25 mg. In addition, magnesium (100 mg) and zinc (at least 20 mg) should be provided.

    Please note that the body's requirements for magnesium is generally accepted by nutritional experts to be higher than 400 mg daily (and as high as 1,000 mg daily). For this reason we generally recommend that a person take supplemental magnesium (such as HPDI's MYO-MAG) at levels over 400 mg daily.

    The two multivitamin formulas Health Products Distributors provides for adults that meet these requirements (and more) are the Hank & Brian's Mighty Multi-Vite and Multi Two (in both capsule and tablet forms). Click on the bottles below for technical details.

    Hank & Brian's Mighty Multi-Vite multivitamin methylation cycle

    Multi Two Caps or Tablets methylation cycle

    B COMPLEX

    In situations where significant genetic variations are present it may be wise to add a B COMPLEX supplement to the MULTIVITAMIN to provide even larger amounts of the needed B vitamins. HPDI provides a B-Complex-50 product that includes significant amounts of coenzyme forms and contains 50 mg of Vitamin B1, 50 mg of Vitamin B2, 100 mg of Vitamin B3, 50 mg of Vitamin B6, 500 mcg of coenzyme folate (both folinic acid and 5-MTHF), 100 mcg of B12 (both methylcobalamin and hydroxocobalmin), 50 mg of Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), 500 mg of Biotin, 50 mg of choline, and 50 mg of inositol. Click on the bottle below for technical details.

    B-Complex-50 full spectrum B vitamins with coenzyme forms methylation cycle

    FOLATE AS 5-MTHF

    In situations where an inadequate diet is present and genetic testing indicates an MTHFR variation (especially a homozygous variation) Health Products Distributors provides a 5-MTHF folate supplement that easily absorbs into the body and can be directly used in combination with Vitamin B12 to convert homocysteine to methionine. Click on the bottle below for technical details.

    5-MTHF 1 mg in veggie cap methylation cycle 5-MTHF 1 mg in veggie cap

    B-12 as METHYLCOBALAMIN

    It is often the case for older patients and vegetarians that Vitamin B12 is deficient. In these cases it is wise to supplement with a significant amount of methylcobalamin to ensure that the Methylation Cycle has sufficient to effectively convert homocysteine into methionine. Health Products Distributors Vitamin B12 contains 5 mg of methylcobalamin in sublingual lozenge form that supports excellent absorption even if swallowed and absorbed by diffusion. Click on the bottle below for technical details.

    Vitamin B-12 5 mg methylcobalamin sublingual lozenge methylation cycle Vitamin B-12 – 5 mg Methylcobalamin sublingual lozenge.

    MINERALS

    Magnesium and zinc are two important minerals used in the betaine pathway of the Methylation Cycle in which homocysteine is converted back to methionine.

    In the body magnesium is involved in more than 400 essential metabolic reactions and is required by the adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-synthesizing protein in mitochondria. ATP, the molecule that provides energy for almost all metabolic processes, exists primarily as a complex with magnesium (MgATP). Therefore, it also is involved in converting methionine to SAM.

    Over 300 different enzymes depend on zinc for their ability to catalyze vital chemical reactions. Zinc-dependent enzymes can be found in all known classes of enzymes.

    Health Products Distributors provides 100 mg magnesium/vcap in its MYO-MAG supplement which is especially important in increasing ATP in the Krebs Cycle. This product also contains vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and vitamin B6 with substantial amounts of coenzyme forms and manganese. Click on the bottle below for technical details.

    MYO-MAG with 100 mg magnesium per serving key B vitamins methylation cycle MYO-MAG with 100 mg magnesium per serving and key B vitamins.

    Health Products Distributors provides 25 mg zinc/serving in its Double Zinc Plus supplement. This formula provides zinc in the picolinate and citrate forms as well as 3 mg of P5P (coenzyme B6). Click on the bottle below for technical details.

    Double Zinc Plus supplement with P5P and 25 mg zinc methylation cycle Double Zinc Plus supplement with P5P and 25 mg zinc

    SUMMARY

    The Methylation Cycle is recognized as one of the most important metabolic pathways in the human body. When not properly supported by key B vitamins and minerals, the Methylation Cycle can become severely imbalanced which can lead to a very wide range of poor health conditions. Furthermore, genetic variations in the genes that produce important enzymes allowing the Methylation Cycle to function correctly lead to even further imbalances and greater possibility for conditions of poor health.

    In this article, I have provided insight into how the Methylation Cycle works and how it can be significantly supported by lifestyle changes regarding diet and environment (Epigenetics) and by specific B vitamins and mineral supplements that I have developed over many years. In addition, we have shown that knowledge gained from genetic testing can further provide a critical understanding of your specific needs so that your health can be optimized.

    RELATED HPDI BLOG ARTICLES

    GENETICS, EPIGENETICS & HUMAN BIOLOGY

    Homocysteine Genetics – Coenzyme B Vitamins

     

  • OMEGA-3 ESSENTIAL FATS REMAIN "ESSENTIAL" – A REBUTTAL FROM OMNS

    Fred Liers PhD omega-3 essential fats plus e EFA formulaOmega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA) are critically important for health. That is the reason we at HPDI include them in our foundational supplements system in the form of our Essential Fats Plus E formula. Essential Fats Plus E provides a balanced ratio of 4:1 omega-3 EPA to omega-6 GLA fatty acids proven to optimally support health.

    As important as Omega-3 fats are in good health, various studies conclude they are of little value. In order to help clarity the fallacies found in such studies, this month we re-print the recent article "Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease" from the Orthomolecular News Service (OMNS).

    BACKGROUND

    Essential fats including Omega-3 and Omega-6 are so important to health that we consider them as foundational or "core" to basic nutrition as multivitamins, antioxidants/vitamin C formulas, and high-RNA superfoods, like Rejuvenate! Plus.

    Many of today's health problems relate to deficiencies in Omega-3 essential fatty acids rather than overabundance of it. It makes sense for everyone to supplement their diets with at least a minimum amount of essential fats. This is addition to consuming foods high in Omega-3 (and Omega-6) essential fats, including leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and seed oils. Also, small amounts of wild-caught fish from clean waters. Preferably these fish would come from low on the food chain, such as sardines, herring, or young mackerel, for example.

    In December 2107, my father Hank Liers, PhD, wrote "The Truth about Essential Fatty Acids." In his article, he delves into detail about why essential fatty acids are critical for health.

    The diagram below from Dr. Hank's article shows in detail the pathways for the production and use of fatty acids in the body. In the figure the metabolic pathways (running left to right) for four fatty acids types are shown (top - Omega-3, second - Omega-6, third - Omega-9, bottom - Omega-7). Notice that only the omega-3 and omega-6 oils are considered to be essential fatty acids because they cannot be made in the body. This means they must come from food.

    omega-3 fats omega-6 fats

    Furthermore, an additional diagram from Dr. Hank's article shown below provides details of the omega-6 and omega-3 pathways. Pathway specifics indicate key eicosanoids (series 1 prostaglandins [anti-inflammatory], series 2 prostaglandins [pro-inflammatory], and series 3 prostaglandins [anti-inflammatory]), oil sources, and important nutrient cofactors that are needed for the reactions to take place.

    omega-3 fats omega-6 fats

    In particular, Dr. Hank discusses how superior benefits to health result from a balanced 4:1 ratio between Omega-3 eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) fatty acids and Omega-6 gamma linoleic acid (GLA).

    Below we list some of the functions and benefits obtained when by diet or supplementation the correct ratios and amounts of essential fatty acids are consumed.

    • Regulate steroid production and hormone synthesis
    • Regulate pressure in the eyes, joints, and blood vessels
    • Regulate response to pain, inflammation, and swelling
    • Mediate Immune Response
    • Regulate bodily secretions and their viscosity
    • Dilate or constrict blood vessels
    • Regulate smooth muscle and autonomic reflexes
    • Are primary constituents of cellular membranes
    • Regulate the rate at which cells divide
    • Necessary for the transport of oxygen from the red blood cells to tissues
    • Necessary for proper kidney function and fluid balance
    • Prevent red blood cells from clumping together
    • Regulate nerve transmission

    Dr. Hank also discusses the fallacy of thinking that supplemental Omega-3 fats alone are sufficient to produce health. That is, despite the relative lack of Omega-3 essential fats and the prevalence of Omega-6 fats in modern diets, it is nevertheless the forms (EPA and GLA)—and the critical 4:1 ratio between them—that makes the difference in how they act synergistically for health. The result of Hank's scientific understanding of essential fatty acids has resulted in his formulation of a balanced EFA product, Essential Fats Plus E.

    Orthomolecular Medicine News Service Article "Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease"

    Regarding the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service article "Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease" (republished below) rebutting the "Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews" which relies on so-called "Evidence Based Medicine" (EBM) to distort truth on Omega-3 essential fatty acids, the fact that Omega-3 fats are under such false attack represents a huge disservice to the public.

    While essential fatty acids may not generate profits for corporations—and in fact may lead to improved health outcomes that threaten the use of chemicals and drugs—essential fats nevertheless remain foundational for health.

    Above we have shown the important reasons Omega-3 fats and other essential fatty acids are scientifically termed "essential." And why people continue taking essential fats, and giving them to their families and children, for supporting health and well-being. Primary among these reasons is that you cannot be healthy without them. Hence, they are essential. Why believe anyone who says otherwise?

    The bottom line: Omega-3 essential fatty acids are critical for health. Supplementing the diet with them is a good idea for nearly everyone. This is especially true because typical diets are proven to be most deficient in Omega-3 among essential fats.

    Below we re-print in full the recent article "Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease" from the Orthomolecular News Service (OMNS) for the benefit of our HPDI blog readers. ~

    ===

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, Aug 6, 2018

    Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease

    Commentary by Damien Downing, MBBS, MSB and Robert G. Smith, PhD

    The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews has just updated its own review: Omega-3 fatty acids for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease [1]. Here's our take on it.

    Michael Pollan, the brilliant food writer, reckoned you could sum up what to do about nutrition and diets in 7 words; "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." That sums up both what's best for humans and what's best for the planet.

    We reckon you can sum up what's wrong with evidence-based medicine (EBM) in 10 words; "Evidence is a waste of data; systematic reviews are palimpsests." You can use that as a knife to quickly dissect this study.

    There are many things wrong with this review. Somebody's PR department has spun the review's "no clear evidence of benefit" into "evidence of no benefit" - absence of evidence becoming evidence of absence. And clearly the media were entirely happy to take that one and run with it.

    Systematic reviews are palimpsests

    What's a palimpsest? Back when things got written on vellum, an animal skin, not on paper, you didn't throw it away; you recycled it and wrote over the original. It was called a palimpsest.

    A systematic review gives an opportunity to write over the conclusions of a whole list of papers with your new version of the truth. You do that by the way that you select and exclude them.

    For instance there was a meta-analysis (that's a systematic review with more numbers) in 2005 that concluded that vitamin E supplements significantly increased the risk of death [2]. The way they did that was to rule out any study with less than 10 deaths - when fewer deaths was exactly the outcome they were supposed to be looking for.

    The reason they gave for doing that was "because we anticipated that many small trials did not collect mortality data." We're not buying it; they used it as a trick to enable them to get the negative result they wanted - to over-write the findings of a long list of original studies.

    And here we have authors doing the very same thing in this omega-3 study - and upping the ante slightly. Now the threshold is 50 deaths. Fewer than that and your study is ruled out of the final, supposedly least biased, analysis . . on the grounds that it's more biased.

    We don't know how they could keep a straight face while saying (our interpretation); "The studies with fewer deaths showed more benefit from omega-3s, so we excluded them." At least that's what happened back in 2004 when the first version of this came out.[3]

    But this is the 8th update (we think) and they no longer bother to tell you about what they included or excluded in detail, so we can only assume that if they had changed that exclusion they would have told us.

    The weird thing is that they are allowed to do it. Nutrition researcher Dr. Steve Hickey has shown that in systematic reviews there is generally control for bias in the included studies, but none for bias in the actual review and its authors.[4,5]

    They found not one example of adequate blinding among 100 Cochrane reviews (like this one); they could all be palimpsests. Do we know that they are fake? No, but it doesn't matter: what we do know is that we can't trust them. Nor can we trust this Cochrane review. Things haven't changed since 2004.

    Evidence is a waste of data

    Evidence is what lawyers and courts use to find someone Guilty or Not Guilty, and we all know how that can go wrong. It's a binary system: you're either one or the other. But at least if you're on trial all the evidence should be about you and whether you did the crime.

    In EBM the evidence is all about populations, not about individuals. When a doctor tells you "There's a 1 in 3 chance this treatment will work" he is required to base that on big studies, or even systematic reviews. You don't, and you can't, know what that means for you because very likely you don't fit the population profile.

    As Steve Hickey (again) said, the statistical fallacy underlying all this states that you have one testicle and one ovary - because that's the population average! The authors of this study update started off with about 2100 papers that looked relevant. They then excluded 90 per cent of them for various reasons - some of them good reasons, some not.

    A smarter way to work would be to data-mine them and look for useful information about sub-groups and sub-effects in all the papers. Is there a particular reason omega-3s might work for you and not for others? Perhaps you can't stand fish, or are allergic to them, and so are deficient in omega-3s.

    But the review system doesn't allow it, it insists on overall conclusions (about populations), and that's a colossal waste of data. It also confounds the overall finding of the review - it biases it in fact.

    Here's an example: while most subgroups that made it to the final analysis showed a small reduction in risk from taking omega-3s in one form or another (pills, food, whatever), those who got it from supplemented foods, which we understand means stuff like margarine with added omega-3, showed a 4.3-fold death risk increase!

    The problem here is that the effects of omega-3 fatty acids cannot be studied alone as if they were a drug. What counts are all the other components of the diet that affect a person's health.

    Processed foods and drinks that contain many unhealthy ingredients can't be made healthy by adding small doses of vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, many processed foods that contain small doses of vitamins and other essential nutrients are unhealthy because they contain large doses of sugar, salt, and harmful ingredients such as preservatives, dyes, and other non-food items.

    Why lipids are so important

    Part of the problem is that lipids are truly complicated, and not many people, patients, doctors or even scientists, understand them well. You need a good understanding of lipid metabolism to appreciate the difference in metabolism and impact between alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, in food such as oily fish) and extracted oils such as EPA and DHA that are only found at high levels in omega-3 supplements.

    At these levels they are effectively new to nature; nobody, indeed no mammal, was exposed to really high doses of DHA until we invented fish oil supplements [6]. Miss that fact and you miss the difference between having people eat fresh oily fish or just using omega-3 margarine!

    We know from a variety of studies that a diet containing generous portions of green leafy and colorful vegetables and fruits, moderate portions of eggs, fish, and meat, and supplements of adequate doses of essential nutrients (vitamins and minerals) is effective at lowering the risk for cardiovascular disease.

    Adequate doses of both omega-3 (in flax oil, walnuts, fish) and omega-6 (in seed oils such as canola, soybean, peanut) fatty acids are essential for health. Although essential, omega-6 fatty acids are thought to contribute to inflammation throughout the body whereas omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory.

    Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for most body organs including the brain but are found in lower levels than omega-6 fatty acids in most vegetables. Risk for cardiovascular disease can be lowered by adequate doses of vitamins C (3,000-10,000mg/d), D (2,000-10,000 IU/d), E (400-1,200 IU/d), and magnesium (300-600 mg/d) in addition to an excellent diet that includes an adequate dose of omega-3 fatty acids.[7]

    (Dr. Damien Downing is a specialist physician practicing in London, and President of the British Society for Ecological Medicine. Robert G. Smith is a physiologist and Research Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School Of Medicine.)

     

    References:

    1. Abdelhamid, A, Brown TJ, Brainard JS, et al., (2018) Omega 3 fatty acids for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database of Syst Rev. 7:CD003177. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30019766
    http://cochranelibrary-wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD003177.pub3/abstract

    2. Miller ER, Pastor-Barriuso R, Dalal D, et al., (2005) Review Meta-Analysis?: High-Dosage Vitamin E Supplementation May Increase. Annals of Internal Medicine, 142(1), pp.37-46. Available at: http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=718049.

    3. Hooper L, Thompson RL, Harrison RA, et al.. (2004) Omega 3 fatty acids for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. (4):CD003177. http://cochranelibrary-wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD003177.pub2/abstract

    4. Hickey S, Noriega LA. Implications and insights for human adaptive mechatronics from developments in algebraic probability theory, IEEE, UK Workshop on Human Adaptive Mechatronics (HAM), Staffs, 15-16 Jan 2009.

    5. Hickey S, Hickey A, Noriega LA, (2013) The failure of evidence-based medicine? Eur J Pers Centered Healthcare 1: 69-79. http://ubplj.org/index.php/ejpch/article/view/636

    6. Cortie CH, Else, PL, (2012) Dietary docosahexaenoic acid (22:6) incorporates into cardiolipin at the expense of linoleic acid (18:2): Analysis and potential implications. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 13(11): 15447-15463. http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/13/11/15447

    7. Case HS (2017) Orthomolecular Nutrition for Everyone. Turner Publication Co., Nashville, TN. ISBN-13: 978-1681626574

    Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

    Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information: http://www.orthomolecular.org

    Find a Doctor

    To locate an orthomolecular physician near you: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v06n09.shtml

    The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource.

    Editorial Review Board:

    Ilyès Baghli, M.D. (Algeria)
    Ian Brighthope, M.D. (Australia)
    Prof. Gilbert Henri Crussol (Spain)
    Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (USA)
    Damien Downing, M.D. (United Kingdom)
    Michael Ellis, M.D. (Australia)
    Martin P. Gallagher, M.D., D.C. (USA)
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    Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D. (USA)
    Homer Lim, M.D. (Philippines)
    Stuart Lindsey, Pharm.D. (USA)
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    Joseph Mercola, D.O. (USA)
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    W. Todd Penberthy, Ph.D. (USA)
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    Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D. (USA), Editor-In-Chief
    Editor, Japanese Edition: Atsuo Yanagisawa, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)
    Robert G. Smith, Ph.D. (USA), Associate Editor
    Helen Saul Case, M.S. (USA), Assistant Editor
    Ralph K. Campbell, M.D. (USA), Contributing Editor
    Michael S. Stewart, B.Sc.C.S. (USA), Technology Editor
    Jason M. Saul, JD (USA), Legal Consultant

    Comments and media contact: drsaul@doctoryourself.com OMNS welcomes but is unable to respond to individual reader emails. Reader comments become the property of OMNS and may or may not be used for publication.

    To subscribe to the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service (free): http://www.orthomolecular.org/subscribe.html

    OMNS Archive: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml

    To view this article on the OMNS website: http://www.orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v14n17.shtml

  • BASHING VITAMINS BY META-ANALYSIS – SATIRICAL COMMENTARY BY ORTHOMOLECULAR NEWS

    Fred Liers PhD vitamins meta analysis orthomolecular news serviceDr. Andrew Saul, editor of the Orthomolecular News Service (OMNS), recently wrote a satirical commentary "How to Bash Vitamins with a Meta-Analysis." This satire takes the form of a memorandum from the world headquarters of pharmaceutical politicians, educators, and reporters (WHOPPER).

    The specific vitamin-bashing meta-analysis which prompted Dr. Saul's satire is titled  "Supplemental Vitamins and Minerals for CVD Prevention and Treatment" and published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The meta-analysis finds nutritional supplements useless, or with negligible benefit, and even dangerous. These conclusions would be laughable except that it is presented to the public as based on sound science. It is not.

    Of note is the fact that the meta-analysis relies on studies using low-dose supplementation, as well as studies using synthetic forms of vitamins and not natural coenzyme forms. For example, folic acid instead of natural folates.

    Meta-analyses such as this one are tired, trite, and re-cycled every few years, as if somehow they are "news." Moreover, the meta-analysis discloses significant conflicts of interest, which not only is disturbing, but also indicates a bias against supplements that makes its false conclusions even less trustworthy.

    We re-publish Dr. Saul's satirical commentary in full below. It is important to put truth distorting meta-analyses like this one in their place on the spectrum of truth. In the case of this meta-analysis, it is literally off the chart. (Pun intended.) ~

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, May 29, 2018

    How to Bash Vitamins with a Meta-Analysis

    A Confidential Memorandum from the World Headquarters of Pharmaceutical Politicians, Educators and Reporters (WHOPPER)

    Satire by Andrew W. Saul, Editor

    TOP SECRET: Do Not Let This Get on the Internet! No Leaks!

    Distinguished members, our decades of disparaging nutritional therapy have paid off at last. The public, and their healthcare providers, are completely hoodwinked. By pushing "evidence based medicine" on the medical professions, we have elegantly slipped in our choice of evidence to base medicine on. And this is no mere journeyman accomplishment: this is high art. Mr. Machiavelli would be pleased. Certainly the pharmaceutical cartel is. We are well on our way to eliminating the competition, namely that increasingly irritating "orthomolecular medicine" faction.

    Here's how we are winning the Vitamin War: It is entirely too obvious, from our reading the nutritional literature, that vitamins and minerals are a well-proven, safe and effective therapy. Of course, anyone knows that to work they must be employed in appropriate doses, just as any drug must be given in an appropriate dose. That is the problem, but it is also our opportunity. Since high nutrient doses work all too well, we eliminate all those embarrassing positive high-dose studies simply by ignoring them. By selecting, pooling and analyzing only unsuccessful low dose studies, our conclusions exactly fit what we want the public to believe.

    We have established that research data can easily be cherry-picked and meta-analyzed to further our agenda. And, of course, the huge amount of cash we spend on advertising assures that both the medical journals and the mass media will limit discussion to what we approve of. It is now a mere step to do the same in other disciplines, including education, politics, and the social sciences. For example:

    • Using data only from poorly funded urban schools, we can prove mathematically, by statistical analysis of grade-point-averages, that inner-city kids have no academic future.
    • By collecting data as to how many 19th century women graduated from college, we can show that women then were not as qualified to vote as men are today, and overturn the 19th amendment.
    • If we assemble data on screen time and analyze actors' roles from Hollywood movies made in the 1920s and 1930s, we can demonstrate that some races are best qualified to be domestic workers, tap dancers or to operate laundries.
    • By giving a large sample of the homeless 25 cents each, we can show that higher personal income is ineffective against poverty.
    • If we tabulate inventory at Ferrari dealerships exclusively, we can prove Hondas are scarce.
    • Repeatedly taking the temperature of thousands of cadavers is justification that funeral homes do not need central heating, at least not at night.

    Here is unlimited opportunity for social engineering. It logically proceeds from our widely publicized analyses of vitamin supplementation, analyses that were (of course!) limited to studies that used low doses. Political mathematics is a wonderful thing: select your data and meta-analyze it into truth.

    Don't worry: the public will accept it. After all, we just did a meta-analysis of the words of Abraham Lincoln. What he REALLY meant to say is that you can fool all of the people all of the time.

    We shall continue to act accordingly.

    (End of memo)

    The above satirical commentary is in reply to yet another vitamin-bashing report. This particular one is Supplemental vitamins and minerals for CVD prevention and treatment. J Amer Col Cardiology 2018, 71:22.

    The Orthomolecular Medicine News Service strongly disagrees with allegations that supplements are basically useless or even harmful.

    Dr. Michael Ellis (Australia) says:

    "There are hundreds of papers in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and other journals which support the use of orthomolecular medicine to prevent and cure chronic disease. The paper discussed here does not take into account dosages of vitamins and bioavailability. The meta analyses are therefore biased and not accurate."

    Dr. Damien Downing (United Kingdom) says:

    "This should be a rule: never trust a study with more metadata than data. This study is a review of reviews - a meta-meta-analysis. Selecting multiple studies introduces another level of judgment, with new potential for bias. Just as peer reviewers can introduce their own bias, so can review authors; some evidence indicates that reviewers bias selection significantly in favor of their own final conclusions."

    The financial interests of the study's authors makes VERY interesting reading. To see this truly enormous list, you have to scroll way, way down at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109718345601 Interestingly, if you download the paper, you do not get the conflict of interest section with it. You have to see it online to get the whole story. How about that.

    (Andrew W. Saul has been Editor-in-Chief of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service for 14 years. You can watch videos where he rebuts other attacks against vitamin and mineral supplements at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88aUHMP3eN8&index=2&list=PL7YKya_R1ROuUyBFbKLeAp8iIITihxB-g and also at https://www.facebook.com/themegavitaminman/videos/265980030275194/ )

    Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

    Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information: http://www.orthomolecular.org

    Find a Doctor

    To locate an orthomolecular physician near you: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v06n09.shtml

    The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource.

    Editorial Review Board:

    Ilyès Baghli, M.D. (Algeria)
    Ian Brighthope, M.D. (Australia)
    Prof. Gilbert Henri Crussol (Spain)
    Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (USA)
    Damien Downing, M.D. (United Kingdom)
    Michael Ellis, M.D. (Australia)
    Martin P. Gallagher, M.D., D.C. (USA)
    Michael J. Gonzalez, N.M.D., D.Sc., Ph.D. (Puerto Rico)
    William B. Grant, Ph.D. (USA)
    Tonya S. Heyman, M.D. (USA)
    Suzanne Humphries, M.D. (USA)
    Ron Hunninghake, M.D. (USA)
    Michael Janson, M.D. (USA)
    Robert E. Jenkins, D.C. (USA)
    Bo H. Jonsson, M.D., Ph.D. (Sweden)
    Jeffrey J. Kotulski, D.O. (USA)
    Peter H. Lauda, M.D. (Austria)
    Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D. (USA)
    Homer Lim, M.D. (Philippines)
    Stuart Lindsey, Pharm.D. (USA)
    Victor A. Marcial-Vega, M.D. (Puerto Rico)
    Charles C. Mary, Jr., M.D. (USA)
    Mignonne Mary, M.D. (USA)
    Jun Matsuyama, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)
    Dave McCarthy, M.D. (USA)
    Joseph Mercola, D.O. (USA)
    Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D. (Puerto Rico)
    Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada, M.D. (Finland)
    Tahar Naili, M.D. (Algeria)
    W. Todd Penberthy, Ph.D. (USA)
    Dag Viljen Poleszynski, Ph.D. (Norway)
    Jeffrey A. Ruterbusch, D.O. (USA)
    Gert E. Schuitemaker, Ph.D. (Netherlands)
    Thomas L. Taxman, M.D. (USA)
    Jagan Nathan Vamanan, M.D. (India)
    Garry Vickar, MD (USA)
    Ken Walker, M.D. (Canada)
    Anne Zauderer, D.C. (USA)

    Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D. (USA), Editor-In-Chief
    Editor, Japanese Edition: Atsuo Yanagisawa, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)
    Robert G. Smith, Ph.D. (USA), Associate Editor
    Helen Saul Case, M.S. (USA), Assistant Editor
    Ralph K. Campbell, M.D. (USA), Contributing Editor
    Michael S. Stewart, B.Sc.C.S. (USA), Technology Editor
    Jason M. Saul, JD (USA), Legal Consultant

    Comments and media contact: drsaul@doctoryourself.com OMNS welcomes but is unable to respond to individual reader emails. Reader comments become the property of OMNS and may or may not be used for publication.

    To subscribe to the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service (free): http://www.orthomolecular.org/subscribe.html

    OMNS Archive: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml

    To view this article on the OMNS website: http://www.orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v14n16.shtml

    Read abstract of the meta-analysis: "Supplemental Vitamins and Minerals for CVD Prevention and Treatment." J Am Coll Cardiol. 2018 Jun 5;71(22):2570-2584. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2018.04.020.

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