This is an issue that I have known about for a while through my research, and while I think there are times when supplementation can be helpful and important (ie. over the short-term to help restore and in-balance, when it is impossible to get a good variety of food, and the exception of vitamin B12 for most people and Vitamin D in winter months with little sunlight) over the long term supplementation can be doing your body far more harm than good! It’s scary how many people include daily multi-vitamins as part of ‘keeping healthy” and looking after yourself.
While reading “Ayurvedic Healing for Women” by Atreya which emphasises treating illness and disease at their root not just the symptoms, the author gives a good explanation of how supplements actually work in the body:
“Let’s look at a simplified version of how synthetic pharmaceutical products work in the body. These products are made to achieve quick, standard, consistent results. This means something that can be measured in one way or another, over and over again. If a substance can be manufactured or isolated ot do this, then it becomes of value to science. These products have to be separated and isolated from other substances in order to measure them effectively. It also allows science to observe the effects of the isolated substance.
Through this process, the substance is rendered inert, dead. It is rendered inorganic (i.e. no longer occurring in it’s original state, as in nature). Its chemical structure remains the same, or extremely close, but it is considered dead by the human body. This can best be defined by its action in the body. They do not work with the body, but rather in spite of it. This is why these products have achieved miraculous effects against disease.
This however, always has a price. This invasiveness – or breaking-and-entering – action always creates side effects. These secondary effects can be known or unknown. Modern science mainly uses one criteria for determining if a substance is safe or not: Is it carcinogenic? The question of whether a substance causes cancer is thus the primary factor in determining if that substance is safe for the treatment of disease. The other side effects are often not measured or investigated due to a lack of time and money. In fact, to know all the side effects of any given isolated substance, one would have to test each system, organ, and gland, and their functions in the body. And you would still never known how the total organic whole would respond to the isolated substance……..
These substances do not have an innate intelligence that tells them which things belong in the body and which do not. They flood the cells (which cells depends on the medication being used) and enter forcibly to do their job……Vitamin C can serve as a valuable example here. Vitamin C is known to be safe and beneficial when used correctly. In this example, we will use a synthetic vitamin C, which is the most common form of the vitamin in the United States. The synthetic form must first confront the digestive tract in order to be dissolved and reduced to a usable form that can be absorbed into the plasma via the blood to nourish the cells. After all, everything happens in the cells. But does your body have the enzymes necessary to break down and digest this man-made vitamin? Certainly a portion is able to be used, because laboratories have been able to observe the effects. So why is your urine always so yellow when you take vitamins? Because you are either unable to use, or do not need, this portion of the vitamin. (Many people find it illogical to think that humans have the inherent enzymes to digest the many synthetic products that appear each year in our food chain. This is definitely worth considering, especially for those who have food allergies or sensitivities.)
When the vitamin (or a percentage of it) is broken down and absorbed into the blood, it eventually reaches the cell, the core metabolic building block of the body. The cell has a wall made up of lipids and proteins that control the absorption of nutrients into the cell. Within the cell wall, there is a jellylike fluid called the cytoplasm. Within this fluid, hundreds of activities take place, according to the function of the cell and its location in the body. In this process, the cell wall or membrane plays a critical role. It allows certain things in and keeps other things out. It allocates certain openings to certain nutrients. This means that vitamin C has special openings and that, when you eat an orange, the vitamin C zooms through the plasma until it finds a cell opening for vitamin C that is free. it then enters and aids the metabolic process for the body.
Unfortunately, the synthetic vitamin C that we are using doesn’t have a clue about these rules and it just pushes its way into the cell wherever it can find an opening. Being man-made, it has not received the instructions from Mother Nature but is either ignorant or inert. This is what natural medicine calls a dead substance, because it does not know how to function with the body; it does not know its natural role. It lacks intelligence. It lacks life. Intelligence and life are two principles that occur together throughout nature…
When the vitamin C floods the cells – as in a high does to fight a cold, or because you think it is good for health – the openings for other vitamins, minerals, and nutrients become blocked. This prevents the other nutrients from being absorbed for as long as the cell wall is flooded with vitamin C. …..
Studied have consistently shown that large, regular intakes of any vitamin actually case a deficiency of that vitamin. Why? Because the body is continually flooded with it and loses the ability to produce it or utilize it from natural foods.
What if we were to substitute the birth control pill for vitamin C? what might be the effect? Or an estrogenic substance/ The target of these synthetic pills is the endocrine system and the cells that life there. Is your body able to effectively use or eliminate this pill year after year? what effect will this drug have on the cell membranes? What other hormones or nutrients is this medication preventing from entering the cell? These are legitimate questions for every woman (and man) to ask herself with respect to all synthetic products – everything from asprin to antidepressants.”