By Dr. Mercola
"That Vitamin Movie," created by award-winning producer and director Michael Beattie,1 features a long list of vitamin experts and health professionals in the complementary medicine field — including yours truly — discussing the healing potential of vitamins.
Beattie was inspired to make this film after Trevor, a close friend of three decades, told him he'd turned his life around; finally getting a handle on the depression that had plagued him. Removing sugar from his diet was the first step. Taking niacin (vitamin B3), was the second.
This tip was something Trevor had gleaned from watching the film, "Food Matters," in which Andrew Saul, Ph.D. talks about the usefulness of niacin in the treatment of depression.
His curiosity peaked, Beattie then heard about cases of people being brought back from the brink of death with the use of high-dose vitamin C, and how many chronic diseases appear to be outgrowths of various nutrient deficiencies.
But if vitamins are so effective for treating disease, including mental disorders like depression, why aren't doctors prescribing them instead of drugs? Together with Trevor, Beattie set out to investigate the truth of the matter.
How and Why Natural Medicine Was Replaced by Toxic Drugs
As I mention in this film, the shift from using natural remedies to using toxic drugs did not occur by chance. It was carefully orchestrated from the start, and the drug industry still, to this day, dismisses inexpensive, safe, and effective remedies in order to protect their own business.
As detailed in my article, "How the Oil Industry Conquered Medicine, Finance and Agriculture," the transformation of the practice of medicine went into full force in 1901, with the establishment of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research.
Up until that point, naturopathic-based herbal medicine had been the norm, and Rockefeller — an oil king pin — set out to shift the medical industry toward using oil-derived pharmaceuticals instead.
The institute was headed up by Simon Flexner, whose brother, Abraham, was contracted by the Carnegie Foundation to author a report on the current state of medical education. His report (The Flexner Report)2 resulted in a radical overhaul of the medical education system.
Any remedy that could not be patented was vigorously dismissed as quackery, and the sole focus of medicine shifted to the use of synthetic drugs and surgery, which quickly resulted in a massive "medical economy."
Modern Medicine Is a Profit-Driven Business, Divorced From Healing
In short, medicine became an exceptionally profitable business, and has only gotten more so over the past 100 years as people forgot or neglected what their grandparents or great grandparents knew about the prevention and treatment of disease, which was founded on the premise that food is medicine.
The average American, aged 19 to 64, now takes close to 13 prescription drugs.3 Not even children are spared from excessive drugging, and seniors are taking a downright frightening number of medications.
The average annual prescription rate for children up to the age of 18 is now over 4 prescriptions per capita, and the average senior over the age of 65 is on 28 drugs!
As noted by Saul, thousands of chemical reactions take place in your body at any given second, and many of these cannot occur without the presence of certain vitamins. Vitamins C and D and magnesium are just three examples of nutrients without which your biochemistry suffers.
Real Food Is Your Primary Source of Vitamins and Nutrients
While the film highlights the potential benefits of using unnaturally high doses of vitamin supplements, as a general rule I recommend getting the bulk of your nutrition from eating REAL food.
I firmly believe that if people would pay careful attention to their food choices and lifestyle (such as getting sensible sun exposure to optimize their vitamin D), nutritional deficiencies would be largely avoided in the first place.
However, there are exceptions to every rule, and in some cases, taking specific nutrients may be therapeutically necessary, which can be far less toxic and less expensive than drug treatments. One example would be the treatment of acute and serious infections.
Other rarer examples are presented by Dr. Atsuo Yanagisawa, who has treated girls suffering side effect from the HPV vaccine with upwards of 12 to 25 grams of vitamin C (first bi-weekly, and then weekly), and uses high-dose intravenous vitamin C to counteract the effects of radiation in exposed workers at the Fukushima plant.
So when it comes to taking large doses of supplements, there needs to be a solid justification for it. It's not something you should embark on at your own behest. Many could potentially do more harm than good by taking mega-doses of specific nutrients, as this upsets the balance with other nutrients.
Vitamins D, K2, magnesium and calcium are but one example of nutrients that work synergistically and need to be kept in balance. Potassium and sodium are another example.
Unbalanced ratios of nutrients tend to be a side effect of eating a processed food diet, and can be worsened by mega dosing on individual vitamins.
Even When Eating Real Food, Some Nutrient Insufficiencies May Persist
All of that said, even if you eat organic whole food, you may still get insufficient amounts of certain nutrients, for the fact that most of our soils are frequently depleted of micronutrients. As a result of industrial agricultural practices, foods simply are not as nutrient-dense as they used to be.
For example, in order to receive the same amount of iron you used to get from one apple in 1950, by 1998 you had to eat 26 apples. So a case can certainly be made for the usefulness of vitamin supplementation — within reason.
In my view, there are certain supplements that most people will benefit from taking. Vitamin D3 (unless you're able to get sufficient amounts of sun exposure year-round) is at the top of that list. Animal-based omega-3 fat, such as the fat found in krill oil, is another nutrient that most people simply don't get enough of.
If you still have not shifted away from processed foods, vitamin C may be worth considering, as processed foods will not provide you much of this vitamin.
If you're not eating traditionally fermented foods, you'd also be wise to take a high-quality probiotic supplement, and at the very least consider increasing your consumption of fresh vegetables, as the fiber provides important nourishment for beneficial bacteria in your gut that help calibrate your immune system.
Treating Disease With Nutrition in Medical Practice
The film includes a number of physicians who use diet and natural remedies in their medical practice — with great success. For example, Dr. Garry Vickar is a psychiatrist who incorporates nutrition in his practice.
Dr. David Brownstein, an expert on iodine, notes that virtually all of his patients tend to be low in this important nutrient; this is particularly true for those with cancer. He also talks about how he successfully treated an elderly dementia patient with B12 and CQ10 supplementation.
Drs. Michael Gonzalez and Jorge Miranda both treat cancer nutritionally. The conventional cancer treatment model typically calls for radiation and/or chemotherapy — both of which destroy your immune system, the job of which is to protect your health, while simultaneously failing to treat the root cause of the cancer.
Considering these facts, and the abysmal success statistics of these interventions, it's quite clear that conventional cancer treatment is based on a profit scheme; not that which has the best and safest effect.
As noted by Dr. Alan Gaby, health problems are not always restricted to nutritional deficiencies. Many people have hidden food intolerances, and once you identify them and remove those foods from your diet, disease symptoms will often improve or resolve.
That said, he too is a strong supporter of nutritional supplements. In his estimation, were people to follow nutritional recommendations, health care costs in the U.S. could be reduced by about 50 percent within a few years. And therein lies the crux of the problem, because the drug industry certainly does NOT want that to happen!
Your Body Is Designed to Self-Heal
Most natural health professionals in this field believe that your body was designed to stay healthy, given the chance. Your body will always work in the direction of health, not in the direction of disease. When it's diseased, and/or struggling to recover from an illness, it means your body is not receiving everything it needs to get the job done right. Your diet is absolutely essential in this regard, and to lay the foundation for good health, you need to:
- Eat REAL FOOD, ideally organic and locally grown
- Cut down on refined sugars, processed fructose, grains and flours, as they promote insulin and leptin resistance, which underlies virtually all disease
In essence, if you want to be healthy, you, your spouse, or someone you employ, must take the time to cook from scratch. There's just no way around it. If you rely on industrial processes to prepare your food, you are going to die prematurely. And while alive, you're undoubtedly going to struggle with disease.
What Makes Vitamin C so Effective?
The film focuses a great deal of attention on the benefits of vitamin C. What is it about this vitamin that makes it so special? Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means your body doesn't store it. Unlike most other mammals, humans do not have the ability to make vitamin C, which means you need to consume it via your diet.
Vitamin C has many functions in your body, including acting as an essential cofactor in enzymatic reactions. In this way, it plays a role in the production of collagen, carnitine (which helps your body turn shuttle fat into the mitochondria for fuel), and catecholamines (hormones made by your adrenal glands), for starters.
Vitamin C is also used by your body for wound healing, repairing, and maintaining the health of your bones and teeth, and plays a role in helping your body absorb iron. However, it's vitamin C's role as an antioxidant that it is most well known for.
As an antioxidant, vitamin C is known to block some of the damage caused by DNA-damaging free radicals. Over time, free radical damage may accelerate aging and contribute to the development of heart disease and other health conditions. It's through this antioxidant effect that it's thought vitamin C may play a role in protecting heart health.
It also has potent anti-cancer properties. As explained in the film, the molecular structure of vitamin C is similar to sugar, which cancer cells need to thrive. Cancer cells have glucose receptors, and if there's no glucose present, they will pull in vitamin C instead. In the presence of oxygen, hydrogen peroxide is produced, which kills the cancer cell from the inside.
Vitamin C even plays a role in brain health, as it is necessary to make certain neurotransmitters, including serotonin. Vitamin C may also be useful for:4
|Boosting immune system function||Improving vision in people with uveitis (inflammation of the middle part of the eye)
||Allergy-related conditions, such as eczema, asthma and hay fever
|Treating sunburn||Alleviating dry mouth
||Healing burns and wounds
|Decreasing blood sugar in diabetics||Fighting viral illnesses, such as mononucleosis
||Maintaining healthy gums
|Preventing and shortening the duration of the common cold and flu||Osteoarthritis
||Age-related macular degeneration
Why Even Young People May Want to Consider a Multivitamin Supplement
While many studies focus on the benefits of supplementation in older populations, younger generations stand to benefit as well, especially children and women of child-bearing age. Studies also suggest that men's health at time of conception may be critical to delivering a healthy child.
When selecting a high-quality dietary supplement, be sure it is as close as possible to its natural (whole food) form and follows industry standards for quality assurance including ISO 9001, ISO 17025, and Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) certifications.
Remember, if you are interested in optimizing your health, your BEST solution is to avoid all processed foods and eat a wide variety of REAL FOODS. You can use my free nutrition plan and work your way up to the advanced stage. Once you have addressed your diet and are looking for further improvement, odds are you might benefit from certain supplements, such as vitamin D3, animal-based omega-3 supplement, and a probiotic for example.
There are many others you could consider depending on your specific circumstances, including a high-quality multivitamin, additional antioxidant support and others.