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vitamins we need to stay healthy. - Carl Zimmer, "Vitamins’ ld, ld !d"e", #he $ew %ork #imes, Decem&er ', ()*+ , "otta tell you, ri"ht at the to- of my list would &e takin" vitamins. , know that over the years doctors have said they.re ridiculous and all that. /ut , started takin" my vitamins at an early a"e. And , take them every day. !very &loody day0 1o , think that.s num&er one. 2or whatever reason, , feel active and -retty "ood at my a"e. 3e"is 4hil&in, American media -ersonality 5&. *'+*--that makes him a"e 6( 7 3e"is was active and full of life, even at a"e 6) when he finished his last "8,V!0" show on television. 9e holds the :uinness /ook of 3ecords title for ";ost 9ours on Camera." I hadn't planned on becoming a single parent. Nobody does. More importantly, with two kids under age ten to support and care for by myself, I wasn't ready. I wasn't prepared. How could I feed three people when I had little idea how to prepare meals? I could hardly make toast and prepare canned soup. Local supermarkets were helpful as they pro ided suggestions for combinations of foods I could assemble to make something resembling a meal. !ut how could I be certain I was pro iding my kids with full and balanced nutrition as I knew that growing children needed? My solution was to find out what itamin and mineral supplements would ensure that they and I had minimums of what we needed. "hat's how it began. If I at least pro ided foods my kids would eat and that was healthy, I didn't need to worry about balancing nutrition if they got the nutrients they needed. #hich was good because my reading was suggesting this could be difficult as research at the time conflicted about what was right, good and balanced. $nd I didn't ha e much time to spare as a classroom teacher with %& needy kids to manage. 'ne part has not changed. (esearch results still show great conflicts. Now I know to find out not )ust who conducted the research, but who paid for it. It made sense then and has pro en so many times since that researchers tend to find results fa ourable to the companies that pro ided funding for the research. (esearchers, now and then, always wanted more funding for more research when their current pro)ect ended. *ollow the money and you often find yourself where you hoped not to be. +tudies funded by manufacturers of sugar or companies that make products that depend largely on sugar tend to conclude that sugar is not so bad for you. "hey stress the benefits of other nutrients. Large suppliers of fresh produce stress in their ad ertising that fresh is good, without noting that their products are often
co ered in pesticides, fertili,ers and other growth stimulants that come straight from a chemical factory. Monsanto, -ow, !$+* and their like stress that the chemicals they make to put onto and into food products anish shortly thereafter. "hey often forget to note research pro)ects that ha e shown their products to be dangerous to human health and the en ironment. $s for .M's /.enetically Modified 'rganisms, also known as .0s, .enetically 0ngineered products, a term more popular in 0urope1, none of the chemical companies, none of the factory farms and none of the food suppliers point out that some && countries around the world ha e banned such products, deeming them risky to human health. $nd threatening to foods grown organically nearby through wind blows and other methods by which modified seeds are spread. $ll of the abo e companies spend fortunes to see that laws forcing them to announce these additions to natural foods on labels ne er get passed. #hy don't they want us to know? !ecause they ha e something they want to hide, something they don't want you to find out about, of course. 2ackaged foods, whether in cans, bottles or other wrappings, tend to ha e preser ati e chemicals added to ensure they don't spoil on food market shel es. "he trouble is that they don't 3spoil3 or break down in the human gut either, which is what we all desperately want to happen for digestion to work. *ood that remains undigested in the gut or blood essels is )ust plain dangerous. +ometimes it's impossible to a oid products with ingredients we don't want, especially if the manufacturers ha e made sure the laws don't force them to put information important to consumers on their labels. #hat's more, medical and health research /the dependable and honest ariety1 ha e shown in recent decades that our bodies need nutrients beyond what they would likely get from foods from the a erage food market. #hy? If our ancestors didn't need these e4tra nutrients, why should we? !ecause most of us want to li e many years longer than our ancestors did. $nd the diet of the a erage person is not prepared to accommodate or pro ide for those e4tra years. $nd, sad to say, many of the foods we buy in stores is pre5treated before we get it that it has already lost most of its nutriti e alue. Milk that is pasteuri,ed and now heated to high temperatures to help it last for weeks without spoiling is nothing like the milk your grandma ser ed to her kids. #e all know about how cancer /breast, prostate and colorectal get the most
publicity1 is far more common now than e er before. -iabetes and obesity, almost rare in past decades, are so common now that doctors call them pandemics. #hy are so many diseases more common now than years ago? #hat we eat55our diet55 has changed dramatically. 'ur diet conforms more to what manufacturers want to sell us than what is best for our bodies to sur i e and thri e for eight or nine decades. $d ertising makes sure we belie e what we buy is good for us. +o how do we get the nutrients if we know what our bodies need? 'ften the only way to get some of them is through what we now call supplements. !y the way, only a few decades ago people were told that we would all be eating pills or li6uid meals in the 78st 9entury. Nobody was shocked by that news then, but many are alarmed by people taking pills and li6uids that are not prescribed by a doctor now. #hy? !ig corporations don't make much money when we buy supplements instead of their drug products prescribed by their doctors. :ou can see how my thinking on the sub)ect of itamin and mineral supplements /and now tablet supplements of other edible plant products1 has e ol ed o er the years. I ha e left what is perhaps the most important point to the last. #hy do we get old? #hat happens inside of us that makes us more ulnerable to disease, bone breakage and so on as we pass the formerly enforced age of retirement, ;&? #hy are we weaker and more ulnerable to attack by bacteria and iruses? #hile the answers may seem mysterious to those who ha e not kept up with research, they are becoming public, albeit slowly. 'ur -N$ is made up of chromosomes, each of which has many genes. 0ach cell of our body has these genes. $s each cell dies off /most from daily to once a month1, they are replaced by newly minted genes that carry the same genetic information. $lmost. ' er time, many decades for most of us, the tail ends of some of the chromosomes fail to be reproduced when new cells are formed in our bodies. "he tail ends of the chromosomes are called telomeres. "hese telomeres /they keep chromosomes from getting tangled up with each other1 can get lost o er countless reproductions. #hen that happens, parts of genes can be lost as well. #ith some genes and chromosomes not complete, our bodies are not as capable of defending themsel es as they were when we were younger. "hat makes our body ulnerable to all sorts of things, including aging. $n en,yme called telomerase can add telomeres to the ends of chromosomes when they di ide /reproduce1. 'ur -N$, the stuff of life, can actually be impro ed by ha ing telomerase add telomeres to our chromosomes o er time. 'kay, enough chemistry and biology.
#e can actually impro e our own -N$ and pre ent oursel es from aging too 6uickly /and dying too soon1 if we know how to ha e our bodies create the telomerase that will fi4 up our -N$ chromosomes. !ut how? It's all in what we eat. <ust as inade6uate nutrition will cause our chromosomes to get shorter faster and younger, good nutrition can help us to boost our -N$ to help us li e longer and stronger and more acti e li es as we get older. #hat foods or supplements can do that for you? Now that's when it gets hard to answer. *irst of all, the threat of litigation pre ents me from pro iding easy answers. More importantly, each person is different and re6uires a different combination of nutrients. "here is no one5si,e5fits5all. -id it seem to you as if I )ust hit you and ran away there? I didn't mean to. "he answers are not simple or easy to find. #hat works for me will not necessarily work for you. :ou will need to find your own answers, what works for you. *ortunately, the internet has loads of resources that will help you if you want to dig in and do the research yourself. <ust don't e4pect to find the solution in a single pill. "here is no magic in ol ed. "his science is in its early stages, so no definiti e answers are possible. !ut you can read to learn more. $t the end of this article are some resources to get you started with your reading about supplements. *inally, a few notes about supplements= /81 $lmost all supplements contain fillers to gi e them si,e and colour. #hile making the tablets or capsules larger, thus seemingly more impressi e /worth more1 to the customer, they add nothing of benefit. +ome claim the fillers could be harmful, though any decent researcher could find that e en water can be harmful. /71 $ small number of studies ha e found that supplements are a waste of money, that they do nothing. 9areful scrutiny of each study re eals that in e ery case the conditions or amounts of each supplement were arranged so that the results were ine itable. 04ample, if four of a tablet are necessary to accomplish some health benefit and only one tablet is gi en to test sub)ects, the results will ine itably show the supplement is ineffecti e, it doesn't work. /%1 'pponents of supplements, who often share a warm and friendly relationship with pharmaceutical companies, claim that all the necessary itamins and minerals we need to be healthy are a ailable in food. "hat is true. If a person eats the diet recommended by health authorities. !ut nobody does. In fact, 3the typical $merican diet3 that students of the sub)ect read so much about is downright unhealthy. +upplements ensure that you don't miss anything you need, including trace minerals that are not in e ery egetable and without which you could be
unhealthy or die. +upplements lower your risk of dying younger and li ing a sad and dependent life in the final decades of your life. />1 +upplements can do you harm of taken indiscriminately or to e4cess. $s with anything else you put into your mouth, moderation is the key. Moderation, not elimination. /&1 ?egetarians and egans may suffer problems with heart disease and with other body organs if they sustain a chronic shortage of itamin !87 in their diet. "he risk of these problems anishes when they take !87 supplements. /;1 +ome itamin manufacturers will suggest doses far higher than you need /usually because they belie e their itamin is water soluble, thus you can't o erdose1. (emember, it's a supplement, not a main course. /@1 Most itamin and mineral containers will recommend that you ask your doctor before beginning a new series of supplements. "his is wise in case they might conflict with something you are already taking or with something in your system. If your doctor says you should not take any itamin supplements, you may want to consider finding another doctor who is more interested in your health than in his or her income. "his short ideo is about e4tending life= http=AAnutritionfacts.orgA ideoAmethionine5restriction5as5a5life5e4tension5 strategyA?utmBsourceCrssDutmBmediumCrssDutmBcampaignCmethionine5 restriction5as5a5life5e4tension5 strategyDutmBsourceCNutrition*acts.orgDutmBcampaignC>;&;d7E8;E5 (++B?I-0'B-$IL:DutmBmediumCemailDutmBtermCFB>FfGe>G@d85>;&;d7E8;E5 77&%FF%@ or use this shorter ersion of the H(L= http=AAtinyurl.comAlfb>w7 $ doctor speciali,ing in nutrition deli ers the goods http=AAdrhyman.comAblogA7F8%A88A8EAsetting5record5straight5supplementsAIclose :ou can e en heal tooth ca ities or pre ent them with proper nutrition http=AAwww.healthy5holistic5li ing.comAhow5to5heal5ca ities5naturally.html ?itamins and minerals to prepare the body to protect against Multiple +clerosis, $l,heimer's and many other diseases. http=AAwww.healthy5holistic5li ing.comAterry5wahls.html
Human nutrition, the gut microbiome, and immune system= en isioning the future http=AAwww.ncbi.nlm.nih.go ApmcAarticlesA2M9%7GEFE7A /"his summari,es the relationship between dietAgut bacteria and health.1 *inally science writer 9arl Jimmer with a bit of history of humans and itamins http=AAwww.nytimes.comA7F8%A87A8FAscienceA itamins5old5old5edge.html?BrCF !ill $llin is the author of Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems as well as hundreds of articles, all a ailable on the internet. Learn more at http=AAbillallin.com