Vitamin, Mineral and Nutrient Supplementation

Paul L. Reller L.Ac. / Last Updated: August 03, 2017

Many people take vitamin and mineral supplements, yet few people understand how to utilize supplements to correct health problems or prevent disease. Most people rely on advertising, product claims, or simply take the least expensive multivitamin and mineral product. This is not a good approach. Studies have confirmed that there is a large variance in quality and content of supplement and herbal products on the commercial market. Understanding how the body works and logically deciding its possible needs will make a big difference. Obtaining the daily vitamins and minerals that we need to stay healthy from the diet is essential, and the term 'essential' is used to indicate which vitamins and minerals need to be obtained in the diet because they cannot be produced sufficiently in the human metabolism. We now know that many essential vitamins and other essential nutrients are actually produced by the human Biome, or symbiotic colony of thousands of species of bacteria and other microorganisms in the intestines. This handout tries to give a simple summary of the main facts in the complicated field of nutritional deficiencies. For more comprehensive information from reliable standard research, go to the Linus Pauling Institute website: For quality assurance and help with this growing and complex field of knowledge, go to a Complementary Medicine Physician, such as myself, a Licensed Acupuncturist that is knowledgeable and spends enough time and research to stay abreast of this growing fied of nutrient medicine.

Utilizing a professional, such as a Naturopath, or Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist with knowledge of Nutrient Medicine, insures that you avoid the pitfalls of poor utilization and problems with nutrient supplements as a medicine - depending on the internet and commercial advice is a ticket for failure in many cases, since there is no regulation of the truth, and companies will say anything to alter sales. In addition, investigations such as the 2015 New York State Attorney General investigation of nutrient and herbal supplement quality in products marketed commercially by drugstore chains shows that a majority of these products do not contain the products or the dosage or form of the product listed on the label. Depending on professional products will insure success.

The history of nutrient medicine is closely intertwined with Traditional Chinese Medicine (CM/TCM). Joseph Needham, the authoritative historian from Cambridge, found in his study of the science and civilization of China that the first known examples of the knowledge of disease related to nutritional deficiency and the use of foods rich in specific vitamins to cure disease occurred in China. He cites a rich history of government research in early history in this regard, culminating in the work of the Imperial Dietician Hu Xu Hui in 1315 AD, who wrote a book entitled Standard Essentials of Diet (Yin Shan Cheng Yao), which describes in much detail the various forms of Beriberi, and advocates foods now known to be rich in vitamins for the treatment of this disease, as well as specific foods with nutrient chemicals that may prevent or help treat other common diseases. The use of dietary medicine has a rich history in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and continues to be taught as an important part of the curriculum today in TCM medical colleges.

The reasons for nutritional deficiencies are varied and many. In recent years study by the U.S. government confirmed that modern farming methods have severely depleted our soils and resulted in decreases in common nutrients in our commercial food products, sometimes over twenty percent less than typically seen in foods earlier in the twentieth century. Much of this sound research has been conducted through Universities specializing in agricultural science and related fields, like the University of California at Davis (UCD). In addition, the research concerning the genetically modified staple crops and the now ubiquitous herbicide Roundup (glyphosate), both manufactured and patented by Monsanto, is showing the potential for nutrient depletion from the glyphosate herbicides when it accumulates in the environment to toxic levels. Glyphosates are chelating chemicals that work to inhibit growth of weeds by decreasing the expression of key amino acids in the plants, such as tyrosine. Chelation is a term for the formation of strong chemical and ionic bonds in molecules, and results in strong binding of mineral ions that prevents their free use in complex molecules in the organism. A chelating herbicide hardens the soil with heavy metals, decreases the mineral content in the organic food that is grown in the soil, and even may result in an excess of heavy metals in the farm runoff, leading to toxic accumulation in the rivers and streams. The response from the farm chemical industry to chelating glyphosate herbicides is that we just need to also purchase mineral fertilizers to counter these effects, but this obviously ignores the array of health and environmental adverse effects, in a most cynical manner. 

It has been confirmed that many of these natural nutrient levels that are depleted with modern farming methods and chemicals are reclaimed through organic farming methods and reconditioning of soils. In 2016, another large study showed that organically grown meats and dairy products on average contain 50 percent more of healthy Omega-3 essential fatty acids, primarily due to the feeding of farm animals by natural means, with increased grazing on fresh seed grains in fields, as well as a higher content of essential nutrients in organic animal feed. This one aspect of organic farming has enormous implications in public health and disease prevention. So too, feeding ourselves organically grown fresh whole food grown in healthy soil will boost our essential nutrients, just like these farm animals in this large study. Of course, a poor diet that relies on commercial packaged food has always been a concern, but even people that eat a relatively healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables may encounter nutritional deficiencies due to increased metabolic demands or dysfunctions in healthy metabolism. 

Drugs and environmental chemicals may also contribute to nutritional deficiencies in a variety of ways, both stressing liver metabolism and creating conditions of poor absorption and utilization. When these conditions occur, not only a healthy diet with fresh whole organically grown foods, but supplementation with specific nutrient medicines may be needed. It is best not to oversimplify this subject and become defensive about the quality of your diet, or oversimplify the subject of nutrient supplements and believe that a commercial mutlivitamin or multimineral product will substitute for intelligent dietary and nutrient medicine protocols. Instead, rely on experts to diagnose possible nutrient deficient health problems and work toward solving them. The term essential, as in essential fatty acids, is a nutritional term that implies that these nutrients must be obtained from our diet, and the body is unable to produce sufficient amounts. Therefore, proper intake of essential fatty acids and other essential nutrients should be a prime concern. If one is getting these essential nutrients from the diet, the taking of supplement pills every day will not have much effect, and will be a waste of money, and indeed, Americans waste billions of dollars on these highly advertised products at present. If one has an acute or chronic condition that may create a greater need for these essential nutrients, or even non-essential nutrients normally produced in sufficient supply by the body, then specific nutrient supplements need to be taken for a short period of time. The more one learns about this subject of nutrient medicine, the more efficient is the utilization of it, and when the need for these medicinal chemicals is more pressing, visits to a professional that studied the subject in medical school is 'essential'. Medical Doctors still receive almost not education concerning nutrient and herbal medicine in their medical schools, and should refer their patients to physicians that specialized in this realm, such as Naturopathic Doctors and TCM physicians, or Licensed Acupuncturists and herbalists, but few do.

We also now know that increasing carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere, cynically referred to as 'green house gases' in the past, but actually an array of toxic environmental byproducts of industrial, energy-producing, and corporate farming and animal rearing methods, are also reducing the essential nutrient content of our foods. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have been rising steadily in the last 100 or so years, as the natural balance of plant and animal respiratory emissions has altered the tight chemical balance of the air we breath. Researchers at UC Davis have proven that increased carbon dioxide in the air has not resulted in healthier plants, but has decreased the nitrogen usage of our food plants. Nitrates are very important to the nutrient health of the human body, comprising a backbone of amino acids and proteins. Research has documented a 39 percent rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since 1800, and found that at first this produced a decrease in photorespiration, or the combining of oxygen with carbohydrates, and an increase in photosynthesis, spurring increased plant growth. As carbon dioxide increased too much, though, the plants adapted, and photosynthesis decreased, accounting for consistent findings over years of study of dramatic decreases in essential nutrient levels, such as an 11 percent drop in wheat grain protein. Combined with a depletion of the topsoils, from which our food crops obtain nitrates and the use of chemical fertilizers that damage ecological balance, our basic foods have been severely depleted of essential nutrients. Even large farming corporations are moving to the use of restoring their topsoils with cover crops now to achieve more profit, as they have discovered late in the game that the promise of replacing natural nutrients with farm chemicals has now also depleted their profits, as well as the quality of the food they produce.

One may wonder what the depletion of nitrates and nitrites in the staple food crops does to our health? The essential nutrient molecules nitric oxide is used by many cells and systems in our body, but most importantly is used to modulate vasodilation and circulation, as well as inflammatory mechanisms. Nitrates and nitrites are the backbone of nitric oxide (NO) and until recently, scientists considered these as waste byproducts of the nitric oxide metabolism (see study cited below in additional information). Now research has shown that when our bodies use nitric oxide that the nitrates and nitrites created in the metabolism and catabolism are recycled as needed to provide for more nitric oxide. If the food we eat becomes depleted of nitrates and nitrites this system is stressed, and ill health occurs. Nitrate and nitrites are found to be important for the treatment of myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, pulmonary hypertension and gastric ulcers, and aiding the nitric oxide metabolism, classically called the L-arginine nitric oxide synthase pathway, benefits tissue repair, vascular headache syndromes, pain relief, and many neurological conditions. This pathway that depends on nitrogen molecules, called the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway, is thus very important to public health, and being depleted year by year with global warming and greenhouse gases. Foods high in nitrates include pineapple, beets, strawberries, currants, parsley, collard greens, and cabbage. Nitrates and nitrites are also added as food preservatives, especially in meats, as they turn the meats pink, and preserve processed meats with long storage times, such as hot dogs, bologna, bacon and sausage, and these forms of nitrates and nitrites have been found to be potentially carcinogenic when exposed to high heat in cooking. There is quite the difference between healthy nitrates and nitrites in our plant foods, and these chemical preservatives.

As research progresses exponentially in the field of Naturopathic medicine each year, health practitioners that specialize in nutrient medicine are able to use both research and clinical experience to give the individual patients nutrient formulas that may stimulate healing responses. There is a big difference, though, between standard nutrient supplementation and the use of nutrient medicines to stimulate chemical changes in the body to enact cures. Many patients believe that standard nutrient products sold commercially will deliver as advertised, and are discouraged from utilizing the knowledge and experience of the Complementary Medicine physician to achieve cure and restoration of health with nutrient formulas. There are two problems with this common attitude that commercial multi-nutrient supplements are enough to restore healthy metabolic function in the body. One, in the United States, the FDA does not enforce regulation of commercial nutrient products, resulting in a majority of products tested not delivering what they claim to deliver, and two, oversimplification of the complex subject of nutrient physiology and medicinal supplementation will not result in the desired metabolic changes that patients need. Professional products, backed by sound research, and utilized by a health professional that has taken the time to study and understand human physiology and the way that nutrient medicines work, will produce the right results. The patient needs to both improve their daily nutrition, and to utilize the right professional to solve health problems with professional prescription. Improving one's daily nutrient intake involves both good selection of the most nutrient rich foods and taking the right essential nutrient supplements when needed. Below is a little basic information to help the patient better understand the essential nutrient needs of the human body, but it is just a small portion of a complex subject.

The public is finally starting to understand the basics of nutrition and nutritional medicine, and the importance of this subject for their health, after believing for too long that modern medicine and industrial science alone will substitute for the evolved healthy mechanisms and environment in the organism. To stay healthy and prevent disease, a few simple rules need to be followed in an intelligent and individualized manner. These include attention to the quality and freshness of the daily foods, and eating more organically grown whole foods of greater variety to obtain daily essential vitamins and minerals, as well as essential fatty acids and plant proteins. We also need to take specific nutrient supplements to achieve specific goals, and not pretend that the 'one-a'day' multivitamin and mineral supplement will achieve the goals when stress, disease and tissue injury create a greater demand for specific nutrients. We also need to show greater support for restoration of the nutrient content of our food in general, spending the money to support more organic farming, and spending less on commercially produced and synthesized foods and fast foods. The health of future generations depends on the support of a large number of individuals to demand greater nutritional quality, and this includes doing what we can to decrease air pollution and climate change as well, as well as to demand that any technology such as genetic modification and use of farm chemicals is in the public interest, and is safe for our children. Learning more about this subject is 'essential'.

Basic Facts

  • The term essential in nutrient medicine may indicate that this nutrient is obtained almost entirely from the diet, and not sufficiently manufactured in the body. Of course, essential nutrients are more likely to be deficient if the diet is not complete and healthy. For instance, essential amino acids are methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, lysine, leucine, isoleucine, histidine, threonine, and valine. Some individuals may acquire an increased demand for these essential amino acids, and supplementation may be the only effective way to accomplish the restoration of healthy function of these coenzymes. Essential fatty acids, commonly called omega-3, 6 and 9, are now shown to be very important to our health and widely used in medical treatment now, but the balance of these essential fatty acids (EFAs) is the key consideration. Essential minerals include calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, sodium, zinc, copper, phosphorus, manganese, molybdenum and fluouride, and the regulation of these large and charged (ionic) molecules is also essential in the metabolism. Simply taking essential mineral supplements may not correct the related health problem, and a more holistic approach is sensible.
  • Vitamins and minerals are also essential to your health and so the body stores a long supply of these essentials. A 6-month supply of a typical vitamin is commonly stored in the body, often in the liver, and in fatty tissues. Lipid soluble vitamins such as retinol, called Vitamin A, have up to 90 percent in the body stored in the fatty tissues of the liver, and the use of the chemical is tied to a regulatory system that includes chemical conversion from dietary carotene and carotenoids, binding and transport proteins, and the liver metabolism. Water-soluble vitamins such as the Vitamin C and B families are more likely to lack sufficient stores than fat-soluble vitamins, but health of the liver and fat metabolism is important to help maintain this regulation. Continuous taking of a vitamin or mineral complex is thus unnecessary and results in excretion of the supplement via the urine or feces. Without attention to the whole metabolism the taking of vitamin and mineral supplements may not correct deficient bioavailabilty and utilization. Minerals are tightly controlled by the hormonal system and kidney and stored mainly in our bones. Absorption, storage, release from storage, transport, and control of excretion rates are all important in mineral bioavailability and utilization, not just dietary intake. Deficiencies of vitamins and minerals occur for a number of reasons. 1) If the diet is poor and lacking in fresh unprocessed whole organic foods, 2) If the body needs an excess of a particular vitamin or mineral because of a health problem that increases the need, 3) if the vitamin or mineral is not being absorbed properly in the digestion, 4) if the body's ability to store the vitamin or mineral is diminished by poor liver health or increased liver stress, 5) if the symbiotic human Biome is not healthy and thus not producing many essential vitamins, 6) if chronic use of certain medications depletes the absorption or storage of essential vitamins and minerals, or 7) by hormonal imbalance causing poor mineral regulation. Since certain vitamins are mainly produced by healthy bacteria in the intestines rather than obtained from food, health of the intestinal flora and fauna may be the most important factor, long overlooked, but now shown to be perhaps the most important single factor in holistic health. Without attention to the whole health, or a more holistic approach, health problems related to specific vitamins and minerals will not be corrected. 
  • Why would a vitamin or mineral not be absorbed properly in the digestion? This is a complex subject, but some common deficiencies are now coming to light that are causing major health problems. Medications that affect the stomach physiology, for example, such as those that block stomach acid production, include warnings now that they may create a much higher risk of osteoporotic bone fractures due to impaired mineral absorption. This is because they stop the normal functions that are needed to create the dietary absorption of calcium and other minerals. Some medications may create anemia because they diminish the ability of the body to absorb or produce the B12 chemicals and folic acid by altering the functions of the stomach, intestines or liver. It is now widely recognized that many patients prescribed drugs to block stomach acid production were prescribed to patients with a deficiency of stomach acid production, which produces similar symptoms. Hypofunction of the stomach creates poor stomach emptying that leads to reflux, and also to degeneration of the stomach lining and sphincters, especially the lower esophageal sphincter. Acid reflux and GERD are also associated with asthmatic disease, and may be caused by taking some of the asthmatic medications in excess. Simply taking a pill may not correct these problems of stomach dysfunction, calcium deficiency, osteoporosis, etc. Overuse of gastric acid inhibiting drugs is linked to higher incidence of intestinal infection with Clostridium difficile, as well as nocosomial pneumonia, and to chronic problems with the lower GI tract, upsetting the healthy balance of the Biome, indirectly leading to nutritional deficiencies. To insure proper nutritional levels in your body you should restore gastrointestinal function, and try to recreate normal nutrient digestion with a healthy diet. Absorption and utilization of important nutrients is much higher from foods than pills, and without a healthy stomach and intestine, absorption of these nutrients may be very difficult. A holistic approach to the problem is warranted. General use of supplements may substitute for the decreasing nutrients in our foods (depleted by years of commercial farming and topsoil erosion) but to use supplements to cure, consult a specialist. Simply taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement may not be doing much good.
  • Long-term use of common medications are producing nutrient deficiencies associated with many common disease processes. Intelligent patients are not just depending upon symptom management with pharmaceuticals, but are also integrating Complementary Medicine to try to improve health and resolve the underlying causes of their problem, thereby creating the conditions to go off of expensive pharmaceuticals with many side effects and long-term risk that may exceed benefit. This not only will help the individual's health and pocketbook, but will bring down our country's health care costs, which is the major driver of the enormous federal deficits. As mentioned, use of medications to block stomach acid production have been shown to result in poor absorption of minerals, Vitamin B12 (deficient intrinisic factor in the stomach lining), and also may result in diminished protein absorption. When there is diminished protein absorption, overgrowths of Heliobacter pylori species often occur, since this common GI flora produces a chemical that increases protein catabolism. Heliobacter pylori, or H. pylori, has been found in over 60 percent of the world population, acting as a symbiotic bacteria in almost all patients studied. Heliobacter pylori is able to survive in a high acid environment, and its corkscrew shape allows it to burrow into the stomach lining, and secretes chemicals that are protective in diseases of the esophageal and stomach lining. H. pylori also is unique as it secretes a digestive enzyme urease, that helps the stomach to begin the breakdown of complex proteins. In fact, the test for H. pylori utilizes the carbon urea breath test. Therefore, this bacteria grows in excess when there is poor stomach function. High levels of H. pylori are associated with ulcers and stomach cancer, not because H. pylori is a proven cause, but because this a marker for disease. Nevertheless, standard treatment is still stuck in a protocol of decades ago, with harsh antibiotic treatment prescribed that itself causes damage to the health, and potentially, other nutrient deficiencies. Antibiotics destroy healthy bacteria throughout the GI tract, and many of these bacteria in the lower gut produce many important nutrients, such as many B vitamins. This is why probiotic supplements, which attempt to restore healthy symbiotic bacteria, are so popular at present.
  • Cholesterol lowering drugs called statins are now the most widely prescribed drug in the world. These drugs can greatly interfere with Coenzyme Q10 production in the cells with chronic use, as well as the production of the hormone Vitamin D3. Coenzyme Q10, called ubiquitone because it is ubiquitous in our bodies, or in all cells, is highly important and often deficient in the population in scientific studies. In fact, CoQ10 deficiency has been recognized as a primary cause of some horrible diseases, especially neurodegenerative conditions. This coenzyme is necessary to regulate the rates of many important cellular processes, especially creation of energy from oxygen in the cell mitochondria, but also of production of other enzymes and coenzymes. CoQ10 is needed to produce the active form of Vitamin E, and is protective of DNA as a cellular antioxidant. It inhibits excess lipid peroxidation, which causes many unwanted inflammatory symptoms. Coenzyme Q10 deficiency has been implicated in congestive heart failure, arhythmias, strokes, hypertension, heart attacks, atherosclerosis, obesity, gum disease, AIDS, Parkinson's, etc. Other commonly prescribed drugs that may cause nutritional deficiencies are oral contraceptives, estrogen replacement drugs, anti-convulsants, diabetic medications, high blood pressure medications, anti-inflammatory NSAIDS, beta-blockers (hypertension and asthma), antidepressants, and anti-anxiety benzodiazepines.
  • Circulating levels of vitamins and minerals are tightly regulated in the body. Since these are often powerful and essential chemicals, and since minerals are usually electrically charged and very large molecules able to get caught in tissues in an unwanted fashion, the body has an elaborate system of regulation. Simply pouring in pills doesn't necessarily equal increased circulation levels, or guarantee that the mineral or vitamin is sufficient in the target tissues. In fact, in menopause, when estrogen is deficient, which regulates calcium, the taking of a calcium supplement may in fact lead to tissue calcification and frozen shoulder, because the hormonal regulation of calcium is deficient, not the available calcium stores. Hormonal health and healthy liver function is necessary for those supplemental nutrients to work for you. When excess blood loss occurs, iron deficiency anemia occurs, but simply pouring iron supplement into the body often does little to increase the elaborate and well regulated system of iron storage, transport and content in the red blood cells. New healthy red blood cells need to be generated to correct blood loss and poor quality blood cells, and often excess iron supplementation results in iron overload toxicity, upset of iron homeostasis, and does not correct the anemia. Both iron deficient anemia and iron overload toxicity occur in many individuals, most often presenting a subclinical presentation.
  • Absorption and utilization of the supplements depends on the body's needs and the manner in which you ingest them. Often, more than 90% of your pill supplements are not used and merely exiting with your urine. Potentially, 100% of these expensive products could be non-utilized. Multivitamin and mineral products, when not taken correctly, could lead to all of these supplements as a whole entity not being utilized and merely excreted unused. Nature has evolved a complex balance of chemical nutrients over time because of physiological needs. There are many checks and balances in this system. Nutrients in food comes from living organisms that have this complex balance, and often one nutrient mineral or vitamin will have the effect of limiting the absorption of another mineral or vitamin. Consequently, multivitamin and mineral products are not a good idea in general, especially if taken daily over a long period of time. This practice could eventually cause a particular vitamin or mineral depletion. If you take a multivitamin and/or mineral supplement, take it for a few weeks and then stop for a month or two. Improving dietary intake of nutrients is always the best approach for natural balance, and specific prescription of nutrient supplements is a much better use of your money and effort. Vitamin and mineral pill supplements are best utilized when taken with foods that contain these chemicals. For instance, fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, and E, require concurrent consumption of dietary fat to insure adequate absorption. Taking these pills between meals, especially in the form of multivitamin supplements, with mixed fat-soluble and water-soluble chemicals included, may dramatically decrease the chemical absorption and utilization. The vitamins may be entirely excreted in urine unused.
  • Are some vitamin and mineral supplements potentially injurious to your health? The answer is definitely YES. Excess intake of pill supplements of certain lipid soluble vitamins (some forms of A & D) are purported to commonly cause health problems. Vitamins are not specific chemical substances, but rather a group, or classification, of organic chemicals with similar function, mostly acting as coenzymes. Chronic intake with just one form of the vitamin may lead to deficiencies of the other forms in your metabolism. Taking the right form of the vitamin classification is very important, as well as the right dosage in supplementation. For instance, Vitamin A deficiency is a common health problem for children and pregnant women across the world in areas where access to healthy food is a problem, contributing to blindness, stunted growth, and anemia in iron deficient diets, but overconsumption of preformed Vitamin A supplement can be highly toxic, and deficiency of zinc in the diet can lead to a deficiency of retinol-binding protein and lack of protection against Vitamin A (retinol) toxicity. Excess intake of certain calcium products also may contribute to accumulation of calcium ions in the tissues, causing chronic inflammatory pain and tissue degeneration. How this works will be explained later in this handout. Generally, water soluble vitamins that are commonly found in normal foods rarely cause harm with excess intake. These include most of the B vitamin family and forms of vitamin C. Vitamin E, a lipid soluble, also appears to cause little problem with daily intake, but the correct dosage is essential. Some minerals commonly added to other commercial products and over the counter medicines may be taken, unnoticed, in excess, such as zinc, and impair calcium absorption. Excess zinc intake may cause a relative deficiency of copper, which may lead to poor iron absorption, anemia, and thyroid problems. High levels of zinc and Vitamin D hormone also may decrease absorption of magnesium, and magnesium deficiency is linked to poor calcium absorption and storage. Chronic use of oral contraceptives, or gluten malabsorption syndrome and celiac disease may also contribute to copper deficiency. Heavy antacid use may also cause an excess intake of a mineral and impede absorption of other minerals. Read the labels on drugstore products to see if they contain appreciable levels of minerals, and be careful not to take excess zinc. The proper individualized intake of the right forms of vitamin and mineral supplements is very important, and taking too many of these advertised products may be causing a health problem in absorption and utilization of essential vitamins and minerals.
  • What are vitamins? Vitamin is a term that is used to denote a type of chemical, usually acting as a coenzyme (helping the enzymes work efficiently or in a specific manner), and not a specific single chemical. Specific vitamin chemicals within this group of similar functioning molecules also have a number of important functions beside coenzyme activity, acting as antioxidants, metabolic cofactors, etc. Each vitamin type actually equals a family of chemicals, so when we buy Vitamin D, for example, we may be purchasing a chemical that is not deficient in the body even when there is a Vitamin D deficiency. In addition, since Vitamin D is a type of chemical that is actually primarily a hormone, prehormone, or prohormone, almost all of our Vitamin D is manufactured by the body, not consumed in the diet. The nutrient chemicals cholecalciferol (D3) and ergocalciferol (D2) were two of the earliest chemicals identified as vitamins, but we now know that these chemicals are actually prohormones, and exert no vitamin-like effects themselves. There are five known Vitamin D prohormone chemicals, and over 20 converted metabolites of these prohormones that may have vitamin-like activities in the body. The benefit of taking a supplement simply called Vitamin D is questionable. The same is true for many families of vitamins. For instance, the number of types of molecules called Vitamin B is now very large, and even the main types of Vitamin B, such as B3, now include a variety of molecules that act differently in the body. Taking the right type of vitamin, or other supplement, and making sure that our bodies absorb and utilize the right chemical nutrient supplement properly is very important. Also, correcting the underlying reason for the deficiency is of great importance as well, and holistic considerations are important in nutrient medicine.
  • The body often converts one form of a vitamin into another as needed, mainly in our organs, so healthy organ functions are essential to utilization of vitamins, as well as taking the right form of the vitamin and eating it with the right types of food to maximize absorption. Food is obtained from living organisms that all have a similar chemical mix, and so healthy food contains the most commonly needed types of these various vitamin chemical family members. Hence, food is our best source of vitamins, not supplement pills, and there is no substitute for a healthy diet. Normal metabolism is completely dependent on this type of chemical coenzyme we call vitamins. Hence, eating of natural unprocessed whole food is essential to proper physiological function. Simply adding nutrients to the processed foods, as the industry does with processed flour, for example, is not providing us with all the chemicals that we need. Some vitamins are coenzymes, some are steroid hormones, some are antioxidants, some are inflammatory mediators, etc. Some vitamins are not called vitamins, such as the amino acid carnitine, alpha lipoic acid, flavonoids, folic acid, inositol, choline and biotin. In general, a vitamin is a chemical that is essential to daily processes in the body, for example, production of red blood cells and protein regulators, dietary utilization of calcium, production of neurotransmitters, etc. To insure that there is not a harmful deficiency, we must ingest natural unprocessed foods. The quickest way to insure that you will get a harmful deficiency in time is to stick to a diet of fast foods, as the 2004 documentary Super Size Me demonstrated. Fast foods are a threat to the public health in this way. Multivitamin and mineral supplements are no substitute for fresh, whole healthy foods.
  • Are Vitamin deficiencies and related symptoms a simple matter of failure to take supplements? Modern laboratory study has shown that animals with severe specific vitamin depletion may not necessarily have the signs and symptoms of the vitamin deficiency syndrome commonly noted. It is believed that these symptoms are the result of primary disorders, and that vitamin deficiency may not be causative, but rather contributes in a complex metabolic manner. On the other hand, specific syndromes have been found to be corrected by dietary supplementation even when the study animal is not primarily deficient in the specific vitamin chemical being studied, and most nutrient medicine relies on this fact. Nutrient medicine is today not primarily concerned with nutrient deficiencies. Circulating levels of vitamins and other nutrients in blood tests are now commonly used as a diagnostic tool, with claims that maintenance of circulating levels will prevent or correct health problems. This simplified concept does fail to overlook all of the metabolic parameters, though. The circulating levels may be high or low depending on need in the body, and may not reflect the circulating blood levels or tissue stores. In addition, when an essential vitamin is not being eaten, the symbiotic Biome will often produce the needed nutrient molecule. Absorption and utilization is also overlooked in this simplified scheme. The bottom line in nutraceutical medicine is research and clinical experience that shows that specific vitamin chemicals, taken in proper dosage and manner, may have the desired therapeutic effect, which is a complex science. The body is not a machine, or engine, that responds simply by filling the tank. No therapeutic protocol is guaranteed to work because of the complexity of the organism, but informed prescription and observation of signs and symptoms by a professional, with adjustment of the therapeutic protocol as needed, probably will achieve great results in curing your health problems and restoring optimal health. To rely on internet one-size-fits-all advice in nutrient medicine, or even on physicians who prescribe purely on results from a circulating blood test, is not a sensible way to utilize nutrient medicine to effect a cure or prevent disease.
  • What is a mineral? A mineral is a chemical that is inorganic and usually able to hold an electrical charge (electrolyte). Vitamins are organic (carbon based) compounds and minerals are inorganic (not containing carbon). The term "organic" in the food industry does not refer to carbon compounds, but to foods that are left intact or unprocessed as they were in the organism that was grown, or not exposed to inorganic chemicals. Vitamins are organic compounds, meaning that the chemicals in the vitamins are held together by shared electrons in carbon molecules. Minerals are inorganic compounds, meaning that the chemicals are held together by electrical charges, like magnets. Minerals thus attract other electrically charged molecules and carry them, and also provide the electrical flows that power our nervous system and make our muscles contract and relax. Minerals are also crystalline structures, meaning that they don't break down into other types of molecules easily. They stay whole but attach to other chemicals easily, and may accumulate in our tissues. Salt is a mineral mix that usually contains the mineral sodium. Salt is not just sodium, and not all salts are the same. Your commercial salt may be a bad mix of minerals. Quality sea salts are generally a mix of chemicals that resembles the normal mix in your body fluids (isn't nature wonderful?). These sea salts may contain up to 60 mineral compounds, not just sodium chloride, or commercial 'salt'. Commercial salt is bad, quality sea salt is good, and the oversimplification of the subject of salt intake has caused a public health problem. The general advice to avoid salt is simplistic and stupid. Intake of a little quality sea salt is healthy, and studies in recent years have made clear that low salt and sodium intake is just as potentially harmful as excess intake. Processed foods contain a lot of commercial salt, often resulting in mineral imbalance and excess sodium. Since salts & minerals need to be balanced in the body, intake of one mineral will often decrease the ability to absorb another mineral. Multimineral supplements are thus potentially creating mineral deficiencies if overused, and should not be taken daily for prolonged periods. To counter this problem, professional nutrient medicine producers now market multimineral supplements with more sensible combinations, and emphasize the 'essential' minerals that many of us may be deficient in if we have a health problem related to essential mineral deficiency. For health individuals with a good diet, multimineral supplements taken daily are not a good idea, no matter what massive 'one-a-day' advertising campaigns have told us. Once again, quality assurance and prescription of mineral supplements based on research and clinical experience has a much higher chance of success in your health care. Taking poor quality mineral supplements or the wrong type or dosage of supplement may have detrimental effects.

Effective Vitamin and Mineral Therapy

Depending on advertising and the commercial market, medical doctors with no training in nutrient therapy or theory, or simply taking a commercial multivitamin and mineral pill will not do the trick. There are some simple guidelines, though, to understanding what you may need (always try to take the pills with foods that contain the product to increase absorption and usage by the body): Below are the commonly beneficial and often deficient vitamins and minerals in order of importance. All of these should be taken with food, preferably with food containing the chemical, but it is at least important to take lipid/fat soluble vitamins with fatty foods. Water-soluble vitamins and minerals should be taken with non-fatty foods and water. If you don't do this, use and absorption may not occur and the pills are wasted. B12 use is complex and requires special consideration (seen below). Vitamin & mineral deficiencies may be complex (deficiency of the vitamin in the red blood cells, for example) and require supplementation of 6+months, or it may be simple, with a booster supplement or short mega-dose correcting the metabolism. Only mega-dose when you know that a large dosage is safe. Taking a multivitamin or mulitmineral complex year round in not necessary due to natural storage of these chemicals in your body. In addition, quality is often suspect in multivitamin and multimineral supplements, and the U.S. government provides little or no regulation to insure content and quality. Finally, in common multimineral complexes, some minerals may inhibit the absorption of others.

Deficiency signs and symptoms are often hard to understand with nutritional deficiencies. These sings and symptoms become severe only when there is a severe deficiency. A mild deficiency may cause a variety of symptoms or signs that come and go. Since the mechanism of cause is different for many of these signs and symptoms you may have one sign or symptom and not any of the others attributed to the deficiency. Also, metabolic utilization of nutrients may be problematic and cause specific chemical deficiencies. For instance, if there is increased need for nutrient chemical or cofactor, some part of your metabolism may be deprived of an essential nutrient despite the fact that the total supply in circulation is normal. This, of course, creates a very indefinite diagnosis in many instances. Sometimes one must try supplementation for awhile and see if this benefits. If not, this may have not been the cause, or at least the whole cause. Once again, professional diagnosis and a healthy change in dietary habits will help insure an end to the problem.

Here are some of the most commonly needed supplements. Take only what you need when you need it. There is usually no need to spend a fortune forever in nutritional medicine. Getting these nutritional needs from food is preferrable to continuous supplementation. This is a small and partial list of commonly deficient nutrient substances, and a work in progress. To fully explore this subject I highly recommend the works of Paul Pritchford and the reference texts of Dr. James Balch and Phyllis Balch, as well as the Linus Pauling Institute. In addition, research is finding more and more specific and useful nutrient medicines each month. A Complementary and Integrative Medicine physician will keep up with this research and utilize these more effective products where applicable.

  • Vitamin B Complex: this is not just a combination of important vitamins, but rather a complex that contains chemicals found in the water-soluble forms of various Vitamin B families, and is a natural complex discovered in yeast, eggs, liver and some vegetables. B complex does not supply any need of a particular B vitamin, and should not be used as such medicinally, but rather just to afford improved general health. B Complex should always be taken with foods rich in B vitamins, such as dark, leafy green vegetables and whole grains. Particular deficiencies may need a high quality short mega-dose of a particular B vitamin; B-complex has shown to help defective vision, and may be needed when the healthy flora and fauna of the intestines is poor; general periodic use may help with stress and nerve related problems. Recurrent apthous lesions in the mouth are often due to B complex deficiencies. B complex has proven effective in detoxification of such environmental pollutants such as cadmium by binding and increasing excretion. Taking of a B complex may not solve problems related to specific B vitamin deficiencies or utilization, though, and the widespread belief that taking a B complex supplement corrects all problems with the large family of molecules we now call B vitamins is incorrect.
  • Vitamin C: some ascorbates in food are acidic and may cause stomach upset, but there is a wide variety of foods that contain the Vitamin C family of molecules. These Vitamin C molecules are underrated, and help with more than preventing the common cold. The family of C vitamins are necessary precursors for PGE1 production to control inflammation, and are a must for tissue repair; short term mega-dose may benefit a variety of conditions. I recommend AstraC formula, which combines 3 types of natural C chemicals with a few Chinese herbs to benefit the immune and tissue systems and provide a broader antioxidant effect. The Vitamin C chemicals are great antioxidants, and also stimulate regeneration of other simple antioxidant chemicals in the body, such as the Vitamin E family of tocopherols. The main type of Vitamin C, ascorbic acid, performs numerous physiological functions in the body, including the formation of collagen, carnitine and various neurotransmitters, the synthesis of tyrosine, an essential amino acid that is the backbone of many important proteins, including the thyroid hormones, and the citric acid cycle, or energy production in our cells and mitochondria, that is called the Kreb's cycle. The Vitamin C family of molecules are important electron donors for 8 different key regulatory enzymes in the body, especially aiding all tissue repair, transport of free fatty acids, ATP generation, biosynthesis of norepinephrine (adrenaline) from dopamine, and biosynthesis and stability of important protein hormones. Ascorbic acid is also a key antioxidant, especially in extracellular oxidant stress and membranes. In ill health the concentration of ascorbate in the blood circulation is usually significantly lower than in the healthy individual, and this results in excess generation of superoxides and other more pathological reactive oxygen species (ROS). A high dose varied natural Vitamin C supplement can help prevent this dangerous oxidant stress with disease of injury, or when receiving harsh medical treatment, such as surgery, radiation of chemotherapy. On the other hand, once these superoxides and other dangerous ROS accumulate, other specific nutrient medicines and acupuncture stimulation may be needed to clear this oxidant stress and restore our glutathione and detox metabolism.
  • Vitamin E: a lipid or fat based vitamin, long shown to aid tissue repair, degenerative joints and many PMS/menstrual cramp syndromes. Its role preventing oxidative damage to lipids both helps to protect cells and to insure better hormonal health, since hormones are built from lipid cholesterols. Selenium enhances E uptake, and zinc may be needed for E to circulate in the blood. A short course of OptiZinc (zinc monomethionine), selenium, and Vitamin E is recommended. Vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol is recommended, but often, mixed tocopherols are needed to achieve goals in therapy. Alpha-tocopherol may protect cells from heavy metal toxicity and radiation, as well as oxidant stress, preventing cancer and neurological diseases.
  • Vitamin A: 3 essential forms, or classes, retinol, retinal and retinoic acid, make up the majority of forms of Vitamin A in the body, and are deficient now in a large percentage of the world population due to dietary changes and monocropping. Pigments in foods hold most of these Vitamin A molecules, and beta carotene and other carotenoids can be easily converted to the 3 classes of Vitamin A in the body. Lack of healthy dietary fat is also a cause of poor absorption and deficiency, and chronic gastrointestinal problems, such as celiac disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, giardia overgrowth are linked as well. Liver cirrhosis, bile obstruction and pancreatic insufficiency is also linked to poor absorption of provitamin A chemicals, and simple increases in intake has not sufficiently corrected this world public health problem. Carotenoids and retinoids are now proven to prevent many common diseases, including cancers, osteopenia, cataracts, and even neurodegenerative diseases. Retinols are essential for visual function (e.g. creating the pigment rhodopsin, a photoreceptor), repair of blood vessel epithelium, production of myelin on our nerves, and membrane health in general. Deficiency of Vitamin A is linked to poor production of new blood cells (hematopoiesis), skin disease, and impaired immunity as well. The Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University provides a more complete description of the Vitamin A group, related health problems, and metabolism. Click here to access this great source: .
  • Vitamins C, B1, B2, B6, folic acid, magnesium aspartate, & B12: these are commonly deficient in chronic muscle, or myofascial pain syndromes. B3 niacin may be needed with neurological pain and paresthesia. A short course of these nutrients may be very helpful when trying to correct problems related to myofascial syndromes, or muscle and connective tissue ill health. The attitude of only trying one treatment strategy rather than adopting a sensible holistic strategy is the main reason why many patients do not get the level of success in treatment that they want. Combining these nutrient medicines in a short course when receiving physiotherapy and acupuncture, as well as adopting a targeted therapeutic home routine of stretch and exercise, will achieve faster and greater resolution of myofascial pain syndromes. The attitude of trying just one of these therapies at a time to see which one works is not a sensible attitude. If we conducted business with such attitudes we would never succeed.
  • Riboflavin B2: almost always mildly deficient unless you eat a good whole grain & organic vegetable diet. B2 deficiency is common in pregnancy, with patients taking oral contraceptives or antibiotics, and for those that exercise strenuously. B2 is necessary for red blood cell formation, antibody production, & cell respiration. B2 deficiency is linked to chronic inflammation in the stomach, esophagus & mouth, as well as other tissues, and symptoms include dry cracked lips, dandruff, mouth sores, poor digestion, skin inflammation, and dandruff. Insomnia, anxiety & dizziness are also signs of deficiency, since B2 is needed for the metabolism of tryptophan (serotonin precursor), which metabolizes into B3 niacin. Chronic tissue inflammation & nerve irritation, such as in carpal tunnel, has shown to benefit from taking B2 with B6. Riboflavin is found in a variety of whole grains, beans and fresh vegetables and garden herbs, such as wheat, oats, asparagus, thyme, celery, spinach, the chicories (endive, frisee, radicchio) & most beans. It is found in the Chinese herbs gouqizi, shanglu, zisuye, ginseng & juhua. A good source is dried barleygrass powder.
  • Pyroxidine B6, and P5P: deficient in 70% of the population and linked to a variety of common disorders, including myofascial pain, nerve pathologies, and autoimmune disorders; deficiency is shown to cause mouth aphthous lesions of a recurrent nature. Depression from hormonal imbalances (especially with contraceptive pills and hormone replacement) has been successfully treated with B6. This is linked to depletion of tryptophan (serotonin precursor) & methionine, and so temporary supplementation with tryptophan & SamE may help greatly along with B6. Dark skin spots (chloasma) caused by oral contraceptives were also cleared with B6 use. Tryptophan formation requires sufficient B6, and so B6 may help with serotonin deficiencies causing insomnia, depression, anxiety, GI disorders and systemic pain syndromes like fibromyalgia. B6 deficiency may show as dry flaking skin, headache, fatigue, dizziness, weak memory, depression, numbness and tingling, pain, or sometimes mouth or tongue inflammation, or brown spots around the mouth or face. P5P is the active metabolite of Vitamin B6. B6 in the form of P5P (pyroxidine-5-phosphate) is essential in the absorption and metabolism of amino acids, prostaglandin manufacture (inflammatory regulation) and hormone production, and may be important in cardiovascular health. Supplementation with P5P may be the most valuable of all supplement therapies.
  • Pantothenic Acid B5: pantothenic acid, in the form of calcium pantothenate, is very important for both release of energy from food, and manufacture of Coenzyme A, perhaps our most important metabolic coenzyme, involved in the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, neurotransmitters and neurohormones, and the production of hemoglobin. Coenzyme A, or CoA, is needed for the function of more than 70 key enzymes in the body, synthesis of the hormone Vitamin D, the most abundant neurotransmitter acetylcholine, as well as production of melatonin, heme, and the detox pathways in the liver. Deficiency of pantothenic acid is highly linked to many gastrointestinal problems, adrenal insufficiency, and thyroid pathologies, and is a factor in many cases of unhealthy human Biota. One popular source of pantothenic acid is bee pollen, and pantothenic acid is abundant in whole grains and legumes, while found in a wide variety of foods, such as organ meats, fish, shellfish, eggs, avocados, mushrooms and sweet potatoes. While severe B5 deficiency is rare, chronic mild deficiency of this water-soluble vitamin-mineral complex is very common and supplementation with calcium pantothenate is found to benefit many chronic diseases, as well as gastrointestinal and Biome health. Studies in Japan have shown that a short course of very high dose calcium pantothenate B5 is very effective to treat severe acne, and is well tolerated, and other studies have shown that high dose pantethine is very effective in lowering excessive cholesterol lipids in circulation, used in shot courses and monitored. Use of a high dose B5 may impair biotin absorption. Use of a birth control hormone containing synthetic estrogen may reduce B5 bioavailabilty. While one may not notice symptoms and signs related to B5 deficiency, due to its mild deficiency state, taking of a B5 supplement may be an important part of treatment for a wide variety of disorders. 
  • Thiamin B1: thiamin pyrophosphate, also spelled thamine, is deficient in 10% of the population and linked to inflammatory disorders, irregular heartbeat and emotional disorders. Deficiency is also associated with neuropathies, poor carbohydrate and protein metabolism, indigestion, and poor stomach acid response (needs Manganese to utilize i.e. nori seaweed, or an essential mineral complex). Severe thiamin deficiency was called Beriberi and manifests as multiple organ failure, and severe neurological disorders such a Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome were linked primarily to severe thiamin deficiency. These severe deficiencies are rare. Mild deficiency is common, and is caused not only be poor intake, but poor absorption, increased metabolic requirements, and excessive alcohol intake affecting the liver. Thiamin deficiency is linked to Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseeases, and human clinical trials are being conducted to see if B1 supplement is an important part of treatment. Use of a diuretic to lower blood pressure may increase the risk of thiamin deficiency, and deficiency of magnesium, now recognized as prevalent in the United States, may lead to deficiency of thiamin pyrophosphate. Dietary sources rich in thiamin include whole grains, lentils, green peas, brown rice, wheat germ, pecans, cantaloupe, and pork. 
  • B12 vitamins: commonly deficient and linked to a large number of diseases and disorders; B12 is often hard to obtain from the diet due to lack of a chemical called intrinsic factor that is secreted in the stomach, especially when there is trouble with stomach function, reflux, heartburn, etc. Taking of common medications to control stomach acidity may also inhibit intrinsic factor. In this case the body gets most of its B12 from the action of healthy bacteria in the intestines; hence clearing of digestive & elimination problems, and inflammation, and then using probiotics and colostrum supplements is recommended to restore B12 metbolism; dietary B12 is normally obtained from meats, fish, eggs, brewers yeast, bee pollen, and the Chinese herb dang gui (the only known plant source). B12 deficiency is common in anemia, nerve pathology, immune disorders and many other conditions. Early signs and symptoms may include reduced congnitive function such as problems with short term memory or difficulty with mental work, as well as fatique, constipation, and loss of appetite. More severe deficency may result in numbness and tingling to the hands and feet. Measurement of B12 deficiency in blood tests may not reveal the deficiency. Effective medicinal supplementation may only work well if an intramuscular B12 injection is obtained. Unfortunately, the medical doctors in the United States are taught to frown on this practice that is common in Europe and most of the world. B12 injectible supplements are sold over the counter in Latin America, but are not available in the United States. Here, we try to obtain B12 from a sublingual pill, hoping that it will absorb into the bloodstream. Studies have shown that taking a high dose sublingual B12 may be effective if done properly. Take 2 sublingual pills, crush them between two spoons, and place the powder under the tongue, waiting patiently until the powder dissolves. Better yet, take a liquid B12 sublingually.
  • Folic acid or Folates: called Vitamin B9, folic acid is deficient in a majority of the population and linked to a wide variety of disorders, especially anemia and nervous or anxious states with low energy. There are many types of anemia, so the type caused by nutritional deficiency (usually B12 and folic acid), termed pernicious, may or may not be your specific type of anemia. Anemia refers to low counts of red blood cells and/or hemoglobin (iron binding protein). Folic acid has also helped in the treatment for diabetic peripheral neuropathy (aiding the enzyme that helps break down sorbitol accumulation in the tissues). In 2016, a large study of the level of folic acid in pregnant women, at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, showed that women with the higher levels of folic acid had a 43 percent lower risk of a child that would develop obesity. Folic acid and biotin are the most essential nutrients in pregnancy, and this study adds to the evidence of benefit. The active metabolite of folic acid, 5MTHF, is recommended, along with the cofactors of Vitamin B12 methylcobalamin taken as a liquid supplement, Vitamin B6 as P5P, and N-acetyl cysteine to enhance the utilization and effects. Folic acid in foods and herbs can be obtained from aloe vera juice, lentils, walnuts, avocado, spinach, barley and fenugreek seed, as well as the herbs Astragalus, Angelica, and Ginseng. Angelica sinensis, or Dang gui, is particularly high in B12 and folic acid, one of the few plant sources of B12. Increased need for folic acid is seen with heavy alcohol use and cigarette smoking.
  • Vitamin H Biotin: once called a B Vitamin, this essential nutrient helps convert food into energy, synthesize glucose, and convert fatty acids to useful membranes and hormones, and is thus very important to our health. Biotin deficiency is related to brittle nails, hair loss, dry scaly skin, dry eyes, fatigue, insomnia, depression and loss of appetite, and is linked to seborrhea, skin fold rash, peripheral neuropathy and Metabolic Syndrome. Since the Biome produces much of our biotin, especially with individuals who avoid gluten, red meat, eggs and soybeans, health of the intestinal track is related to deficiency in many cases, compounded by excess use of antibiotics, anti-seizure medications (now used for many health problems not related to epilepsy), and other medications. Biotin and folic acid are the most essential nutrient supplements in pregnancy, and biotin supplement may be useful in any disease state with poor membrane health, as well as neuropathies with poor myelin health, such as Multiple Sclerosis. 
  • Calcium and D3 hormone: while calcium supplementation has been commonly recommended, calcium is the most highly regulated molecule in the body, is found in almost all cells, is abundant in most foods, and consequently, calcium metabolism is almost always the problem with calcium deficient pathologies, rather than lack of nutrient. I devote an entire article to this subject on the website, and encourage you to take the time to listen to a practical synopsis of calcium metabolism. Food sources of calcium that provide the healthiest and most assimilatable calcium include dark, leafy green vegetables, micro-algaes such as sprirulina, and seaweeds, since the backbone of chlorophyll is calcium and magnesium. Dairy products have not been shown to provide easily assimilatable calcium because of fatty encapsulation, but dairy products from cows or goats that actually graze on green leafy grasses do contain a more guaranteed level of calcium since they eat abundant chlorophyll. Calcium is always joined to another molecule to help assimilation, and these conjugated molecules are very important when deciding what you want your calcium to do in the body, and to guarantee a higher degree of absorption and assimilation. Calcium aspartate will help the calcium reach muscles to reduce spasms. Calcium gluconate and lactate are the most recommended forms to assimilate calcium, and concurrent intake of magnesium is recommended at about half the dose of the calcium. Zinc, copper, selenium, manganese, and other trace minerals can be taken concurrently to assure better calcium assimilation, but not in high dose. Taking a half teaspoon of quality sea salt with the calcium, or mineral rich herbs such as horsetail or red clover, will provide good trace minerals to aid assimilation. Excess zinc taken at the same time will inhibit absorption, so if a larger zinc dose is taken, it should be taken at another time of the day, with another meal. Iron supplements should also be taken at a different time of the day if consumed, for this same reason. Common multivitamin and multimineral supplements are not recommended for good calcium intake. Take the calcium supplement with foods rich in calcium, magnesium and chlorophyll to insure better assimilation and absorption, such as the dark, leafy greens, micro-algaes, and seaweeds mentioned, as well as whole grains and legumes. Some leafy greens and other foods may contain a chemical that inhibits absorption of calcium, called oxalic acid, though, such as chard, kale, rhubarb, cranberries, plums, almonds and cashews. Other leafy greens should be eaten with the calcium supplements, such as collards, mustard greens, dandelion greens, spinach, etc. Active Vitamin D3 hormone is essential to calcium assimilation, and exposure of the skin to midday sunshine, daily if possible, but at least 6 days a month, for just ten minutes, is recommended, even if Vitamin D3 cholecalciferol is consumed. Activation of Vitamin D3 or D2 hormone is absolutely necessary to calcium absorption, and without attention to this metabolism, the supplements may not be absorbed and assimilated. The amino acid L-lysine is also useful to insure calcium absorption, and may be taken concurrently, or you might take the calcium supplement with foods rich in lysine, such as watercress, soy, most beans, lentils, spinach and pumpkin seed, as well as many dark, leafy greens, such as bok choy, mustard greens, and parsley. Better calcium absorption will be achieved by taking smaller doses in the recommended manner above, twice a day to achieve the recommended 10-15 gram intake. Some calcium supplements use D1-calcium-phosphate in their products, but do not list it on the label, and this form is insoluble. Use the best quality supplements if you take them, not the cheapest. Calcium citrate is the usual form offered commercially, but often the citrate, or citric acid, bound to the calcium in these products makes up almost all of the dosage, and the actual calcium ingested could be very small. The FDA does not probibit this type of false advertising. The label should make clear the amount of elemental calcium, with a standard quality product containing at least 500mg. Calcium citrate is also acidic, and body acidity is often a problem in the patients with hormonal deficiencies and other calcium deficient pathologies. Calcium carbonate, preferrably in the form of natural coral calcium formula, reduces acidity, and is a good chelater of heavy mineral toxicity, but has proven inadequate for many types of calcium deficiency syndromes. Chinese herbalism has always utilized shell and fossilized bone, which contain calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate, and calcium sulfate, as well as magnesium, phosphate, ferric oxide, and alum. These forms calm the nerves, reduce acidity, reduce night sweats, and soften tissue nodules and accumulations, but do not increase bone calcium as well as calcium gluconate and lactate. Currently, we now have calcium supplements with calcium hydroxyapatite, which is the form that deposits in the bone, and these are often combined with other supplements that help insure bioavailability. Osteoflavone complex from Vitamin Research is recommended. In addition, a number of calcium combination molecules are now available to achieve specific results with neurological problems, hypothalamus deficiency and other problems.
  • Magnesium: magnesium is another abundant and well-used mineral ion in the body, often working synergistically with calcium ions, as in the contract and relax phasing of muscles, but is also paired with potassium to aid membrane function and transport. Once overlooked, magnesium is now recognized as an important mineral in the body that is often deficient in individuals in modern industrial nations. Chronic use of proton pump inhibiting drugs to block stomach acid may create a magnesium deficiency. Testing for magnesium deficiency is not easy, though, and no common reliable tests will show actual levels and utilization, although tests for RBC magnesium are reportedly accurate in most cases to reflect total body stores and utilization. Circulating magnesium tests, and urinary analysis just shows whether kidney excretion may be altered. Signs of magnesium deficiency include easy fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, headache, numbness and tingling, muscle contracture or cramping, abnormal heart rhythms, and personality changes, although all of these could easily be caused by something else. Magnesium is now touted as a miraculous treatment for insomnia, fatigue, and gastrointestinal problems, but the evidence is still lacking for dramatic effects. Forms of magnesium recommended include magnesium glycinate chelate for gastrointestinal aid, magnesium aspartate combined with potassium for the brain, and magnesium glycinate with calcium glycinate for muscle spasms and calf cramps, and magnesium taurate (taurine) for calming heart rate and arrhythmia. Magnesium oxide is usually bound to a fatty acid and used to soften the stool in dry constipation, and magnesium sulfate hydroxide has long been used as a laxative (Milk of Magnesia). Natural Indian black salt contains magnesium and potassium chloride, and may be used medicinally to help correct systemic acidity, with many Ayurvedic medical uses, but varies in quality quite a bit, with a saltier taste indicating higher levels of sodium chloride. Real black salt, or volcanic rock, is called Kala Namak, and processed with natural charcoal, benefiting the digestive function and chelating, but now synthesized, or faked, black salt is on the market, of course. It has long been used as a common spice in India. Magnesium deficiencies may be caused by stress, medications (e.g. diuretics), and an unhealthy gut Biome, and dietary magnesium deficiency, perhaps from eating foods from mineral depleted soils with heavy accumulation of glyphosate herbicides, may also damage the gut Biome. A 2015 study by Aarhus University, in Risskov, Denmark, found that magnesium deficiency resulted in depressive mood behavior in study animals due to an altered gut microbiota, but contrary to popular assertions, the glucose tolerance and metabolic parameters were not affected, but the hippocampal interleukin-6 content was (PMID: 25690713). Perhaps supplementation with the right form of magnesium in combination with improved biotic health would work best.
  • Lecithin and phosphatidylcholine: composed of choline, inositol and linoleic acid, lecithin is essential to the health of the brain and central nervous system; it is also a fat, or lipid, that is essential to every living cell in your body. This fatty molecule is an essential component of cell membranes and nerve sheaths, and has been shown to prevent atherosclerosis, aid repair of liver tissues, and aid absorption of B1 thiamine and Vitamin A. A healthy cholesterol metabolism and breakdown of old cholesterol into bile is also dependant on lecithin. While this nutrient is found in many foods, and deficiency is usually not an issue, supplementation with lecithin may be very beneficial. Niacin and lecithin have been proven effective in reducing high cholesterols and triglycerides. Lecithin comes in granules, capsules, and is included in many high protein nutrient powders. Most of these products contain soy lecithin, but supplements derived from egg yolks may be more beneficial. Food sources include brewer's yeast, healthy eggs, whole grains, legumes, fish and wheat germ. Phosphatidylcholine is a lipid component of lecithin that may be more absorbable and is proven effective in cholesterol reduction and enhancing cognitive ability. Phosphatidylcholine is often combined with DIM, or diindolylmethane, an active metabolite of indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which is used to decrease local estrogen stimulation that could be associated with breast and cervical cancer, and is tissue protective in minimizing inflammatory pathways.
  • Tryptophan and 5HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan precursor): an essential amino acid that is a serotonin and melatonin precursor as well as essential in the production of niacin B3, tryptophan, or the precursor 5-HTP, contrary to propaganda over the years to counter their popularity, are normal to the human diet and very safe and beneficial. Tryptophan and 5-HTP are perhaps better supplements to take than melatonin or drugs to increase serotonin, as the body will regulate levels if these precursors are available, creating bioavailability, rather than trying to synthetically alter serotonin or melatonin levels. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and of the 20 common amino acids studied, 10 are essential (meaning that they must be primarily obtained from dietary sources). Methionine, lysine, tryptophan, arginine, leucine, phenylalanine, isoleucine, valine, and histidine are the 10 essential amino acids. Homocysteine may be converted into methionine & cysteine. Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, is needed for healthy tryptophan metabolism, as a cofactor in the conversion of tryptophan to niacin in the body. Nicacin is a Vitamin B3 that is necessary for healthy microcirculation and nervous system function. Niacin is also used in the production of stomach acids when needed, and in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, in the production of steroid hormones, as well as the healthy secretion of bile. Healthy levels of B2 and tryptophan insure a healthy niacin metabolism. 5-HTP is an extract from Griffonia seeds that is a precursor to tryptophan and can be taken without producing the sometimes strong effects of tryptophan supplements. Niacin supplementation will often produce an alarming flushing sensation, which has been proven harmless, but disturbs many patients. Taking 5-HTP and B2 is a more benign combination to improve tryptophan and niacin metabolism. This is potentially very helpful premenstrually to prevent menstrual migraines, along with L-arginine, which may stimulate increased nitric oxide, which is often deficient in the premenstrual phase with relative low progesterone.
  • Sulfur containing essential amino acids: sulfur is the third most abundant mineral element in the human body after calcium and phosphorus, and is derived almost exclusively from proteins, yet only 2 of the 20 amino acids normally found in dietary protein contains sulfur, methionine and cysteine. Methionine is essential, or cannot by synthesized by the human body, and sufficient supply in the diet is essential to health. Cysteine and many cysteine metabolites are synthesized almost entirely in the human body, and are very important to a large number of important and essential biological processes, but depend on a steady dietary supply of sulfur. Organic sulfur is abundant in garlic, onion, broccoli, etc. and a number of important compounds have been increasingly studied in the last decade or so, including glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. In the amino acid homeostasis, a balance between nitrogen and sulfur is needed, yet this has never been routinely tested and analyzed in nutritional medicine. In recent years methods of evaluation have shown that the aging population in industrialized countries is often deficient in dietary sulfur, and sulfur amino acid supplements, such as N-acetyl cysteine, methylselenocysteine, taurine, MSM, SAMe have been found to be very helpful in medical care with nutrient supplements, for a variety of health conditions, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, congestive heart failure, diabetes, cancer and AIDS.
  • Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, ubiquitone: this important molecule is found in every cell in the body and is often deficient. A variety of disease states have been shown to benefit from CoQ10, and it is widely prescribed in Japan. CoQ10 is essential for the electron transport chain, or energy, of the mitochondria in our cells, and is a potent antioxidant. A variety of medications lead to CoQ10 deficiency with chronic use, and a sudden switch to a meatless diet may also contribute to deficiency. Numerous studies have shown benefit when deficient in a variety or neurological disorders, including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and seizure disorders, but it is also potentially helpful with migraines, cardiovascular problems, depression, ALS, asthma, breast cancer, cataracts, fibromyalgia, cystic fibrosis, gum disease, myelodysplastic syndrome, psoriasis, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Concurrent supplementation with L-tyrosine may increase CoQ10 binding, and concurrent use of a high dosage natural Vitamin C and mixed tocopherols Vitamin E may enhance antioxidant and immune benefits. Excess of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) are associated with diabetes, atherosclerosis and neurodegeneration, and have been shown to impair mitochondrial respiration, especially with excess of reactive oxygen species (ROS). CoQ10 would potentially help this common condition. CoQ10-H2 is a form of CoQ10 that has a much higher usable bioavailability, and while expensive, is highly recommended when CoQ10 may be needed to correct a health problem with cell energy or toxicity.
  • Prohormone Vitamin D3 cholecalciferol: D3 cholecalciferol was the first molecule to be identified as a vitamin, or coenzyme, but the researchers were mistaken. D3 is actually a prohormone, or hormone precursor. Originally, it was thought to have limited use in the body, promoting parathyroid hormone to regulate calcium absorption and bone deposition. We now know that D3 hormone, produced in the kidney, is important for many important cellular activities, and is widely prescribed, often in high dosage. A blood stick metabolite test can be performed to see if you are defcicient in D3, and up to 80% of specific populations have been shown to be deficient. Cholecalciferol is manufactured daily in the skin from health circulating cholesterol, and converted in the liver to an active metabolite that is transformed into at least 2 forms of hormone in the kidney. One form of D3 is now identified with the rate control of conversion of cartilage to bone, and deficiency is associated with degenerative cartilage conditions. High dose D3 is used in adjunct cancer therapy, and is perhaps useful in a variety of disorders, although we need to wait for clinical trials to see how effective supplmentation really is in many disorders. Poor quality Vitamin D is widely marketed, as are the wrong metabolites, so product quality and type is important if you want the right benefits to result. Another important consideration is the fact that D3 prohormone needs to convert to the active 1,25-OH-D3 in the kidney/adrenal glands to have the positive effects in the body. Poor kidney health, adrenal insufficiency, or other hormonal imbalance could have a significant effect on D3 utilization. One patient with a healthy kidney, adrenal and endocrine function may benefit much more than another with health problems from the prohormone cholecalciferol, or Vitamin D3, supplementation. Once again, attention holistically to your health may be the key to success with nutrient therapy.
  • Selenium: methylselenocysteine is the preferred supplement form: an important synergist for Vitamin E molecules (including dietary lecithin and phosphatidylcholine) and tocopherols, as well as an important essential component of the glutathione metabolism and antioxidant capability, low selenium has been linked to a number of diseases, such as various cancers, autoimmune disorders, hypothyroid states, and chronic or acute inflammatory states. Thyroid peripheral conversion from T4 to active T3 needs selenium and Vitamin E tocopherols, and levels of C-reactive protein have been highly correlated with selenium.

    Symptoms commonly caused by Vitamin deficiencies:

    This is a short incomplete list of commonly seen nutrient deficiency symptoms. Refer to texts such as Prescription for Nutritional Healing by James and Phylis Balch M.D. and C.N.C, or Paul Pritchford's wonderful books to obtain more complete and comprehensive information. Each year, more and more information in research is revealing the complexity of symptoms potentially related to essential nutritional deficiencies, and by no means are these relationships simple. Today, such websites as the Oregon State University's Linus Pauling Institute provide more complete and updated standard research that is reliable. To access this source, just click here: 

    • dry cracked lips or inflamed tongue: B2 riboflavin, folic acid or Vitamin B6 deficiencies may all be suspect
    • fatigue, apathy, insomnia, poor memory, inexplicable sense of fear or apprehension: folic acid and B12 deficiencies are common to the population and may cause these symptoms if the deficiency is marked; use of oral contraceptives or excessive alcohol intake may contribute to folic acid deficiency
    • insomnia with skin inflammation and mental confusion: B3 niacin & tryptophan (supplement with 5HTP and inositol hexacotinate) deficiency may be the cause; (note: niacin will often cause a flushing unless a non-flushing niacinamide is used; the flushing is strange but harmless)
    • depression with anemic lethargy and skin inflammation, or dry flaky skin: B6 pyroxidine. B6 deficiency is common to the population and may cause headache with nausea, depression with dizziness and irritability, oily facial skin with acne, or chronic tissue inflammation such as carpal tunnel syndrome - use of a B6 in the form or P5P is recommended
    • memory decline & difficult thinking with anemic lethargy: B12 cobalamin and folic acid deficiencies are routinely suspect

    peripheral neuropathies: may try L-carnitine, choline & inositol, L-tyrosine, B1, Biotin, folic acid, or magnesium potassium aspartate - the wide array of causes of peripheral neuropathy points to a need to professionally analyze these symptoms when considering nutritional deficiencies as a potential contributing factor. Many individuals read incomplete information on such symptoms and, of course, are often discouraged that an advertised supplement doesn't work to relieve their symptoms

    anemia: a differential diagnosis is essential, but common anemias may be benefited from intake of folic acid, biotin, Vitamin B6, and sublingual B12 (high dose, ground into a powder, and dissolved under the tongue). Since there are a number of different types of anemia, assessment by a professional with appropriate guidance will insure the best results with nutrient therapy. Iron deficient anemia may occur in more rare instances when there is significant blood loss, and the blood tests must show low serum ferritin and iron, with high serum total iron binding capacity, as well as low MCV and a low MCHC; mild iron deficiency anemia may benefit from supplementation with copper amino acid chelate with OptiZinc (not taken at the same time) if copper deficiency is suspect (do not take in excess). Since copper deficiency is common, especially in women, and will decrease iron absorption and assimilation, this deficiency is often the cause; Vitamin C has been shown to increase iron absorption and assimilation by 30% in a great percentage of patients. If iron deficiency is diagnosed or suspected, once again due to acute blood loss, take an absorbable form of iron, such as Floradix Iron, as standard iron supplements are difficult to absorb and easily cause constipation and other digestive problems. You should be able to replenish iron stores in the body quickly and without long term use of supplementation. Chronic use of iron supplements may contribute to iron accumulation in muscle tissue and contribute to chronic pain syndromes. It is best to assess the reasons for chronic iron deficiency if this occurs. Deficiency of vitamins B6, B12, C, copper, manganese, L-glycine, L-cysteine, and B complex may all cause poor iron absorption and assimilation. A number of health conditions can cause poor iron metabolism as well, and these should be assessed professionally with a thorough health history and exam.

    migraine and cluster headache: research has found a variety of mechanisms that are dysfunctional and result in a cascade of events that lead to the migraine episode. A combination of Coenzyme Q10, riboflavin (Vitamin B2), pyroxidine (Vitamin B6, or the active metabolite P5P), and a quality magnesium, have been proven to correct a number of these physiological problems for a majority of patients, producing excellent reduction of migraines over a period of 3 months.

    The Importance of a Holistic Approach to Prescription of, and Utilization of Nutrient Medicine

    Let's look at a common problem in patient health, like calcium supplementation to decrease the risk of osteoporosis, benefit the heart, prevent muscle spasm or calm the nervous system. The medical field has recommended that all women of menopausal age take a calcium supplement with Vitamin D, yet recent studies by the Women's Health Initiative showed little effect on the prevention of osteoporotic fractures from this practice. Why is this? The problem is that the doctors recommending this treatment have failed to read their physiology textbooks, which show that you can't just dump a nutrient supplement into the body and expect it to work like putting gas in your car. The human body is a complex organism that has many interactive parts and an elaborate means of regulation. Calcium is one of the most important and highly regulated chemicals in the body. To utilize calcium as a supplement, or to treat deficiency of calcium, one has to take a holistic approach to understanding the calcium metabolism. If you do this, the benefits will forthcoming. If you don't do this, you are just selling product.

    Calcium is a very large mineral molecule in the body that often carries a large electrical charge. This is why it is one of the most important molecules in the body. There is always a large amount of calcium available to the body since it is stored in the bones. There is also a large amount of calcium in most of our foods. Green vegetables are made of chlorophyll and calcium and magnesium are the main component of chlorophyll. When a cow eats green grass, the milk is rich in chlorophyll and calcium. Since it is such an abundant molecule in our body, animal meats will contain much calcium. Why is deficiency a problem then? Because calcium may contain a large electrical charge, the body must tightly regulate the levels of calcium circulating in the blood. This regulation is accomplished by controlling the absorption in the digestion, the deposition in the bone, the reabsorption from the bone, and the amount and type of calcium in the blood stream. When there is too much electrically charged calcium in the blood circulation, this large molecule with attractive force may become stuck in the capillary beds of joints or in tight contracted tissues, causing calcification and inflammation. Each time our muscle fires, calcium is excreted by the nerves and then reabsorbed to use in the next muscle firing. When the muscle is continuously spasmed and tight, this calcium may not be reabsorbed, and then will also accumulate in the tissue, causing chronic irritation and pain. The body has developed elaborate ways of regulating the circulating levels of this calcium molecule to prevent these problems, whether the problem of excess accumulation occurs in the muscles of the back, the heart muscle, the joints or the nervous system.

    Regulation of calcium is accomplished with the help of the hormones. Vitamin D is actually a group of steroid hormones that regulates calcium. Parathyroid hormone is another. The mechanism of regulation is not that difficult to understand. We all want things to be simple in our bodies and so we try to pretend that all we need to do is to take a calcium pill with Vitamin D and forget about it. This is a fantasy, and it is ridiculous that modern medicine takes this approach. The understanding of the interactions of the body is the holistic approach. When we don't follow this approach, we may do more harm than good.

    One form or Vitamin D is responsible for calcium regulation. This type of Vitamin D is called Vitamin D3, and almost all of this type of Vitamin D is formed in your skin when activated Vitamin D circulates in your blood and is exposed to sunlight. Without exposure to the sunlight on the skin, you may wind up with deficiency of Vitamin D3, which is called cholecalciferol, referring to its nature as a cholesterol that regulates calcium. Cholesterol is the most abundant steroid hormone in the body. Vitamin D is activated by processes in your liver and kidney. No matter how many pills you take, without exposure to sunlight, or proper function of the liver and kidney, you will wind up with a deficiency of Vitamin D3 and probably with a problem in your regulation of calcium.

    No matter whether your intake and absorption of Vitamin D increases a hundredfold, the liver will try to keep the concentration of Vitamin D in the blood always within a few percentage points of its normal average value with a feedback and storage system. If your liver function is stressed by taking too much medication, consuming too much alcohol, hepatitis, gallstones, or even too much stress at work, emotional stress, or poor diet, the regulation and storage of activated Vitamin D may be a problem. While Vitamin D3 is created almost entirely by skin exposure to sunlight, this D3 is still not activated until the kidney turns it into an activated form, and this process is regulated by the parathyroid hormone, which in turn is regulated by the thyroid hormone. This system that includes the kidney, adrenals, thyroid and parathyroid is called the endocrine system, which also includes the pancreas and insulin mechanism, the ovaries with estrogen and progesterone, and the gonads with testosterone. All of these hormones may have a negative affect on the regulation of Vitamin D and calcium in the body. As much as we like to ignore our bodies, solving our health problems involves improving function of a number of systems, not just buying a pill. This is the holistic approach.

    The holistic approach, or the only realistic approach to achieving improved calcium regulation when there are signs of deficiency, is to improve the function of the liver, kidneys, parathyroid glands, thyroid function, or endocrine function, and insure that the patient gets enough sun exposure and eats a healthy diet with good digestive function. While this seems to be a complex problem to the allopathic doctor, who likes to just give a specific chemical drug to affect one system, the physician that is trained in holistic medicine always will look at the whole body and stimulate a number of interactive systems to achieve better function and health. This is the way that TCM is taught and practiced. While the public only sees the simple act of sticking pins in the body, the actual science of TCM and holistic medicine is a complex and intelligent process, and one that is often necessary to achieve problem solving with ill health. This is why we call it a complementary and integrative medical practice. Often, the advice from the Licensed Acupuncturist and herbalist is more important than the actual treatment with the needle stimulation, and these professional can be relied on to provide assured quality of professional herbal and nutrient products, while the quality of these products bought off the shelf or online are increasingly of poor quality or extremely low content in an unregulated market.

    To really get a benefit from your calcium pills you need the help of a practitioner of holistic medicine. If you do this, your health problem will be solved. If you don't, you may be wasting your money on these pills. Effective combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, diet changes, supplement use, and health counseling will have a synergistic and overall effect that will make the total therapeutic package much more effective.

    The good thing is that when you decide to take this holistic approach to your health problem, whether it be calcium deficiency, or any other problem, the treatment and advice will end up making you a healthier, happier and more productive person. You may not want to spend the time and effort, and the money, since your insurance company still refuses to pay for this valuable care that prevents future health problems, but once you commit yourself to a course of this care you will be happy that you made this decision. You will not only solve your particular health problem, but you will decrease worry about your future health, and you will find that you have more energy, are more productive at work, look better, and have a better outlook on life.

    Lastly, if you are interested, here is the rest of the story on calcium and Vitamin D. How important are these nutrients and regulating chemicals? Recent evidence shows that people with abundant levels of Vitamin D in their diet were 62 percent less likely to develop multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system that results in the body attacking its own nerve sheaths. The Vitamin D steroid hormones stimulate chemicals that control autoimmune reactions, which are mainly immune reactions to viruses that have gone awry. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased risk of developing 16 types of cancer, psoriasis, diabetes, hypertension, and schizophrenia, as well as osteoporosis, heart disease and parathyroid disease. It is believed that excessive use of sunscreen and diminished exposure to sunlight has increased these health problems and studies back up these beliefs.

    We see that a poor diet, lack of sun exposure, and poor liver and kidney function all play a role in Vitamin D3 deficiency, which is very important to the regulation of calcium in the body. Not only calcium regulation into and out of our bones, but actual calcium absorption in the digestive tract, is controlled by Vitamin D3 and parathyroid hormone. When we eat foods rich in calcium, or take supplements, this calcium may be absorbed in the digestion or excreted as waste. Vitamin D3 causes formation of a calcium binding protein in the liver that is responsible for most of the dietary intake absorption of calcium, and Vitamin D3 is also linked to healthy cells in the digestive lining.

    Since levels of activated Vitamin D are completely regulated by liver function and a feedback system between the parathyroid hormones and circulating calcium ions, simple ingestion of Vitamin D does not insure a good result. In fact, if calcium and Vitamin D supplements are combined with certain carriers, temporary blood levels of these supplements may rise causing a feedback response that signals lowers parathyroid hormone levels and future stimulation of calcium in the blood. The feedback system is dependant on the levels of electrically charged calcium in the blood, which normally is about 50% of circulating calcium. If unnatural calcium supplementation is high, this feedback system may be thrown off. In addition, this unnatural calcium supplement may circulate in the blood and deposit in the capillary beds of joints rather than be used and stored by the body. Of course, it is difficult to measure these living responses, and to this scenario is unproven, yet clinical observation and study shows that it is probable.

    When the level of calcium in the body fluids rises above normal, the nervous system is depressed, reflexes become sluggish, constipation occurs, loss of appetite, poor digestion, and other ill effects may occur. When the level of calcium ions falls below normal, nervous anxiety, muscle spasm, heart palpitations, easy bleeding, and other metabolic problems may occur. Often these symptoms are inexplicable to your doctor. They may be signs of a poor calcium metabolism.

    Calcium excess is also linked to formation of kidney stones. Studies have shown that poor health of the large intestine is a factor in many cases, causing unusual levels of absorption of calcium in the intestine. Probiotic regimens have had a dramatic effect. Chronic imbalances of the flora a fauna, such as Candida overgrowth may play a big part in this problem. When the lining of the digestive tract is unhealthy, many chemical imbalances may occur. Calcium imbalance is one of the most serious.

    Deficiency of calcium deposition related to bone density and osteoporosis is a complex problem of regulation and overall health that is usually not solved by simple taking of calcium supplement pills. Many factors play a role in this problem potentially. Standard drug therapy that inhibits calcium being reabsorbed from the bone has proven very ineffective in most cases and involves harsh side effects. Holistic approach is the way to treat or prevent osteoporosis. Recent study shows that increased prescription of steroids to patients to control inflammatory disorders, such as asthma, arthritis, skin rash, etc. has induced a large number of cases of osteoporosis and rheumatic diseases.

    Not only parathyroid deficiency, but also hyperthyroid states will directly affect calcium deficiency. The thyroid produces calcitonin, which reduces blood calcium levels directly and very fast. Hypothyroid states may cause calcium excess. Normally, these thyroid effects are slower in the adult because the rates of bone deposition and reabsorption are slower as we age. The long term effect of thyroid dysfunction or changes in thyroid function is to inhibit formation of the cells that remove calcium from the bone, the osteoclasts. Hyperthyroid states will decrease circulating calcium in the long run.

    In the past, to make up for the problems of Vitamin D usage in the body, extremely large doses were given to the patients, with 10,000 units given to insure some intake. Now we see from scientific study that this caused serious health problems. Taking more than 1000 units per day can cause excessive thirst, metal taste, poor appetite, weight loss, bone pain, tiredness, sore eyes, itching skin, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, increased urination frequency, and muscle ache. These problems occur because the body is overloaded with one type of Vitamin D, causing problems in the balance of the various types in the body.

    The time to question the standard medical advice in relation of nutritional supplements and various therapies, and to turn to holistic medicine to get a more realistic perspective on what you need to do to correct your health problems is right now. Past advice has proven disastrous, and the tenacious clinging to a medical model that ignores the big health picture has been shown to be a big problem. There is often no silver bullet or simplistic way to correct your problems. By turning to a competent physician of holistic medicine, you can get the real picture.

    Information Resources and Links to Scientific Studies

    1. Simplified information on common vitamin and mineral deficiencies are readily available on sites such as this, from the Harvard Medical School, although the impression that these lists are complete are incorrect, and the present scope of nutritional medical information is now very large. This is the reason why we have Naturopathic Medical Colleges and Universities, which specialize in the vast array of data now available on nutritional medicine, a very complex subject:
    2. The form and bioavailability of nutrient supplements is very important, and the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University provides valuable information that is easy to understand:
    3. A list of nutritional deficiencies that may be caused by commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals is available on the Virginia Hopkins website:
    4. A 2010 study at the University of California at Davis found that rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere has resulted in dramatic decreases nutrient content of basic food plants, resulting in much lower usage of nitrates, and dramatic decreases in levels of protein, amino acids, and other key nutrients needed for health maintenance:
    5. A 2008 study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden outlines how greenhouse gases and global warming are contributing to nutritional deficiencies of nitrogen and nitrogen-rich nitrates and nitrites, important in the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide metabolism in the body, and thus for many health problems, such as pain, inflammation, tissue repair, heart attacks and strokes, pulmonary hypertension, gastric ulcers, etc.:
    6. A study published by the Mayo Clinic reveals that supplementation with L-Carnitine results in the potential of a 27 percent reduction in all mortalities, a 65 percent reduction in ventricular arrhythmias, and a 40 percent reduction in symptoms of angina for cardiovascular patients. A study published at the same time in Nature Medicine claimed that L-carnitine in animal studies and a study of 6 patients was found to potentially be metabolized by some bacteria in the gut and produce trimethylamine n-oxide (TMAO), which is associated with atherosclerosis, thereby discouraging supplementation with L-Carnitine. Close reading of this study showed that the mice in the study were fed enough supplement to equal 20,000 mg per day in a human, though. TMAO is also a chemical obtained in excess in the diet from too much eating of meat and fish. Such contradictory studies show that much effort is being made to publish reasons not to use nutritional medicines when they are proven useful:
    7. The importance of chemicals in the Vitamin C family, or ascorbates, is explained by experts in 2009 at the Semmelweiss Univerisity Budapest, and the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, in Hungary, focusing on the amazing research in the last decade or so concerning the important role in these Vitamin C chemicals concerning mitochondrial health and function, the energy factories in our cells, as well as the endoplasmic reticulum, or cardiovascular membranes, and other cellular membranes. Humans have a limited capacity to produce enough ascorbates, and so a diet that supplies these vitamins is essential, as well as recognition that in times of increased stress from disease or injury, temporary use of a high dosage of natural ascorbates could help tremendously in the holistic treatment protocol:
    8. a 2016 study at the Aksum University Department of Public Health, in Ethiopia, found that Vitamin A deficiency now affects a third of all preschool children due to malnourishment, and about 45 percent of all African preschool children, leading to forms of blindness, such as night blindness, which inhibits the ability to study and progress in life. Improved diets and inexpensive quality supplements would fix this devastating problem. Instead, we see decades of healthy people in developed countries with good diets taking billions of dollars of supplements that they don't need and are just flushed from their bodies in their urine and feces. If this money would be donated to honest groups that worked to fix this nutrient deficiency problem, the world would be a better place for our children:
    9. A 2015 study by the University of Arizona College of Medicine highlights the importance of Vitamin types and forms in treatment, with a liquid Vitamin A retinol supplement used to deliver a sublingual (under the tongue, or directly into the veins and blood stream) form of the Vitamin A in a case where a patient was diagnosed with a Vitamin A deficency retinopathy (blindness) that was caused by a history of small bowel resections which resulted in both poor nutrient absorption and upset of his natural symbiotic Biome. Often, with actual Vitamin deficiency, simple standard vitamin supplements and healthier diets may not correct the problem, and much more attention to nutritional medicine could greatly improve our healthcare system. Hiring Naturopathic Doctors in standard hospitals and clinics could be a cost effective way to improve outcomes dramatically at a low cost:
    10. A 2016 study at The Saarland University School of Medicine found that Vitamin D prohormone deficiency of cholecalciferol (25(OH)O3) was a key factor for patients with Eczema and Psoriasis, and that a simple treatment with UVB phototherapy dramatically improved the circulating blood levels of this Vitamin D prohormone. Since 90 percent of the Vitamin D prohormone in the body is synthesized in the skin, this appears to be a viable method to increase production and solve the deficiency. Exposure to the skin on the arms and face for just 10 minutes per day at midday is also shown to dramatically increase levels, but often medical doctors tell patients with psoriasis and eczema to avoid the sun, since overexposure to sun radiation could exacerbate the problem and patients with psoriasis are more prone to sunburn. A more thoughtful approach is needed. Treatment with UVB light at home is a very inexpensive therapy, and the more involved PUVA therapy, or psoralen UVA therapy, is derived from a Chinese herbal chemical in the herb Psoralea, or Bu gu zhi, which could also be helpful:
    11. A 2002 study by experts at the American INstitute for Biosocial and Medical Research in Tacoma, Washington, U.S.A outlines the importance of sulfu containing amino acids in medical care:
    12. One of the most prevalent nutritional deficiencies in the world concerns the family of chemicals called Vitamin A, unsaturated fats such as carotenoids and retinol, and a 2008 overview of this nutritional deficiency and its history is provided by the renowned Alfred Sommer of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. We see that an overly simplified solution with just adding carotenoids to processed foods does not address this public health issue, and that a more thoughtul and holistic approach is needed, addressing issue of individuals and conversion of food cartenoids to retinoic acid etc.: