A Case For Whole Food SupplementsThe Standard American Diet (SAD) is lacking in many vital nutritional components. Being largelycomposed of prepackaged, convenience foods with few naturally grown food products; this diet hascontributed to an epidemic of not only obesity but also extreme nutritional deficiency. While manycommercially available vitamin and mineral supplements exist, they are manufactured in an artificialway that reduces bioavailability and promotes chemical contamination. As Americans are not likely toreturn to eating home grown food directly from their garden, the solution to the nutritional deficiency ofAmerica can be found in Whole Food Supplements which are vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient richproducts made from actual food concentrates.The Problem with the Standard American DietIn the first part of the 1900s most Americans ate a healthy, whole food diet because they had nochoice. All food was grown either by the family or obtained from immediately local sources. Americain the 1900s was a largely agrarian society with most people living in rural areas and able to growtheir own food. During the last century, a massive migration to urban areas has occurred. This hasmeant that even if one has the desire, most people no longer have the ability to produce self grownfood. Either because there is no land or because many do not know how, very few people have agarden and even fewer produce protein in the form of dairy products and animal husbandry.In spite of this developing migration, during World War II, families were encouraged to have a "victorygarden". This was not to ensure that Americans had a great diet but actually to ensure that Americanfamilies could feed themselves at all, while allowing most of commercial food production to be sent tothe troops overseas. That was the last period in history that America got most of their nutrition fromlocally grown food.Beginning around the 1950s, Americans did begin to recognize the value of vitamins and mineralswithin their diet. This was discovered because more and more pre-prepared, highly processed foodproducts became available and nutritional deficiencies began to emerge.After the end of World War II, many families became two-income families. In addition, many moresingle parents are now raising children by themselves. This means that in most homes, all of theadults present in any one household are likely employed outside of the home full-time leaving littletime for food preparation alone much less any time for food production. America has become aconvenience food nation consuming much of the diet from unnatural food sources.Prepackaged and easy to prepare food products are just that, food "products". Though they maycontain carbohydrates, proteins, fats and some "essential" nutrients, they are not real food. The entirefood supply chain is rife with contamination and chemical processing and many Americans areunaware of how little nutritional value the food that they consume every day contains. So muchpublicity and education has focused on the so called food pyramid. The governmental andeducational agencies that have devised the perfect American diet have never truly addressed the lackof nutrients, other than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of basic vitamins and mineralssuch as Vitamin A, Vitamin D and Calcium.
While these RDA levels of vitamin and mineral consumption may be an absolute bottom line essentialto avoid obvious diseases of deficiency such as scurvy or rickets, they are hardly adequate and donot reflect but a small portion of the nutrients contained in whole food, necessary for promotion ofhealth and prevention of disease.A Crisis in America: Obesity and Other Diseases in the Face of MalnutritionThe main focus of the American diet in recent years has become reducing fat and increasingcarbohydrates in the diet. This stream of thought was intended to reduce the growing epidemic ofobesity but over the past 20 years, obesity has risen into numbers that appear to be a crisis forAmericans. In fact, over the past 20 years the number of adult Americans who are obese has risen by60% to an unprecedented level of almost 35% of American adults being considered obese. A muchworse situation is that a similar number of approximately 32% of American children qualify asoverweight or obese. For the first time in American history, the life expectancy of these children maybe lower than that of their parents or grandparents.This has led to an epidemic of heart disease, diabetes and other weight related problems occurring inrecord numbers not only in adults but seen in children as young as 18 months of age. Additionaldiseases that may be related to a lack of appropriate nutrients other than simple vitamins in Americandiets may include a wide variety of conditions ranging from immune disorders implicated in conditionssuch as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus and Cancer to psychiatric and neurological conditions such asADHD, Autism and Depression.Most people believe that obesity occurs simply because people eat too much. While that is true inpart, obesity also results from continuously consuming the wrong types of food. In the 1900s whenAmericans were consuming a largely natural, whole food diet directly from farm to table, obesity wasan extremely rare occurrence.As our diet has changed from an agrarian societys nutrient rich food supply to the urbanized highlyprocessed, artificial foods, our total food consumption has risen. This is in part because, though thebody gets more calories from more food, it is still starved of nutrition causing one to eat even more. Inaddition, in our sedentary lifestyle our bodies actually need less food than when we lived and workedeach day on the farm, yet we still eat more because of lack of proper nutrients, abundance of easilyobtained processed food and other psychological conditions such as stress eating. In the end,America has become a nation of people who are obese but still malnourished and disease ridden.An Attempt to Fix the ProblemThe ideal diet truly would be that of returning to whole food "farm to table" eating where families eithergrow their own food and prepare it within minutes of harvesting or at a minimum obtain locally grownfood from the market and prepare it within a day or so of harvesting. In todays society this is nolonger possible. Even when fresh vegetables and fruits are consumed as a large portion of the diet,our nations food supply is contaminated by the use of pesticides, herbicides and hormones and muchof the nutrient value is lost by transportation of the food crop from thousands of miles away. Food isharvested before it is truly ripe, irradiated, stored cold and transported across states, nations andeven oceans before it arrives in our grocery stores as tasteless, substandard, nutrient poor produce.
Many people are attempting to eat only organic, locally grown produce for this reason. While this maybe an improvement over the nutritional value of the standard American diet, it is nearly always muchmore expensive and therefore unaffordable for many and unavailable for others as most markets donot focus on obtaining such products. So this effort, while valiant is still not enough.The good news about the American nutritional situation is that it is quite easy to fix. Given appropriatenutrition, the human body has an amazing ability to heal itself. Many diseases and conditions causedby overconsumption and malnourishment can be easily corrected by supplementation with whole foodnutritional products.As Americans cannot rely on the food supply to provide adequate nutrition and also cannot count onthe source, quality and purity of most commercially available nutritional supplements, the only answerappears to lie in whole food supplementation.What is a Whole Food Supplement?Whole food supplements are defined as nutritional supplements derived entirely from food. This is amuch more natural and beneficial method of obtaining nutrition from food and herbal supplementsalike.Unfortunately, most commercially available nutritional supplements including vitamins, minerals andherbal products are made completely of single ingredient extracts or worse, artificially synthesized ina lab using chemical processes. While synthesized supplements may in fact provide basic vitaminsand minerals known to be vital, artificially prepared products are missing many of the alkaloids,antioxidants and phytochemicals that are thought to play a major role in complete nutrition anddisease prevention.The same is true for herbal supplements and treatments as most commercially available herbalproducts do provide an extract or synthesized form of the primarily active chemical within the herb,they are still missing many of the synergistic ingredients thought to provide additional benefits ofherbal and nutraceutical treatment.Simply Taking Vitamins isnt EnoughVitamins and Minerals are absolutely necessary for life but the RDA is generally both inadequate inits estimate and unattainable through the average American diet.While many commercially available nutritional supplements are available at every corner, throughnecessity, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does little to regulate the manufacturing of foodsupplements such as vitamins, minerals and herbal products. The FDA cannot apparently manageeven its main tasks of regulation of the pharmaceutical industry and assurance of the safety of theAmerican food supply.In the last several years, many counterfeit pharmaceutical products have been discovered such as flumedication being sold online, manufactured outside of the United States was found to be gelatincapsules filled with sheetrock particles. In addition Americans have seen case after case of E. Coliand Salmonella contamination of both American and foreign farm crops such as lettuce, tomatoes,onions and peppers enter our grocery stores. Some of these products were even the so called"organic" products, purported to be safer than traditional crops.
Why a Whole Food SupplementAs there is inadequate supervision of the pharmaceutical and food production industries, there iseven less of the nutritional supplement market. The average vitamin or nutritional supplement ismanufactured using chemical synthesis and heat processing which destroys the nutritional value ofthe product within. In addition, many commercially available products are manufactured with fillers,additives, preservatives and other dubious chemicals. Whole food supplements are not.Within the last several years, significant shortcomings have come to light in terms of foreign madefood and health products. Many products have proven to be contaminated with not only the knownchemicals that are present in the American food supply but also with much more dangerous unknownchemicals that should never enter the manufacturing process. The only way to ensure that this doesnot happen is to purchase high quality products from a company with a well established reputation formaintaining high standards of manufacturing and purity. As whole food supplements are naturalproducts, it would be optimal if the manufacturer employed practices of sustainability and greenpolicy.The ideal food supplement manufacturer recognizes that vitamins do not exist in isolation. Thenutritional value of whole food is due to the interweaving of the entire spectrum of nutrients withvitamins and minerals acting in a synergistic fashion with hundreds of other plant alkaloids,phytochemicals and enzymes. The cofactors and bioflavonoids such as terpenes and isoflavonespresent in whole foods and whole food supplements are integral in the process to restore biochemicalbalance to the body.This is quite easy to identify when examining the label of a nutritional supplement, vitamin or herbalproduct. Though the FDA doesnt do an adequate job of monitoring the food supply or pharmaceuticalindustry, they have established standards of labeling which include appropriate identification of allingredients contained in a supplement. Close examination of most regular supplements whencompared to whole food supplements will show that most products contain synthetic vitamins,chemicals and filler products while whole food supplements contain natural vitamins and mineralsobtained from concentrated food sources such as fruits and vegetables.Supplements manufactured from whole food sources will contain not only the natural form of vitaminsand minerals but also all of the important phytochemicals and phytonutrients important to restorationof nutritional health and prevention of disease derived from whole food concentrates.Choosing a Quality SupplementWhole food supplements are nutritional products which have been manufactured directly from food.Food grown in natural conditions is concentrated using carefully designed and conducted coldprocessing techniques. These methods allow the concentration of the entire spectrum of nutritionalvalue without removing the phytochemicals, alkaloids and other valuable natural substances thatensure adequate nutritional support and help to prevent disease.When choosing a whole food supplement one should ensure that the product is from a manufacturingcompany known to have a long standing reputation for quality and experience in whole foodprocessing. The products should be constituted entirely of whole food products which have been
refined using cold processing without the nutrient reducing effects of extreme heat, pasteurization andirradiation. They should also be free of artificial filler products and preservative chemicals. Themanufacturer should have a process of testing for purity and guarantee of quality and ideally shouldoffer a money back guarantee if one is not satisfied with the product. For the American consumer,optimally an American product will be purchased an in an effort to aid the environment, a companywith "green" policies should be chosen to promote sustainability of the food supply.Specific Nutrient NeedsVitamin AVitamin A and the carotenoids are highly present in many vibrantly colored fruits and vegetablesalong with fish and animal livers and are essential for:oproper functioning of the eye and skin including the gastrointestinal tractoacts as an antioxidant, protecting against cancer and diseases of agingoimportant in support of the immune system for protection against viruses and infections of the organlinings of bladder, kidneys, lungs and mucous membranesoessential for protein utilizationVitamin A deficiency causes dry hair, skin, eye disorders, fatigue, reproductive difficulties, frequentcolds and infections, and skin disorders.Traditional vitamin supplements will typically contain synthetic Vitamin A Palmitate and/or betacarotene isolate. Whole Food Supplements will contain Vitamin A1, Vitamin A2, retinal, retinoic acidand a number of more the 500 carotenes all of which are precursors to Vitamin A along with essentialfatty acid, natural sugars, minerals and other phytonutrients found only in whole food.Vitamin B ComplexVitamin B is actually a number of similarly related compounds found in yellow and green fruits andvegetables particularly leafy green and cruciferous vegetables along with nuts, grains, eggs, dairyproducts and meats and are known to be essential for:omaintenance of skin, eyes, hair, liver and mouthohealthy gastrointestinal tract and brain functioningocoenzymes involved in energy productionoproper functioning of nervous system particularly in the elderlySpecific Vitamin B Deficiencies:B-1 Thiamine deficiency - Beriberi, canker sores, mental disorders such as dementia, depression anddizziness, fatigue, indigestion, diarrhea, numbness and muscle atropyB-2 Riboflavin deficiency -mouth sores, cataracts, dermatitis, hair loss, neurological symptoms onskin, light sensitivity, seizuresB-3 Niacin deficiency - pellagra, bad breath, skin and mouth disorders, memory impairment,confusion, depression, muscle weaknessB-5 Pantothenic Acid deficiency - abdominal pains, skin disorders, hair loss, muscle spasms and poorcoordination, immune impairment, low blood pressureB-6 Pyridoxine deficiency - eye, skin and mouth inflammation, mucous membrane disorders, lack of
wound healingB-12 Cyanocobalamin deficiency - pernicious anemia, unsteady gate, dizziness, drowsiness,depression, hallucination headaches, memory loss, tinnitus, spinal cord degenerationFolic Acid deficiency - certain types of anemia, fatigue, mental disorders, insomnia, diarrhea, spinabifida in developing infantTraditional Vitamin B supplements will generally contain only the synthetic form of one or more of theB vitamin group, while whole food supplements will contain all of the Vitamin B family along with theadded benefits of phytonutrients such as inositols, PABA, biotin and choline derived fromconcentration of whole foods.Vitamin CVitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) is found in citrus fruits, berries and green vegetables and is essential for:otissue growth and repairoadrenal gland functionohealthy gumsoproduction of anti stress hormones and interferonoabsorption of iron in the gastrointestinal systemometabolism of amino acids and vitaminsoactivity as an antioxidant and support of the immune systemVitamin C deficiency causes Scurvy, poor wound healing, gum disease, edema, weakness, frequentinfections, fatigue, and joint pains.Traditional Vitamin C supplements will have only Ascorbic Acid or Ascorbate, while Whole FoodSupplement vitamin C will contain phytonutrients such as rutin, bioflavonoids, tyrosinase,ascorbinogen, vitamin C factors such as J, K and P along with mineral co-factors necessary forvitamin C activity all derived appropriately from whole food.Vitamin DVitamin D is present largely in dairy food products but also in fish and fish oils, green leafyvegetables, vegetable oils, egg yolks and sweet potatoes and is necessary for:obone and teeth growth and development in childrenomuscle performance including skeletal and cardiac muscleoprevention of bone and tooth loss in elderlyothyroid and immune system functioningonormal blood clottingVitamin D deficiency includes rickets, osteomalacea, loss of appetite, burning of mouth and throat,diarrhea, insomnia, and visual difficulties.Most commercial Vitamin D products including prescription formulas will contain only Vitamin D2(ergocalciferol) which is less absorbable and more difficult to use but has a longer shelf life than itscousin Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) while whole food supplements will contain significant amounts ofVitamin D3 along with many other beneficial phytonutrients in the form of whole food concentrates.Vitamin E
Vitamin E is found in cold pressed vegetable oils, dark green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts and grainsand is essential for:oantioxidant activity important for the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular diseaseocirculation and tissue repairoblood clotting and healingoskin and hair healthVitamin E deficiency may result in damage to red blood cells, nerve destruction, infertility, menstrualproblems, and neuromuscular disorders.Traditional vitamin E supplements will generally include only one of the 8 active components of thevitamin E family, alpha-tocopherol. Whole food supplements will contain not only alpha-tocopherol butalso the 7 other alpha, beta, gamma and delta forms of both tocopherol and tocotrienol derived fromconcentrated food.CalciumCalcium is vital for the formation of bones and teeth and the maintenance of gums. It is essential forthe functioning of all muscular tissue, particularly the heart and participates in cellular functioning invirtually every area of the body. Calcium is highly present in dairy products, meaty and oily fish andgreen leafy vegetables.Calcium deficiency can lead to brittle bones, teeth and nails, skin disorders, cardiac disorders such ashigh blood pressure and heart palpitations, cognitive impairment, hyperactivity and seizure disorders.Calcium contained in most traditional supplements will contain only calcium carbonate or calciumcitrate with the possible addition of Vitamin D or may contain D1-calcium-phosphate which iscompletely insoluble and cannot be absorbed. Whole Food Supplement calcium products will containadditional nutrients such as amino acids and vitamin C which are necessary for calcium absorptionand utilization.IronIron is essential for the production of hemoglobin which is vital to the supply of oxygen throughout thebody. Iron is also important for production of many important enzymes within the body. It can befound in meats, fish, eggs, green leafy vegetables, nuts and grains in large amounts as well as anumber of herbs such as alfalfa and milk thistle.Deficiency of Iron includes symptoms of anemia, weakness and fatigue, hair loss, mouthinflammation, fingernail malformation and mental impairment.Most commercially available iron supplements will contain iron sulfate or iron gluconate as a singularproduct or in combination with other vitamins and minerals. Iron is best absorbed in the presence ofvitamin C and when consumed as a constituent of a food source. Whole food supplement iron willresult in better absorption and less stomach upset as it is derived from whole food.MagnesiumMagnesium is vital as an enzyme catalyst especially with regard to energy production. It also aids incellular calcium and potassium uptake which makes it essential for the transmission of muscle andnerve impulses. It can be readily found in many foods especially animal products such as dairy, meat
and seafood but also in many fruits and vegetables such as apples, apricots, bananas, whole grainsand soy products.Deficiency of magnesium will cause muscular irritability, mental disorders, chronic fatigue, chronicpain syndromes, depression and pulmonary disorders along with being a factor in hypertension andsudden cardiac death.Traditionally prepared magnesium supplements will contain only magnesium usually in the form ofmagnesium chloride or magnesium sulfate while whole food supplements will contain other mineralssuch as calcium and potassium along with vitamin c and other nutrients from whole food concentratesnecessary for the proper absorption and utilization of magnesium.ZincZinc is important in the growth and function of reproductive organs and may help regulate oil glandactivity and prevent acne. It is essential for protein and collagen synthesis and vital to the functioningof a healthy immune system and has been shown to have potent antiviral activity. It plays a major rolein wound healing and the sensation of taste and smell. It is also a constituent of many physiologicalchemicals such as insulin and various enzymes. Zinc is highly present in eggs, fish, beans, meats,mushrooms and many seed such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds.Deficiency of zinc may result in a loss of taste and smell and may cause the fingernails to becomeweak and thin. Other signs may include delayed sexual maturation, growth impairment, disorders ofsexual organs of both males and females, fatigue, hair loss, slow wound healing and recurrentinfections.Many commercially available supplements will contain either zinc gluconate as a singular product orin combination with other minerals without regard as to the appropriate ratios for optimal absorptionand utilization within the body. As whole food supplements are derived from actual food, theappropriate ratios necessary for maximum benefit are already present established by nature.Unique Benefits of Whole Food SupplementsAccording to the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), over 70% of Americans do not consumeenough whole food products to provide even the RDA of vitamins. While vitamins are necessary forlife, ordinary vitamin supplements will not entirely fill the gap. Unlike most commercial dietarysupplements which are stand alone chemicals, whole food supplements contain any number ofseveral thousand known and unknown phytonutrients such as:oCarotenoidsoPolyphenols (Flavonoids)oPhenolsoIndolesoLignans (Phytoestrogens)oPhytates (Inositols)oSaponinsoSulfides and ThiolsoTerpenes
Research has proven these nutrients to be protective against many diseases. Some types ofphytonutrients are known to provide such benefits as enhanced immunity, cancer prevention,detoxification and DNA repair.CarotenoidsThe phytonutrient category of carotenoids has been shown to protect against certain types of cancer,optical failure from diseases such as macular degeneration and assist in the prevention of cardiacdisease. Carotenoids are partially responsible for the vibrant colors of many fruits and vegetables.Carotenoids can help prevent vitamin A deficiency by acting as precursors to Vitamin A which assiststhe body in manufacturing Vitamin A. In addition several carotenoids are known to be anti-oxidantsand may protect against diseases of aging and exposure to environmental toxins. Carotenoids mayalso be a factor in the prevention and treatment of other diseases such as:oCancer - including cervical, throat, lung, prostate and skin cancersoHeart disease - including angina pectoris and congestive heart failureoInfections - including AIDS, Chlamydia, Candidiasis and pneumoniaoImmune system mediated disorders - including rheumatoid arthritis, and photosensitivityoOther conditions - such as asthma and osteoarthritisA balanced formula of carotenoids such as found in whole foods and whole food supplements will bebetter absorbed than individual supplements as too much of any one carotenoids may inhibit theabsorption of others. This is one of the many reasons why whole food supplements are morebeneficial than simple vitamin supplementation.Carotenoids known to be present and beneficial can be found in the following fruits or vegetables:oalpha carotene - carrotsobeta carotene- green cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, yellow/orangevegetables such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin and carrotsobeta cryptoxanthin - orange fruits such as mangos, peaches and apricotsolutein - leafy green vegetables such as turnip greens, collard greens and spinacholycopene - red fruits such as watermelon, guava, tomatoes and red grapefruitozeaxanthin - green vegetables such as green beans and broccoli, yellow food such as eggs mangosand citrus fruitsPolyphenolsPolyphenols (Flavonoids) are known to be active antioxidants and are thought to be important inpreventing diseases caused by oxidative stress such as some cancers and some forms of cardiacdisease and some inflammatory processes which cause diseases such as arthritis and other diseasesof aging. Some examples of polyphenols found in food products include:oanthocyanins - red foods such as berries, red cabbage, red grapesoflavones - celery and parsleyoellagic acid - berries such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberriesocatechins - tea, wine and chocolate along with other tart foods such as berries and applesoflavanones - found in citrus fruits
ocoumarins - found in grains and grasses such as wheat grassPhenolsPhenols encompass a number of anti oxidant nutrients such as Resveratrol and are known to bepowerful antioxidants. Phenols have proven to be effective in the prevention of age related disordersand many diseases caused in part by oxidative stress such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease andcancer. Phenols are present in purple fruits such as grapes and blueberries along with wine and tea.IndolesIndoles are known to aid in hormone production and maintenance of balance. Indoles are alsothought to provide cellular protection against cancers such as colon cancer and endometrial canceralong with others. They are largely present in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brusselssprouts and cabbages.LignansLignans (Phytoestrogens) have weak estrogen like activity which is important in the prevention andpossible treatment of hormone mediated cancers such as breast, testicular and prostate cancer. Theyalso may block inflammatory processes which may aid in the treatment of diseases such as arthritisand platelet aggregation leading to stroke. Lignans highly present in flax seed and soy products butare also found in other grains such as wheat, barley and oats along with beans and vegetables suchas garlic and broccoli.InositolsPhytates (Inositols) may help lower blood cholesterol and aid in prevention of mental disorders suchas bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. Inositols and Phytates arepresent in large amounts in grains, nuts and melon family members such as cantaloupe, squash andcucumbers.SaponinsSaponins are known to lower cholesterol and may act as an immune booster protecting the bodyagainst infections from viruses, bacteria and fungi. They may also provide some protection againstheart disease and have proven to be effective in the treatment of cancer. Several anti cancer drugsare based on the saponin molecular structure. Saponins can be found in foods such as asparagus,red onions, alfalfa sprouts, and soybeans.ThiolsSulfides and Thiols are vital to the functioning of the cardiovascular system including the smoothmuscles of the arteries and arterioles and the linings of both veins and arteries. Thiols have proveninstrumental in the development of plaques contributing to atherosclerosis, arteriosclerosis,myocardial infarction and stroke. Sulfides and thiols are highly present in members of the odiferousLilly family such as garlic, onion, chives and leeksTerpenesTerpenes are thought to protect against cancer and free radical damage which may contribute todiseases of aging such as stroke and alzheimers disease. Terpenes are highly present in foods suchas green foods, grain and soy products and also in many herbs such as Gingko biloba.
These phytonutrients are just a few examples of natural molecules known to aid in promotion ofhealth and make the case for the use of Whole Food Supplements. There are thousands more, yet tobe identified that are present and beneficial and cannot be synthesized in a lab. Supplementation withisolated vitamins and minerals alone will not solve a nutritional deficiency.As Americans are unlikely to return to the farm, consumption of a whole food supplement appears tobe the only way to actually bridge the nutritional canyon that the American diet has created due to alifestyle of convenient packaged food that is easy to prepare but sorely deficient in nutritional quality.Bsn nursing school