|“Whole Food” Vitamins
In my other job as a nutritional consultant in a health food store, I am often asked to recommend a good multivitamin. I seldom recommend the new generation of “food-form nutrients”, such as those from MegaFood or New Chapter. While I like the principle of obtaining nutrients from food, I have never seen a study from any of these companies showing that their nutrients are better absorbed than conventional vitamins and minerals.
These products usually have very low levels of vitamins and minerals (often a tenth of what a regular multi would have), and in order to justify a price that is 4 or 5 times more than conventional vitamins, I would like to see some science. It would not be difficult for one of these companies to run a test comparing their nutrients with conventionally produced nutrients, to show better absorbability. Yet the best they can do is to compare conventional synthetic and isolated nutrients to actual food.
However, these products are not actually made exclusively from food, no matter what their marketing may suggest. As I often point out to customers, there are decades of solid research on any vitamin or mineral you can think of (all available at pubmed.com). But there is no science to back up these “whole food” supplements; and it turns out they are not exactly what they claim to be anyways.
The sad truth is the majority of “whole food” supplements simply add synthetic vitamins and laboratory made minerals to a food base. They have to do this because the nutrient content of food varies too much, and the only way to meet label claims is to use standardized isolated nutrients. And, since the majority of their marketing is based on demonizing synthetic and isolated nutrients, the fact that these forms are used in such products is ironic, if not downright hypocritical.
For an analysis of 3 whole food supplements that are not what they claim to be (Mega Food, Juice Plus, and Mercola) have a read of this article.
So, I suggest some NutriStart Pods (Original, Men’s or Women’s) as a valuable, cost effective, collection of essential nutrients that have been proven scientifically to maintain and improve health.
Myelin is a fatty, white substance that wraps around the end of many nerve cells, providing insulation for the central and peripheral nervous system. The myelin sheath is essential for the development and functioning of a healthy nervous system. Since myelin is critical for brain function and mental health it plays an important role in intelligence and cognitive performance, allowing our brain to send information fast and efficiently.
Myelin develops quickly during our first years of life, and is in a constant state of renewal during the rest of our life (myelination). When the myelin that insulates our nerves wears out or degenerates (demyelination), the nervous system malfunctions, leading to mental health symptoms, and neurodegenerative diseases.
The most common disease related to demyelination is Multiple Sclerosis, and the areas most affected by this process are the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Therefore, demyelination diseases generally affect reflexes and movement, mood, vision, the senses, and even how often one needs to use the bathroom.
Visual symptoms include blurred vision, loss of vision, “double vision,” and feeling like one’s vision is swinging back and forth.
Motor symptoms include weakness in the limbs and trunk of the body, balance problems, stiffness or tightness in the muscles, tremors, and problems with movement and speech.
Sensory symptoms include numbness, burning, or prickling sensations in the arms, feet, or legs; feeling pain when touched lightly; and a symptom called Lhermitte’s sign, which feels like an electric shock that passes down the back of the neck into the spine and then out through the arms and legs.
Brain-related symptoms include impaired coordination, anxiety, depression, difficulty eating and swallowing, problems writing, and reduced attention, concentration and memory.
Symptoms affecting the genitourinary system include increased need to use the bathroom, constipation, incontinence, erectile dysfunction, and inability (in either gender) to orgasm.
A number of neurological and psychiatric illnesses have been linked to demyelination, including ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, bipolar disorder, OCD, depression, dyslexia, schizophrenia, and Tourette’s syndrome .
The following link leads to a great article that goes into detail about everything that contributes to the regeneration of myelin. This article includes many lifestyle, diet, and hormone-related factors, but here I will mention just the supplements they suggest to be helpful for myelination.
Necessary for myelin regeneration are: melatonin (and proper sleep); iodine (and thyroid hormones); omega 3 fatty acids; vitamins B5, C, choline (especially in the form of citicoline), D, folate, K2, Methyl B12, biotin, and inositol; and the minerals iron and zinc. Other supplements include ashwagandha, gingko biloba, lion’s mane, phosphatidylserine, and quercetin. The article also includes material on how EMF’s contribute to demyelination, which may be the root of electromagnetic hyper sensitivity.
A New Treatment for MS
As mentioned above, Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that attacks the protective covering of nerves (myelin sheath) and disrupts nerve function. Canada has the highest rate of MS in the world, with roughly 1 in 340 adults living with the disease (according to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada).
Millions of people already take minocycline (a tetracycline antibiotic) to treat acne, but University of Calgary researchers have found the inexpensive antibiotic also helps to control multiple sclerosis (MS).
Minocycline has been around for more than 50 years and it is considered relatively safe for long-term use, with minimal side effects, and few concerns about antibiotic resistance. MS researchers have been interested in minocycline for years because the drug is known to affect immune cell migration, and to inhibit inflammatory cells from making their way into the central nervous system. According to one scientist: “In MS, the migration of immune cells into the brain and spinal cord is what produces the injury of the condition.”
While this study does not indicate that minocycline will reverse symptoms of MS, they do suggest that it may be a treatment option for people who experience what is called “clinically isolated syndrome” (CIS) — a first episode of neurologic symptoms that often develops into MS.
“It’s a big discovery because it’s a cheap, generic, oral medication, which means that patients with a CIS can now be treated with a pill rather than an injectable therapy,” said Dr. Luanne Metz, a neurologist at the U of C and lead investigator of the study.
The study gave either minocycline or a placebo to 142 patients with CIS and followed them for up to two years afterward. Those who received minocycline had a 33 per cent chance of developing MS after six months, whereas those who received the placebo had a 61 per cent chance. The results of this trial imply that 100 mg of minocycline, administered orally twice daily, may delay the conversion of the CIS to multiple sclerosis. (Study)
I do not generally promote the use of antibiotics, unless unavoidable, but in the case of MS anything that offers hope is certainly worth examining.