Everyone should take food supplements. Studies show that only a tiny percent get enough vitamins and minerals everyday. The soil plants are grown in is so depleted of minerals that it is practically impossible to get enough nutrients even if a person ate a perfect diet. There are many books on this subject.
Dr. Art Ulene Crusades for Vitamins
Dr. Art Ulene is known as "America's Wellness Doctor." He "is
recognized by 37 percent of adult consumers as "television's family
doctor," according to a 1997 Health Maintenance
survey report. This extraordinarily high recognition level is the result of his regular appearances on NBC's Today Show for nearly 20 years, appearances on ABC's Home Show and some 1,500 syndicated reports that have aired in news programs on stations throughout the country."
He says, "Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that your body requires for good health. With few exceptions, your body cannot manufacture these nutrients, so you must obtain them from outside sources such as plants and animals."
Most Americans Need Vitamins and Mineral Supplements
"Contrary to popular belief, most Americans are not meeting their vitamin and mineral needs through diet. Studies show that most adults fail to consume even the minimum recommended amounts of A, C, E, thiamin, riboflavin, B6, B12 and folic acid, and are not meeting their needs for several critical minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, chromium, selenium and zinc."
"In addition, new research shows that the ideal levels of some of these nutrients may be considerably higher than the government's minimum recommendations -- and much higher than you can obtain from foods alone."
"That's why I now recommend vitamin supplements for all adults -- not as a substitute for a good diet, but to complement a good diet and support a healthy lifestyle."
"If you are not already using vitamin supplements, you should start now."
The following is an article that says he was like many doctors who did not believe in the value of taking supplements, but has changed 180 degrees because there is so much research that shows people are not getting enough.
Dr. Ulene: "I was wrong about vitamins."
del Rey, CA (5/1/98) Dr. Art Ulene, best known for his
numerous television appearances on NBC's Today Show for nearly
twenty years, has reversed his stance on vitamin supplementation.
wrong about vitamins," says Ulene, a Board-certified
"In 1976, I told television viewers that vitamins were a waste of money
if they were eating well. I was troubled by the lack of scientific studies
to prove that vitamins were safe and effective."
now convinced dietary supplements are both appropriate and
desirable for all adults. "I haven't changed," he said, "the scientific
evidence has. Almost weekly we see the results of new studies proving
the benefits of vitamins and minerals."
of the mounting scientific evidence in favor of vitamin
supplementation, only 40% of Americans use supplements regularly.
Surveys show that the majority of non-users believe they are getting
enough vitamins from their diet.
wrong," Ulene declares, referring to a study conducted by the
U.S. Department of Agriculture. "This USDA study shows that most
adults fail to consume even the minimum recommended amounts of
vitamins A, C, E, thiamin, riboflavin, B6, B12 and folic acid," Ulene
states, "and, they are not meeting their needs for several critical
minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, chromium, selenium and
also concerned that the ideal levels of some nutrients may be
significantly greater than the minimum amounts recommended by
government agencies, and much higher than can reasonably be obtained
from foods alone. He cites vitamin E as an example: "The Daily Value
for vitamin E is 30 IU, but the newest research suggests we should be
consuming at least 100 IU per day." To get 100 IU of vitamin E from
food, a person would have to consume seven cups of peanuts, two cups
of corn oil or 19 cups of spinach in a day. "That's not going to happen,
and it shouldn't," Ulene comments.
his enthusiasm for vitamins, Ulene warns against
on supplements. "Optimal health cannot be achieved with supplements
alone," he counsels. "They should be used to complement a good diet
and healthy lifestyles."
One of the most important vitamins is vitamin E. Hardly anyone gets enough of this vitamin and research is showing that we are paying a high price for it.
Reader's Digest had and article in its August 1998 issue saying research shows that virtually no one is getting enough of this crucial vitamin. They write:
Why You Need Vitamin E by Anita Bartholomew
Alexandra Owens, 36, an executive in New York City, takes vitamin E every day. So does her husband Michael, 41. Everything Alex has read about the supplement indicates it might protect against a host of illnesses.
Even before reading the reports, Alex had heard convincing evidence from her grandmother, Thelma Van Arsdel, who had taken vitamin E from her early 50s until her death at age 93. The one time Van Arsdel stopped taking it, in her late 60s, she told Alex she felt the typical aches and pains of her age. But as soon as she began using vitamin E again, she regained her flexibility and was unusually alert and active the rest of her life. Alex and her husband hope the vitamin will keep them as healthy as it did her grandmother.
There is good reason to believe it might. A wealth of research shows the potential benefits of this vitamin. For instance, a study of 11,000 people 65 and over conducted by the National Institute on Aging found that those who took vitamin E had 41 percent less risk of dying of heart disease than those who did not." The study also found that among those taking the supplements, there was a 27 percent lower risk of death from all causes examined in the study. Other studies suggest that vitamin E may help prevent atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes; possibly limit damage from cigarette smoking; boost immune response; ease arthritic symptoms and delay the ravages of Alzheimer's.
But don't most of us get sufficient vitamin E from diet alone? "I used to believe that if you ate a good diet, that was enough," says Dr. Nancy Snyderman, a California cancer surgeon. "But frankly you don't get enough of the nutrient.' Protective levels of this vitamin are far higher than what you typically get from foods, such as nuts and seeds, with the highest E concentrations. To consume just 100 I.U.s (international units -- the minimum dose in most supplements -- you'd have to eat nearly five pounds of spinach or four cups of peanuts.
If even half of the early findings about E are proved in continuing research, this vitamin can truly be called a health care miracle. Here's the evidence so far on how it may help you:
E Boosts Your Immune System
According to Jeffrey Blumberg, a human-nutrition researcher at Tufts University in Boston, supplementing a healthful diet with vitamin E may offer many benefits. "We think you could be safer from infectious disease -- colds, flu, tuberculosis."
Researchers at Tufts tested the effects of vitamin E on the immune systems of healthy older people in a four-month study, theorizing that with Vitamin E they might boost those immune defenses to more effective levels. Each of 88 volunteers, 65 and older, was assigned to one of four groups: members of the first group got 60 I.U.s; a third got 800 I.U.s, and the forth got placebos.
What they discovered was startling. Normally, immune cells become less efficient as we age and don't protect our bodies as much against disease. But the cells of the vitamin E groups didn't act their age. "The responses of 65- and 70-year-olds looked like those of 40-year-olds," Blumberg says.
Subjects taking 200 I.U.s got a bigger immune-system boost than the ones who got only 60 I.U.s. But the 200 I.U.s may be the optimal dose for immune-system benefits. It's important to remember when taking supplements: more may not be better.
E Cuts Cardiac Risk
Dr. Ishwarlal Jialal of the University of Texas South-western Medical Center in Dallas has found signs of heart-protective effects in his research on vitamin E. More interesting, his results hint at reasons why vitamin E cuts cardiac risk.
For his study, he gave 21 healthy people far more than the usual dose: 1200 I.U.s per day for eight weeks. He found that vitamin E reduced oxidation of LDL (low-density lipoprotein, the "bad" cholesterol), which helps form plague in coronary arteries. In addition, he found vitamin E impaired the function of plaque-producing cells in those arteries. These findings mean that vitamin E may help atherosclerosis, a type of artery hardening. Vitamin E launches "a double-pronged attack," Jialal says. "In people at high risk for heart disease, the vitamin appears to reduce the potential for heart attacks."
The American Heart Association agrees. After several large studies showed dramatic cardiac benefits with E, the AHA cited the vitamin as one of the "top-ten heart and stroke research advances for 1996" that "either in supplements, or in food, may help prevent heart disease."
E Might Fight Cancer
When testing E against cancer, scientists came up with contradictory findings. Some studies found no change in the incidence of cancer. But other research recorded lower rates of cancer among people taking vitamin E.
In a National Cancer Institute-supported study of more than 29,000 adults in China, one group of subjects was given combinations of vitamin E, beta carotene and selenium. Among those participants, "there was a significant decrease in cancer and in mortality from cancer," says Dr. Omer Kucuk, professor of medicine at the Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University in Detroit.
According to Kucuk, scientists have long suspected that low levels of vitamin E in the body are associated with higher risk for developing cancer, while higher levels are associated with lower risk. A study of 27,000 male Finnish smokers, ages 50 to 69, showed benefits with just 50 I.U.s of the nutrient. Among those taking vitamin E instead of a placebo, the men had 32 percent fewer cases of prostate cancer. More impressive, there were 41 percent fewer prostate-cancer deaths.
"We knew for a long time, in the test tube, that vitamin E prevents several types of cancer," Kucuk says. Other studies are testing the vitamin's effects on colon, lung and breast cancers.
E May Slow Alzheimer's
In the years past, Carl Cotman of the University of California at Irvine regretted announcing at medical conferences that researchers like himself had not strategy to slow the horrible progression of Alzheimer's. Then one day in his laboratory Cotman saw under the microscope what he thought might be the beginning of an answer. When he took neurons and added beta amyloid (the substance that accumulates in the brain of an Alzheimer's patient), the brain cells committed "cell suicide" by disintegration. But when vitamin E was added, the "suicide" never occurred. Cells stayed healthy. Could the vitamin's protective effect be replicated in the living brain?
In a two-year study, funded by the National Institute on Aging, of 341 people with moderate dementia from Alzheimer's, researchers at 23 centers sought to discover whether a Parkinson's disease drug, selegiline, or vitamin E would delay the onset of any of four milestones: inability to perform basic daily activities, such as bathing and dressing; severe dementia; entry into a nursing home because full-time care is necessary, or death. Those patients on placebos reached a milestone after about 14 1/2 months; those on vitamin E, however, reached a milestone after an average of 22 months -- delaying the inevitable deterioration by more than 7 1/2 months. Selegiline had a similar effect.
Though hardly a cure, it is the first time researchers have seen something slow the disease.
E's Other Benefits
This vitamin may offer a range of everyday advantages as well. A new study shows that a combination of vitamin E and C supplements may improve resistance to sunburn. Journalist Susan Milligan swears that dabbing vitamin E on blemishes makes them disappear faster. And Dr. David Edelberg recommends that patients with gingivitis open a capsule and brush the vitamin on their gums. However, the vitamin's effectiveness against blemishes and gingivitis hasn't been proved in studies.
Even if you're in perfect health, exercise regularly, keep stress to a minimum and eat a balanced diet, you can still benefit from vitamin E supplements, say doctors. How much should you take? "Studies indicate that people who take between 100 and 400 I.U.s are at lower risk for certain diseases," Blumberg says. Like any supplement, E may be less safe at extremely high doses, and may throw off the balance of other nutrients in your body.
Considering the benefits of vitamin E, there's every reason to give it a try. "That's the biggest surprise," Cotman says. Something you buy in a drugstore for four or five dollars a bottle can do such wonderful things."