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Do your food supplements work?

Health Matters

Paul J. Rosen, J.D., L.Ac., is a licensed acupuncturist, a master of Nutrition Response Testing and the clinic director and senior clinician at AcuNatural Family Healthcare in Vancouver, Wash. He has written the book 'The Great Health Heist' and hosts the weekly radio show 'Health Matters' Sundays at 9 a.m. on KPAM 860 radio. Rosen can be reached at www.acunatural.com or 1-360-750-7375.

Are you sure your nutritional supplements are working? For that matter, are you sure you actually need what you are taking? Is there a way to be sure?

There is so much confusion surrounding nutrition and nutritional supplementation. Most of that confusion stems from the fact that 'Big Money' hangs in the balance.

By some estimates, supplement purchases in the United States exceed $23 billion. One thing is certain: Where there is money to be made, marketing pitches will combine a lot of hype with just enough truth to make their claims plausible.

Their pitch is then backed up with just enough science to convince us to choose their product. The caveat is that the science may be bought and paid for.

Vitamins were first identified in the early 1900s. Scurvy, as we learn in grade school, is a nutritional deficiency disease. It was cured in the 1800s by an English doctor who discovered the effectiveness of lime juice. Of course, today we know that lime juice contains vitamin C.

Chemists, however, in their quest to isolate and duplicate synthetically the active ingredient of vitamins fail to understand that vitamins are not simply chemicals. They are mechanisms. This is according to the father of modern nutritional therapy, Dr. Royal Lee.

Breaking vitamins down into components destroys their overall ability to function. (Think of this as taking apart a watch and then trying to identify which single piece keeps time.) The benefit to health comes not from a single component but from the whole vitamin as nature made it.

In short, the synthetic vitamins marketed today fail to work the way natural vitamins in whole fresh foods do. This explains why many of us feel no difference when we take synthetic supplements. The reason? They don't work - and I can prove it.

Let's take a closer look at vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. Dr. Lee discovered that ascorbic acid was only the antioxidant fraction (or component) of the mechanism we call vitamin C. This fraction protects the other fractions (vitamins K, J, P and Tyrosinase) from spoiling prematurely. You may have never heard of these other fractions because they are not readily reproduced in a laboratory. And here's something fascinating: The antioxidant ascorbic acid is there for the vitamin's sake and not necessarily for ours. This may explain why taking mega-doses of ascorbic acid causes diarrhea - our body's reaction to a toxic overload.

Another reason to avoid fractionated or synthetic vitamins is the fact that when vitamin isolates are made in the laboratory, both left- and right-handed fractions are produced. One is often harmless while the other is not - a fact not often revealed to the public.

Let's recall that I opened this article with the question: Are your supplements working? The answer: You will know they're not working because you still experience some symptom or condition despite taking them. It's really that simple.

Do you personally require nutritional supplements? Every human body is different and has different needs. Some years ago, to address my own health problems, I discovered a technology (that I now teach and practice) called 'Nutrition Response Testing.' It is capable of identifying our individual needs for specific supplements.

It also reveals whether or not our bodies respond positively to these supplements. I was blown away by a technique that allowed me to stop guessing and start knowing precisely what my body wants in terms of food and nutritional supplementation.

More about this technology can be found in my book 'The Great Health Heist: An Introduction to Nutrition Response Testing' as well as on my website (www.acunatural.com). I always say that the best health insurance is good health and that good health depends on what we eat. My advice to you is to keep your food fresh!