Sunday, February 7, 2016

Vegan Supplements?

The business of supplements is in ill repute, and justifiably so. It is too easy to claim miracles and lose track of the well being of the customers if there's money in exaggerating claims. Then, there are pharmacological interactions of supplements together, and supplements with any drugs you may be taking. The good news is that many vegans find they can reduce their reliance on drugs, many degenerative health problems tend to go away with a vegan diet. I write about this with some hesitation, since I am neither a doctor, nor a nutritionist, let alone a pharmacologist, so this is just a bit of personal experience, for what it is worth.

There may a few issues that vegans should be conscious of and one of them is this little piece of advice from a friend who is a biochemistry researcher, who specializes in everything to do with the immune system. I am not using his name, but I've known him for some seventeen years, ever since I once recruited him as the science adviser for a company I was helping to improve their business in the nutritional area. There may legitimately be some nutrition that is harder to get on a plant-based diet than otherwise, so here goes with the advice from my friend:
You can get vegetarian DHA and now EPA supplements that are produced from algae and these are probably the most important nutrients.  If we did not get so much omega 6 in our diets (high in all seeds, most all grains and thus corn and soy fed meats and eggs) we could make our own EPA and  DHA in our bodies, but the high omega 6 in most diets blocks our ability to make EPA and DHA. 
 Here are some options:

By the way, in any of this it pays to do your own research, but it is interesting to note that while the Harvard nutrition program is a heck of a lot better today than it ever was, and it even allows that a vegan lifestyle might be healthy, in general it still marches to the tune of the industrial agriculture which dominates the nutritional advice in this country, and has more to do with their wallets than your health. Having said that, there was this interesting blog by one faculty member, John McDonough on the website: Dept. of Eating: Why Vegan?

The very interesting back story, of which I became aware also thanks to my friend whose advice I cited above, is that Frederick Stare, who founded the nutrition program at Harvard was one of the chief public advocates for SAD, the Standard American Diet. Here was one of the, or perhaps the leader in nutrition in America whose point of departure always was that everything was healthy until proven otherwise, and he defended the food industry in the extreme, including becoming a protagonist for sugar, and coke and food additives in general. He became a leading promoter of that worst scientific fraud of them all, the fluoridation of drinking water, because it protected the sugar industry, and cereal makers such as Kelloggs, not your health. On the positive side, he did promote the drinking of more water, which is essential. And... last not least, it has taken till now, but the world is shifting away from water fluoridation, which has long since been exposed as one of the worst scientific hoaxes of the twentieth century. It merely served to solve a toxic waste problem for the fertilizer industry, by turning hexaflorosilicic acid magically from an expensive toxic waste problem into a profitable water additive opportunity. Interestingly, some of the most damning studies about the ill effects of water fluoridation have come from Harvard lately, including the connection between fluoridation and reduced IQ in children.

So maybe, just maybe Harvard could wake up one day and begin to seriously address the sordid nexus between agribusiness, the healthcare system and the sickening American Diet. If Harvard's own John McDonough can discuss it in the media, perhaps the time will come that this can be discussed, although it may actually belong in the area of Economics and the Environment.

Besides drinking water, the only other supplements that I think are really essential are NAC-Sustain and Glycine, to boost the immune system if you're over 40, since your body's natural production of glutathione (GSH) declines precipitously. Again, this is just my personal observation, built up from experience.

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