Are non prescription pills, supplements and neutraceuticals holistically useful for durable health and optimal longevity ? In this analysis, I will first look at the general picture with regard to dietary supplements and the supporting evidence. (Section A) Thereafter, I will zero-in on synthetic anti-oxidants as a classic case in point with regard to the holistic “biological synergy” principle is concerned. (Section B)
Are Dietary supplements safe and efficient ?
Many conventional and integrative medicine, biogerontology and anti-aging specialists claim that certain dietary supplements like niagen (nicotinamide riboside), resveratrol, D-ribose, anti-oxydants, vitamin D3, Fish- MCT-Krill Oils, Algae, Vitamin B-12, metformin, ketones, Co-Q-10, L-Carnitine, NAC, BDNF boosters and many other supplements are safe and efficient insofar as risk prevention and longevity activators are concerned. This talk will show the data that either substantiates some of these claims or debunks them.
For example, let us consider fish oil supplements, the viewer can confirm via mouse click the data that confirms that fish oils are less and less reliable as healthy sources of long chain Omega 3s, worse. In effect, not only the evidence debunked the claim that fish oils are cardio-protective, even if they may reduce tryglicerides, but they were shown via multiple published peer-reviewed meta-analyses to significantly increase cancer risks, including, but not limited to aggressive prostate cancer (ie with a 71 percent risk).
On the other hand, contrary to mainstream medical dogmas and many misleading publications, (which is the fate of around 50 percent of all of what is published in pubmed as wrote the editors in chief of both the Lancet and NEJM, Cf. Source), the short chain Plant-based Omega 3s (ie, in its alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) form) has been scientifically proven to get converted to DHA & EPA safely and more efficiently than what was once believed, and all the more so that vegan Omega 3 sources like walnuts, the wild Mediterranean mucilaginous weed purslane, flax and, inter alia, chia seeds are combined to a holistic lifestyle. Furthermore, algae-based DHA has been shown to be better than fish oils in terms of its anti-inflammatory effects. (15)
Case in point with synthetic antioxidant supplementation
One of the best ways to understand why most published nutritional studies in Conventional Medicine are not helpful is precisely because the only nutrients that interests the Industry and conventional research are isolated nutrients, thanks to which they can be synthesized and patented for cash flow. However, contrarily to whole foods, isolated nutrients act like drugs with side toxic effects. Even many dietary supplements that are considered healthy by integrative doctors can have deleterious effects. Consider the findings of the effects of beta carotene and alpha-tocopherol supplements on lung cancer.
“We found no reduction in the incidence of lung cancer among male smokers after five to eight years of dietary supplementation with alpha-tocopherol or beta carotene. In fact, this trial raises the possibility that these supplements may actually have harmful as well as beneficial effects”. (Source)
In effect, those taking the pills got more lung cancer than those who didn’t, and there were more deaths from lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke, and a shorter average lifespan overall. This didn’t stop them from trying it over and over again, though. Six more studies were performed, and beta-carotene pills continued to increase mortality.
“Conclusions: Beta-carotene and vitamin E in doses higher than the RDA seem to significantly increase mortality, whereas we lack information on vitamin A. Dose of vitamin A was significantly associated with increased mortality in meta-regression”.(Source)
In a compilation of 20 other studies in which they gave beta-carotene and other antioxidant supplements, mortality was also significantly increased. As one study suggested: “An obvious conclusion is that isolated nutrients are drugs, but not studied or regulated as drugs, and perhaps they should be”. (Source)
On the other hand, organic wholesome foods rich in beta carotene and tocopherols (vitamin E) do significantly reduced the risks of not only cancer, but all chronic diseases. This is because biology and nutrition work via synergy where the whole food is greater than the sum of its parts. And yes, randomized double blind studies can’t be performed on holistic nutrition because the eater knows what he or she is enjoying. Hence, Conventional Medicine’s claim that clinical nutrition is either disproved or unproved constitutes essentially a research fraud.
In effect, if low beta-carotene levels in the blood increase the risk of heart disease mortality (Source) it’s because natural beta-carotene and all of the carotenoids in their proper context are live nutrients that the body needs. So the deficiencey is less beta-carotene than organic carrots and other veggies rich in beta-carotene like sweet potatoes. (Source)
It is true that the more carotenoids we have in our blood, the healthier we may be. However, we should consider the following piece of holistic advice:
“Though unscrupulous marketers may use the carotenoid health index for selling dietary supplements, responsible scientists and food producers need to emphasize the use of foods and whole food products to improve [blood] carotenoid concentrations.” (Source)
As stated, anything synthetic, even if its chemical composition is identical to natural molecules, is not evolutionary designed, so the body’s innate intelligence considers these pills as stressors if not toxicants, especially when they are far from synergy-based biological complexity. (Source)
Real medicine should be holistic and bestow this “joie de vivre” happy feeling like an appetizing Mediterranean dish rich in superfoods and herbs that give to the body not only loads of cartonoids, but also all of the other wholesome and essential nutrients to body was designed to thrive on.
Not all supplements are deleterious and each case is specific. Supplements like alpha lipoic acid and NAC even in their purely synthetic form can be very useful for metabolic detoxification while high dose of ascorbate acid has been shown to have a number of benefits. But we would recommend going slow, light and for a short protocol as all that is synthetic can have deleterious effects.
Todays’s reductionist medical science has not determined any difference between a natural molecule and a synthetic molecule. Each has an identical molecular structure, this is true. But in the Plant Kingdom, not every biochemical process can be measured, let alone understood.
Furthermore, the central point im trying to make is this: when conventional medicine isolates nutrients and does not offer them in their holistic context, loads of side and toxic effects creep up. Thus, today’s mainstream nutritional sciece needs to be less reductionist and more holistic in its analyses. (Source) However the conventional medical system is inherently biased against food. Because whole food can’t be tested randomly, conventional will say that food as medicine is unproven. And there are few if any satisfactory ways for the conventional system to study food as medicine. Indeed, it remains quite difficult to get food studies past peer grant reviewers unless they take the food apart. But then, it is no longer a whole food.
What could be put to the test are two informed groups who eat differently: One group around a dozen of veggies and fruit servings a day and another one two a day. When that happens, the health and longevity benefits or whole foods are obvious, (Source) provided the consumer or patient is able to change lifestyle in the direction of eating an abundance of organic fruits and veggies each day under holistic conditions. (Source)
However, the medical and food industries are still not encouraging holistic living. On the contrary, their Big pharma ally are working on genetically engineering phytonutrients into fast food. The idea is to keep all of the fast food restaurant, but to genetically engineer them so that they may benefit from broccoli’s gluthation or other veggie benefits. (Source)
Although there are exceptions, in general, Happiness Medicine Institute does not recommend patented synthetic isolate nutrients. But we dont recommend categorizing them into drugs either, as the Government and the Codex system is trying to, as this would further erode medical freedoms and Democracy. The best would be for the FDA to enforce the principle of full disclosure in big letters on dietary supplements so that patients will be able to read the toxic (side) effects of synthetic isolated-nutrients and their additives packed in dietary supplements.
Christian Joubert (HM institute director)