Not too long ago, a nice lady wrote a glowing comment about my blog. She had a lot of questions about vitamins. Honestly, the more I study and learn, I'm not much of a fan of vitamins. I'm a fan of WHOLE FOODS. We seem to think about what our body needs to function properly in terms of specific minerals and compounds. So, we strive to isolate and load (overload?)up on them.
So, it came as no surprise to me when the other day, USA Today ran a story stating that Vitamins got an F in cancer prevention.
There's a fallacy to the perception that we can improve our health and strength by taking isolated vitamin and mineral supplements. The reality is that our bodies are a miraculously complex and need a mind-boggling variety of chemicals to function properly. Those who care about the truth (and aren't trying to peddle a supplement) are starting to realize that for our bodies to excel, we need several compounds, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, zoochemicals, antioxidants, etc to accomplish this.
Take your bones for example. Most of us know that we need calcium for strong bones. Did you know that you also need phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, fluoride, Vitamin D, and even Vitamin C to make our bones strong? You probably also know that we need fluoride because too little makes our bones soft and prone to breakage. Did you know that too much causes BRITTLE bones and make our bones easier to break? How much is too much? The honest scientist will tell you that it depends. There are wild variations. My calcium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, fluoride, Vitamins D and C needs are much different from, say, a menopausal woman. Her needs are different than a 5 year old boy. His needs are different than mine too. My dad's (who outweighs me by 85 lbs) is different than mine too.
So, how on earth does any well-intentioned scientist create a bone-building supplement for the masses taking all of this into consideration? Rheo Blair tried to do somethings similar with protein supplements. He spent years trying to blend up the perfect protein shake that would replicate human breast milk in its anabolic effects. He never got there. Even today, nobody's really gotten close.
So this whole notion of dividing foods into it's parts and then trying to mass produce the parts for superior health is mostly a pipe dream. God, the almighty source of infinite wisdom, knows what to do far better than we ever could. So, if your bones are soft, drink some milk, eat your almonds, macadamia nuts, and spinach. Don't rely on a supplement to get you there.