Natural Supplements

Natural Supplementation

Is it possible to get all the vitamins and minerals we need from our

food? There is no easy answer to this question because it depends
only on how well we digest and assimilate the food we eat, but also
on the quality of the food. For example, the highest per portion sources

of Calcium are kelp (1093 mg per 100 grams edible portion, or roughly
3 1/2 ounces) and Swiss cheese (925 mg/100 gm). A serving of either
of these foods would generously cover the US RDA of 800 mg/day for both
men and women in midlife. The question is now whether the kelp has been
dragged up through toxic waters in the harvesting process; and whether
the milk that the Swiss cheese was curdled from is contaminated by
a cow fed on antibiotics and pesticide-laden grain…? Here is a place
to consider juiced collard greens (about 12 ounces of the raw vegetable
would give 800 mg of Calcium), turnip greens (12 oz), parsley (1 lb),
dandelion greens (1 lb) or beet greens (1.5 lbs). Brewer’s yeast,
as another example, is an excellent source of B vitamins, Phosphorus
and Iron. But beware, many yeasts are also high in Lead. Organic nuts
do not contain Lead, and are an excellent source of all the B vitamins
except B12 which must be supplemented in vegetarian diets. Try
sunflower seeds, almonds, pine nuts, cashews or hazelnuts. Soak them
first before blending or juicing; a small handful of each will suffice
for the RDA of B vitamins. Other good sources of B vitamins are
mushrooms, potatoes, leeks, elder berries, and soaked dry figs. Again,
juicing is a terrific option because it concentrates nutrients. Almost
a pound of mushrooms is required to provide the RDA of Riboflavin
(B2), for example. Juiced, these would go down quite nicely with some beets,
carrots and a slice of fresh ginger.

The question about digestion and assimilation relates to why juices
are an important part of the optimal diet. All of us have eaten a great
deal of processed food during the course of our lifetime, and most
of us continue to enjoy the convenience of prepared foods to a certain
extent. The whole “deal” about live foods is the enzymes
they contain which allow the nutrients to be released into the bloodstream and
into the cells. Prepared food (cooked in any way, canned, processed, or
whatever you might do to it besides pick it off the vine, squeeze
it and eat it) has no enzymes. None. At all. The two exceptions that we
currently know of are freeze-dried foods, which retain a portion of
their enzymatic activity which is released when ingested, and juiced
foods, which are not heated, but merely pulverized so that the cell
walls are opened, allowing the nutrients to spill out. All the
vitamins, minerals, proteins and organic sugars found inside the plant
cell walls are readily oxidized when exposed to air, so juices are
best when imbibed soon after juicing. Juices made from fresh, organic
produce not only give almost all the nutrients available in “vitamin
pills” but also provide enzymes to enable the absorption of these

However, please keep in mind that nothing is wrong with taking a high
quality, thoughtfully formulated vitamin/mineral supplement,
particularly in times of extra stress or illness. Just remember to
take them with a meal plus enzymes, or with fresh juices. Sometimes we
might want to supplement with a specific nutrient which would be more easily
accomplished with a pill than juicing. For example, to ward off a
cold we might take 3 to 5 grams of Vitamin C daily for a few days. This
would require 2-3 lbs of sweet red peppers, or 6-7 pounds of kale,
parsley or collard greens, or nearly 20 pounds of red cabbage or strawberries each day!
Clearly these food options are rather extreme, even when juiced.

If you wish to locate a high quality supplement, preferably one made
from an organic food source, please consult a physician who has adequate
nutritional training. A synthetic nutrient may well be better for
you than one made from concentrated contaminated foods. Also remember
that while fresh, organic juices are the closest thing we know to ultimate
nutrition, they cannot provide all the fiber we need in our diets,
nor the essential fatty acids. So keep eating salads, whole grains, cold-pressed
flax seed oil and digestive enzymes — between juices.

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Written by Emily Kane ND

Explore Wellness in 2021