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Although much uncertainty and obscurity still surround the subject of vitamins, the condition is somewhat clearer than when the first edition of this volume was published. Much speculation and nonsense still exist in the literature of the subject. It is still not possible to satisfactorily define them and they are frequently referred to as "vital chemicals." It is still said: "we do not know exactly how the vitamins act in the body," although it is now generally agreed, as I suggested in the first edition of this work, that they are enzymes.
Although certain of the vitamins are of a protein nature, some of them being somewhat like the amino acids, vitamins do not constitute a group of chemically related compounds, as do the proteins or carbohydrates. Chemically, about the only thing they have in common is that they are organic compounds. Functionally, rather than structurally, they are of a group. It is said to be merely accidental that they are classed together as "vitamins" (Berg preferred the term "complettins" which, perhaps, more correctly expresses their roles in nutrition.).
Vitamins are regulating substances. They are appropriately described as part of the chemical regulators of the activities of living organisms. They share this work with the hormones of the internal secretions and the various enzymes of the body. I have thought that they may be essential to the formation of hormones and the various enzymes. They are very complex substances and are derived from a wide variety of sources. Not all vitamins are known and of those now known only certain ones are thought to be essential to human life. They are not foods in the regular sense of the term, but they enable the body to utilize and assimilate the proteins, carbohydrates, fats and minerals. As enzymes they lose much of their mysteriousness.
Some vitamins are found in almost every living cell indicating that their role in nutrition is a very fundamental one. Indeed, it is probable that they constitute an integral part of the grand admixture of many ingredients that we know as protoplasm. They are required in very small amounts; certain of them being required in unbelievably small amounts, yet they are indispensable to the life and well-being of the higher animals. Not all the known vitamins are required by all animals. Although about twenty-two vitamins have been announced (only about twelve of these have been isolated in pure form), only about seven or eight have been definitely shown to be needed by man. It is thought that there may be many vitamins that have not yet been discovered. Perhaps not more than one to three of the unknown vitamins will prove, when discovered, to be essential to human nutrition. I know of no reason to doubt that the lower forms of animal life also require vitamins for their life and well-being.
Vitamins are one link in a chain of essential nutritive substances requisite for the harmonious regulation of the chemical and organic processes of the body. Although the several vitamins are closely related and inter-related, at least, functionally, it is believed that each one plays a specific role in nutrition. Summarizing from McCarrison's Studies in Deficiency Diseases, vitamins are constant constituents of living tissues, being present in small amounts and, although, they do not contribute to the energy-supply of the body, they do make it possible for the body to utilize proteins, carbohydrates, fats and salts and are essential to growth, regeneration and to maintenance of health. There exists a distinct relation between the amount of vitamins required and the other food elements, so that efficiency of the vitamins is dependent upon the composition of the food mixture. There is also a distinct relation between the amount of vitamins required and the rate of metabolism.
The capacity of any given cell for work is impaired in proportion to the degree of vitamin starvation. The result of vitamin deficiency is destruction--the greater the deprivation, the more rapid the development of deficiency states; the lesser the deprivation, the slower their development.
In the first edition of this book I stated that both systems of naming vitamins (that of naming them A, B, C, D, X, Y, Z, etc., and anti-scurvy, anti-rachitic, etc.) are wrong. I said: "they should be named according to their positive qualities and not according to their negative virtues." This would mean designating them physiologically or functionally and not "therapeutically" or "prophylactically." They play certain roles in the production and maintenance of certain body structures and functions and are not mere "antis." Today, while the tendency is to name each vitamin according to its chemical nature (at least, as rapidly as their chemical natures are discovered), we retain the older designations. Vitamin A, for example, is called the "antikeratinizing" vitamin; yet its true role is not that of preventing keratosis (keras, horn), but that of promoting normal development of the epithelial tissues. The same thing may be said for vitamin B1 the "antineuritic" vitamin, and D, the "antirachitic" vitamin. The true role of the first of these is not to prevent neuritis, but to promote normal nervous structure, that of the latter not to prevent rickets but to promote normal bone formation. Because they function physiologically, they should be designated physiologically. The present perverted terminology results from permitting medical men to name things according to their perverted views of life. Why not designate them epetheliogenic, neurogenic and osteogenic, etc. These or some similar designations would be more in keeping with their true and positive roles.
The following rather condensed summary of the results of vitamin investigation is not guaranteed to be up to date, for every few weeks a new vitamin is announced. Before this book comes from the press several new vitamins may be discovered or hinted at.
This is a fat soluble vitamin and is found chiefly in the green leaves of plants, tomatoes, butter, sweet potatoes, yellow corn, green peas, cream, egg yolk, palm oil, broccoli, kale, dandelion, parsley, lettuce (there is thirty times as much vitamin A in the outer as in the inner leaves of lettuce), spinach, apricots, yellow peaches, etc.
All yellow vegetables and fruits are sources of this vitamin, or rather carotene, which is pro-vitamin A. Provitamin A is converted into active vitamin in the liver. Carotene is also found in green plants where it is masked by the chlorophyll. "The solids of tomatoes," says Carque, "contain more of vitamin A than butter fat." The cream and butter of the Jersey cow is especially rich in carotene when there is an abundance of green pasturage. This is not so of the butter and cream of the Holstein. It is claimed that the Holstein converts the carotene into vitamin A with greater efficiency than does the Jersey. This may and may not be true.
White varieties of corn, potatoes, asparagus, celery, lettuce and turnips are deficient or devoid of vitamin A. Bleached vegetables are lacking in this substance. Vitamin A may be stored in the liver, in fat and in milk.
Lack of A checks growth, hence it was formerly called the growth-promoting vitamin (in keeping with the rest of their nomenclature, it should have been called the anti-dwarf ing vitamin) but since it is now realized that there are several dietary deficiencies that stunt growth, vitamin A has been renamed the antikeratinizing vitamin.
Keratinization is the acquisition of a horn-like character by the epithelial tissue in many parts of the body. This is to say, the epithelial tissue becomes like the outermost layer of the skin. It then loses function. The epithelium atrophies. Such conditions as dry skin, night blindness, zerophthalmia, defective enamel formation in the teeth, changes in the tissues and glands of the mouth, digestive tract, respiratory organs, urinary and genital tract, and keratinization of other structures are attributed to vitamin A avitaminosis.
Vitamin A deficiency is credited with the following abnormal developments:
1. Failure of the processes of growth.
2. A greatly reduced resistance to infectious agencies.
3. Failure in the development of bone, cartilage, and teeth and in calcium metabolism.
4. Tendency to edema.
5. Failure of the nutrition of the cornea.
Deficiency of vitamin A is supposed to be concerned in the development of rickets, keratomalacia, deficient calcification of the teeth, nutritional edema and phosphatic urinary calculi (stones).
Vitamin A is destroyed by oxidation, so that when foods are chopped or ground this vitamin is lost. Grated carrots have far less vitamin A than whole carrots. Long cooking in an open kettle also results in loss. It is not affected by heat, but is injured by being exposed to light and especially by being exposed to ultraviolet rays. Freezing does not affect it.
The estimated average daily requirement of this vitamin is 5,000 units. More is required by infants and children and by pregnant and nursing mothers. Children and mothers need an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
What was formerly thought to be a single vitamin and called Water Soluble B is now called the "vitamin B complex." It is not one vitamin but many that occur together and are so complementary in their physiological effects that they are classed together. The more the substance is investigated the more complex it becomes. There are now at least thirteen B vitamins with other possible ones to be discovered. The thirteen B vitamins at the last authentic count do not include all of the suspected B factors. Biotin, inosital, P-aminobenzoic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothentic acid, pyroxine, choline, folic acid the "extrinsic factor" and two other chemically unknown factors said to be needed by the chick for growth and feather production and one or more factors of significance in guinea-pig nutrition complete the tally of known B vitamins.
If this vitamin business becomes any more complex the minds of our researchers and nutritionists are going to crack. It is lucky for them that the other vitamins--A, C, D, K, etc.--are not as complex as the B vitamin. No human mind could ever hope to unravel such complexity.
The vitamins of the B complex are fundamental to life, being found in all living things. It is difficult to differentiate between the disturbances caused by a deficiency of the individual members of the complex and it has more than once been the case that a deficiency attributed to a lack of one of the group was later found to be due to multiple lack. Beriberi is the most outstanding example of this; (A few years ago vitamin B was thought to be made up of only two factors. One of these was called vitamin F and the other vitamin G.) Only three of the B complex group have been shown to be of importance to man. We will here consider more than these three.
B1; or Thiamin; the antineuritic vitamin: This vitamin is said to prevent and cure beriberi. It is an organic compound of two parts, one of which contains sulphur and the other nitrogen. It is not destroyed by absorbing oxygen, but is destroyed by heating, especially above the boiling point, if the heating is continued for some time, as in roasting, baking and frying. Thiamine is not destroyed by cooking at 100° for an hour, but it is soluble in water so that much of it is found in the water in which the food is cooked. Soda added to the food in cooking adds to the destruction of B1.
As an enzyme it instigates the transformation of glucose into carbon-dioxide and water. If there is a deficiency of this vitamin this change is incomplete and an accumulation of pyruvic acid results. It promotes and is essential to growth, is essential to normal nerve function, is essential to the utilization of carbohydrates, is said to "stimulate" the appetite and normal intestinal functions and is essential to reproduction and lactation. It is said to prevent and "cure" beriberi and certain other forms of neuritis and the "diseases" of the heart and circulation associated with this.
Beriberi, or multiple neuritis, characterized by inflammation and degeneration of the peripheral nerves, intense pain, resulting, finally, in paralysis and wasting of the muscles, is said to result from B1 deficiency. It should be noted, however, that the diets that result in beriberi are deficient in more than B1.
One of the first symptoms of B1 deficiency is loss of appetite, but the reader should not think that this is the sole cause of loss of appetite. The amount of B1 needed varies with activities. Any increase of the metabolic rate increases the need for this vitamin. Muscular work as well as growth increase the need for it. No doubt cold, also, does the same. More is required during pregnancy and lactation than at other times. The liver can store this vitamin to some extent. A few other organs do the same. We require a daily supply because of this limited storage.
B1 is said not to be widely distributed and green vegetables and fruits are said to be poor sources. Emphasis is placed upon yeast, soybeans and wholewheat as sources of this vitamin. This will be found to be a mistake as there are many vegetarian animals that never eat neither of these products. Milk is said to be a poor source, yet the amount necessary for normal growth is from three to five times as much as required by the adult to prevent beriberi. This milk is the sole diet of the calf during its period of most rapid growth. Yeast and wheat germ are emphasized as sources. Always the "authorities" place the emphasis on some commercial product of the food factories.
Synthetic B1 or thiamine chlorine is not to be used, nor does one have to eat liver or liver extract to obtain this vitamin. Yeast preparations should be avoided. All of the B1 required for all of the purposes of life is obtainable from green vegetables, fresh fruits and nuts. Wheat germ and rice polishings are also rich in it as are most beans and peas.
B2 or riboflavin (also flavin and vitamin G) is composed of a single type of sugar (ribose) and a yellow pigment (flavin), hence the name. It is slightly soluble in water, does not withstand exposure to direct light, but is largely unaffected by heat. It is made up of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen. It is decomposed by both visible and ultraviolet light. It was first discovered in milk in 1879 before anything was known about vitamins and has also been called lactoflavin.
In conjunction with thiamin and niacin, riboflavin plays an important role in the oxidation of carbohydrates. It promotes and is essential to health. Its lack in the diet of rats is said to result in the loss of hair and atrophy of the oil-secreting glands. A deficiency of riboflavin is said to result in skin lesions, especially cheliosis, or fissures in the corners of the mouth, and cheilitis. Bloodshot eyes and increased susceptibility to infections, especially to pneumonia, are also said to result from its deficiency. In adequate quantity it is claimed to prevent abnormal changes in the eyes, thus preventing cataract and failing vision. In lower animals severe disturbances, including great loss of weight and blindness, are said to result from a deficiency of B2.
The "authorities" emphasize milk, eggs, kidneys and soybeans as sources of riboflavin. Milk is said to be the best source of all. It is said also to be formed in the intestines by bacterial action. Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, nuts and seeds of all kinds will supply all the riboflavin neded. There is no need to purchase commercial products or laboratory products to secure this vitamin.
Vitamin B3 has not been isolated and its nature is not known. It is thought to be identical with pantothentic acid.
Pantothenic acid is said to be distributed in all living cells, hence its name, which is derived from a Greek word meaning "from everywhere." It is an organic compound containing calcium, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen. Its office in human nutrition is not established, but it is thought to be necessary to nutrition in all the higher animals, man included, and is "probably associated with the distribution of riboflavin." It is also said to one of the two factors that prevent graying of the hair. Nothing has yet prevented graying of the hair.
Pantothenic acid is so widely distributed in foods that no person who eats plenty of natural, unprocessed foods, need ever worry about not securing enough.
Vitamin B4 is a heat-destructible, water soluble factor different from B1, B2 and B3, which is said to prevent a type of paralysis in rats. Human need for it has not been demonstrated.
Vitamin B5 is a heat-stable factor that prevents loss of weight in pigeons. This is about all that is known about it.
Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine is an organic compound composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. In the tissues it is thought to exist in combination with a protein. It is claimed to enable the animal to utilize the amino acid tryphtophan. In its absence tryphtophan is said not to be utilized. Little is known about its office in nutrition and it has been used chiefly along with riboflavin and niacin in the treatment of pellagra. It is also supposed to "correct" muscular fatigue, in which case it is a substitute for rest. It melts at 205° C and is not decomposed by acids, alkalies or heat. Fresh fruits, green vegetables, nuts and seeds contain ample supplies of this vitamin.
Vitamin B7 (I) is a factor Centanni claimed in 1935 to have isolated from alcohol extract of rice polishings and which prevents digestive disturbances in birds. It has no effect on beriberi.
Vitamin P-P or Niacin (nicotinic acid) was discovered about the time of the Civil War, but nothing was known of its function. The term niacin was adopted to avoid confusing it with nicotine. It is an organic acid composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen and is also called carboxylic acid. It is soluble in water, but does not oxydize and is not affected by heat.
A deficiency of niacin is credited with causing pellagra, but it will be noted that the diets of pellagra sufferers are deficient in many other food factors. We see in the diets of these people multiple deficiencies. Its use is credited with curing the sores of pellagra in man and the analogous disease of dogs called black-tongue.
The "authorities" emphasize yeast, liver, veal, pork, peanuts, milk, eggs and wholewheat as sources of this vitamin. A diet of fresh fruits, green vegetables, nuts and seeds supplies all the niacin required. Yeast, capsules, tablets and concentrates are not needed.
Folic Acid, the newest member of the B-complex is thought to be important in the production and maintenance of normal blood, Sulfa drugs administered to rats, also to man, cause granulocytosis, or a destruction of the granulocytes of the blood. They also cause a depletion of the bone marrow cells which leads to the production of anemia. It is asserted that the administration of folic acid prevents and cures this condition. This assertion must be received with the proverbial, "grain of salt." Medical claims of "cures" are never trustworthy.
The "authorities" emphasize liver, kidneys, yeast and immature grass as sources of folic acid. Folic is from folium meaning leaf and should indicate the proper sources of this vitamin.
Cholin, another member of the B-complex, is thought to be necessary to the storage and mobilization of fats. It is said that in its absence the liver becomes loaded with fat.
Vitamin H or Biotin is described as the most powerful of all the vitamins. Discovered by three different investigators, one of whom called it vitamin H, a second called it biotin and a third called it "coenzyme R," this vitamin is regarded as essential to the respiration of certain lower organisms. It is said to "cure" a type of skin inflammation produced in rats by eating raw egg whites.
Only about three or four of the B vitamins have been shown to be essential to human nutrition. Others are said to be necessary to some of the lower animals. An assumed anti-alopecia factor is supposed to be essential to the growth of hair in animals. Why call it anti-alopcia; why not call is pro-hair? An assumed anti-graying vitamin (why not call it pigment-promoting) is supposed to maintain the color of animals' hair.
This is a water-soluble vitamin that is called antiscorbutic because it is supposed to prevent and remedy scurvy or scrobutus. Water Soluble C, (anti-scorbutic) is found chiefly in fresh fruits and in lesser degree in raw vegetables. Lack of it produces:
1. Swelling and tenderness-of joints.
2. Spongy, hemorrhagic and painful condition of gums.
3. The teeth become loose.
4. Swelling of the ribs and fracture at junctions of bones and cartilages.
Unlike most vitamins, more of this vitamin is required by adults than by children. More is also required during pregnancy and lactation. For a change, the "authorities" discover this vitamin in plant foods--the sole source of all vitamins. Citrus fruits are emphasized as sources although all leafy plants, all growing leaves, green and red peppers, etc., are well-supplied with C. Apples and potatoes have a fair share of them also.
Ascorbic acid is destroyed by heating, drying, salting, contact with air and is deteriorated by prolonged storage, due to oxidation. Raw cabbage contains about twenty times as much of C as when it has been boiled in water in the usual manner. Baking soda or other alkalies used in cooking hastens the destruction of the vitamin. Since C is soluble in water it is leached out when vegetables are cooked in water.
This is a fat-soluble vitamin which is essential to the assimilation of calcium and phosphorus. It is of vital importance in the formation of good bones and teeth. By some magic of numbers the "authorities" have decided that there are vitamins D2 and D3 but no vitamin D1. Vitamin D2, or calciferol, is produced by irradiation with ultra-violet light of the sterol, ergosterol. "It is not the vitamin found in cod liver oil," although it serves the same purpose. Identical with vitamin D of cod liver oil is vitamin D3 produced by irradiation of the sterol, 7-dehydrocholesterol, stored abundantly in the skin. It may be stored in the liver. The production of this vitamin by irradiation of the provitamin stored in the skin accounts for part of the value of sun bathing.
The "authorities" emphasize cod liver oil and other fish liver oils, butter and cream as sources of this vitamin. Green vegetables, peas, peanuts, almonds and other nuts, wheat bran and many other vegetable foods are abundant in vitamin D.
Due to greater calcium and phosphorus metabolism in early life, vitamin D is most needed in the first year of life. Mothers need it during the last two months of pregnancy and during lactation. Sunbathing by mothers will also be or great value.
Fat-soluble E, found in green leaves, the germs of seeds, in olives and olive oil. and in other foods (lettuce is rich in it), is supposed to energize and potentize the reproductive glands. Many forms of E are said to exist in foods. It seems to be essential to reproduction in rats in which its absence causes the germ cells to perish and the seminiferous tubules, in which the germ cells are produced, to atrophy. The ovaries of the female remain normal but the fetus dies a few days after fertilization. No evidence of the need of this vitamin by man has been produced.
The alphabet has not been exhausted. There are a few other vitamins about which little or nothing is known. No doubt others will be discovered as the search continues. But brief space will be devoted to these other vitamins.
Vitamin J has not been shown to have any value to man. Von Euler reported in 1935 that he had succeeded in extracting from fruit juices a factor that has no effect in preventing scurvy, but that protects guinea pigs from pneumonia.
Vitamin K or the anti-hemorrhage vitamin (why not call it the blood coagulating vitamin?) is a fat-soluble vitamin that we are said not to require in our food as it is produced for us by the action of bacteria in the intestines. It is supposed to be essential to the coagulation of the blood.
Factors L1 and L2 are substances said to be essential to milk production. L1 is obtained from beef liver and L2 from baker's yeast, neither of which is ever eaten by most milk-producing animals. These two vitamins are thought to aid in maturing the milk-producing tissuse. If they are really essential vitamins, they are produced by plants and not by the liver of the cow. The cow only stores them in her liver.
Factor M: When it was found that niacin and combinations of this vitamin with B1 and B2 will not correct pellagra symptoms in Rhesus monkeys another vitamin was assumed. Dried brewer's yeast and liver extract are said to clear up these symptoms. Factor M is, therfore, assumed to exist. As dried brewer's yeast and liver extract are never eaten by monkeys in nature, Factor M must be present in the fruits and vegetables eaten by these animals, else Factor M is a fiction.
Factor U: This is a vitamin apparently essential to the growth of chicks. Its significance, if it has any, in human nutrition is unknown.
Factor W: Thought possibly to be related to Pyridine, is an additional growth-promoting factor needed by rats. Its relation to human nutrition, if it has any, is unknown.
Grass Juice Factor: In addition to the usual vitamins found in grass, the existence of a vitamin, or of other vitamins, in the juice of the grass is assumed, but its nature has not yet been established.
Ultimately, the animal is dependent upon the vegetable kingdom for vitamins. Plants, alone, can synthesize these substances.
It is asserted that, while man cannot synthesize any of the vitamins, a few animals are able to make one vitamin. In a few cases the animal is able to transform the immediate precusor of the vitamin (the provitamin) into the vitamin. It can complete but connot initiate the synthesis. Examples of this are the transformation of provitamin A (carotene} into A and the transformation of provitamin D (ergosterol) into D. In this respect, vitamins do not differ from the essential amino acids, the highly unsaturated fatty acids and the minerals. The plant kingdom is the true source of animal nutrition. Green plants on land and algae and other small plant organisms in the sea produce the world's vitamin supply. Man, like the cod and other animals, is capable of storing up vitamins in the liver and elsewhere.
Berg says: "The germs of seeds are especially rich in vitamins. In like manner the vitamin content of eggs, which are animal counterparts of seeds, is concentrated in the yolk." In potatoes the vitamins are in the eyes.
Foods that are richest in minerals are also richest in vitamins. Those portions of foods that are richest in minerals are also richest in vitamin. Processes that favor the assimilation and fixation of minerals, the production of fats, starches, sugars, etc., also increase the vitamin content of foods. Those "refining" processes that remove the salts from foods or that impair the nutritive value of the salts also remove and impair the vitamins. These facts may simply mean that anything that influences food influences vitamin production as much as sugar production or salt formation.
Vitamin B, in cereals, "seems to be closely associated with phosphorus. The determination of the total phosphorus content of cereal products seems to give a fairly accurate index to the relative amounts of vitamin B present. While phosphorus does not enter into the vitamin molecule, the dsitribution of phosphorus and vitamins within the grain runs practically parallel."
Darker colored vegetables have more vitamins. They are known to have more minerals. Sunshine favors vitamin storage. The green outer stalks and leaves of lettuce, cabbage, celery, etc., are more abundant in vitamins than the pale inner leaves and stalks. The green leaves of tubers possess more vitamins than the tubers.
The more sunlight fruits receive, the more vitamin C they "possess." Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, pineapples and other tropical fruits, requiring nearly a year of tropical sunshine to perfect their chemistry, are the best known "sources" of vitamin C. Fruits and vegetables grown under glass are poor "sources" of vitamin C. Among vegetables, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage and carrots are excellent "sources" of vitamin C.
Vitamins exist in connection with the processes of life in plants and animals and are more or less completely destroyed by whatever destroys the life processes. They are present only in very small quantities in those foods that are richest in them. Only two of them are considered to be likely to be deficient in the average dietary.
Dr. Percy Howe says: "Every refining process of which I can think at the moment is more or less destructive to at least some of the vitamins which were in the organized food materials. There are important vitamins in animal fats, such as butter, but rendering those fats into lard so completely destroys the vitamins that very serious consequenses result if an animal is fed for a long time upon a diet which contains no animal fat except lard."
Since butter is never rendered into lard, Dr. Howe must have reference to those fats which are so altered and refined. These fats also contain mineral salts and these are all taken out in the process of rendering the fats into lard.
Dr. A. Adams Dutcher, of the Department of Agricultural Chemistry, Pennsylvania State College, says: "Drummond and his co-workers, Golding, Zilca and Coward, have shown that lard does not usually contain the fat soluble vitamine, due to the fact that the ration of the hog is invariably deficient in this particular food factor." Lard is simply fat--refined fat. Lard couldn't possibly contain vitamins for the reason that it is such a highly processed fat when it leaves the rendering tank, following its treatment by heat, fuller's earth, clarifiers, bleachers, etc., it pours from the spout a so-called purified hydrocarbon, deficient in every food factor but the one factor found in all oils.
Dr. Dutcher says: "That the vital organs of the type represented by the liver and kidneys are rich in vitamins scarcely needs comment."
Dutcher further says: "It is possible to produce milk which is almost devoid of vitamins, depending upon the vitamin content of the cow's ration." Feed a cow upon beet pulp, which represents the exhausted residue of the beet sugar mill, after the makers have extracted the vitamins and salts of the tuber, and a deficient milk is the result.
One of the most popular dairy rations of the recent past was a mixture of beet pulp, brewer's waste and distiller's grain. These exhausted byproducts of brewery and distillery have been robbed of their vitamins. There is overwhelming evidence that malnutrition and anemia, leading to tuberculosis, have been the most common sequels of feeding cows on vitamin and mineral exhausted commercial foodstuffs.
When the tissues of the animal are robbed of the nutritional factors upon which they depend for tissue-tone, the milk of such animals is grossly deficient in the substances not present in the cow's food. Her milk is not normal. "Disease" is inevitable.
"Silage does not appear to enrich milk as far as the anti-scorbutic vitamin is concerned," says Dr. Dutcher. Silage is a fermented product and because it has undergone fermentation, it falls into the class of oxidized foods. Its whole chemistry is changed.
Dr. Dutcher also declares: "We have observed that green alfalfa seems to influence the nutritive value of the milk, increasing its nutritive properties, but in just what way we are not prepared to say." Good green alfalfa is one of the richest of plants in minerals and vitamins.
Vitamins are perishable substances. They are destroyed in a variety of ways. Some of them are destroyed by oxidation, some are destroyed by high temperatures, as in cooking, apparently some are destroyed by freezing, some are destroyed by light, some are affected by the presence of minerals, such as copper or iron. Some are thought not to be affected by any of the conditions to which food stuffs are subjected. The vitamin content of foods is often reduced by methods of storage, marketing and cooking. The full value of foods is obtained only by eating them in the fresh, raw state.
White flour, polished rice, degerminated corn meal, all denatured cereals, white sugar, jellies, jams, pasteurized milk and cream, refined syrups, sulphured fruits, and a whole long list of processed, refined and over-cooked foods that constitute a major part of present-day diet are devoid of vitamins as they are deficient in minerals.
What is the answer? This should be obvious enough. Eat more fresh, whole, raw fruits and vegetables and cease consuming the refined and denatured products. "Return to Nature" in your eating habits. Forsake the commercialized and spoiled foods that are fostered by the manufacturers of foodless foods.
The observing reader cannot miss the fact that in all books and articles dealing with vitamins, commercial products are emphasized and foods as sources of vitamins are slighted. Yeast, cod-liver oil, halibut-liver oil, shark-liver oil, Black Strap Molasses, and other food extracts, even synthetic "vitamins" are recommended, even insisted upon, instead of natural foods. Indeed natural foods are often pictured as indigestible, even dangerous. Our efforts to get vitamins and organic salts the "easy way" has led to many foolish practices.
Prof. E. V. McCullum says: "An examination of the labels on the containers of the vitamin preparations which we have studied suggests at once their promotion for therapeutic purposes represents a repetition of the 'patent medicine' propaganda which has for so long been inflicted on the American public. Thus the same general symptoms that have been used in labels of sarsparillas, blood-purifiers, kidney remedise, remedies for female weakness, etc., reappear as conditions for which the vitamin preparations are said to be specific remedies.
"The claims set forth on the labels, of the medicinal value of these preparations are extravangant and misleading. They do not contain the vitamin 'B' in concentrated form, as they are represented to do. The marketing of the preparations represents an attempt and unfortunately, a successful one, to substitute a commercial vitamin propaganda for the nefarious patent medicine business."
Prof. Casimir Funk says: "Science is very much in the dark yet as to the composition and function of vitamins. The combined research has taught us that all we do know about the subject is of tremendous importance. But it is not detracting from the valuable place that vitamins hold in the list of food elements to say that we are just beginning to understand them a little.
"Reputable scientists do not countenance the efforts that are being made to deceive the public into believing that the time has come when it can be said satisfactorily that such and such a result will follow the practice of taking certain proprietary vitamin preparations.
"To put it briefly, the people who are promoting such preparations do not know what they are talking about. And they certainly are leading the public into deception. If their claims for these products could be substantiated, science would greet them with open arms. There are several hundred scientists experimenting, but, as yet, vitamins have not been isolated, much less concentrated.
"Besides, vitamins so far have proved of value only where there have been cases of very distinct vitamin deficiency. When the diet is complete, we do not yet know whether an additional supply of vitamins is needed or even advisable. No one has established the quantity of vitamins necessary for the maintenance of the average healthy person. (Since Prof. Funk made these statements, some experimenters claim to have demonstrated that an excess of vitamins is harmful.)
"There is nothing mysterious about vitamins. They are just food constituents that should be in our diet, just as other food properties should be found there.
"I do not know what use, particular or otherwise, will be made of isolating vitamins when we have succeeded in separating them. I could not even venture a guess--no one can know. I confidently predict that the time will come eventually when we shall succeed in such isolation. But no one has succeeded in doing it yet.
"What would be the use in preparing all our foods artificially, so long as nature is producing her own foods with sufficient abundance to supply an increasing population? It would be folly even to think of turning ourselves into domestic manufacturers and consumers of self-made food so long as nature gives us enough."
McCullum reported tests made with six widely advertised nostrums supposed to carry large percentages of vitamins, the test showing them to be not only worthless, but injurious. "Fed to test groups of rats and other animals," he says, "not only was growth most positively not promoted, but was checked, halted and inhibited. Continuous feeding resulted in the death of the animals subjected to the test." Other investigators making similar tests with widely advertised vitamin carrying patent foods, etc., agree with McCullum's finding. Our safest and most dependable source of vitamins, as of salts and other food elements, is the plant kingdom--fresh fruits, green vegetables and nuts.
It is true that the above quoted statements were made a few years ago, but the essential facts have not changed. Vitamins work best in cooperation; cooperation, not alone with each other, but also with the other nutrients in the diet.
Nature puts up her foods in complete ensembles and our efforts to separate the various food elements and put them up in bottles and boxes have not been very successful. Science is better at building bridges or tunnels than at building men. In this latter we must still follow the ancient, the primitive, pattern.
The announcement that ultra-violet irradiation of foods produces "vitamin D" in them caused irradiation of all manners of foods. "Sunshine pills" were marketed in England; irradiation of cows with ultra-violet lamps in winter was advocated; quartz tubes for use in the ears, nose, throat, rectum, vagina and to introduce into the stomach, in cases of indigestion, were used. It was proposed to fit up restaurants with ultra-violet lamps. Irradiated cigars, cigarettes, laxatives, and toilet paper were placed on the market. Vitaminized face powder and vitaminized cleansing creams are advertised.
The whole lesson is learned from the wrong end. Hygienists have long advised: "Eat the sunshine," that is sunkissed foods. Nature irradiates her foods during growth, as the sun's rays stream down upon orchard and garden. The essential work in food production she does well. To irradiate white flour or other denatured foods and expect this to render them wholesome is absurd. Irradiated white flour is still lacking in calcium, iron, sodium, etc.
Drummond showed that ultra-violet irradiation of milk has its drawbacks in that "milk which has been exposed to the radiations of a mercury-vapor lamp for as short a time as five minutes, not only becomes unpalatable in that it acquires an unpleasant tallowy odor, but actually suffers chemical changes which are highly undesirable from the standpoint of nutrition. One of these is the destruction of vitamin A by oxidation." He says children fed on such milk are likely to show retarded growth and diminished resistance, which appears to be due to a deficiency of vitamin A.
Nature irradiates her products of garden and orchard. Throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall the rays of the sun beat down upon the growing plant giving it the needed assistance in producing vitamins. Why accept substitutes?
The daily minimum requirements of the various vitamins have been worked out in both growing child, adult and pregnant and nursing mother. These statements of our vitamin needs are no more valid than statements of our daily calorie needs; they are no more reliable than the statements of our daily protein needs.
Recent experiments by workers in the Department of Home Economics of the University of Chicago showed that the accepted standards of riboflavin requirements for young women are too high. The fact is that no reliable standards of requirements for any of the vitamins have been worked out and it is more than probable that all the, at present, accepted standards are too high, as they are for other nutrient factors. Vitamin requirements are correlated with the intake and utilization of other nutrients. They do not work in a vacuum.
To secure an adequate supply of all needed vitamins it is not necessary to know the amount of each vitamin contained in each food consumed; it is needful only that we have a broad understanding of what constitutes the so-called "protective" foods. To put this more simply, it is necessary that you understand that you should have a daily supply of fresh, uncooked fruits and vegetables. Other so-called protective foods, such as milk and eggs, are not essential if the fresh fruits and vegetables are taken in abundance.
It has been found that the ability of the body to utilize vitamins from different sources varies considerably. Spinach is rich in carotene or pro-vitamin A. Fish liver oils are rich in vitamin A. But it has been found that, in terms of international units, a baby can derive from spinach ten times that which it can get from a similar dosage of various fish liver oils. To be of equal value to spinach, fish liver oil would have to supply 10,000 units of vitamin A to equal 1,000 units of vitamin A in spinach. The difference in these two substances is the difference in the availability of their vitamin A. The vitamins and minerals contained in fruits, vegetables and nuts are much more available than those derived from other sources. The results of the use of synthetic vitamins indicate that these substances are not available at all.
Besides the many abnormal conditions that prevent the absorption and untilization of vitamins, it is said that there is faulty utilization of vitamins in the absence of disease. It is said that there is a congenital inability to utilize vitamins well. Indeed, it is claimed that faulty utilization of this character is very common. The condition is said to be seen in both the young and the aged.
It is my opinion that congenital inability to utilize vitamins, if it exists at all, is extremely rare. The "absence of disease" from the standpoint of orthodox scientists means merely the absence of physical signs. Individuals that pass as healthy are often on the verge of complete collapse. A "biochemist" will talk learnedly about congenital inability to utilize vitamins and have a cigar in his mouth all the time he is talking. He does not recognize the inhibiting effects of tobacco upon digestion. He will prepare menus containing coffee, tea and other such substances. He will not exclude vinegar and condiments, that inhibit digestion, from the diets of his patients. He will talk learnedly of the "dramatic" way in which patients who have been for years on a "very good diet," respond to vitamin concentrates, all the while wholly unaware that he is witnessing, not improved nutrition, but mere temporary stimulation.
The utilization of vitamin C is improved by iron and the B complex. The B complex is helped in its work by A and D. Such minerals as zinc, manganese, magnesium, help in the utilization of vitamin C and the B complex.
"Biochemists," watching the assistance given the vitamins by the minerals, do not see in this the need for mineral-rich foods, but the need for mineral concentrates from their own laboratories. Unfortunately, these chemists know little of bios, hence mislead all with whom they come in contact. They seem never to think of foods as sources of vitamins and minerals.
Physicians, biochemists and dietitians employ a number of tricks in an endeavor to force the utilization of vitamins in those cases where there is failure of utilization. Such tricks as adding wheat germ oil to the vitamin A ration, or if this fails, using bile salts with the vitamin A. Bile salts are also used in connection with vitamins D, E and K. Lecithin is also employed to help the utilization of vitamin A.
In catarrhal conditions in which vitamin C is not well utilized they give additional carbohydrates, which tends to increase the catarrhal condition. Honey in addition to vitamin C is a favorite carbohydrate among the vitamin cure mongers. It is recommended that ascorbic acid tablets always be taken with honey, or other "easily digested" carbohydrate. This is because there is bacterial destruction of vitamin C in the colon. It does not seem to matter what happens to vitamin C or any other vitamin after it reaches the colon, for it has already gone beyond the point where it can be absorbed. Vitamins are also given by injection and then there is the method of giving such large amounts of the vitamin concentrates that "limited utilization will still mean adequate stores." In some quarters it is recommended that natural vitamins (extracts) be used along with the synthetic vitamins to assure the use of the latter. All of this nonsense belongs to the drug superstition and will not be engaged in by any rational man or woman. Every hospital, clinic and every physician's office is full of the failure of this program.
When we are not physical and mental drunkards, when we have not surfeited ourselves--our metabolism--we can find all the elements we need in the everyday natural foods found in our markets, or grown in our gardens and orchards, but when surfeited, we can starve to death with our system loaded with "good nourishing food"--the very elements for the lack of which we are dying. No more obvious example of this fact. can be given than that of the great and rapid increase in the number of red blood cells in anemic patients when placed upon a fast, or the improvement of the bones of rachitic children and animals when fasted.
It is asserted that allergies to fruits rich in C are common and those so afflicted must turn to other sources for their supply of C. Fruit "allergies" are largely or wholly fictions and grow out of improper use of fruits. I take people who are "allergic" to the citrus fruits and put them on a citrus fruit diet and their supposed allergy does not show up. Fruit "allergies" are largely the outgrowth of wrong combinations.
There are other sources of C besides fruits. Cabbage, green and red peppers, practically all fresh green leaves, etc., possess this vitamin in adequate amounts. One does not have to rely on extracts and synthetic concoctions. It is characteristic of dietitians, "biochemists," physicians, etc., that they turn to artificial sources of "vitamins" instead of resorting to natural foods.
Vitamins tend to crowd out all other important nutrients and to cause dietitians, physicians and others to neglect other important food elements. This is a very unfortunate fact, for even the vitamins are valueless in the absence of these other nutrients. "Investigators have conclusively shown," says Dr. Philip Norman, "that there are other principles as important as the vitamins and that their absence negatives the value of the vitamins just as much as the absence of the vitamins negatives the food value of the others. Paradoxical as it may sound, it is the very element of the population which could afford a good food balance among which a devitalized diet is observed most frequently. The poorer classes, eating coarser bread and utilizing all the vegetable parings and fats, subsist on a diet much richer in vitamins and minerals."
We must also avoid over-emphasizing the importance of vitamins in nutrition. They are but one of many factors, all of which are of equal importance and none of which is of value in the absence of the others. Health, growth and strength cannot be maintained in an ideal manner without any of the essential nutritive elements. A lack of any of the nutritive elements constitutes a deficiency and the resulting effects of this lack may rightly be termed a "deficiency disease."
Dr. Casimir Funk has said: "We are handicapped by imperfect knowledge. Views are often expressed as to the exaggerated importance assigned to the vitmains. There is no doubt vitamins do not mean everything in nutrition."
Above all we must not permit ourselves to be mislead by the present commercial exploitation of vitamins. "Concentrated" vitamin-carrying substances are offered us as supplements to our diets. Great claims are made for the value of these things. Man's nutritive needs are coordinated With the supplies of Nature, we may be sure that their concentration (assuming that they are really concentrated in the advertised preparations) can be of no special value to us.
As will be shown in another chapter, our ability to utilize vitamins depends upon the presence of other elements in our diet. To eat concentrated vitamins and not consume these other elements in equal proportions would simply waste much of the vitamins. We need not only vitamins, but vitamins in ideal combinations with other elements and only the plant kingdom knows how to put up these vitamins. The plant kingdom is our ideal source of vitamins.
Nature puts up her vitamins in ideal combinations with the other essential elements of our foods. She gives us lettuce, apples and grapes; the demi-gods of "science" give us the quintessences of these and other natural products and tell us that these are better than Nature's own creations. They give us devitalized foods and synthetic "foods"-- substances with nutrition rejects, preferring to starve.
At first, after the discovery of vitamins, they gave us vitamin extracts. The chemist extracted the vitamin but the vital element was lost, and we were forced to eat uncooked fruits and vegetables to get it. Later, after some of the vitamins were isolated and analyzed (more or less accurately), he gave us synthetic vitamins, which, he assured us, are chemically identical with the natural vitamin. He is unable to manufacture acceptable fats, sugars, amino acids, salts, but he can manufacture "acceptible" vitamins. He can't produce a viable egg, but he insists that his dummy eggs are just as good as the real article.
The chemist is not only an egomaniac, but he is the faithful handmaiden of the commercial firm that employs him. He is engaged in the production of "just as good" substitutes for nature's products, because there "are millions in it." There was never any reason, except commercial reasons, for the attempt to manufacture synthetic vitamins. The plant kingdom, the sole source of supply, manufactures these in super-abundance. Old mother nature puts them in all foods. No prudent eater need ever suffer from a lack of any of them.
Chemists can play with the elements--analyze, synthesize, combine and take apart again--but they cannot produce living substance. Their syntheses lack many important refinings which only the metabolic processes of the plant and animal kingdom can accomplish. They say their synthetic vitamins are chemically identical with those produced by plants, but the results of their use prove unmistakeably that they are not functionally identical. The garden and orchard turn out products far superior to those of the laboratory.
It is folly to think you can mix together a lot of synthetic and extracted vitamins and produce a salad that is equal to a salad of uncooked vegetables or fruits. It is equally as foolish to think you can mix together a dozen or more different salts supplied you by the druggist and produce a salad that will equal a salad of fresh, uncooked vegetables or fruits. Nor can you do so by mixing a dozen synthetic vitamins with a dozen salts from the druggist.
Synthetic vitamins, that is, "vitamins" made in the chemical laboratory, although having practically the same chemical composition as those of nature's products, are not vitamins and do not have the effects of vitamins. Despite the claims made for them by the commercial firms and by the drugging fraternity, who know no difference between nature and their laboratories, except that their laboratories are "superior," made vitamins are no more valuable than the mineral salts sold at the drug stores and prescribed by physicians. Certain synthetic vitamins, such as K, are water soluble, whereas the same vitamins from natural sources are not. This difference in solubility rests upon fundamental differences in their structure. Synthetic "vitamins" are "paste," not true diamonds.
Manufacturers and their subsidized scientists with commercial motives assert that their synthetic vitamins are as good as those the cow gets from grass and alfalfa and passes on to your child in her milk--providing the milk is not pasteurized. This is a gross misrepresentation.
They also emphasize the fact that synthesis brought the price down much below the cost of extraction. The fact that extracting the vitamins is neither necessary nor helpful is ignored.
Ansel Keys and Austin F. Herschel of the University of Minnesota tested vitamin tablets and concentrates to determine their values. The whole alphabet from A to Z was tested. Twenty-six soldiers were used as subjects for these tests. A total of 256 experiments were made. During the whole of the period of observation every effort was made to assure standarized conditions. The men were fed the usual army post rations, wore regulation army clothing and packs at all times and marched on motor-driven treadmills for definite periods.
Both vitamins and placeboes were used in these tests. The placebos were made up in pill form to resemble in every way the "vitamins," so that the men could not know when they were getting vitamins and when they were getting placebos. The two forms of pills looked alike and tasted alike. The synthetic "vitamins" and the placebos were given both before and after each meal. The soldiers were divided into two groups. During the first part of the test one group would have his meals supplemented with "vitamins," the other group would get the placebos. During the second part the first group would receive the placebos and the second group would receive the "vitamins."
Careful tests of circulatory, metabolic and blood-chemistry responses were made after each period on the tread-mill. These two men report as a result of these tests that:
"In neither brief extreme exercise nor in prolonged severe exercise and semi-starvation were there any indications of any effect, favorable, or otherwise, of the vitamin supplementation on muscular ability, endurance, resistance to fatigue, or recovery from exertion.
"It is concluded that no useful purpose would be served by enrichment of the present U.S. Army rations with the vitamins studied."
Among the vitamins studied were the much advertised thiamin chloride (B1, ribaflavin (B2), nicotinic acid (a B factor), pyridoxine (B6), pantothentic acid (a B factor), and ascorbic acid (C).
Similar negative results were obtained in experiments conducted in England during the late war. Both school children and working men were given synthetic "vitamins" for several months and the results carefully checked. School children who took multiple vitamin pills for a period lasting from seven to nine months failed to register a superior record in relation to weight, height or sickness in comparison with the children who went without the synthetic "vitamins." The tests showed that, despite the war, the home and school diets of the children contained sufficient real vitamins so that the synthetic "vitamins" contributed nothing. Similar experiments conducted in war workers failed to result in any health gains among those workers who received the synthetic "vitamins" as compared to those who did not.
Baffin and Caper of Duke University give some details in an issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association of the results of an investigation made at the request of the Office of the Quartermaster General of the U.S. Army to determine the value of adding vitamins to the Usual American diet. I think it significant that the "usual American diet" which is by no means an ideal diet, was used in this series of tests. It carries me back to Chittenden's experiments made years before vitamins were heard of. For some time now, I have been convinced that: either Chittenden did not obtain the results he claimed, or else, the vitamin researchers are kidding themselves and the public about their findings.
Two hundred volunteer medical students and technicians were used in these tests. The volunteers were divided into five groups. They were all "in apparent good health" and were consuming the "usual American diet," whatever this may be in any given instance.
The tests were run for thirty days, "because that period is found sufficient for recovery under vitamin treatment," of patients actually ill from vitamin deficiency.
One group was given vitamins tablets and liver extract tablets.
A second group was given yeast extract tablets and vitamin pills.
A third group was given vitamin pills and sugar pills made to resemble the others.
A fourth group was given vitamin pills only.
The fifth group was given sugar pills only.
None of the volunteers were permitted to know what was in the pills they were taking. Each man kept a daily record of his weight and of such symptoms as "gas" or indigestion, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea. Also he kept a daily record of his impressions of any effect on his appetite and on his "pep" or energy.
Baffin and Caper report that "a significant increase in diarrhea and a highly significant increase in abdominal pain and nausea and vomiting occurred in those receiving liver extract and yeast." They found no evidence to substantiate the view that the use of vitamins will increase one's efficiency and sense of well-being in cases where no real deficiency exists.
But are we to believe that the "usual American diet" of white bread, denatured cereals, white sugar, refined syrups, canned goods, pasteurized milk, embalmed and cooked muscle meats, cakes, pies, preserves, candies, coffee, etc., is not deficient in vitamins? No one claims that present methods of determining vitamin deficiencies are sufficiently delicate to reveal the earliest stages of deficiency.
It is not to be supposed that the diet fed to soldiers in the army or the war-time diets of the British people were so good that they could not be improved upon. At best, the British war-time diet was a subsistence diet. Good nutrition is necessarily based on a good diet of natural foodstuffs and health cannot be assured anybody by taking a certain number of vitamin capsules or vitamin pills regularly. A good diet will supply all the vitamins needed, while taking "vitamin" pills to supplement a poor diet is ridiculous. Synthetic "vitamins" are doing incalculable narm in inducing people to depend upon these to the neglect of real vitamins.
What, then is the trouble? First, the vitamins are only imitations. Second, they are not properly used. They are useful only in the presense of elements of food stuffs that are almost invariably deficient in the "usual American diet." Better nutrition may be had by better diet, not by eating vitamin pills.
The fact that vitamins are employed best in combination should show the reader that taking large amounts of vitamin C and not securing sufficient amounts of vitamin B will result in failure of nutrition. This has led to the preparation of pluri-vitamin pills and extracts. But these fail, not alone because the vitamins are not real, but also, because the vitamins are not useful in the absence of the minerals that "act" synergistically with them. Even mixtures of vitamins and minerals fail, for the reason that the minerals are not available and the vitamins are only imitation.
I would emphasize two other important facts: namely, with all the work that has been done, we do not yet know all the chemistry involved in a single one of our common foods, nor in the human body. There may be other vitamins or other food factors of which we know nothing at present. Certainly we do not know all that we need to know about the mineral composition of foods or of the body. There is every reason to think that there are amino acids that are as yet unknown. Mineral concentrates contain only the known minerals of the body. Vitamin concentrates contain only the known vitamins. Amino acids now sold on the market contain only the known amino acids. The unknown factors of foods are lacking in all of these substances. Foods contain all food factors now known as well as those now unknown. Manufacturing chemists, druggists, food manufacturers, etc., cannot compete with nature in preparing food for man.
The manufacture of artificial vitamins is an industry organized along the lines of the famous international cartels and at least one of the corporations of this country was party to an agreement with the I. G. Farbenindustrie. Millions are spent in advertising and in subsidizing research. Vitamins are sold over the counters in America today in excess of a quarter of a billion dollars a year.
During the early part of the last War much publicity was given to the fact that industrial workers were given daily quotas of vitamins to increase their productiveness. This was accomplished by the vitamin makers or their advertising men going to the heads of these industrial plants and persuading these men to permit the manufacturers to supply the vitamins to the men as a "scientific" test. It was done as an advertising program and the cost was charged off to advertising. It resulted in no good. No doubt many thought they were benefitted, just as many think they are benefitted by taking drugs in other forms. One of the soldiers used in the tests at the University of Minnesota reported that he felt much better after taking the tablets given him in the tests. A careful check disclosed that he had been taking the placebos and not "vitamins" at all.
The German experience with a vitamin pill called piroxin is instructive. The German government requested the workers to take these pills. At first they thought they were getting wonderful results, because the pills seemed to lessen the fatigue of the workers. For a few weeks there was a step-up in production but after a few months industrial accidents had increased thirty per cent. Investigations showed that the piroxin had undermined the workers' nervous systems and had made many thousands of drug addicts. Synthetic vitamins are drugs.
The literature of the subject contains frequent references to the toxicity of vitamins. Numerous tests have been made in an effort to determine their toxicity. In some of these tests death has resulted from the use of large doses of these substances. Other vitamins slackened the growth rate. Niacin has been shown to be somewhat toxic. Thiamine is less toxic than niacin. Pyridoxine is about as toxic as niacin. Other vitamins have shown varying degrees of toxicity.
Three important facts stand out in these tests, namely:
1. The tests are made with synthetic vitamins, which are drugs, not vitamins.
2. Large doses are employed, such as one would never consume in eating.
3. The so-called vitamins are frequently administered by injection into the skin, a method of vitamin intake that we never employ in eating.
There is a complete lack of evidence that an excess of natural vitamins, such as an animal might receive by consuming an enormous quantity of green grass, or a man might receive by eating a large quantity of oranges while on an orange diet, is harmful. The toxicity of natural vitamins in quantities that may consumed in eating is not demonstrated. What is demonstrated is that artificial or imitation "vitamins" are toxic. This is another good reason why we should rely upon nature's own products and avoid the laboratory concoctions of the manufacturing chemists.
Records of cases of hypervitaminosis (excess of vitamin) A, D and K exist in vitamin literature and we are told that "certain of the vitamins may possess pharmacologic actions which are not apparent when administered in the small quantities usually provided in nutritional experiments." These cases of hypervitaminosis are seen in those dosed with drug "vitamins." There is no such thing as pharmalogic action.
Dr» Casimir Funk, who coined the term "vitamin," says: "Synthetic vitamins are less effective and more toxic." The sober fact is that the evidence for the "toxicity" of natural vitamins is almost nil, while the evidence for the toxicity of the synthetic vitamins is great. It is essential that we understand the differences between the two kinds of vitamins. Dr. Royal Lee very appropriately says of the synthetic vitamins: "Unnatural vitamins like unnatural foods, are dangerous." The "synthetic vitamins" are really drugs. They behave as irritants rather than as enzymes. A Textbook of Physiology by Wm. D. Zoethout, Ph.D., and W. W. Turtle, Ph.D., says of the synthetically produced vitamins: "their consumption in this form is less desirable than eating natural foods in which they are found." These physiologists think there are advantages to be gained by "re-enforcing" white flour with vitamin B1 so long as "people insist on eatnig fine white bread."
The use of certain vitamins is said to "cure" certain "diseases." We must not permit ourselves to be misled by these claims. They have no more value than the claims that drugs, or other such substances, "cure" disease. There is no so-called disease that is due to a unitary cause--every disease is the complex effects of a number of correlated antecedents--and no disease is curable by a unitary cure. On the other hand, practically all of the so-called deficiency states that are said to require vitamins for their cure, will and do get well while the patient is fasting and drinking only distilled water. The wild enthusiasm caused by the discovery of vitamins will sooner or later, give way to sober reflection and it will then be recognized that the research workers and others have permitted their enthusiasm to run away with their judgement.
Thousands of people are taking vitamin pills, pellets, powders, vitamin extracts, etc., and taking mineral concentrates in powder and pill form, they are supplementing their diets with these minerals.
Both vitamins and minerals are being taken in specified doses for supposed specific conditions. The drugstores and health food stores, along with the manufacturers of these products, are growing rich off their sale. But no lasting good is coming out of the practice.
The vitamin devotees tell us that vitamin A dissolves kidney stones, vitamin B aids the deaf, vitamin C softens cataracts, vitamin C helps hayfever, vitamin C relieves arthritis. These things are not true, of course. The thousands of sufferers who have been dosed with the vitamins for these conditions and have grown worse instead of better are sufficient proof of this statement. The statement that vitamins can "help, perhaps cure magically," is an exaggeration by an over-enthusiast or a commercial-exploiter of vitamins.
Vitamins do not prevent colds; they do not give energy nor prevent fatigue; they do not prevent nor cure arthritis; they do not prevent graying of the hair nor do they restore the hair to its normal color.
The drug-store pill eater is led to believe that he can have health by taking these synthetic "vitamins" without the necessity of removing the many causes of his disease. Taking vitamins to "cure" disease and neglecting to correct the habits of life that have produced and are maintaining that disease, is the same in principle and is equally as ridiculous as taking drugs for the same purpose while ignoring the habits of life. Vitamins cannot erase the effects of tobacco, alcohol, coffee, worry, fear, anxiety, domestic irritations, overwork, lack of exercise, overeating, insufficient rest and sleep, foul air in workshop, office, bed room and elsewhere.