Our bodies have incredible healing powers when we meet our biological and physiological needs. Your body is designed to get its nutrients from your daily food and disorders eventually develop if the diet does not meet your body’s needs.
Food: full of vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, enzymes and more – is medicine. But too much of our food is grown on nutrient-depleted soil, picked before ripened to full nutritional value, often over-cooked and otherwise processed (which destroys most of the remaining nutritional value), and eaten in a hurry, over eaten… or skipped altogether. Stress and age both deplete our digestive systems of their crucial digestive juices and enzymes, and common issues with liver and gut function result in improper absorption of vitamins and minerals. Additionally, we are surrounded by conflicting information on what a “good” diet is; while there are some common truths to what is good food, it is also an unfortunate truth that no one diet is perfect for everyone.
Toxins: As if this were not enough, food additives and preservatives, prescription drugs, metabolic waste, free radicals, environmental toxins, and a lack of exposure to sunlight (as opposed to light sifted through windows!) can have overwhelming negative consequences on our health, further depleting our tissues and exhausting our organs.
Pharmaceutical medicines seek to improve symptoms through the use of chemicals; supplements seek to restore whole health to the body through nourishment.
Supplements: Perhaps you have heard of studies that have “proven” supplements do not help you and may even cause you harm….what you probably don’t realize is that these studies do not differentiate between supplements derived from food sources and supplements which are synthetically produced in a lab. Synthetic vitamins and minerals are derived from such things as coal tar, petroleum products, animal by-products, waste and fecal matter, ground rocks, stones, shells and metal. Just because a so-called “natural substance” is high in a particular vitamin, does that also mean it is something that is good for your body – or even something that your body can absorb? Synthetic, fractionated chemical supplements such as synthetic vitamins are devoid of all co-occurring chemicals, minerals, etc that accompany that vitamin in their original natural form.
A good example is vitamin C. If you take a look at a variety of vitamin C supplements, you will find that the majority of them contain only ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is NOT vitamin C. It represents the outer ring that serves as a protective shell for the entire vitamin C complex, much like an orange peel that serves as a protective shell for an orange. Real vitamin C found in whole foods like fruits and vegetables contain many co-factors such as rutin, bioflavonoids, Factor K, Factor J, Factor P, Tyrosinase, Ascorbinogen, ascorbic acid and other components. Each of these is vital to the complete biological activity that enables Vitamin C to function fully. If any of these parts are missing, there is no vitamin C, no vitamin activity. Ascorbic acid is only a very small fraction of naturally occurring vitamin C.
When you take only ascorbic acid found in your synthetic vitamin C tablet or powder, your body must gather all of the other components of the full vitamin complex from your body’s tissues in order to make use of it. In the event that your body does not have adequate reserves of the other components, ascorbic acid itself does not provide any of the health benefits that the full vitamin C complex does.
Digestion: The conditions of our modern life have unfortunately depleted our digestive capabilities. Our need for extra supplementation is greater and our capabilities decreased. As an example, low vitamin B12 status has become a common problem. Absorption of vitamin B12 from food requires an intact and functioning stomach, exocrine pancreas, intrinsic factor, and small bowel. Problems with any one of these organs makes a vitamin B12 deficiency possible. One solution to this problem is to utilize sublingual supplementation rather than pills. Because our soil is now so depleted, most of us are deficient in many minerals but lack enough hydrochloric acid to break minerals down. A mineral supplement that is not highly absorbable will only pass through your digestive tract unabsorbed and many people need the addition of a hydrochloric acid supplement to help stimulate and reactivate their own ability to produce gastric juices.
These are only a few examples of the array of complications which must be understood to choose your supplements wisely.
Herbs have been used since ancient times for their medicinal properties. Herbs contain unique anti-oxidants, essential oils, vitamins, phyto-sterols and many other plants derived nutrient substances, which help equip our body to fight against germs, toxins and to boost immunity level. Herbs are, in fact, medicines in smaller dosages. Pharmaceutical drugs, like synthetic supplements, are chemicals taken out of their natural combinations within the plant they are derived from. As shown in the vitamin C example, these isolated chemicals will cause unintended side reactions called “side effects”. All drugs create side effects. When skillfully applied, herbs do not cause side effects except in relatively rare occasions when a person finds them difficult to digest and encounters digestive disturbances or even more rare instances of allergic reactions. Herbs are powerful medicine with a more “directed” and powerful “punch”, and therefore can be extremely useful in working with specific health issues such as allergies or hot flashes.
At Circle of Health we offer a small selection of what we consider the most important and most effective Western and Chinese herbal and dietary supplements, supplements we have both researched with care and found in our own practices over time to be the most effective for particular health issues.