89 Swamp Road
Mifflintown, PA 17059
THE NUTRI-SPEC LETTER
Volume 22, Number 2
Guy R. Schenker, D.C.
CLINICAL NUTRITION 101
How much do you really know about nutrition?
How much should you know about nutrition?
How are you going to learn what you need to know about nutrition?
The last of these 3 questions is by far the most critical for you to answer. --- On whom can you rely as an information source? Academic courses in nutrition? Searches of the nutrition-related scientific literature? Information helpfully provided by your trusted professional supplement suppliers?
Academic nutrition courses? --- Don't make me laugh. Thirty-five years ago I turned my career path on a dime --- rushing off to chiropractic school, naive enough to believe they would teach me how to practice nutrition like a doctor. Like a doctor? --- What do doctors know about nutrition? Ha! My chiropractic curriculum included one measly nutrition course. --- All the measlier because the text was Guthrie's Introductory Nutrition, the very same text used in the undergraduate Nutrition 101 course I took as a prerequisite to chiropractic school admission.
A ho-hum general nutrition course is an essential first step toward preparing doctors to care for their patients, but even a comprehensive introduction like Guthrie should be merely the first step of many. So, is the answer to preparing us to meet the nutrition needs of our patients an academic course in Introductory Nutrition, followed by Intermediate Nutrition, then Advanced Nutrition? Definitely not. Academic courses impart zero knowledge or skill that is clinically relevant. To illustrate --- I once had a patient who was within weeks of completing his PhD in nutrition at Penn State University. The young man was in a panic. It had occurred to him after all those years and all those tens of thousands of dollars invested that he had learned absolutely nothing of marketable value. He had no knowledge and no skill that was worth a nickel to anybody.
So --- forget the academic courses and take the only course that matters --- coursing through the nutrition-related scientific literature for a couple hundred hours every year. --- But wait --- You do not have a couple hundred hours to devote to nutrition study? Of course not --- you have full time commitments to your patients and your family. You are stuck. You want to practice nutrition scientifically, yet you have nowhere near enough time to study the relevant science.
But --- there seems to be an easy solution to your dilemma. The companies that sell nutrition supplements to professionals do the work for you. They peruse the scientific literature and put together nice little articles of sales literature quoting the scientific studies, hoping to sell you on the benefits of their products. I know that path seems inviting, but if you rely on sales pitches for information you will be thoroughly snookered.
The pill peddlers do not reproduce the scientific literature in a meaningful way --- they merely promote bandwagon nutrition. These companies rush to market with whatever happens to be the flavor of the month, and dig out any plausible scientific support to back up their products. In over 30 years of watching this unscrupulous industry, I have seen countless outright frauds passed off as scientific nutrition.
Examples? Any of you that have been around 15-20 years remember all the "scientific" studies showing that chromium supplementation would lead to effortless weight loss. All the big name pill peddlers that you buy from today were in business back then, and every one of them had a chromium product heavily hyped to be salvation for all roly-poly patients --- and --- sales literature foot-noted with impressive-sounding research studies "proving" that chromium would cause fat to just burn up into thin air. When the bandwagon ran out steam, these companies (--- yes, the same ones you deal with today) abandoned their claims about chromium and moved on to the next flavor of the month.
I could give a zillion examples, but here is one more. SAM was touted a few years ago as being a cure for just about every ailment under the sun. All your favorite nutrition suppliers rushed to your side with SAM products, dressing up their sales literature with all the scientific studies showing the miraculous physiological effects of SAM. What they failed to tell you is that SAM is totally worthless when taken orally, since the instant it is put into a pill it starts to breakdown chemically, losing the benefits it provides when injected, as it was in the research studies. Every dollar these companies earned on selling SAM was a dishonest buck. Yet with no regrets, that bandwagon was abandoned, as they hopped onto the next, then the next, then the next.
No, you do not need misrepresentations of the scientific literature, nor do you need wasted hours sitting in academic classrooms. What you need is not Nutrition 101, you need Clinical Nutrition 101. You need someone you can trust --- like NUTRI-SPEC --- who will spend those countless hours searching the literature for golden nuggets of clinically useful truth. Furthermore, you need those truths applied in a clinically meaningful way --- which in NUTRI-SPEC terms means ...
not disease-specific nutrition.
Forget the remedies, and learn to analyze a patient's nutrition status in terms of metabolic imbalances and metabolic inefficiencies, and supplement that patient accordingly. The most fundamental application of Clinical Nutrition 101 relates as much to what and why not to supplement as much as what and why to supplement. Giving a patient the wrong supplement is far worse than no supplement at all. The wrong supplement will exacerbate the very imbalances that caused the patient's symptoms, and will eventually create other imbalances as well. We are fond of using vitamin C as an example to illustrate that point since it is such a sacred cow among the health food crowd ---a supplement everyone "knows" is "good for you."
Did you know that Vitamin C in doses greater than 180 milligrams is a total waste of money because it is not absorbed and tends to cause gas and bloating in your intestinal tract?
Eighty to ninety percent of Vitamin C is absorbed up to a dose of 180 milligrams, but beyond that, absorption decreases rapidly so that at 5000 milligrams doses only 24% is absorbed, while the rest just irritates your digestive system.
[There is an analogous truth as relates to vitamin B1 supplementation. --- Did you know that the maximum absorbable dose of thiamine is only 4 milligrams? What does that limited absorption say about all the pill peddlers with 10, 50, or even 100 mg of cheap vitamin B1 in their products? --- The nutrition industry is the most dishonest racket in the world.]
Did you know that Vitamin C depletes your body of many mineral and trace mineral nutrients?
The truth is, your kidneys cannot excrete any Vitamin C without combining it with an important mineral nutrient such as calcium or magnesium or zinc. Every single molecule of excess Vitamin C that gets dumped in your urine steals from you an important mineral nutrient.
Did you know that Vitamin C will particularly cause a deficiency in the essential trace mineral copper?
Did you know that excess Vitamin C will actually cause high cholesterol?
Did you know that the "anti-oxidant" Vitamin C will actually decrease the activity of ceruloplasmin, one of your body's most important antioxidants?
Did you know that excess Vitamin C can damage DNA, and also damage cell membranes because of its oxidant (not anti-oxidant) activity?
Did you know that because it is such a strong oxidant (not anti-oxidant) more than 500 milligrams of Vitamin C will cause the formation in your DNA of oxoadenine, a powerfully damaging toxin which particularly will harm the heart and other organs?
Did you know that Vitamin C will convert the mineral iron to a form that damages the blood vessels and leads to hardening of the arteries and heart blockage?
Did you know that Vitamin C can auto-oxidize, and instead of being an anti-oxidant to protect you against free radical damage, will actually cause free radical damage?
This oxidation of Vitamin C occurs most easily in the presence of minerals such as iron, manganese, and chromium. When excess Vitamin C is taken with these mineral nutrients you are particularly likely to suffer free radical damage.
Did you know that excess Vitamin C will cause the formation of the toxic chemical pentosadine, a marker of premature aging and tissue destruction?
Did you know that Vitamin C causes destruction of proteins in your body that will accelerate the aging process?
This acceleration of aging by Vitamin C is particularly pronounced in anyone with a diabetic tendency. The protein-destructive effects of Vitamin C are particularly associated with cataract formation.
So, now you know about excess Vitamin C being a harmful oxidant instead of the anti-oxidant that it should be when used responsibly. In its damaging role as an oxidant, Vitamin C destroys the activity of one other important anti-oxidant -- Vitamin E. But, the reverse can also occur. Excess Vitamin E will also act as an oxidant instead of an anti-oxidant and in fact, doses of Vitamin E much above 140 milligrams will actually destroy the activity of Vitamin C.
Are you beginning to get a little nervous about the vitamins you have taken? Do you think your patients, when provided such information, will begin to have questions about what the health food store is selling them?
More importantly ...
The case you just read against irresponsible Vitamin C supplementation could be made just as well against all the vitamins, as well as all the minerals, and all the trace minerals, not to mention the amino acids, the herbs, the fatty acids, and nearly all the other pills and potions peddled by the health food industry --- including your "professional" supplement peddlers.
With NUTRI-SPEC you distinguish yourself from the mindless masses of "nutritionists" who have nothing more to offer than the flavor of the month. NUTRI-SPEC empowers you with the equivalent of CLINICAL NUTRITION 101, plus access to intermediate and advanced levels of clinical understanding.
... standing confidently on your own two feet --- offering your patients ...
With reason and science backing you up, you can set your patients straight in no uncertain terms when they come to you with supplements they "know" are good for them. You can even use the same irresistible sensationalism of the bandwagon hucksters:
Your patient: "It's cold season; shouldn't I be taking more vitamin C?"
Your reply: "Vitamin C makes you sick and tired."
Your patient: "I started taking a thousand fish oil every day."
Your reply: "Fish oil destroys your brain."
Your patient: "Of course I need extra calcium for my bones."
Your reply: "Calcium just makes you old."
Do you think such seemingly outrageous one-liners will capture your patients attention? You bet. --- Follow with a brief explanation derived from science, not hype, and you will have earned your patient's enduring respect.
Where do you get your brief explanations? --- From your NUTRI-SPEC literature. You have years of THE NUTRI-SPEC LETTER just like this one, loaded with information to help your patients understand the folly of disease-specific nutrition versus the unique value of your NUTRI-SPEC supplements. In those LETTERS, and in supplemental articles that are available to you, we have thoroughly covered the science behind sensible versus irresponsible supplementation with vitamin C, fatty acids, calcium and every other nutrient.
Use our writings to enlighten your patients, and to establish you as their special, professional authority on nutrition. One of our most popular LETTERS is the September 2008 issue that presents several pages of nutrient antagonisms. Doctors distribute that letter among patients incredulous to learn how easily one nutrient can cause a deficiency of another. With a little knowledge gleaned from NUTRI-SPEC writings, patients can appreciate that every nutrient in every NUTRI-SPEC supplement yields a specific clinical effect, in careful consideration of its complex interplay with all other nutrients.
Also, when a patient shows you a popular supplement containing more than 150 mg of vitamin C and 4 mg of vitamin B1, or, cheap trash such as thiamin hydrochloride or pyridoxine hydrochloride instead of the coenzymes thiamin pyrophosphate and pyridoxal-5-phosphate, or unabsorbable minerals like magnesium oxide and calcium carbonate --- tell your patient that the company making that product is either dishonest or incompetent. --- Educate.
SPECIAL OFFER: When you call in your next order, ask any good Clinical Nutrition 101 question. You will not only get a thorough reply, you will get 2 FREE with any 10 bottles you buy --- of any NUTRI-SPEC supplements. Yes, you read that correctly --- this special offer applies to all NUTRI-SPEC products through the month of February.