For Chronic Disease Prevention In Adults” (scientific review and clinical
applications). Two American Medical Association Journal (JAMA)
Articles On The Use Of Supplementation For Adults.
The information that you are going to read here is strictly educational
and not intended as medical advice, but it is meant for you to think about
other possible ways to consider chronic health conditions. Here is
scientific support for the use of supplements. It helped us to understand
why our Meniere’s disease sufferers got better. It helped us to see the
connections between the possible causes of their symptoms, and what they
could now do about their vertigo,
dizziness, hearing problems and lack of
a productive and reasonable life. This is not about treating or diagnosing
a health condition. For that please, consult your health care
In June 2002, the American Medical Association Journal (JAMA) published
two articles that just blew me away! They provided the scientific evidence
for the results we were witnessing! It explained things that I suspected
were happening. Let me introduce you to this information or maybe
re-introduce you. First I want explain what this is all about. Next I will
give you a resource so you can find a supplement to meet these
recommendations. Or you can compare your own ideas about supplementation.
Then I want to try and help you connect this to what might be already
going on in your own life. I share some word pictures and links.
Hopefully, that will help you to understand this concept and these
recommendations a bit better. Lastly I want you to understand why this
could be so important for you.
These articles mentioned “some chronic disease”, and I will expand on
that. But I wanted to share this idea with you as it has changed my entire
way of looking at chronic diseases. I now believe people do not have to
remain stuck in an “illness mode”. Happily, from my own experience with
Meniere’s disease, I was seeing people actually “living out” what the
recommendations suggested! Here we now had the required scientific
grounding I longed for! So I thought it would be helpful to share my
thoughts and questions. One of the major challenges, of course, is to find
what supplements qualify for this set of parameters. Let’s go to the
abstract links first. Then I am also going to share with you where you can
find information to help you choose possible supplements: what to look for
and how to access the manufacturer. And lastly, I want to link this to two
articles you may already have read: the immune system and the inflammatory
process. Both are crucial for your knowledge if you want to be in control
of your own health.
If you have optimum health, you shouldn’t have any health issues, right?
You probably wouldn’t need to consider supplementation as your body tells,
by its flawless functioning, that everything is fine. The irony is that it
is precisely those healthy people, who do understand the value of
supplementation, are the ones who maintain….this healthy state…by using
supplements! So if you do have a health issue, any sort outside the normal
aging process, then could you maybe not be offering your body optimum
nutrition? Therefore the AMA suggests “every adult should take a
multivitamin a day”.
In essence, the articles say that every adult should take a multivitamin.
What a suggestion to make in our drug-oriented culture! The objective of
the review was “to review the clinically important vitamins with regard to
their biological effects, food sources, deficiency syndromes, potential
for toxicity, and the relationship to chronic disease”.
The first article describes the scientific review and its methodology, and
provides related health articles. It shows that there is a lot of action
and research going on in this arena. From the scientific review, they
concluded (I quote) “inadequate intake of several vitamins has been linked
to chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, cancer, and
osteoporosis. 1 (Scientific review)
The second link is to the clinical application. From the clinical review,
they also concluded (I quote) ”most people do not consume an optimal
amount of all vitamins by diet alone. Pending strong evidence of
effectiveness from randomized trials, it appears prudent for all adults to
take vitamin supplements.” 2 (Clinical applications)
Incidentally, if you have any serious interest in scientific research and
reviews, this provides a very good learning opportunity in the mechanics
of obtaining information. It shows you how you can, as a guest, obtain an
overview of medical information that usually is only available to doctors
and other health professionals. Interesting exercise.
Here we obviously meet a challenge. What supplements should you eat? How
do you find what your body is missing? Again, this article makes it easier
to find some answers and direction. It suggests a “multivitamin”. Most
commonly, that term is meant to include both vitamins and minerals. Here
comes next huge challenge. If you stood in front of a pharmacy or health
food sore section, which contains all sorts of “offerings” of vitamins and
minerals, how do you choose the one to match these criteria? How very
frustrating! How discouraging! In my community health clinics I have often
gone with people to show them just how difficult it is to read the labels
(tiny print for one thing) and figure out what your body actually needs.
Here is one excellent resource. It is called The Comparative Guide To
Nutritional Supplements ISBN 0-9732538-0-0 by Lyle MacWilliam. It’s really
worth the investment of a few dollars to help you sort through the
confusion and the individual elements (vitamins & minerals). This manual
ranks over 250 companies and over 500 products…I often do comparisons for
people who tell me they are on the best quality supplements. Using this
resource, I don’t need to guess. I can give an immediate rating. I see a
major challenge for the ordinary person. How do you get answers to
questions such as “how much is seen as optimal and what kind of product do
I take to meet those recommendations?” “How much leads me to toxicity? Who
do I trust to ask? How can I do more research? Once you have a tool like
The Comparative Guide, it helps you to make better choices. It guides you
in finding a supplement to meet these recommendations. Or you can compare
your own ideas about supplementation.
I was speaking to a very skeptical man recently. He was convinced that all
companies were out to “fleece” him. That they all produced the same
products: just offered different promises. Of course all companies see
themselves as being the best. So you must find yourself an objective group
of scientists who know what to research and how to compare “apples to
apples”. If you don’t have your own trustworthy source, you might like to
use this Comparative Guide To Nutritional Supplements by Lyle MacWilliam.
Not only does this book compare 500 products but it also explains the
function or action of each ingredient and the need for them. This book
will save you a lot of frustration and aimless running around.
When I first became involved with using nutritional supplements, I had no
idea why the ones that were recommended to us by doctors for the Meniere’s
disease sufferers, worked. I just knew they did. But when you see people getting
so much better, you get a strong desire (passion) to figure out why is
this happening. Why did it not happen when people said they ate well and
had no bad habits? We knew this particular company’s only goal was to
help the immune system. But why did these work and why did others not
work? It was only after we received this JAMA report that we finally
understood the significance of using balanced, complete and optimal
supplements. So if you are as unsure of finding an effective supplement as
we were, I urge you to get this Guide. If you are already using a
supplement, check it out here. Compare it to what scientifically is known
to be needed by the body.
Let me try to help you connect this entire concept to what might be
already going on in your own life. Hopefully, that will help you to
understand this idea a bit better. But before I can do that, I need to
work you through a few definitions: disease, chronic and degeneration to
help you connect all these terms. (This is how I got through all my
nursing courses: definition by definition.)
Medical terminology is quite confusing at times and my entire purpose in
writing these articles, is to demystify this important part of your life. Mosby defines “disease” as “a condition of abnormal vital function
involving any structure, part, or system of an organism”. (In this case,
you are the “organism”.) Mosby defines “chronic” as “(of a disease or
disorder) developing slowly and persisting for a long period, often for
the remainder of a person’s lifetime”. The term “degeneration” is defined
by Webster as “passing from a better to an inferior state: to
deteriorate”. Mosby defines “degeneration” as “the gradual deterioration
of normal cells and body functions degenerative as “to change to a lower
level or dysfunctional form.” It describes a degenerative disease as “in
which deterioration or function of tissue occurs. Some kinds of
degenerative disease are arteriosclerosis, cancer, osteoarthritis.”
But now this report mentions that you can prevent these conditions! Do you
begin to get the idea that your life might be a bit better?
The JAMA study specifically mentions heart disease, cancer, and
osteoporosis. Can you believe that list would stop at only those “health”
conditions? (What a misnomer!) I feel many more conditions qualify. Let me
explain. We know cancer is a chronic degenerative condition. Medline lists
these conditions as “degenerative”: Osteoarthritis Spinal Diseases
Arthritis Spinal Stenosis Rheumatoid Arthritis.
You can search for them by clicking this link.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists these chronic
diseases and conditions: Arthritis, Asthma, & Allergies, Cancer, Chronic
Fatigue Syndrome, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Heart Disease, Hemochromatosis,
Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Iron Overload, Osteoporosis, Overweight, and
Obesity Stroke …do you think there could be more?
There is a difference between aging and degeneration. One does not equal
the other. We all age, but we don’t all have chronic diseases. Lyle
MacWilliam, in The Comparative Guide, writes “attaining extremely old age
was not a process of declining health. Rather than the older you are the
sicker you get, the study showed; the older you are, the healthier you
have been- becoming old and becoming ill are not inseparable. (Pg 6)
Please read this sentence again. It makes complete sense! This is essence
is what I really try hard to get across to people.
If you would like to read more about your immune system, here is a link to
an article I wrote;
Although this immune system article is directed towards our Meniere’s
sufferers, all the information holds true for anyone else. Ultimately you
are trying to rebuild or repair your immune system. That is your overall
protective mechanism. And that is possible according to this JAMA article
Now if you think this through with objectivity, does it not tell you that
a degenerative condition might possibly be healed? And by using
nutritional supplements? A burning question for you at this point might
be: “how long would it take. ”How long would it take to get past the
symptoms that are so unpleasant or debilitating?” I would hazard a guess
that no one can predict that. From my experience, every person’s body is
different. They heal at different times and in different ways. I also
strongly believe it depends on what you are doing to help the situation.
Are you adding to the problem? For example, many drugs add more chemicals.
(More drugs = more chemicals and interactions.) Your body has to
metabolize them. And that takes away from the immediate healing process.
But if you go back to the articles, why not ask yourself if you condition
could be healed?? Explore this avenue of thought in detail and with hope.
What do you have to loose by spending some serious time thinking in a
positive fashion. Use the scientific review of a major health organization
(AMA). Have you ever wondered why people go to such unusual health places
that offer “healing”? So if you think about this recommendation as
published in the JAMA, could there be a remote chance for you to get past
your symptoms? I would venture to guess you already know that your body is
constantly repairing itself. Now if you consciously give it the very best
nutrients with which to do this, could this increase the chance of doing
this? And maybe more quickly and more completely?
Here is yet another protective mechanism your body had built in: the
Again, just as your immune system is protecting you, so is every single
cell of your body. Your liver is filtering constantly as are your sinuses.
Your lungs are protecting you as is your lymphatic system. And if you feed
every single part of your body with nutrients that heal instead of adding
to its’ workload, what would you conclude? That it could protect you
better and more quickly and withstand other invaders, maybe? I find this
fascination and very hopeful!
This is why I think it’s so important for you to understand this concept.
I have already mentioned our success with one particular degenerative
condition (Meniere’s) in helping people. In fact we also had the same
success with other degenerative conditions or chronic diseases. So I hope
you will study these concepts and hopefully understand, to a small degree,
why it can happen.
When this information first appeared in the June edition of the JAMA, I
was elated! It confirmed our findings. Of course our work is not
scientifically set up. We simply hear from people what has worked for
them. But to read these scientific findings now gives our work much more
support. At least we know we are on the right track. I am now very
hopeful. The abstracts mentioned cardiovascular disease, cancer and
osteoporosis. But it also contained a very important word in one of the
paragraphs. This word “including” is in this phrase “are associated with
increased risk of chronic diseases “INCLUDING” cardiovascular disease,
cancer and osteoporosis”.
To you this might not mean a whole lot, but to me it was literally
world-changing! I know from my own medical experience, no one publishes
“words’ without making sure they are correct. (It is why I spend time
defining medical terminology for you.) Every single word used carries an
important message. I have already mentioned that chronic diseases are
degenerative. They are not part of the normal aging process. Everyone
ages. Not everyone has a degenerative condition. I am sure you have heard
of people dying of “old age”. That is aging. This study singled out
cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and osteoporosis, BUT IT DID NOT LIMIT IT
TO JUST THOSE FEW CONDITIONS! It mentions “chronic conditions including”.
Now please follow my line of thinking. Why might you have a chronic
condition? Could it be because your immune system isn’t strong enough to
keep you healthy? Could it be because you are lacking in nutrients? What
if you replaced those missing nutrients? Could you possibly reverse this
degenerative condition? Doesn’t this scientific research give you a little
more hope that it might be a path to explore?
Let me plant a thought in your head. Does it not seem that the symptoms
of your unhealthy condition are inconsistent? You have good days and not
so good ones, right? Why would that be? Is your body healthier on some
days than others? Why could that be? And how would you increase the number
of good days versus the number of bad days? Maybe like eating things that
feed your body better? Like supplements that supply your body with
everything it needs? Could good days be a remission? Could bad days be
exacerbations or “flare up”? And what could be causing those good days?
Could it possibly be that on good days your immune system is healthy
enough? That you might have more good nutrients in your body to support
our body doing what it is meant to do? Let your mind dwell on this.
You now have learned that it is possible to help support your immune system. Let
your mind wander a bit and ask yourself how you could make some changes to
promote this on a more frequent, more controlled basis. What would you
have to do? I suspect taking a top-notch quality nutritional supplement
would head the list. But I would also ask you to consider what else is
going into your body right now that adds to the problem. In other words,
what are you taking into or onto your body that is NOT supporting its
health? Would your symptoms be lessened if you didn’t do those things?
Would it be worth an experiment? Could this be a viable alternative to
surgery or drugs? It is worthwhile exploring: the outcomes might be very
surprising and very pleasing.
I am going to leave you with one last “commentary”. When he wrote this, Dr
Laz Bannock was the nutritionist to the UK Olympic team and UK Athletic
Association. He was also the former nutritionist to the late Princess of
Wales. He offers a distance education course in professional Clinical
All Adults Should Take a Daily Multivitamin, Recommends AMA Journal
All adults should take a multivitamin every day, according to a report
published by two Harvard doctors in the Journal of the American Medical
Association (2002;287:3127–9). This recommendation is based on research
demonstrating that taking a multivitamin may help prevent a number of
chronic diseases, including heart disease, some cancers, and osteoporosis.
According to the authors, the evidence is “conclusive” that supplementing
with folic acid during the first trimester of pregnancy reduces the risk
of a group of birth defects known as neural tube defects. It is also well
documented that taking vitamin D along with calcium reduces the risk of
fractures in elderly women with thin bones (osteoporosis). A strong,
though not conclusive, case can be made that supplementing with folic
acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 may help prevent heart disease by
lowering homocysteine levels. Additional research suggests that vitamin
supplements may reduce the risk of colon and breast cancer.
The new recommendation is part of a gradual but ongoing attitude shift in
conventional medicine concerning the value of nutritional supplements. For
many years, the prevailing opinion among most doctors was that vitamin
supplements are unnecessary because the typical American diet provides all
of the nutrients necessary to maintain good health. However, as the
Harvard researchers point out, that opinion is no longer defensible.
The observation that vitamin supplementation can prevent several common
chronic diseases indicates that the average American diet does not provide
optimal amounts of some nutrients. Subtle vitamin deficiencies can result
from excessive consumption of nutrient-depleted foods such as refined
sugar and white flour, from inadequate intake of vitamin-rich fruits and
vegetables, and from nutrient losses due to processing, prolonged heating,
or storage of foods.
While vitamin supplementation can correct certain deficiencies, it is not
an adequate substitute for a good diet. That is because whole, unprocessed
foods contain a wide array of beneficial substances besides vitamins, such
as carotenoids, flavonoids, natural antioxidants, and other unidentified
compounds. As one researcher recently suggested, the best approach to
disease prevention is to eat properly and to take a multivitamin.
The authors of the new report point out that most multivitamins contain
iron; supplementation with this mineral may be inadvisable for many men,
non-menstruating women, and a small proportion of the population with an
inherited intolerance to iron (hemochromatosis). Therefore, individuals
who are taking a multivitamin should discuss with their doctor whether it
is appropriate to include iron in their supplement.
The publication of this new report is an encouraging sign that
conventional medicine is finally taking a more serious look at the role
played by nutrition in the prevention and treatment of illness. Dr Laz
Bannock, has been teaching undergraduate and graduate level students in
clinical nutrition for the past 5 years. He is currently Professor of
Applied Clinical Nutrition with the IICN in London, England.
Please remember there that I am asking you to think: NOT to jump to any
conclusions right now. Just be open to learning more and asking more
questions or different questions. I sound like a broken record, but this
is YOUR body: no one else’s. And if the AMA published an article that
suggests you could prevent degenerative conditions such as cancer, heart
disease, and osteoporosis, would it not be an idea to think that the
quality of your life could possibly be better?
Keep these questions and thoughts in mind as you print off the abstracts.
By Karin Henderson - Nurse, Retired.
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