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Are Supplements Really Necessary

Dr. Jonathon Wright, often referred to as the doctor’s doctor, has written what this author considers to be one of the most profound and challenging dissertations regarding the use of supplement vitamins and minerals supplements ever printed.

  • Vitamins C & D
  • All the other “Essential nutrients”

Vitamins C & D

He maintains the human requirement for vitamin C results from a genetic defect–that is, the absence of a gene that encodes for the enzyme L-gulonolacotone oxydase, the last four enzymes that transforms glucose into ascorbic acid(Vitamin C).

He further maintains that because of this genetic lesion and because vitamin C is water-soluble and therefore transient, for optimal health and metabolically functioning for humans, daily vitamin C supplementation is a necessity.

With regard to vitamin D, its metabolization results from a precursor produced in skin by solar radiation. He further contends that humans evolved in tropical regions of planet earth where solar radiation and consequent vitamin D levels reach their maximum.

However, for those of us who don’t live in tropical regions, there is a need for vitamin D supplementation, especially “for anyone who has been persuaded that sunscreen use is beneficial.

Other Essential Nutrients

With regard to other vitamins and minerals, you can get most of what you need from food. However, there are two pre-events that may reduce your ability to make use of it. One of those pre-events has to do with what three generations back ate as food. If it was a totally healthy diet, you may be free for any problems. However, how do you know whether your mother, your grandmother, or even your great grandmother were sufficiently nutrient complete or nutrient deficient? Only by supplementation can we be sure that we have covered this particular aspect.

The other one has to do with the food we eat now. Is it nature organic, free-range and wild, or is it more like our western food chain? Unless everything we eat is in conformity with the above specifications, we need supplements, because it is well known that herbicides, pesticides and other agricultural chemicals are detrimental to optimal health. Furthermore, many foods are processed and refined with key nutrients removed, and/or sugar, trans-fats, and other ingredients that are detrimental to our health are added.

The above is a resume of what Dr. Wright wrote.

Inositol for Panic Attacks

Inositol, an essential component of cell membrane phospholipids, has several isomers. Myo-inositol is synthesized by the human body and found abundantly in the central nervous system. Myo-inositol has been studied in depression, and recently for panic disorders.

A double-blind placebo-controlled, crossover study looked at 21 patients with DSM-III-R diagnosis of panic disorder. Using Inositol, six grams was dissolved in juice twice daily, and the only medication allowed apart from inositol and placebo was 1 mg of oral lorazepam as needed for four weeks to either the study medication or placebo (mannitol or glucose), then crossed over to the alternate substance. Daily panic diaries were completed, recording the occurrences of the panic attacks, number of symptoms, and severity, along with recording any use of lorazepam. Results showed a significant decrease in the number of panic attacks, and panic scores tended to be lower. Eleven patients used lorazepam, and the use did not differ between the placebo and inositol phases. Side effects of inositol included two complaints of sleepiness, and generally, it was well tolerated.

A study by Joseph Levine considered patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Thirteen patients took 18 grams of inositol for six weeks, and a reduction of OCD symptoms was reported. They found the benefit of using inositol for depression and panic attacks, but did not for schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, ADDH, or autism.

In a double-blind, controlled crossover trial of inositol verse fluvoxamine, patients were randomized to take fluvoxamine tablets and placebo powder (glucose) or inositol powder and placebo tablets in four-week intervals, with a washout period of a week. Inositol dosages were 12 grams/day for one week, then 18 gram/day during weeks two through four. Fluvoxamine dosages were 150 mg/day. Diazepam 5 mg was the only drug allowed during the study. Twenty patients completed the study, and inositol was found to reduce the number of panic attacks. Overall, both drugs reduced panic attack frequency, intensity, anxiety scale scores and clinical global improvement scores. Side effects noted were nausea — 50% occurring during the inositol treatment, and tiredness — nine complaints during the fluvoxamine treatment and one complaint during the inositol treatment. Patients used an average of 1.5 diazepam 5 mg tablets during the inositol treatment, and 1.8 tablets during the fluvoxamine; therefore, not significant.

Both of these studies are limited by the sample size and duration of study. It was noted that there is little incentive for drug companies to support research on a non-patentable compound, and the authors encourage academic investigators to perform replication studies, as inositol seems as effective as (not more effective than) other treatments for depression, panic disorder, and OCD, and could be more acceptable to patients.

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