Sep 21, 2012

Consider Nutritional Supplements

     Vitamins and minerals have been used to treat illnesses other than obvious nutritional deficiencies for over 70 years.

    Jonathan Wright, M.D., treated a child who suffered from chronic nasal congestion and who had been repeatedly admitted to hospital emergency rooms for wheezing. Antihistamine medication failed to improve his condition. Wright diagnosed the boy's problem as an inability to digest and absorb nutrients, and he prescribed vitamin B12 injections, digestive supplements, magnesium and other minerals. The patient's health improved quickly and he has had no further wheezing attacks.

     Not all of the dosages used in orthomolecular medicine are in the megavitamin category, but some are dramatic multiples of the standard daily recommendations. To reduce hay fever or asthma symptoms, a physician might recommend 5 to 20 grams of powdered ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to be taken in small doses with water over a 24-hour period. A mild cold may be prevented by taking 30 to 60 grams, influenza with 100 to 150 grams and viral pneumonia with dosages up to 200 grams in 24 hours. Considering that a 500 mg tablet (1/2 gram) is considered a high dose of vitamin C, these recommendations are unusual and they should not be taken without supervision. This treatment for the prevention of an acute infection lasts for several days or until all symptoms disappear. The dosage remains high until the body indicates its vitamin C saturation point by developing loose bowels, a signal to reduce the amount. Many orthomolecular physicians have found that taking vitamin C to bowel tolerance (the diarrhea point) effectively treats colds, flu, infections, allergies, burns, viral pneumonia and autoimmune disorders.

    In general, those with respiratory infections or illnesses benefit from the daily use of a well-balanced multiple vitamin and mineral supplement and additional trace minerals.

Avoid Sulfites and Other Additives

       People with asthma or allergies may find their symptoms alleviated by the simple strategy of avoiding chemical preservatives and artificial coloring. Sulfur dioxide, sodium bisulfite and sulfites are used to prevent dryness, stiffening and discoloration in dried fruits, frozen potatoes, shrimp, avocado dips, salads, vegetables, wine, beer and other foods.

     According to Michael Murray, N.D., and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D., in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, a restaurant customer can easily ingest up to 100 mg of metabisulphite in a single meal. Asthma attacks can be triggered by exposure to sulfites, tartrazine (an orange food dye) and benzoates (preservatives), and at least four deaths caused by sulfites have been reported to the Food and Drug Administration. Always check labels for additives and, in general, try to avoid processed foods that contain chemicals.

      How can you tell if the food in a restaurant or supermarket has been treated with sulfites? If the management displays a sign claiming "no sulfites," it's probably true. In 1986, the FDA made the use of sulfites on fresh produce illegal, so salad bars are less a hazard than they used to be. Still, prepared foods may contain sulfites and it's best to be sure. The demand for a simple way of determining sulfite content inspired the development of sulfite test strips, which can be dipped into any food. The strips turn red, revealing the presence of sulfites, or green, showing that the food is sulfite-free.