Sometimes people believe that vitamins can make up for an unhealthy diet. Here is a short description of the current processes of creating vitamins to help you decide if vitamins can fulfill that role in your life.
There is an assumption that if a vitamin is labeled “natural”, that it is healthy for you. Actually a product only has to include 10% of natural plant-derived ingredients to be given this designation. The other 90% can be synthetic. Manufacturers generally don’t like using concentrates or extracts derived from whole food sources because of low nutrient potency and limited shelf life. Nutrients are easily degraded by heat, pH changes, light, and oxygen. Here is some information about how vitamins are made and their effects.
From http://healthwyze.org/ “The food-based vitamins that are currently available are actually worse than their synthetic counterparts. Almost all of the food-based vitamins that we recently evaluated were fermented in yeasts and bacteria. Usually these were genetically engineered yeasts and bacteria to make them toxic enough to accelerate their pathogenic life processes. This manufacturing is a way to cheat using bacteria and yeasts to break the foods down instead of using chemicals. In actuality, neither the process nor the end product is natural or food-like. The biotechnology industry found a way to trick us all into making genetic engineering a part of our "natural" supplementation. We wrote this report because we have had repeated calls from people who were having allergy problems or sicknesses that increased with increased multi-vitamin usage. In every case, it was caused by one of the multi-vitamin products that was allegedly food-based, but which was not actually made from foods. A diet of yeast will, in fact, attack the immune system to make both allergies and illnesses worse. These so-called "multi-vitamins" are worse than no vitamins at all”.
Fortification of foods with vitamin B-3 has led to intakes much greater than what’s recommended, especially in children who eat processed fortified foods. Higher intake of vitamin B-3 can cause increased appetite and impaired glucose tolerance leading to obesity. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17991653
The Food & Drug Administration has permitted ascorbic acid to be identified as Vitamin C. Ascorbic acid is made with corn syrup—not exactly a health food. These are the steps to making this chemical:
Steps 1 thru 9: Corn starch is broken down into simple sugar (D-Glucose) by the action of heat and enzymes.
Step 10 (Hydrogenation): D-Glucose is converted into D-Sorbitol.
Step 11 (Fermentation): D-Sorbitol is converted into L-Sorbose.
Step 12 (Acetonation): Yes that's right, they use acetone! L-Sorbose is combined with an acid at low temperatures.
Step 13 (Oxidation): The product is then oxidized with a catalyst, acidified, washed and dried forming L-Gluconic Acid.
Step 14 (Hydrolysis): L-Gluconic Acid is treated with hydrochloric acid forming crude ascorbic acid.
Step 15 (Recrystallization): The crude ascorbic acid is filtered, purified and milled into a fine crystalline powder.
This finished product is not really “Vitamin C”, but legally can be called so.
Conditional scurvy is reported to occur following excessive doses of ascorbic acid over a prolonged period of time. Ascorbic acid side effects more often include oxalate or urate kidney stones, and hyperoxaluria. Migraine headache has been reported with a daily dose of 6 grams. Gastrointestinal side effects have included nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, esophagitis, nausea, and diarrhea. Ascorbic acid, while proven to kill bacteria effectively, is not discriminatory in its anti-microbial abilities and will wipe out good bacteria in the gut. Esophagitis appears to be associated with prolonged or increased contact of ascorbic acid tablets. This information is from Ryan Andrews and Web MD.
The New York Times reported on a study conducted by Dr. Victor Herbert, professor of medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. This study found that rather than reduce free radicals which lead to cell damage, synthetic C supplements actually promoted free radical generation. “Unlike the vitamin C naturally present in foods like fruits and peppers, ascorbic acid is not an antioxidant, it's a redox agent - an antioxidant in some circumstances and a pro-oxidant in others," said Dr. Herbert.
The manufacturing of vitamin D3 starts with 7-dehydrocholesterol (usually from wool oil), which turns into cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) when exposed to ultraviolet light. “Vitamin D is not really a vitamin,” write scientists for the New England Journal of Medicine. For something to be a vitamin, it should provide the body with an essential nutrient that it cannot make on its own, but requires for survival.
Vitamin D has “vitamin like” activity, which initially tricks the body into thinking the host of associated co-hormones is present. Before vitamin D was intensely promoted to the public, it was used to kill rodents. In their report, “The Endocrine System,” the University of Colorado, reminds us, "Ingestion of milligram quantities of vitamin D over periods of weeks or months can be severely toxic to humans and animals. In fact, baits laced with vitamin D are used very effectively as rat poison." This copycat hormone tends to induce calcification, which can lead to heart failure, kidney damage, and more. Evidence suggests that dietary vitamin D may be carried by lipoprotein particles into cells of the artery wall and atherosclerotic plaque, where it may be converted to active form by monocyte-macrophages. This may cause atherosclerotic calcification and cardiovascular risk. http://aspcapro.org/sites/pro/files/n-toxbrief_1201.pdf
This study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition describes the parameters of how toxicity occurs. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/88/2/582S.full
Capsules that enclose vitamin supplements can be derived from plant sources, like seaweeds, or animal sources like gelatin. Animal gelatin is from tallow, animal bone, marrow, or tissue scraps, and may include diseased tissues. The tablet coating methylene chloride is a carcinogen.
A more effective approach to good health might be to eat organic food, high in real “vitamins”; to eat foods right for your individual constitution; and to eat with a sense of gratitude for the work and sacrifice of people, plants and animals that bring the food to us.
Natural Healing for Herpes Viruses
The herb Prunella vulgaris has been well-researched in the past two decades, though the results of this research do not seem to be shared with the public. I want to share the results of some of these inquiries with you so that you may understand if this wonderful plant might help you in your lives. I do sell it on my website, curanderahealing.com on the market page, in a kit and also as a bulk herb.
The following article summarizes research into its traditional use for herpes viruses including AIDS, lymph problems and lymphoma, skin and wound healing and other research.
Presenting his findings at the 38th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy meeting in San Diego, California, Dr. Spencer Lee said, “We are certainly interested in the potential of Prunella vulgaris extract to help fight the herpes simplex virus because the substance is nontoxic.”
From Planta Med. 2006, Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, Department of Biology, University of Heidelberg, Germany. “Aqueous extracts from species of the Lamiaceae family were examined for their antiviral activity against Herpes simplex virus.” Extracts from lemon balm, peppermint, prunella vulgaris, rosemary, sage and thyme were screened. The conclusion was that these extracts have anantiviral effect on Herpes simplex virus and can be used for topical therapeutic application against Herpes infections.
Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the First Medical University of PLA, Guangdong, China. “An increasing portion of patients with HIV infection and/or AIDS cannot use currently FDA-approved anti-HIV drugs, including the reverse transcriptase and protease inhibitors, due to the adverse effects and the emergence of drug resistance. Thus, it is essential to develop new anti-HIV agents with a target different from the HIV reverse transcriptase and protease… We found that the extracts of two herbs, Prunella vulgaris and Rhizoma cibotte, showed potent inhibitory activity.”
At the Department of Biology and Institute of Chinese Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prunella vulgaris cream was assessed for its effect on Herpes Simplex Virus-1 skin lesion in guinea pigs and Herpes Simplex Virus -2 genital infection in mice. Guinea pigs that received the Prunella cream treatment showed a significant reduction in skin lesions. Mice that received the Prunella cream treatment showed a significant reduction in mortality. “In conclusion, the anti- Herpes Simplex Virus compound from Prunella vulgaris has potent activity against HSV-1 and HSV-2. Its mode of action appears to inhibit viral binding and penetration into host cells.”
Anti-HIV-1 activity of herbs. Biol Pharm Bull. 1998 The anti-HIV-1 activity of aromatic herbs in Labiatae was evaluated in vitro. Forty five extract from among 51 samples obtained from 46 herb species showed significant inhibitory effects against HIV-1 induced cytopathogenicity in MT-4 cells. In particular, the aqueous extracts of Melissa officinalis, a "grapefruit mint,"cinnamon, Perilla frutescens, Prunella vulgaris, and Satureja montana showed potent anti-HIV-1 activity. The active components in the extract samples were found to be water-soluble substances, not compounds such as essential oils.” This sounds to me like drinking the tea is the best way to get the herb into your body.
Zhejiang University, Hangzhou China has been studying how the components of the herb are so effective. “It has a wide array of biological effects exhibiting numerous therapeutic potentials. Its anti-microbial effects including anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects are, presently, receiving increasing attention. While its anti-viral effects are attributed mainly to the inhibition of virus replication, the biological mechanisms of its anti-bacterial effects or actions remain unknown… In this study, we have shown that the polysaccharides isolated from P. vulgaris have marked immune stimulatory effects, which may bring about the anti-microbial effects of P. vulgaris.”
“Extract of Prunella vulgaris spikes inhibits HIV replication at reverse transcription in vitro and can be absorbed from intestine in vivo (in vivo means within a living cell).” Published in Antiviral Chemistry and Chemotherapy in March of 2000. This indicates that the herpes virus destroying components of Prunella vulgaris will be absorbed and active after drinking the tea.
A comparison of human immunodeficiency virus type-1 protease inhibition activities by the aqueous and methanol extracts of Chinese medicinal herbs was carried out recently by the Department of Biochemistry, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
The Department of Biochemistry in the same university as above has conducted experiments with the conclusion that “The results support the view that herbs represent a rich source of anti-HIV compounds.” Though this seems to be widely known among researchers one has to wonder why the information has not been disseminated to the millions of people suffering from Herpes Simplex, chickenpox and AIDS?
Aside: New Drug for Herpes?
Walgreens online has this to say about the new Herpes drug, Truvada “WARNING: Severe and sometimes fatal lactic acidosis (a buildup of lactic acid in the blood) and liver problems have occurred with this type of medicine. Truvada is not designed to prevent or reduce specific symptoms.”
Lymph Problems and Lymphoma
The Department of Hematology at Tongji Medical College, in Wuhan, China came to the conclusion after experiments that “Prunella vulgaris can suppress the proliferation of Raji cells (a cultured line of lymphoblastoid cells derived from a Burkitt lymphoma that possesses numerous receptors for certain components which are suitable for use in detection of immune complexes) and may be a new anti-lymphoma drug.”
At Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, “Water extracts of Prunella vulgaris and P. laciniata have been investigated for their immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory activities…It was found that both extracts stimulated the proliferation of T-lymphocytes ...without any toxicity to cells.”
Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology. “This study indicates rosmarinic acid in prunella vulgaris is more effective than Cyclosporin in inhibiting lymphocyte cell-specific kinase… Cyclosporin employed as a control showed less than 30% inhibition at the same concentration.” (Cyclosporin is often used for psoriasis, severe atopic dermatitis, pyoderma gangrenosum, chronic autoimmune urticaria, and in rheumatoid arthritis. Short-term use of Cyclosporin can also cause elevation of the blood pressure, decrease in kidney function, as well as elevation of cholesterol and triglycerides).
Objectives of Current Research on Prunella Vulgaris
It would seem that the main focus of medical research into Prunella vulgaris is not how it can be used to heal more people, but analyzing the biochemical components that make it work. Presumably so that the most potent constituents of the herb can be synthesized, patented and sold for huge profits.
The Laboratory of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Department of Anatomy, University of Hong Kong is very interested in breaking down how the herb works. “Prunella vulgaris a popular herbal medicine, has long been associated with anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects. We hypothesized that the anti-microbial effects exhibited by the polysaccharides isolated from P. vulgaris encompass both anti-inflammatory and immune stimulatory effects. The results may help our understanding of the molecular mechanism of Prunella Vulgaris.”
Isolation, purification, and partial characterization of prunellin, an anti-HIV component from aqueous extracts of Prunella vulgaris. Antiviral Res. 1989 Jun-Jul; Department of Chemistry, University of California, Davis.
The Swiss and the French seem very interested in growing the herb and have cooperated in research to determine the best environment to grow it in. Evidence from a reciprocal transplant experiment.
Some of the research in other countries involves a fascination with creating “Frankenstein” plants. At Tropical Medicine Institute in Guangzhou, China, scientists are working on the establishment of “stably expressed human RANTES gene (RANTES genes are expressed in more than 100 human diseases) in prunella vulgaris cell clone.” This is done in the hopes that the research “could pave the way to obtain transgenic Prunella vulgaris plants demonstrating specific pharmacological activities.” Of course the plants already have been demonstrated to have pharmacological activities, but in its natural state may be too inexpensive and easily accessible to the general public for the pharmaceutical company that funds the research.