Our bodies haven't changed in thousands of years. However, what we put in them has been transformed dramatically, and only in the last 100 years. Today's manufactured and processed foods are essentially unrecognizable to our bodies. Ideally, we would eat food that is grown without the toxic cocktail of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Today we call that organic. For most of human history, it was simply called food. The bottom line is, we are putting things in our body that have never been there before and that our digestive system and other organs have a difficult time turning into usable nutrition. In addition, we must rid our bodies of the chemicals, colorings, flavorings, additives, etc., in our food while also dealing with environmental toxins in our household cleaning products, plastic containers, and so on.
Therapeutic nutrition is my term for specific foods that help build greater health, improve certain conditions, or both. For example, a patient’s chronic fatigue may be related to a food sensitivity or allergy. Removing those foods often helps them to get better. A patient may want to treat their constipation without laxatives. A general improvement in their diet can help to bring that about. When it comes to the chemicals in today’s food supply and environment, we can help our bodies get rid of the toxins by selecting the right foods.
As to supplements, because today’s conventional food supply comes from depleted, over-fertilized soil and crops that are continually doused with toxic chemicals, the result is often reduced nutrient value. I have seen the difference that high quality medical grade supplements can make in maintaining good health and treating many conditions.
When vitamins and supplements are used under a doctor’s supervision, the results can be dramatic. Many children with autism blossom with the regimen of vitamins and supplements that I prescribe. I have seen patients with chronic fatigue get their energy back and those suffering from chronic migraines become migraine free through following my dietary and supplement recommendations. Another example: I frequently use curcumin, the active ingredient in the herb turmeric, when treating arthritis. In high enough doses of the right formulation, it has helped many of my patients decrease arthritis pain. However, curcumin thins the blood, so if one is also taking blood thinning medication, their blood tests need to be carefully monitored when taking curcumin.
One warning: Other than a multivitamin, if you have a condition that you want to see improved through the use of vitamins and supplements, I strongly recommend that it be under a doctor’s supervision. Work with a doctor who is knowledgeable about nutrition, herbs and the therapeutic use of vitamins and nutrients.
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Dr. Kathryn Taketa-Wong, N.D., L.Ac. 1221 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 348 Honolulu, HI 96814