What to use and how to take it? See how nutritional supplements can help you


by Walter Last

Most individuals on conventional diets with much refined and processed food have either outright deficiencies or a shortage of various vitamins, minerals, enzymes and hormones. Generally, the intake of essential nutrients is less than optimal, making us susceptible to disease. Deficiencies are even more widespread in those who suffer already an acute or chronic disease. Sometimes individuals have had to suffer for years and have had large expenses for conventional treatments while a few simple supplements could correct the problems.

Supplements are most important for individuals with malabsorption and those who still retain processed and refined food as part of their diet, or who cannot regularly obtain vegetables and fruit grown organically in good soil. The more serious the disease or the health deterioration, the more are supplements likely to be beneficial and the greater should be the dosages and range of supplements.

Calcium supplements are commonly used with conventional diets and many are apprehensive of obtaining sufficient calcium when abstaining from milk products. This concern is unfounded. Calcium is not well absorbed from milk as can be seen in the high incidence of osteoporosis developing on conventional Western diets while this is not a problem in milk-free Asian countries. Vegetables, sprouted and fermented seeds, on the other hand, are high in useable calcium. The calcium content in juice from cereal grasses is higher than in milk. Cows obtain their calcium from grass.

Similar considerations apply to iron, which can easily become harmful as an inorganic supplement; anyway, much more widespread than calcium and iron deficiencies are deficiencies in chromium, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.

Generally, health authorities promote pharmaceutical drugs as beneficial and natural remedies as harmful. To denigrate natural remedies they are officially called drugs, and the doctrine has been invented that synthetic products are the same as natural ones. Negative or harmful research results using synthetic products, such as vitamins A, D, E or beta-carotene, are then used as ‘scientific’ proof that natural remedies are either useless or dangerous.

Many supplements are concentrated health foods; taking these is not the same as the 'pill-popping' of medical drugs. While I believe that supplements are unnecessary if one is healthy and lives on a high quality diet in an unpolluted environment, I also feel that it is very difficult to remain healthy in present times and even more difficult to heal an 'incurable' disease. Carefully selected supplements can make a great difference in these endeavors, especially for those who are just starting to improve their diets.

I am not in favor of using multivitamin tablets as they often contain synthetic forms of vitamins A, D and E. Instead, if required, it is better to use a low-potency B complex in addition to vitamin C and cod liver or halibut liver oil. Mineral supplements are often more important than vitamins and may contain approximately 15 mg zinc, 5 mg manganese 100 to 200 mcg selenium and 200 mcg chromium, also 500 mg of magnesium and up to twice this amount of calcium if the blood pressure is low. Much higher doses, especially of selected vitamins, may be used where indicated for therapeutic effects.

In addition, you may use general supplements to increase overall well-being and vitality. Of special benefit for those lacking energy are ginseng, coenzyme Q10, royal jelly, bee-pollen and freeze-dried liver. Pollen is my favorite as well as spirulina or chlorella. Even more beneficial than dried algae are frozen ones such as those marketed as E3 because they still contain all of their enzymes.

Digestive enzymes and hydrochloric-acid supplement can help those with weak digestion. For those in conditions of debility, amino acid and nucleic acid supplements can also help. The most important amino acids are generally lysine, tyrosine, methionine and glutamine. Various herbs can be used to tone up the whole body or to strengthen specific organs or functions.

Many supplements such as vitamin B12 and the freeze-dried glands are much more effective if partly absorbed under the tongue, chewed lightly, and kept in the mouth for as long as possible.

Lecithin is beneficial for most individuals; you may mix a teaspoonful with meals. Lecithin can be mixed with ground linseed in the same jar. If lack of omega-3 fatty acids is indicated, linseed oil or cod-liver oil and other fish oils may be taken; in case of malabsorption the oil may be rubbed into the skin. These oils help to reduce inflammations, pain and allergic swellings. On a diet low in iodized salt and seafood we may become iodine deficient. Kelp tablets or granules are excellent for supplying iodine as well as many other minerals. With infections use high levels of vitamins C, A and E, zinc, propolis and echinacea.

Sulfur compounds detoxify and remove from the body heavy metals, harmful chemicals and drugs. MSM is especially good for this (see the separate article in this chapter). Sulfur is also a main component of connective tissue, and supplementation is beneficial with all connective tissue diseases (for example, arthritis). Even simply taking powdered sulfur has been shown to increase the formation of useful sulfur compounds. You may just take a gelatin capsule filled with sulfur once a day or mix a pinch of it with each meal. The main sulfur amino acids are taurine, L-cysteine and L-methionine, the main sulfur foods are egg and onion.

Generally, increase and decrease high levels of supplements, especially vitamins, gradually and interrupt or greatly reduce supplement intake during fasting or cleansing periods. Most vitamin-mineral supplements are best absorbed and cause less gastro-intestinal irritation if mixed with the meal as powders, crushed tablets or opened capsules. The next best way is to swallow tablets near the middle of the meal and avoid slow-release tablets. However, take amino acids before the meal. This applies also to calcium as it is not well absorbed and tends to form insoluble soaps with fatty acids during digestion.

Selection of Vitamin Supplements

Commercial growing and processing and traditional Western cooking methods reduce the vitamin and mineral content of food to only a fraction of that in fresh, raw, organically grown foods. As an example, methyl bromide, a widely used fumigant for grains, destroys all the pantothenic acid (a B vitamin).

Unfortunately, these days many vitamins (especially vitamin C and the B vitamins) are simply not available in sufficient amounts in foods or natural supplements, and synthetic supplements are sometimes necessary in order to improve or maintain health. However, vitamins that are available as natural concentrates (A, D and E) should be avoided in synthetic form. Natural vitamin E is d-alpha tocopherol; dl-alpha tocopherol is synthetic. Even better is the whole vitamin E complex in the form of mixed tocopherols or a combination of alpha tocopherol and mixed tocopherols.

Store vitamin supplements in a dry, cool and dark place. Oil-filled capsules should be taken during a meal containing oily or fatty food and lecithin. However, many individuals most in need of these vitamins have absorption problems and for them oil-filled capsules are not suitable. Therefore, I generally recommend using tablets of natural vitamin E rather than oil-filled capsules. If in doubt about your digestive abilities take a few halibut oil or other fish oil capsules at bedtime and keeping them in the mouth to be slowly absorbed over night. Otherwise take all supplements during meals or mixed with food. Small amounts with several meals are better absorbed than a large amount in a single dose. Increase and decrease high-dosage supplements gradually.

Chewing vitamin and mineral supplements together with food produces much better results than just swallowing them. Appreciable amounts of vitamin B12 can be absorbed by keeping a tablet under the tongue, even if it cannot be absorbed in the stomach, because of a lack of 'intrinsic factor' (a substance usually present in the stomach that is involved in the absorption of vitamin B12). However, more recent studies show that vitamin B12 is even better absorbed through the nasal mucosa. At bedtime you may just put a drop from an opened vitamin B12 ampoule into each nostril.

If there are signs of increased requirements for individual nutrients, you may use separate supplements for the B group and the vitamins A, C and E, in addition to the indicated deficient nutrients.

The acid form of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) may be used with protein meals, especially if you are too alkaline or lacking in gastric acid. If more than 3-5 g per day is taken regularly, those with high blood pressure may partly neutralize the ascorbic acid with an equal amount of milk of magnesia, or with one-third the amount of potassium bicarbonate or magnesium carbonate. With low blood pressure and possible overacidity you may take calcium ascorbate instead.

Antioxidants are of greatest importance for minimizing oxidative tissue damage and, with this, avoid diseases and delay aging. In a more recent development a high intake of antioxidants has also been found to be crucial in preventing and overcoming viral infections. The major antioxidants include the vitamins A, C and E, the minerals selenium and zinc as components of antioxidant enzyme systems, the plant pigments beta-carotene, bioflavonoids and anthocyanins as well as phenols and catechols (e.g. Pycnogenol, grape seed extract, green tea). Other powerful antioxidants are alpha lipoic acid and negative hydrogen as in Microhydrin or electrolytically reduced water (ERW) produced with water ionizers. Whether you take antioxidants as supplements or as part of a high-quality diet, just make sure that you get plenty.

Instead of taking vitamin and mineral supplements it is often more effective and cheaper to use special foods high in vitamins, minerals and enzymes, such as sprouted seeds and juices of young grasses and colored root vegetables. The only disadvantage is that this requires greatly increased time and energy. Very high levels of vitamins and minerals are often needed because the body has become inefficient in absorbing and using them, and also because of allergies, chronic inflammations, low gastric acid levels, parasites, stress and chemical contamination

These problems can usually be improved or rectified on a predominantly raw-food cleansing diet based on fermented food, purple food, grass and vegetable juice and sprouted seeds. Despite the fact that someone on such a diet has a much lower vitamin and mineral intake than the person on high potency tablets, overall healing is much more effective.

After sufficient health improvement, you may feel that most nutritional supplements are no longer needed. With a good maintenance diet, I recommend to continue indefinitely using the following health foods, or equivalent ones: several teaspoons each of bee pollen, ground linseed, and spirulina or chlorella; half a teaspoon of kelp, and one tablespoon of cod liver oil (emulsified with lecithin and fresh juice); also some lecithin and magnesium chloride with meals will be helpful.

Are Nutritional Supplements Dangerous?

Generally, health authorities promote pharmaceutical drugs as beneficial and natural remedies as harmful. They tend to call natural remedies “drugs”, and the doctrine has been invented that synthetic nutrients are the same as natural ones. Negative or harmful research results using synthetic products, such as vitamins A, D, E or beta-carotene, are then used as ‘‘scientific proof” that natural remedies are either useless or dangerous.

While numerous trials have shown significant health benefits for individuals with higher levels of beta-carotene in their blood, clinical trials with synthetic beta-carotene and synthetic vitamin E have shown increased rates of death due to cancer.

Vitamin A has been portrayed as the most dangerous supplement, largely based on studies with synthetic vitamin A. There are dire warnings that it can easily cause death in amounts higher than the RDA (5,000 IU). However, many people take 25,000 IU or more daily without problems, and as far as I can ascertain, there has never been a death recorded due to vitamin A supplements in the U.S. in the 60 years that these have been in use. There appears to be only one recorded death in the literature, that of a chemist in England in the 1950’s. He ingested two million IU daily of retinyl acetate for 3 month, and died of liver cirrhosis.

I am not aware of any pharmaceutical drug having such a good safety record. Even one of the safest drugs, aspirin, has been stated to cause about 100 deaths a year, and many more cases of toxicity. In comparison the reported cases of (usually easily reversible) vitamin A toxicity in the U.S. were 5 per year.

Similar unfounded attacks have been made against vitamins C and E. For more detailed information on this subject see The Life Extension Foundation at www.lef.org, for articles on megavitamin therapy also www.doctoryourself.com.

Imagine the mass media if there were actually some fatalities due to vitamin A. Yet there is no concern at all about thousands of patients dying, in my view unnecessarily, due to prescription drugs. In the public the perception has been generated that fatalities due to prescription drugs are a small price to pay for their overall benefit. This benefit has never been shown in the long term. Drug approval is based on short-term trials, and only by accident may the truth of long-term harm occasionally emerge as in the case of hormone-replacement therapy. I believe that in the long-term all drugs become harmful, and a burden on the liver or kidneys by increasing our load of toxic chemicals, and accelerate our health deterioration. Therefore, with any health problem, inform yourself about all available options.

You may benefit from using herbal remedies instead of drugs.


I believe that there are at most a handful of medical drugs that may be beneficial for the user while all the thousands of other drugs are only beneficial for the prescriber and the pharmaceutical industry. Almost all drugs are designed to alleviate only symptoms without really improving our health. On the contrary, in addition to numerous side effects, they commonly become a burden on the liver or kidneys by increasing our load of toxic chemicals, and with this accelerate our health deterioration. Many also tend to become addictive and when withdrawing the drug produce the same symptoms that they originally made to go away.

Herbs are not completely harmless either but damage due to commonly used herbs is extremely rare while benefits are usually more genuine and lasting. In contrast to culinary herbs medicinal herbs should be used on a long-term basis only if there is a reason for using them and not just in case they may do some good. Herbs for a wide range of health problems have been listed in Specific Health Problems. Here I just like to enlarge on a few herbs and conditions that I regard as being particularly important on the road to better health.

A good combination to cleanse the gastro-intestinal tract is a mixture of chilies with a sufficiently large quantity of gingerroot. Blend or crush these in lemon juice and olive oil and refrigerate. Use this as a salad dressing or generally for flavoring meals. Gradually increase the intake to just below your tolerance level for several weeks. Then you may continue to use it just in normal amounts for flavoring your food. With serious infections, inflammations or cancer of the gastro-intestinal tract you may also add fresh garlic for a limited period.

Peppermint tea is especially good to stimulate the digestion and uplift the spirit while slippery elm powder soothes the digestive tract. Sage is highly esteemed. An ancient saying is: 'Why die (of a disease) when sage grows in your garden?' It may be combined with other herbs and is prepared by adding 2 teaspoons of dried sage to 1 pint of boiling water. After 3 minutes take off the heat and let draw for another 10 minutes. Other fragrant or leaf herbs such as peppermint or St Johnswort may be added while drawing. The latter, of course, is very effective against depression. In a comparative clinical trial it has been found to be as effective as antidepressant drugs.

The immune system may be strengthened with echinacea, propolis, European mistletoe (viscum album), Easter lily, Reishi and other oriental mushrooms. Echinacea may be added to all other herb combinations. However, there are some findings that echinacea can cause problems if taken uninterruptedly for several months. Therefore it may be preferable to interrupt its use after a month and then take it again a few weeks later.

Wormwood and garlic are excellent against all kinds of parasites as well as Candida. A combination of golden seal, ginger and slippery elm powder is good with gastro-intestinal inflammations and also multiple sclerosis. In addition to being an excellent wound healer, comfrey is also a good detoxifier. You may drink a cupful of comfrey tea two or three times a week.

To aid digestion it is generally beneficial to drink half a cup of bitter herb tea after a large or cooked meal. Suitable are centaury, dandelion (not roasted), devil's claw, gentian and others. These also help to restore liver functions. With any lung conditions, including lung cancer, have a daily steam inhalation (with a towel over the head) of hot chamomile tea, possibly with the addition of eucalyptus or tea tree oil or some onion.

Maca is a root vegetable from the Peruvian Andes. It is by far the best remedy for balancing the activities of our endocrine glands and hormone systems. It appears to act directly on the hypothalamus and pituitary systems to regulate especially the thyroid, adrenals and sex glands. It is especially effective with underactive thyroid, as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy, including hysterectomy, for age-related decline in the production of sex hormones and with general lack of energy. An average daily intake is about 10 g but start with less.

Licorice, too, has some effect on sex hormones but is most useful as a stimulant of adrenal functions. With this it can raise low blood pressure and energy levels and is useful for chronic fatigue syndrome, peptic ulcers, skin inflammations and HIV/AIDS, it also increases pancreas secretions. However, it causes retention of sodium and low potassium levels and should not be used with high blood pressure, kidney disease or during pregnancy. The normal therapeutic range is from 2 to 6 g daily.