Have you ever heard someone say that supplements don't work - they just produce expensive urine? Well, if you have, you can assume that this person doesn't take supplements, probably never has, and if they have, they likely made a huge mistake. In fact, this mistake is the number one reason people don't think supplements work at all. But if you can avoid this mistake, you'll find that supplements are indeed very powerful.
But before I tell you what that mistake is, you need to know more about Dr. Roger Williams and his discovery of biochemical individuality. I mentioned Dr. Williams on Tuesday. His discovery is completely overlooked by our modern medical system - which leads to some terrible repercussions. If more doctors understood his principle, we wouldn't have as many health problems as we do today. Here's why.
Dr. Williams was no lightweight when it came to science. He graduated magna cum laude with a PhD in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1919. He taught at the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and beginning in 1940, at the University of Texas at Austin. He authored several widely used textbooks of organic chemistry and biochemistry. Dr. Williams was the first man to discover the B-vitamin pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). He became Emeritus Professor of Chemistry in 1971 and retired that position in 1986 at age 92.
Dr. Williams was the genius who discovered that the same vitamins that were so important for human health were also critical for the growth of various forms of yeast. This finding opened the door for the study of the effects of vitamins on bacteria and yeasts, which greatly sped up nutritional research. It was while studying yeasts that he discovered pantothenic acid.
At the University of Texas he founded and directed the Clayton Foundation Biochemical Institute, now called the Biochemical Institute. Researchers have discovered more vitamins and their variants in this laboratory than in any other laboratory in the world.
Of all of these great accomplishments, the concept of bio-chemical individuality is Dr. Williams' greatest achievement. If you'll remember, on Tuesday I told you about enzymes and how they work. I also told you about some people with "mild" McArdle disease. These people have genes that are able to make enough of the apo-enzyme for the myophosphorylase to have some activity, but not enough for optimal or even normal function.
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So what did the doctors do? They gave them the vitamin that forms the coenzyme for myophosphorylase in order to make their limited amounts of the apo-enzyme work more effectively.
That vitamin is B6. Only they did not give it in RDA (recommended daily allowances) doses. RDA doses may be enough to prevent outright deficiency in people with normal myophosphorylase production, but are nowhere close to being enough for someone with less than optimal myophosphorylase. In one case, they gave a woman a full 70 times the RDA dose. Two months later, the patient's mylophosphorylase functioned almost perfectly. And she was able to go on to a normal life.
This heartwarming case has several learning applications to it that our current medical system ignores. Remember that the patient described in this report was complaining of easy fatigability. This is a symptom that doctors hear every day. It makes you wonder just how many of the patients we see with this complaint have some mild form of undiagnosed McArdle disease. And how about all the rest of the symptoms we hear every day that can't seem to be solved with the usual remedies? Might it be that they are all just cases of other "mild" genetic disorders looking for the right vitamin or mineral in the right dose to normalize out their enzyme function?
Next, the first doctor she saw couldn't explain what was going on with her. So instead of digging deeper, he simply labeled her as a psych case. I'm here to tell you right now that most people taking psych medicines have a physical cause for their symptoms. Many of them, like the patients described in this case report, simply have nutritional or toxicity issues that their doctors are just too lazy to learn about. Thank God for the docs that actually solved this riddle.
Third, patients and doctors alike need to be patient. Remember that even when doctors apply the correct treatment, in this case vitamin B6, it still took two months for the patient to feel the results. Chronic conditions often do not clear up right away. How many patients are on the right track and then bale because the results don't show up immediately? This is the #1 reason people fail to experience success with supplements - they give up too early. Nutrients do their work over time. We just have to be patient.
So, if you have any chronic condition, make sure you're taking enough vitamins. This especially means the B-vitamins, since most of the coenzymes produced in the body come from B-vitamins. And in people with apo-enzyme defects, your body uses up the B-vitamins very quickly, even in the face of a healthy diet. I learned very early on that of all the supplements available, giving my patients B-vitamins was the single most likely way to see benefit. This is why I put such a high amount of B-vitamins in my Super Immune QuickStart. And make sure that you give it long enough to work. Most chronic conditions won't respond for at least two months.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Izumi, R., N. Suzuki, K. Kato, H. Warita, M. Tateyama, I. Nakashima, and Y. Itoyama. “A Case of McArdle Disease: Efficacy of Vitamin B6 on Fatigability and Impaired Glycogenolysis.” Intern Med. 2010;49(15):1623-5. Epub 2010 August 2.