Vitaminology is the branch of medical science dealing with the study of vitamins, their nature, actions and use.
When vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes are used medicinally they are referred to as orthomolecular supplements. Orthomolecular medicine is the theory that disease may be cured by providing optimum amounts of substances, such as vitamins, normally present in the body. One of the early proponents of orthomolecular medicine was two time Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Linus Pauling who posited that mega doses of Vitamin C and Zinc were essential for the prevention of colds and flu’s during their prevailing seasons.
Orthomolecular supplements are essentially concentrations of nutrient substances that are normally found in the food we eat. I am often asked, “If vitamins and minerals are found in the food I eat, why can’t I get enough of them in my daily diet?”
There are five main reasons for the need for supplementation of vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
First, many people just do not eat a healthy and balanced diet. We tend not to eat enough fresh vegetables and in the West we tend to eat way too much refined sugar and animal fat. These foods cause us to use inordinate amounts of other nutrients to balance and compensate for the over consumption of sugars and fats. For instance if one eats a lot of refined sugar there is an overuse of zinc for compensation and too much animal fat consumption leeches high levels of calcium from the system.
Secondly, many of the foods we eat are often grown in poor soil due to excessive use of tillage, chemical fertilizers and other short sighted and unsustainable farming practices. This compounded by the fact that many people eat foods that have been prepared or stored improperly, causes significant loss of vitamins and enzymes.
Third, in North America we are exposed to toxic chemicals in our air and water, hormonal additives in our food place extra stressors on our systems, and our bodies require additional vitamins and enzymes to neutralize and re-stabilize.
Fourth, those of us who live in an urban environment are subject to large doses of mental and emotional stress. The urban landscape is excessively assaultive on many levels and our nervous systems are unable to cope with this unrelieved stress which in turn uses inordinate amounts of B vitamins and minerals.
Fifth, if one consumes excessive amounts of caffeinated beverages, alcohol, uses tobacco products in any form, is exposed to radiation. Or if one is taking certain pharmaceuticals such as oral birth control or is suffering from chronic illness, especially digestive illnesses, these tend again to use up abnormally large amounts of certain nutrients for stabilization or in the case of digestive diseases; the nutrients may not be fully absorbed.
For all of the above reasons one may need to supplement particular nutrients which may not be found in sufficient amount in the diet. This is not to say that if one takes mega doses of vitamins and minerals that will make up for good basic nutrition but is does mean that given the stressful and polluted world of the 21st century we may not be getting enough vital nutrients from our diet.
From a Traditional Chinese Medical viewpoint, vitamins minerals and enzymes are classified as herbal medicines and have the same hierarchical classification as ginseng, ephedra, bupleurum and angelica. The concentrated dosages of vitamin supplements make them more like medicines than foods even though absorption rates vary from person to person.
The TCM functions of vitamins and minerals have their own minor materia medica and just as there are some herbs that are very widely used and well known to every Chinese doctor for their wide spread efficacy and almost universal benefit so too are there vitamins that are foremost on the list of panaceas every person can use.
B-12 is one such vitamin. In TCM, B-12 has the function of nourishing and coursing the circulation of the liver, which is in charge of circulating the Qi and blood of the entire body. B-12 also supplements the Qi, nourishes the blood by fortifying the spleen, and harmonizes the stomach. B-12 clears heat from the whole system, is anti-inflammatory and improves blood circulation which in turn resolves physical and mental depression.
While B-12 is widely available in foods and as a supplement there are several different types of B-12 available. All B-12 are cobalamin molecules and will have a similar function but methylcobalamin is the most bio-available form of B-12. Bio-availability is important because when you eat food containing B-12 you absorb about 25-30% and when you take a pill or capsule form of B-12 at best 40-50% is absorbed, the remainder is excreted through urination. The greatest absorption of B-12 comes through injection where 95% absorption occurs. When coupled with injecting the B-12 into an acupuncture point such as Taichong LV-3 or Sanyinjiao SP-6 the injection site supercharges the effects of the B-12 on the Qi, blood and circulation of the whole system.
APIT coupled with orthomolecular medicine are very powerful TCM modalities but it must be stressed that all modalities in TCM are based on our diagnostic protocol. Just as a person needs to be confirmed having a spleen and kidney vacuity before we prescribe ginseng as an herbal remedy, so too does a person need to have an appropriate pattern conformation before being treated with injectable medicines.
Orthomolecular medicine regulates the immune, cardiovascular, endocrine and nervous system and can potentially treat chronic pain and inflammation, auto immune disorders, chronic fatigue conditions, chronic and latent viral diseases, colds and flu, sports injuries and most importantly perhaps, APIT assists the holistic rejuvenation and regeneration of mind and body.
Yours in good health,
Robert Kienitz, DTCM