Earl Mindell, RPh, MH, PhD



I. Getting into Vitamins
(1) Why I did—(2) What vitamins are—(3) What vitamins are not—(4) How they work—(5) Should you take supplements?—(6) What are nutrients?—(7) The difference between micronutrients and macronutrients—(8) How nutrients get to work—(9) Understanding your digestive system—(10) The importance of enzymes—(11)Why you need carbohydrates—(12) Name that vitamin—(13) Name that mineral—(14) Your body needs togetherness—(15) Name that antioxidant—(16) Name that nutraceutical—(17) Name that alternative therapy—(18) Any questions about chapter I?

II. A Vitamin Pill Is a Vitamin Pill Is a . . ..
(19) Where vitamins come from—(20) Why vitamins come in different forms—(21) Oil vs. dry or water soluble—(22) Synthetic vs. natural and inorganic vs. organic—(23) Chelation, and what it means—(24) Time release—(25) Fillers, binders, or what else am I getting?—(26) Storage and staying power—(27) When and how to take supplements—(28) What’s right for you—(29) Any questions about chapter II?

III. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Vitamins but Had No One to Ask
(30) Vitamin A—(31) Vitamin B1 (thiamin)—(32) Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)—(33) Vitamin B3 (niacin, niacinamide, nicotinic acid, nicotinamide)—(34) Vitamin B4 (Adenine) –(35) Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)—(36) Vitamin B 6 (pyridoxine)—(37)Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)—(38) Vitamin B13 (orotic acid)—(39) B15 (pangamic acid)—(40) Vitamin B17 (laetrile)—(41) Biotin (coenzyme R or vitamin H)—(42) Choline—(43) Folic acid (folacin, folate)—(44) Inositol—(45) PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid)—(46) Vitamin C (ascorbic acid, cevitamin acid)—(47) Vitamin D (calciferol, viosterol, ergosterol, “sunshine vitamin”)—(48) Vitamin E (tocopherol/tocotrienols)—(49) Vitamin F (unsaturated fatty acids—linoleic, linolenic, and arachidonic)—(50) Vitamin K (menadione)—(51) Vitamin P (C complex, citrus bioflavonoids, rutin, hesperidin)—(52) Vitamin T—(53) Vitamin U—(54) Any questions about chapter III?

IV. Your Mineral Essentials
(55) Calcium—(56) Chlorine—(57) Chromium—(58) Cobalt—(59) Copper—(60) Fluorine—(61) Iodine (iodide)—(62) Iron—(63) Magnesium—(64) Manganese—(65) Molybdenum—(66) Phosphorus—(67) Potassium—(68) Selenium—(69) Sodium—(70) Sulfur—(71) Vanadium—(72) Zinc—(73) Water—(74) Any questions about chapter IV?

V. Protein—and Those Amazing Amino Acids
(75) The protein–amino acid connection—(76) How much protein do you need, really?—(77) Types of protein—what’s the difference?—(78) Protein myths—(79) Protein supplements—(80) Amino acid supplements—(81) Let’s talk tryptophan—and 5-HTP—(82) The phenomenal phenylalanine—
(83) DL-phenylalanine (DLPA)—(84) Looking at lysine—(85) All about arginine—(86) Taurine—(87) Growth hormone (G.H.) releasers—(88) The Ornithine-Arginine Connection—( 89) Other amazing amino acids—(90) Any questions about chapter V?

VI. Fat and Fat Manipulators
(91) Lipotropics—what are they?—(92) Who needs them and why—(93) The cholesterol story—(94) Leveling about cholesterol levels—(95) Saturated fat vs. unsaturated fat—(96) The really bad guys: Trans-fatty acids—(97) CLA-Congegated Linoleic Acid—the Good Fat –(98) Foods, nutrients, and supplements that can lower your cholesterol naturally—(99) Do you know what’s raising your cholesterol?—(100) Omega-3 fatty acids: What they are, where thye’re found, and what they can do for you—(101) The scoop on Omega-6 –(102) Warnings and recommendations about fish sources of omega-3s—(103) Any questions about chapter VI?

VII. Antioxidants on Purpose
(104) Do I need to take antioxidants?—(105) What antioxidants can do for you—(106) Phytochemicals—(107) Carotenoids—(108) Flavonoids—(109) Phytoestrogens –(110)Isoflavones– (111) Vitamins—(112) Minerals—(113) Allium vegetables—(114) Acai Berry –(115) Bilberry— (116) Camu Camu—(117) Cha De Bugre—(118) Chokeberry –(119) Coenzyme-Q10 (co-Q10, ubiquinone)—(120) Cruciferous vegetables—(121) Ginkgo biloba—(122) Glutathione— (123) Goji –-(124) Lipoic acid—(125) Melatonin—(126) Mangosteen -–(127) Pomegrante –(128) Quercetin –(129) Superoxide dismutase (SOD)—(130) Any questions about chapter VII?

VIII. Other Wonder Workers
(131) Probiotics: Lactobacillus acidophilus— (132) Prebiotics —(133) Bromelain—(134) Curcumin—(135) Ginseng—(136) Alfalfa, garlic, chlorophyll, and yucca—(137) Fiber and bran—(138) Kelp—(139) Mushrooms—(140) Shark cartilage—(141) Propolis—(142) Yeast—(143) The soy phenomenon—(144) Any questions about chapter VIII?

IX. Herbs, Folk Remedies, Essential Oils, and Homeopathic Medicines
(145) What you should know about natural remedies—(146) Aloe vera—(147) Amla –(148) Anise (seed)—(149) Arnica—(150) Artichoke—(151) Ashwagandha—(152) Astragalus—(153) Basil—(154) Bilberry—(155) Black cohosh— (156) Black Currant –(157) Blessed thistle—(158) Boswellia –(159) Butcher’s Broom—(160) Calendula –(161) Camphora –(162) Cat’s Claw (una de gato)—(163) Cayenne or Capsicum—(164) Chamomile—(165) Chasteberry—(166) Comfrey—(167) Cranberry—(168) Devil’s Claw—(169) Dong Quai—(170) Echinacea—(171) Elderberry—(172) Ephedra—(173) Evening Primrose Oil—(174) Eyebright— (175) Fennel–(176) Fenugreek—(177) Feverfew— (178) Flaxseed Oil –(179) Fo-Ti—(180) Garcinia Cambogia—(181) Gotu Kola—(182) Grape Seed Extract—(183) Green Tea Extract—(184) Gugulipid—(185) Hawthorn—(186) Horse Chestnut—(187) Juniper (berries)—(188) Kava kava—(189) Kudzu—(190) Licorice— (191) Meadowsweet –(192) Papaya—(193) Parsley (seeds and leaves)—(194) Passionflower—(195) Pennyroyal—(196) Peppermint (leaves)—(197) Pokeweed—(198) Pygeum— (199) Reishi Mushroom –(200) Rosemary—(201) Saint John’s wort—(202) Saw palmetto (berries)—(203) Sea Buckthorn –(204) Stinging Nettle—(205) Tee Tree Oil—(206) Thyme— (207) Triphala—(208) Umckalaobo –(209) Valerian—(210) White Willow Bark—(211) Wild yam—(212) Yohimbe bark—(213) Herbs that can interfere with your RX drugs–(214) Dangerous herbs—(215) Homeopathy basics—(216) Aromatherapy, essential oils, and tinctures—(217) Any questions about chapter IX?

X. How to Find Out What Vitamins You Really Need
(218) What is a balanced diet and are you eating it?—(219) How to test for deficiencies—(220) Possible warning signs—(221) Cravings—what they might mean—(222) Getting the most vitamins from your food—(223) Any questions about chapter X?

XI. Read the Label
(224) The importance of understanding what’s on labels—(225) How does that measure up?—(226) Breaking the RDA code—(227) What to look for—(228) Labeling on processed food—( 229) What’s not on the label may be making you sick–(230) Any questions about chapter XI?

XII. Your Special Vitamin Needs
(231) Selecting your regimen—(232) Women—(233) Men—(234) Infants—(235) Children—(236) Runners and Joggers—(237) Executives—(238) Students—(239) Computer addicts—(240) Seniors—(241) Athletes—(242) Bodybuilders—(242) Night workers—(244) Truck drivers—(245) Dancers—(246) Construction workers—(247) Poker players—(248) Salespersons—(249) Actors—stage, screen, radio, and TV performers—(250) Singers—(251) Doctors and nurses—(252) Manicurists and hair colorists—(253) Bicyclists—(254) Swimmers—(255) Handicapped—(256) Golfers—(257) Tennis players—(258) Racquetball players—(259) Teachers—(260) Smokers—(261) Drinkers—(262) TV couch potatoes—(263) Frequent flyers—(264) Any questions about chapter XII?

XIII. Having Babies 101
(265) So you want to have a baby—(266) When baby’s on board—(267) Be careful when eating for two—(268) Making breast feeding the best—(269) Post Partum Depression—(270) Any questions about chapter XIII?

XIV. The Right Vitamin at the Right Time
(271) Special situation supplements—(272) Acne—(273) Athlete’s foot—(274) Bad breath—(275) Baldness or falling hair—(276) Bee stings—(277) Bleeding gums—(278) Broken bones—(279) Bruises—(280) Burns—(281) Chemotherapy—(282) Cold feet—(283) Cold sores and herpes simplex—(284) Constipation—(285) Cuts—(286) Dry skin—(287) Hangovers—(288) Hay fever—(289) Headaches—(290) Heartburn—(291) Hemorrhoids—(292) Impotence /Erectile Dysfunction (ED)—(293) Insomnia—(294) Itching—(295) Jet lag—(296) Leg pains—(297) Menopause—(298) Menstruation—(299) Migraines (300) Motion sickness—(301) Muscle soreness—(302) The pill—(303) Poison ivy/poison oak—(304) Polyps—(305) Postoperative healing—(306) Prickly heat—(307) Prostate problems—(308) Psoriasis—(309) Stopping smoking—(310) Stress—(311) Sunburn—(312) Teeth grinding—(313) Varicose veins—(314) Vasectomy—(315) Warts—(316) Any questions about chapter XIV?

XV. Getting Well and Staying That Way
(317) Why and when you don’t need antibiotics—(318) Why you need supplements during illness—(319) ADD/ADHD—(320) Allergies—(321) Arthritis—(322) Asthma—(323) Blood pressure—high and low—(324) Bronchitis—
(325) Candida albicans—(326) Chicken pox—(327) Chronic fatigue syndrome—(328) Colds—(329) Colitis—(330) COPD– (331) Diabetes—(332) Eye problems—(333) Flu (H1N1)—(334) Gout—(335) Heart conditions—(336) HIV (AIDS)—(337) Hypoglycemia—(338) Impetigo—(339) Measles—(340) Mononucleosis—(341) Mumps—(342) Osteoporosis–(343) PMS (premenstrual syndrome)—(344) Prostate Problems (BPH)—(345) RLS (Restless leg syndrome)—(346) Sinusitis—( 347) Shingles—(348) Tonsillitis—(349) Ulcers—(350) Venereal disease—(351) Any questions about chapter XV?

XVI. Drugs and you
(352) How vitamins and minerals affect your moods—(353) Proactively combating depression, anxiety, and stress with nutrients—(354) Other drugs can add to your problem—(355) It’s not all in your mind– (356) Let’s start with caffeine—(357) You’re getting more than you think—(358) The caffeine connection—(359) What alcohol does to your body—(360) What you drink and when you drink it—(361) Vitamins to decrease your taste for alcohol—(362) The lowdown on marijuana and hashish—(363) Cocaine costs a lot more than you think—in more ways than one—(364) Help for coming down or kicking the cocaine habit—(365) Whether Rx or over-the-counter, there are alternatives to drugs—(366) The great medicine rip-off—(367) When good foods are bad for you—( 368) Any questions abut chapter XVI?

XVII. Losing It—Diets by the Pound
(369) The Atkins diet—(370) The Zone diet—(371) Weight Watchers—(372) Jenny Craig—(373) Liquid protein diets—(374) The South Beach Diet—(375) Zen macrobiotic diet—(376) Cookie diet–(377) Kelp, lecithin, vinegar, B6 diet—(378) All carbs are not equal—(379) Low-carb dieters guide to fruits and vegetables—(380) Mindell dieting tips—(381) Mindell vitamin-balanced diet to lose and live by—(382) Supplements for eating more and gaining less—(383) More natural alternatives to diet drugs—(384) Any questions about chapter XVII?

XVIII. So You Think You Don’t Eat Much Sugar and Salt
(385) Kinds of sugars—(386) Not so sweet truth about sugar subsitutes—(387) Naturally sweet sweetening alternatives—(388) Dangers of too much sugar—(389) How sweet it is—(390) Dangers of too much salt—(391) High-salt traps—(392) How salty is it?—(393) Any questions about chapter XVX?

XIX. Staying Beautiful—Staying Handsome
(394) Vitamins for healthy skin—(395) Vitamins for healthy hair—(396) Vitamins for hands and feet—(397) Natural cosmetics—what’s in them?—(398) Not so pretty drugs—(399) Any questions about chapter XIX?

XX. Staying Young, Energetic, and Sexy
(400) Retarding the aging process—(401) Controling Cortisol—the stress or death hormone—(402) Lifesaving nitric oxide—( 403) Basic keep yourself young program—(404) High-pep energy regimen—(405) High-pep supplements—(406) Spicing up sex naturally—(407) Foods, herbs, and more super supplements for sexier sex—(408) Any questions about chapter XX?

XXI. Fast Facts at a Glance
(409) Supplements simplified—(410) Assorted acronyms—(411) Finding good fats fast—(412) Quick amino acid reference—(413) Herbal sources of primary antioxidant vitamins and minerals—(414) Drug and supplement combinations that don’t mix—(415) Big-time immune system boosters—(416) Quick reference cancer defense guide—(417) Natural Alternatives to HRT

XXIII. Locating a Nutritionally Oriented Doctor
(418) How to go about it—(419) Finding specialized nutritional help—(420) Free calls for fast answers


Bibliography and Recommended Reading




This book is dedicated to
and our parents, families, and friends
and to
the future



I wish to express my deep and lasting appreciation to my friends and associates who have assisted me in the preparation of this book since its first publication, especially Linus Pauling, Ph.D.; Harold Segal, Ph.D.; Bernard Bubman, R.Ph.; Mel Rich, R.Ph.; Sal Messineo, Pharm. D.; Allan Kashan, R.Ph.D;Arnold Fox, M.D.; Dennis Huddleson, M.D.; Stuart Fisher, M.D.; Robert Mendelson, M.D.; Gershon Lesser, M.D.; David Velkoff, M.D.; Rory Jaffee, M.D.; Vickie Hufnagel, M.D.; Donald Cruden, O.D.; Joel Strom, D.D.S.; Nathan Sperling, D.D.S.; Robert Kotler, M.D.; Alan Needleman R.Ph.D.; Linda Chae; Finn Jegard; Morten Weidner, Ph.D.; Peter Mallory; Teri Cox; Carol Coleman Gerber; and Hester Mundis.

I would also like to thank the Nutrition Foundation; the International College of Applied Nutrition; the American Medical Association; the American Pharmacists Association; the New York Blood Center; the American Academy of Pediatrics; the American Dietetic Association; the National Academy of Sciences; the National Dairy Council; the Society for Nutrition Education; the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association; the Albany College of Pharmacy; Edward Leavitt, D.V.M.; Jane Bicks, D.V.M.; Betty Haskins; Shelby Zoad; Jim Zeeperman; Stephanie Marco; Susan Towlson; Sandra Scheur; Ronald Borenstein; Laura Borenstein; Glenn Williams; Eleanor Rawson; and Richard Curtis, without whom a project of this scope could never have been completed.



This book is written for you—the untold legions of men and women who are forever trying to fit yourselves into statistical norms only to find that the charts are designed for some mythical average person who is taller, shorter, fatter, skinnier, less or more active than you’ll ever be. It is a guide to healthy living for individuals, not statistics. Wherever feasible I have given personal advice. For this, I believe, is the only way to lead anyone to optimal health, which is the purpose of this book.

In these pages I have combined my knowledge of pharmacy with that of nutrition to best explain the confusing, often dangerous, interrelation of drugs and vitamins. I’ve attempted to personalize and be specific so as to eliminate much of the confusion abut vitamins that has arisen with generalizations.

In using the book you will occasionally find that your vitamin needs fall into several different categories. In this case, let common sense dictate the necessary adjustment. (If you are already taking B6, for example, there’s no need to double up on it unless a higher dosage is called for.)

The recommendations I’ve made are not meant to be prescriptive but can easily be used as flexible programs when working with your doctor. No book can substitute for professional care.
It is my sincere hope that I have provided you with information that will help you attain the longest, happiest, and healthiest of lives.





Widely expanded and thoroughly revised, this new edition of the Vitamin Bible marks its 30th anniversary in print. Since the book’s publication, this is the fourth time it has been updated to ensure it continues to be the trusted, reliable source of current nutrtional information that it has been for over two decades for millions of people around the world. My hope is that this latest iteration is the most comprehensive ever, providing explicit guidance for all the essential information you need to safely pursue and successfully achieve optimal health for yourself and your family.

Although there is an abundance of nutritional information on the internet, there is an equal abundance of misinformation—about supplments, potential food and drug interactions, toxicity levels, and more. Not knowing what or what not to believe, what to look and look out for, can seriously jeaopardize your health. The Vitamin Bible was designed to prevent that from happening by becoming the ultimate go-to nutritional reference guide, furnishing facts that you need when you want them—and right at your fingertips.

Along with over thirty five new sections in this edition and updated supplement regimens that include superfruits, herbal alternatives to drugs, and the latest neutraceuticals for everything from increasing fertility and dealing with post-partum depression to regaining memory brain power and side-stepping swine flu; from coping with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and dealing with RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) to protecting the prostate from BPH (Benign Prostate Hyperplasia and boosting the immune system to new heights (and much more), the vitamin and mineral listings have all been expanded to include new FDA dosage recommendations and interactions with drugs. Also included are eye-opening sections on phytoestrogens (chemicals in plants that can act like hormone estrogen in the body), prebiotics (nutrients for probiotics), cortisol (the stress or death hormone), fake fat falsehoods, and, with heart disease now the leading

killer among women, the top heart protecting supplements every woman needs to know about.

The Vitamin Bible’s user-friendly sections are still cross-referenced in the text so you can easily find out more about what you want know without having to refer to the index. Remember this: the more you know about how vitamins and supplements work, and how they can work for you, the more empowered you are and the more practive you can be on your journey to optimal health.

The regimens throughout this book are recommendtiions, not prescriptions, and are not intended as medical advice. Before starting any new program, check with your physician or a nutritionally oriented doctor (see section 418), especially if you have a specific physical problem or are taking any medication.



CHAPTER 1: Getting into Vitamins

1. Why I Did
Starting out, my professional education was strictly establishment when it came to vitamins. My courses in pharmacology, biochemistry, organic and inorganic chemistry, and public health hardly dealt with vitamins at all—except in relation to deficiency diseases. (Lack of C? Scurvy. Out of B1? Beriberi. Insufficient vitamin D? Rickets.)

There were no references to vitamins being used for disease prevention or as ways to optimum health.

In 1965 I opened my first pharmacy. Until then I never realized just how many drugs people were taking, not for illness but simply to get through the day. My partner at the time was very vitamin-oriented. Both of us were working fifteen hours a day, but only I looked and felt it. When I asked him what his secret was, he said it was not secret at all. It was vitamins. I realized what he was talking about had very little to do with scurvy and beriberi and a lot to do with me. I instantly became an eager pupil, and have never since regretted it. After embarking on the most elementary vitamin regimens I was not only convinced. I was converted.

Suddenly nutrition became the most important thing in my life. I read every book I could find on the subject, clipped articles and tracked down their sources, dug out my pharmacy school texts and discovered the amazingly close relationship that did indeed exist between biochemistry and nutrition. I attended any health lecture I could. In fact, it was at one such lecture that I learned of antioxidants and their age-reversing properties. (I have been taking antioxidant supplements since then, as well as SOD—superoxide dismutase, green and white tea extracts. Today, because of these, most people guess me to be five to ten years younger than I am.) I was excited about each new discovery in the field, and it showed.

A whole new world had opened up for me and I wanted others to share it.

By 1970 I was totally committed to nutrition and preventive medicine. Today, as a nutritionist, lecturer, and author, I’m still excited about that world that opened up to me over forty years ago—a world that continues to grow with new discoveries daily—and I’m even more eager to share it.

2. What Vitamins Are
When I mention the word vitamin, most people think pill. Thinking pill brings to mind confusing images of medicine and drugs. Though vitamins can and certainly often do the work of both medicine and drugs, they are neither.

  • Quite simply, vitamins are organic substances necessary for life. Vitamins are essential to the normal functioning of our bodies and, save for a few exceptions, cannot be manufactured or synthesized internally. Necessary for our growth, vitality, and general well-being, they are found in minute quantities in all natural food. We must obtain vitamins from these foods or from dietary supplements.
    What you have to keep in mind is that supplements, which are available in tablet, capsule, liquid, powder, spray, patch, and injection forms, are still just food substances, and, unless synthetic, are also derived from living plants and animals.
  • It is impossible to sustain life without all the essential vitamins.

3. What Vitamins Are Not
A lot of people think vitamins can replace food. They cannot. In fact, vitamins cannot be assimilated without ingesting food. There are a lot of erroneous beliefs about vitamins, and I hope this book will clear up most of them.

  • Vitamins are not pep pills and have no caloric or energy value of their own.
  • Vitamins are not substitutes for protein or for any other nutrients, such as minerals, fats, carbohydrates, water—or even for each other!
  • Vitamins themselves are not the components of our body structures.
  • You cannot take vitamins, stop eating, and expect to be healthy.

4. How They Work
If you think of the body as an automobile’s combustion engine and vitamins as spark plugs, you have a fairly good idea of how these amazing substances work for us.

Vitamins are components of our enzyme systems which, acting like spark plugs, energize and regulate our metabolism, keeping us tuned up and functioning at high performance.

Compared with our intake of other nutrients like proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, our vitamin intake (even on some megadose regimens) is minuscule. But a deficiency in even one vitamin can endanger the whole human body.

5. Should You Take Supplements?
Since vitamins occur in all organic material, some containing more of one vitamin than another and in greater or lesser amounts, you could say that if you ate the “right” foods in a well-balanced diet, you would get all the vitamins you need. And you would probably be right. The problem is, very few of us are able to arrange this mythical diet. According to Dr. Daniel T. Quigley, author of The National Malnutrition, “Everyone who has in the past eaten processed sugar, white flour, or canned food has some deficiency disease, the extent of the disease depending on the percentage of such deficient food in the diet.” Additionally, the October 2002 Journal of The American Medical Association reported a research study stating categorically that “every adult should take a multiple vitamin since it is impossible to obtain all the nutrients needed in our daily food intake today.”

Because most restaurants tend to reheat food or keep it warm under heat lamps, if you frequently eat out or take out you run the risk of vitamin A, B1, and C deficiencies. Also, since so many of our foods are processed or genetically modified (75% of the food in grocery stores has been genetically modified), lack of calcium, folic acid, and magnesium is epidemic. (And if you’re a woman between the ages of 13 and 40, this sort of work-saving dining is likely to cost you invaluable bone-building calcium and iron.)

Processed foods have been depleted in nutrients. Take breads and cereals, for example. Practically all of them you find in today’s supermarkets are high in nothing but carbohydrates. “But they are enriched!” you say. It’s written right on the label: Enriched.

Enriched? Enrichment means replacing nutrients in foods that once contained them but because of heat, storage, and so forth no longer do. Foods, therefore, are “enriched” to the levels found in the natural product before processing. Unfortunately, standards of enrichment leave much to be desired nutritionally. For example, the standard of enrichment for white flour is to replace the twenty-two natural nutrients that are removed with three B vitamins, vitamin D, calcium, and iron salts. Now really, for the staff of life, that seems a pretty flimsy stick.

I think you can see why my feeling about taking supplements is clear.

6. What Are Nutrients?
They’re more than vitamins, though people often think they are the same thing.
Carbohydrates, proteins (which are made up of amino acids), fats, minerals, vitamins, and water are all nutrients—absorbable components of foods—and necessary for good health. Nutrients are necessary for energy, organ function, food utilization, and cell growth.

7. The Difference Between Micronutrients and Macronutrients
Micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, do not themselves provide energy. The macronutrients—carbohydrates, fat, and protein—do that, but only when there are sufficient micronutrients to release them.

The amount of micronutrients and macronutrients you need for proper health is vastly different—but each is important. (See section 73 for The Protein–Amino Acid Connection.)

8. How Nutrients Get to Work
Nutrients basically work through digestion. Digestion is a process of continuous chemical simplification of materials that enter the body through the mouth. Materials are split by enzymatic action into smaller and simpler chemical fragments, which can then be absorbed through walls of the digestive tract—an open-ended muscular tube, more than thirty feet long, which passes through the body—and finally enter the bloodstream.

9. Understanding Your Digestive System
Knowing how your digestive system works will clear up some of the more common confusions about how, when, and where nutrients operate.
Mouth and Esophagus

Digestion begins in the mouth with the grinding of food and a mixture of saliva. An enzyme called ptyalin in the saliva already begins to split starches into simple sugars. The food is then forced to the back of the mouth and into the esophagus, or gullet. Here is where peristalsis begins. This is a kneading “milking” constriction and relaxation of muscles that propels material through the digestive system. To prevent backflow of materials, and to time the release of proper enzymes—since one enzyme cannot do another enzyme’s work—the digestive tract is equipped with valves at important junctions.
The tiny valve at the end of your esophagus opens long enough for chewed-up particles to enter the stomach. Occasionally, especially after eating, this valve relaxes—which is what enables you to belch. But a relaxed valve can also allow the acid from your stomach to be pushed back up into the esophagus, causing what’s known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)—better known to those who experience it as heartburn. (See section 290 .) Stomach
This is the biggest bulge in the digestive tract, as most of us are well aware. But it is located higher than you might think, lying mainly behind the lower ribs, not under the navel, and it does not occupy the belly. It is a flexible bag enclosed by restless muscles, constantly changing form.
Virtually nothing is absorbed through the stomach walls except alcohol.
Watery substances, such as soup, leave the stomach quite rapidly. Fats remain considerably longer. An ordinary meal of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats is emptied from the average stomach in three to five hours. Stomach glands and specialized cells produce mucus, enzymes, hydrochloric acid, and a factor that enables vitamin B12 to be dissolved through intestinal walls to convert food into a semiliquid state (called chyme) before it is passed to the small intestine. A normal stomach is definitely on the acid side, and gastric juice, the stomach’s special blend, consists of many substances:

The predominant stomach enzyme, a potent digester of meats and other proteins. It is active only in an acid medium.

Curdles milk.

HCl (Hydrochloric Acid)
Produced by stomach cells and creates an acidic state.
The stomach is not absolutely indispensable to digestion. Most of the process of digestion occurs beyond it.

Small Intestine
Twenty-two feet long, here is where digestion is completed and virtually all absorption of nutrients occurs. It has an alkaline environment, brought about by highly alkaline bile, pancreatic juice, and secretions of the intestinal walls. The alkaline environment is necessary for the most important work of digestion and absorption. The duodenum, which begins at the stomach outlet, is the first part of the small intestine. This joins with the jejunum (about ten feet long), which joins with the ileum (ten to twelve feet long). When chyme , the semiliquid contents of the small intestine, are moved along by peristaltic action, we often say we hear our stomach “talking.” Actually our stomach lies above these rumblings (called borborygmi), but even with the truth known it’s doubtful the phrase will change.

Large Intestine (Colon)
Any material leaving the ileum and entering the cecum (where the small and large intestine join) is quite watery. Backflow is prevented at this junction by a muscular valve.
Very little is absorbed from the large intestine except water.

The colon is primarily a storage and dehydrating organ. Substances entering in a liquid state become semisolid as water is absorbed. It takes twelve to fourteen hours for contents to make the circuit of the intestine.

The colon, in contrast to a germ-free stomach, is lavishly populated with bacteria, normal intestinal flora. A large part of the feces is composed of bacteria, along with indigestible material, chiefly cellulose, and substances eliminated from the blood and shed from the intestinal walls.

The liver is the largest solid organ of the body and weighs about four pounds. It is an incomparable chemical plant. It can modify almost any chemical structure. It is a powerful detoxifying organ, breaking down a variety of toxic molecules and rendering them harmless. It is also a blood reservoir and a storage organ for vitamins such as A and D and for digested carbohydrate (glycogen), which is released to sustain blood sugar levels. It manufactures enzymes, cholesterol, proteins, vitamin A (from carotene), and blood coagulation factors.
One of the prime functions of the liver is to produce bile. Bile contains salts that promote efficient digestion of fats by detergent action, emulsifying fatty materials.

This is a saclike storage organ about three inches long. It holds bile, modifies it chemically, and concentrates it tenfold. The taste or sometimes even the sight of food may be sufficient to empty it out. Constituents of gallbladder fluids sometimes crystallize and form gallstones.

This gland is about six inches long and is nestled into the curve of the duodenum. Its cell clusters secrete insulin, which accelerates the burning of sugar in the body. Insulin is secreted into the blood, not the digestive tract. The larger part of the pancreas manufactures and secretes pancreatic juice, which contains some of the body’s most important digestive enzymes—lipases, which split fats; proteases, which split protein; and amylases, which split starches.

10. The Importance of Enzymes
Enzymes are necessary for the digestion of food, releasing valuable vitamins, minerals, and amino acids which keep us alive and healthy.

Enzymes are catalysts, meaning they have the power to cause an internal action without themselves being changed or destroyed in the process.

Enzymes are destroyed under certain heat conditions.

Enzymes are best obtained from uncooked or unprocessed fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, and fish.

Each enzyme acts upon a specific food; one cannot substitute for the other. A deficiency, shortage, or even the absence of one single enzyme can mean the difference between sickness and health.

Enzymes that end in -ase are named by the food substance they act upon. For example, with phosphorus the enzyme is called phosphatase; with sugar (sucrose) it is known as sucrase.

Pepsin is a vital digestive enzyme that breaks up the proteins of ingested food, splitting them into usable amino acids. Without pepsin, protein could not be used to build healthy skin, strong skeletal structure, rich blood supply, and strong muscles.

Rennin is a digestive enzyme which causes coagulation of milk, changing its protein, casein, into a usable form in the body. Rennin releases the valuable minerals from milk, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron that are used by the body to stabilize the water balance, strengthen the nervous system, and produce strong teeth and bones.

Lipase splits fat, which is then utilized to nourish the skin cells, protect the body against bruises and blows, and ward off the entrance of infectious virus cells and allergic conditions.

Hydrochloric acid in the stomach works on tough foods such as fibrous meats, vegetables, and poultry. It digests protein, calcium, and iron. Without HCl, problems such as pernicious anemia, gastric carcinoma, congenital achlorhydria, and allergies can develop. Because stress, tension, anger, and anxiety before eating, as well as deficiencies of some vitamins (B complex primarily) and minerals, can all cause a lack of HCl, more of us are short of it than realize it. If you think that you have an overacid problem or heartburn, for which you are dosing yourself with an antacid such as Maalox™, Pepsid complete™, Tums™, Rolaids™, or Alka-Seltzer™, you are probably unaware that the symptoms of having too little acid are exactly the same as having too much, in which case the taking of antacids could be the worst possible thing for you to do.

Dr. Alan Nittler, author of A New Breed of Doctor, has stated emphatically that everyone over the age of forty should be using a HCl supplement.
Betaine HCl and glutamic acid HCl are the best forms of commercially available hydrochloric acid.

CAUTION: If you have an ulcer condition, consult your doctor before using these supplements.

11. Why You Need Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates, the scourge of misinformed dieters, are the main suppliers of the body’s energy. During digestion, starches and sugars, the principal kinds of carbohydrates, are broken down into glucose, better known as blood sugar. This blood sugar provides the essential energy for our brain and central nervous system.
You need carbohydrates in your daily diet so that vital
tissue-building protein is not wasted for energy when it might be needed for repair.

If you eat too many carbohydrates, more than can be converted into glucose or glycogen (which is stored in liver and muscles), the result, as we know all too well, is fat. When the body needs more fuel, the fat is converted back to glucose and you lose weight.

Don’t be too down on carbohydrates. They’re as important for good health as other nutrients—and gram for gram they have the same 4 calories as protein. Though no official requirement exists, a minimum of 50 g. daily is recommended to avoid ketosis, an acid condition of the blood that can happen when your own fat is used primarily for energy.

12. Name That Vitamin
Because at one time no one knew the chemical structure of vitamins and therefore could not give them a proper scientific name, most are designated by a letter of the alphabet. The following vitamins are known today; many more may yet be discovered.

Vitamin A (retinol, carotene); vitamin B-complex group: B (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin, niacinamide), B4 (adenine), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B10, B11 (growth factors), B12 (cobalamin, cyanocobalamin), B13 (orotic acid), B15 (pangamic acid), B17 (amygdalin), Bc (folic acid), Bt (carnitine), Bx or PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid); choline; inositol; C (ascorbic acid); D (calciferol, viosterol, ergosterol); E (tocopherol); F (fatty acids); G (riboflavin); H (biotin); K (menadione); L (necessary for lactation); M (folic acid); P (bioflavonoids); Pp (niacinamide); P4 (troxerutin); T (growth-promoting substances); U (extracted from cabbage juice).

Japanese scientists at the Tokyo-based Institute of Physical and Chemical Research say that PQQ (pyrroloquinoline quinone), a substance discovered in 1979 and subsequently shown to play an important role in fertility in mice and possibly in humans, could be categorized as a vitamin. If so, it would be the first new vitamin identified in 55 years.

What is known about PQQ: It is an antioxidant and believed to belong to the B-complex family. The best natural source is natto, a pungent Japanese dish of fermented soybeans. It is also found in parsley, green tea, green peppers, kiwi fruit and papaya. (Personal Advice: If you want to add some PQQ to your diet naturally, I’d suggest you go the parsley, green tea, peppers, papaya and kiwi route. Having tasted natto, it’s not something I’d recommend, unless you really enjoy a flavor with the pungeancy of well-worn socks.)

13. Name That Mineral
Although about eighteen known minerals are required for body maintenance and regulatory functions, Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) have only been established for seven—calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc.

The active minerals in your body are calcium, chlorine, chromium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, sulfur, vanadium, and zinc. Trace minerals such as boron, silicon, nickel, and arsenic are also necessary for optimal growth and membrane function.

14. Your Body Needs Togetherness
As important as vitamins are, they can do nothing for you without minerals. I like to call minerals the Cinderellas of the nutrition world, because, though very few people are aware of it, vitamins cannot function and cannot be assimilated without the aid of minerals. And though the body can synthesize some vitamins, it cannot manufacture a single mineral.

15. Name That Antioxidant
Antioxidants (good guys) are those enzymes, amino acids, supplements, vitamins, and minerals that protect our bodies from free radicals (bad guys), uncontrolled oxidations that damage cells and weaken the immune system. The body generates free radicals daily simply by burning fuel for energy. In other words, they’re a necessary but unwanted by-product. Various environmental and physical stresses—from air pollution, smoking, drinking alcohol, and disease to charcoal-broiled food, old age, and vigorous exercise—generate extra free radicals. To keep free radicals in check, our bodies produce different types of natural antioxidants. The most notable among them are catalase, coenzyme-Q10, glutathione, melatonin, vitamin A, alpha- and beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, lipoic acid, selenium, superoxide dismutase (SOD), grape see and skin extract, green and white tea extract, reserveratrol and zinc. Unfortunately, as we age, more free radicals accumulate and less natural antioxidants are produced, significantly increasing the risk of cancer and heart disease. Because of this, antioxidant-rich foods and supplements such as ginkgo biloba, grapeseed extract, green tea extract, isoflavones, lutein, lycopene, are needed in our diets, and the sooner they are included the greater the long-term benefits. (See Chapter VII.)

16. Name That Neutraceutical
Neutraceuticals are possibly the most exciting breakthrough in preventive medicine in decades. They are derived from natural products (food substances or parts of a food) that have proven therapeutic benefits similar to pharmaceuticals—such as isoflavones from soy which have anticancerous properties and hypericum and polyphenols in Saint John’s wort which has antidepressant properties. These naturally occurring compounds extracted from plants, algae, and other biological sources are concentrated into pills, powders, and capsules and are now being used to prevent numerous diseases as well as to treat common ailments—an area formerly ruled by prescription drugs. For example, antidepressants such as Paxil and Prozac, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have been found to be matched in effectiveness by neutraceuticals such as 5-HTP (see section 81) made from a natural extract from the seeds of the Griffonia simplicifolia tree.

Nutraceuticals can also concentrate the best of food chemicals for daily consumption. Since only 9 percent of Americans eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, these supplements are playing an increasingly important role in our nation’s health. There are phytochemical-enriched foods, for example snack bars fortified with soy phytochemicals (phytoestrogens) to alleviate symptoms such as hot flashes in menopausal women and to prevent prostate problems in men, nutraceutical-enriched margarine to lower blood serum cholesterol, as well as phytochemical-enriched candy for children who don’t care for vegetables. There are a lot more ways, these days, to get what’s good for you into you.

17. Name That Alternative Therapy
Just as no one supplement fits all, no one alternative therapy is suited to everyone. Today, dozens of alternatives to conventional medicine are available, gaining in acceptance and evidencing remarkable results. (To locate a nutritionally oriented doctor or alternative practitioner, see section 418.) Among the better-known alternative therapies are:

One of the oldest recorded medical systems in the world, India’s Ayurvedic medicine is still practiced in that country today. It has been dubbed the “mother of all healing” because of its profound influence on nearly all other medical systems. Ayurveda does not just treat the symptoms of a disease: the treatment must encompass the entire body—as well as mind, spirit, and lifestyle. The belief is that it’s as important to keep healthy people healthy as it is to cure the sick, and that early intervention—before symptoms appear—is essential to well-being. More than two thousand different preparations are used in Ayurvedic medicine. Herbs are generally used only in combination with other herbs. In fact, Ayurvedic healers use the whole plant, as opposed to the Western concept of extracting the one or two active ingredients, because they believe that every chemical in a plant is designed to work in harmony with the body. Ayurvedic medicine is designed to bolster and support all body systems.

An ancient Chinese healing medicine based on the belief that a life force, qi (pronounced chee) flows through fourteen channels in the body and can be stimulated by the insertion of needles into some of the body’s 360 acupuncture points to restore its energy balance. Acupuncture has been shown to have the ability in many instances to reverse temporary discomforts as well as organic disease. Acupuncturists also use herbs in healing therapies. In most states in the U.S., completion of a recognized program of study and a license to practice is required to become a doctor of acupuncture or a doctor of oriental medicine. Naturopathic doctors (N.D.s) are also licensed to practice acupuncture.

Chiropractic medicine focuses on spinal manipulations to achieve health. Many chiropractors (D.C.s) also practice nutritional medicine. They have had four to five years of study in an accredited chiropractic school after a minimum of two years of undergraduate school and are licensed to work in all fifty states, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, most of Europe, Africa, and the
Middle East. They cannot prescribe drugs or do surgery.

Herbal Medicine
The most widely used form of medicine for thousands of years and recognized as today’s leading trend in self-care. Herbal medicine is rooted in the same theory as establishment pharmacology. In fact, nearly 50 percent of all drugs commonly used and prescribed are either derived from a plant source or contain chemical imitations of a plant compound. Today, the efficacy of many herbal remedies is undisputed and well documented. (See Chapter IX.)

Based on the findings of Samuel Hahnemann, homeopathy uses medicines to stimulate the body’s natural defense mechanisms and is based on the premise that “like cures like.” For instance, a substance that can trigger symptoms in a healthy individual when taken in large doses can cure similar symptoms in a sick person when taken in extremely small doses. The homeopathic approach to treating illness—viewing the individual (mentally, physically, emotionally) as a whole—is founded on the understanding that symptoms are an expression of the body’s attempt to correct an imbalance and restore health. Rather than suppressing these symptoms, homeopathic medicines (which come from naturally occurring plant, mineral, or animal substances and are nontoxic) act quickly to stimulate and regulate the body’s defenses—with no side effects when used as directed. (See section 215.) There is no licensing at this writing for the practice of homeopathic medicine. A physician (M.D., D.O., N.D., or D.C.) can become a doctor of homeopathy (D.Ht.) after six weeks of study.

Naturopathic medicine encompasses herbal medicine, massage, acupuncture, and a broad spectrum of other alternative treatments. Naturopathic doctors (N.D.s) are required to pass a national licensing exam after completing four years in a naturopathic medical college.

Orthomolecular Medicine
An alternative therapy that aims to provide optimal levels of substances normally found in the body through nutrients. Aside from using various supplements to allow the body to produce the biochemicals necessary for health, orthomolecular medicine also involves the removal of harmful substances such as drugs, pollutants, and allergens from the body. The majority, though not all, of orthomolecular practitioners are M.D.s.

Osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) have the same medical education as an M.D. and are licensed to do everything an M.D. can do, including surgery. The big difference is that unlike traditional (allopathic) M.D.s who tend to specialize in certain diseases or organs, osteopaths are holistic in their approach to healing and, as a rule, are far better versed in preventive nutrition.

18. Any Questions About Chapter I?
I’ve seen quite a few amino acid supplements in health food stores. Are these considered nutrients? Are they as important as vitamins?

Emphatically yes, and yes again! Amino acids (see section 75) are the building blocks of one of our most important nutrients—protein.
Every cell in your body contains (and needs) protein. It’s used to build new tissue and repair damaged cells, as well as to make hormones and enzymes, keep the acid-alkaline blood content balanced, and eliminate the unwanted garbage, among other things. As protein is digested, it’s broken down into smaller compounds called amino acids. When these amino acids reach the cells in your body, they’re formed into protein again. It’s a wonderful cycle.

The importance of vitamins and amino acids in nutrition is equal, because you’ll get no value from one without the proper amount of the other. As for amino acid supplements and their value to you as an individual, I’d suggest looking over sections 72 and 77, which discuss some of the remarkable benefits supplementation has been shown to provide.
I know that vitamins can’t work properly without minerals, but do some minerals make them work more effectively than others?

Absolutely. Vitamin A, for instance, works best with the minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc. The B vitamins are also potentiated by these minerals, along with cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, potassium, and sodium. For vitamin C, the five minerals found to promote the most effectiveness are calcium, cobalt, copper, iron, and sodium; for vitamin D, they are calcium, copper, magnesium, selenium, and sodium; and for vitamin E, they are calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc. To find out what minerals—and other vitamins—can increase the effectiveness of individual vitamins, see sections 30-53.

What is boron?
Underappreciated! It’s a trace mineral needed by the body in only minuscule amounts, which is why there’s no official recommended daily allowance. But this does not diminish its importance in working with calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D to help prevent osteoporosis. And it may even help your brain to work better. It’s found in most fruits and vegetables; however, dried fruits such as prunes and apricots are the best source. As a supplement, I recommend 3 mg. daily. (Do not exceed 10 mg. daily.)

What’s the difference between nutraceuticals and functional foods?

Neutraceuticals and functional foods (often referred to interchangeably) are food componants that have health promoting, disease preventing, or medicinal properties above and beyond their basic nutritional functions. But while a functional food is similar to a conventional food, a nutraceutical is isolated from a food and can be sold in dosage form.

What are phytochemicals?
Phytochemicals are chemicals found in plants; health-promoting nutrients that give fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes their color, flavor, and natural protection against disease. They are, essentially, the plants’ immune system. They are potent antioxidants and can provide protection against free radical damage, helping the body ward off a variety of ailments, including heart disease and cancer.
I have a mitral valve prolapse and take antibiotics often. I’ve heard about probiotics, but don’t know what they are. Should I be taking them?

You sure should! Probiotic, which means “for life,” is a general term for microorganisms known as friendly bacteria, which support the body’s own defenses against infection and disease. There are billions of friendly bacteria in our bodies, and they do some wonderful things, such as aid in digestion, improve immune function, help keep hormone levels normal, protect against overgrowth infection from fungi and yeasts (which may be absorbed into the bloodstream and contribute to other serious diseases), manufacture some B vitamins, and more.

Unfortunately, antibiotics can’t distinguish between good and bad bacteria. Overuse can lead to an increase in drug-resistant strains and, therefore, make you more susceptible to illness. You can increase your good bacteria levels by adding more fiber to your diet (intestinal bacteria consume dietary fiber and metabolize it into acids that inhibit the growth of bad bacteria) and eating yogurt—preferably nonfat or low-fat—made with live, active cultures. (Dairy-free probiotics are also available.) But the easiest way would be to take a daily probiotic supplement during the time you’re taking the antibiotics—and for about a month afterward to replenish your good bacteria. I’d suggest one capsule (or 1 tablespoon liquid) three times a day, half an hour before meals. NOTE: You may experience gas or bloating when you first start taking probiotics. This is an indication that the good bacteria are fermenting and the problem should disappear in a week or so when your body adjusts to the change. (See section 131.)

What are carotenoids?
The most important thing to know about carotenoids is that they’re good for you. (See section 107.) They’re a class of compounds related to vitamin A, the best-known being beta-carotene (others include alpha-carotene, gamma-carotene, lutein, and lycopene), which has long been shown to be helpful in preventing many types of cancer. The beta-carotene in foods is converted into vitamin A, but, unlike vitamin A, large amounts are not toxic. (Too much beta-carotene could, though, make you look as if you’ve been overdoing it on bronzers by turning your skin an orangey yellow.)

Lycopene, the substance that gives tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, and other fruits and vegetables their distinctive red color, is the new popular carotenoid on the nutritional block. Findings from Harvard University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute indicate that tomato consumption reduces the risk of cancer in general and prostate cancer in particular. In fact, the study showed that men who consumed large amounts of tomatoes had only about half the risk of prostate cancer as did men who consumed small amounts of tomato products. Because fat helps move lycopene into the bloodstream, pizza might finally have a redeeming nutritional feature. Just don’t cancel it out with pepperoni and extra cheese!

I know that antioxidants fight oxidation in the body, but what exactly is oxidation and what causes it?

Oxidation is what happens to metal when it rusts or an apple when it turns brown. Unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals steal electrons from other molecules in an attempt to become stable. In the process, the free radicals damage cells, shortening their life span and speeding up the aging process. Once oxidation begins it can be hard to stop. The consequences range from infections to various degenerative conditions including heart disease, arthritis, and cancer.

What causes oxidation? Dozens of things, but the most common culprits are pollutants, chemicals, and toxins, such as cigarette smoke. (See section 104.)

What are “smart nutrients” and do they really make you smart?
Well, you’re smart if you’re getting them. They’re the nutrients that have been shown to protect and enhance brain function. Our levels of naturally produced antioxidants, which protect the brain from destructive free radicals, decline with age. Because of this, antioxidant supplements—which include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs—have been deemed smart nutrients. (See Chapter V.)

Some smart nutrients you’d be wise to look into and look for, especially in combination supplements, are: Vitamin E, grapeseed extract, lipoic acid, NADH (coenzyme I), vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B12, folic acid, choline, L-carnitine, phenylalanine, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), DMAE (dimethylamino-ethanol), phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylcephalin, fo-ti root, schizandra berry, l-glutamine, vinpocetine, ginkgo biloba, gotu kola, blueberry (brain berries) extract, hupA (huperzine A), magnesium, pregnenolone, phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylcholine, inositol, and zinc. None of these brain-boosters will make you an Einstein, but they can help you remember where you put your car keys.

Are genetically engineered foods safe to eat? And how do we know if the food we’re eating has been genetically altered?
If you can avoid eating them, you’re better off. Unfortunately, at this point in time it’s nearly impossible. Virtually all of our processed food contains genetically modified ingredients somewhere along in their production—the wheat used for wheat flour has been genetically modified as has the corn in cornstarch and so on. Products can even be labeled “all natural” and “organic” (see section 228) and still contain GM foods. As for the safety, the FDA has green lighted them, but the long term effects are still unknown. My advice is to at least minimize your GM intake by limiting the processed foods you eat, cutting back on visits to fast-food restaurants and, whenever possible, shop organic.