Vital kick start into the early summer
May is here! But while the trees are already kicking out vigorously, are you still a little on the ropes? Don’t worry, because there’s something you can do to help.
From blue berries to yellow hot peppers: fruits and vegetables in different colors not only whet your appetite for early summer. They also contain healthy fiber and vital substances. Heinz Lüscher, MD, a physician and specialist in orthomolecular medicine, knows why this alone is not enough.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” If an apple a day kept the doctor away, then doctors like you would have nothing to do.
Heinz Lüscher, MD: If that were indeed the case, yes (laughs). Of course, apples contain a large number of vital substances that are important for the body. The effect of some of these substances has not yet been researched, or only insufficiently. You do yourself some good with it, but eating apples alone is not enough. And the same applies to other foods.
Isn’t a healthy, balanced diet enough? That is the basis, of course. However, a lot has changed in the last hundred years: In the past, our food was still wholesome, and the soil was not used as intensively as it is today. Today, fields are depleted, harvested vegetables and fruits no longer contain sufficient vital substances. In particular, the content of antioxidants, i.e. secondary plant substances and trace elements such as selenium, has demonstrably declined in recent years. Added to this are pesticides used in conventional agriculture. So, even if you eat a lot of vegetables and a lot of fruits, you can still have a nutrient deficiency.
When is it useful, and when is it even necessary, to take nutritional supplements? There are numerous examples. Let’s take vitamin B12. Among other things, it is important for the production of red blood cells. In addition, a vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to severe, sometimes irreparable damage to the central nervous system. Because it is found exclusively in animal foods, vegans, and sometimes vegetarians, must supplement it. In general, I recommend that patients who eat little or no animal foods have their blood levels of vitamin B12 and iron checked regularly.
How do deficiencies in nutrients become noticeable? Every micronutrient is important for metabolism. It can be assumed that there are thousands of micronutrients. If the organism lacks some of these components, several metabolic processes in the body are disturbed at once. This is a condition that initially manifests itself as a lack of energy and fatigue. This is known as chronic fatigue syndrome. In the second step, diseases develop. Unfortunately, standard laboratory tests only check a few micronutrients in the blood. Other deficiencies usually remain undetected. Without diagnosis, the patient is not infrequently labeled as mentally disturbed sooner or later.
And such patients then come to you? Yes, also. As a rule, however, they are people for whom the diagnosis has been established: they are usually chronically ill and have problems with the intestines, neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or cancer.
How do you proceed when a patient comes to you? The first thing is a 20- to 30-minute medical history, which is a comprehensive patient interview. This is followed by the results from the laboratory (blood count). This is the basis for the therapy proposal – depending on the diagnosis, conventional medications are also included.
What is particularly often lacking? Vitamin D3. It is formed by UV radiation of the skin. However, the sun in our latitudes is not sufficient for a sufficient supply of vitamin D3. It is therefore important that we take in sufficient amounts of D3. A magnesium deficiency also often goes undetected for a long time, because magnesium is almost never measured in standard laboratory tests.
Can you recall patients who have particularly benefited from therapy with certain micronutrients? That actually happens very often, especially in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Many have already suffered for a long time and feel an improvement after just a few weeks of therapy. If certain micronutrients are taken consistently, irritable bowel syndrome can be completely cured within six to twelve months. If gluten or lactose intolerance is also present, an appropriate diet must of course be followed.
Where does vital substance therapy reach its limits? This happens just as with other therapies. Orthomolecular medicine is often effective, but it does not work miracles. Especially when the condition is very complex, such as burnout: here, psychological and physical factors intertwine.
Can dietary supplements be dangerous in case of an overdose? It is difficult to make a general statement here. One should be careful with fat-soluble vitamins such as A and E. They can be harmful under certain circumstances, especially in the case of an overdose and/or if they are taken over a longer period of time. On the other hand, one has to take a close look at the studies that sometimes create a huge hype in the media and cause fear among consumers. Many of these studies do not meet scientific standards. To view micronutrients as dangerous across the board is therefore undifferentiated and misleading.
If spring has not yet arrived: Which micronutrients get us in top form now? For example, coenzyme Q10, an important endogenous coenzyme that has a decisive influence on the energy balance of our cells. It has a strong antioxidant effect, i.e. protects against free radicals. Combined with the biological hydrogen NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide hydride, also known as coenzyme 1), you can give your energy balance a little boost. For those who are healthy, taking 10 mg of NADH and 30 mg of coenzyme Q10 twice a day is sufficient.
Do you also sometimes recommend alkaline preparations? If the urine is acidic and the pH value is below 6, I advise an alkaline cure.
Finally, tell us what you do yourself to stay fit and healthy? I try to give myself enough rest time and exercise, and I pay attention to my mental health. And I help a little with micronutrients.