VITAMIN SUPPORT: FOCUS ON THE LIVER
There are many reasons to have optimum vitamin intake for the support of general liver function. Individuals with a compromise of liver function can have vitamin deficiencies for many reasons including: poor diet, mal-absorption and underlying compromise of hepatic function itself. The use of vitamins in individuals with liver disease presents a special circumstance because there are reports that fat soluble vitamins, e.g. vitamin A in large doses may cause some degree of compromise of liver function. This means that a vitamin mix for an individual with poor liver function should be carefully made in its composition with generous use of water soluble vitamins that are general support for many body functions. This is the concept behind Clinical Multivitamin Forte™.
Many scientists and healthcare givers believe in taking enough vitamins to help ensure health and wellbeing. Therefore, the modern use of vitamins has more to do with the promotion of wellness than the mere act of avoiding vitamin deficiencies. The scientists who proposed and modified recommended daily intakes of vitamins were quite frank with their opinion that it is not easy to determine what constitutes the ideal dosages of essential vitamins. There is a growing medical opinion that these dosages are likely to be much higher than the standard recommendations, or (RDI) values, that currently prevail in people’s minds.
Vitamin needs change dramatically with age, disease status, environmental conditions and health status… to name a few circumstances. Adequate vitamin or mineral intake cannot be effective in promoting health without positive lifestyle changes, such as the use of a balanced, nutrient dense diet that is somewhat restricted in saturated fat, simple sugar and animal protein. Modern dietary recommendations for health must stress the importance of increasing dietary fiber intake, with a more liberal use of healthy fats, such as omega 3 fatty acids,
found in fish oil.
Much concern continues to be expressed about the adverse effects of taking too many vitamins. I think that this fear has been somewhat overestimated because there are relatively few reports of toxicity from the use of vitamin supplements. However, a general rule is that the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are not to be taken in high dosages without medical supervision. Healthcare consumers become confused when studies are reported that allege negative outcomes from taking larger dosages of a single vitamin. In recent times, this situation has arisen
with the use of vitamin E. However, many studies that focus on the single use of a nutritional substance are able to be criticized by their construction. The“construction” of a study may not result in a conclusion that can be generally applied to the population. I believe that this was the case in the recent reports of the dangers of using vitamin E in patients with heart disease. That said, vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin and the dietary supplement industry may have been over-promoting the use of antioxidants as “single agents” which in high dosages
can cause unwanted actions, such as pro-oxidant effects.w:
There are specific advantages to this high powered formula of multivitamins which are portable to general health. The rich array of vitamin B complex is very important for assisting the liver in its overall function of processing dietary constituents and supporting enzyme systems that are involved in detoxification. The inclusion of vitamin C combined with natural forms that are found in rose hips, consistent with a natural way to health. Generous amounts of vitamin B12 are used because the liver is the principal storage site for vitamin B12 which can be depleted in the presence of compromised liver function. Vitamin E is well characterized as an important antioxidant to support liver function and it is given in a dose that has not been associated with measured toxicity. The modest content of vitamin D3 is to provide background support because many individuals are taking much higher dosages of vitamin D, in many cases in dosages of more than 1,000 units. There is an underlying added health value with the inclusion of green tea, inositol and multifunctional antioxidants such as grape seed extract, lutein and lycopene. The formula has been placed in a small blend of black pepper which is able to potentially enhance vitamin absorption.
Some scientists have suggested that vitamin supplementation can be tailored to a patient’s individual needs. Unfortunately, this commendable approach is very difficult to achieve by self management. The background that I present for vitamin usage means that there is a compromise to be achieved between the RDI of vitamins and the avoidance of adverse effects of certain types of vitamin excess. Naturopathic physicians and practitioners of natural medicine, in general, may tailor vitamin needs to their patients, so that they can achieve wellbeing, beyond simple health. This approach is not often found in the practice of conventional medicine. Many drugs are known to deplete certain vitamins or
minerals and the act of adding supplements with pharmaceutical prescriptions is often overlooked.