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> food : pills : vitamins : lynn

From: justin
Sent: Monday, March 16, 1998 1:17 PM
To: lynn hall
Subject: thesis: vitamin questions for you

lynn -

i'm studying food some for my thesis, and i thought you would be a great person to ask about health responsibility and vitamin taking stuff.

my thesis focus is still being determined precisely, but with regard to food, i'm looking into societal priorities and consumer choices. how do folks take control of their health, and how is control taken for them?

i consider you someone who has faced the foods and health of her ambient environment and decided to use certain food technologies to address shortfalls or dangers surrounding her. or, to put a more optimistic spin on it, you find you lead a better, healthier, more energized life through the use of daily supplements (i'm not sure about terminology, see below).

please have a look over these questions below and answer them if you are so inclined. what i receive from you, aside what you might earmark as confidential, i will post online with my thesis; both in full as an interview, and quoted in portions as part of food technology investigation. depending on how you answer, i may send you more questions.

feel free to opt out, add on, or change the direction here!

(the word "pill" has some loaded connotations, and vitamin is a specific term, so feel free to change my language here or suggest alternatives. supplements?)

From: "Hall, Lynn"
To: "'justin'"
Subject: RE: thesis: vitamin questions for you
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998 11:14:59 -0800

Wow, Justin. I think if i answer these questions, your thesis page-limit will be reached!! But I'll give it a try. First, a disclaimer: Many people will undoubtedly think I am wacko for taking the amount of supplements I take. I am not by any means suggesting that everyone should follow this protocol. Each individual must decide what works best for him/her. That said, here goes:

> (generally or specifically) what pills do you take?
A. General (in no particular order): Vitamin C (about 10 grams/day); Vitamin E (800 I.U./day); Vitamin B100 complex; multi-mineral complex; bone formula; Liga-Tend (proprietary formula for connective tissue); glucosamine sulfate (1500 - 2000 mg./day); MSM (methylsulfonylmethane -- biological sulfur) (4000 mg./day); ginger (500 mg. a few times a day); gotu kola (variable amounts); licorice (variable); St. John's wort (about 300 mg. three times a day); Liquid Liver by Enzymatic Therapy (3 capsules a day); silymarin; gingko; alpha lipoic acid; COQ10; germanium; flaxseed oil; evening primrose oil; phosphatidylcholine; phosphatidylserine; acetyl l-carnitine; tyrosine; thyroid support formula; a little extra iron; kelp; garlic.
B. For inflammation (as necessary): bromelain; curcumin (turmeric); boswellin.
C. For athletic performance/recovery: various phosphate formulas (Phos Fuel, Muscle Dynamo, others); androstenedione (sometimes); tribulus terrestris (sometimes). (Note: I often take "brain" supplements -- tyrosine, phosphatidylserine, St. John's Wort, etc. prior to working out. After all, the brain has a lot to do with muscle function.)
D. Illness: Wellness Formula; grapefruit seed extract; extra garlic; zinc lozenges for sore throat.

> why?
Trial and error over many years. I have found the above make me feel healthier on a day-to-day basis, and seem to ward off illness. My immune system seems to function better. I just feel better generally. I have tried many supplements not listed above, and discontinued those from which I could feel no discernable improvement in my well-being. I suspect I am overdoing it, and it does get extraordinarily expensive, but I genuinely believe I am healthier now than I have ever been. If it's the placebo effect, so be it.

> who prescribes these pills to you?
I do. I do extensive reading and research myself, and discuss supplements with others who are knowledgeable and open-minded.

> where/how do you find out what to take?
See above. Much reading and discussion. Magazines, books, medical and other journals, newsletters, people.

> what do you think of US RDA (Recommended Daily Allowances)?
The US RDA is a guideline of supplements suggested to maintain minimal health, without being harmful to the majority of the population. I think it is outdated and parochial. It is not designed to optimize well-being, but to prevent (more or less) diseases caused by vitamin deficiencies, which are extremely rare in this country in the first instance. I also believe it is a guideline set forth by the medical establishment, which would be severely wounded financially if the vast majority of the population took supplements wisely (and ate/drank wisely). I tend to jump on a bandstand here . . . .

> if you take some of those pills to supplement what you get/don't get from food, can you describe generally what you get from these pills that you don't from what you eat?
Although I try to eat wisely and organically when possible, I think most of the food we get today is overly-processed and grown in depleted soil, and therefore lacks essential nutrients. Also, I think one would have to eat huge quantities of food to get the vitamin/mineral dosages necessary to optimize health, and I would be a blimp (and unhealthy) if I ate all the food required to get the amounts of vitamins and minerals that I consume.

> has your vitamin intake changed over time? is this in response to additional information, or to changing needs of lynn?
Yes, it has changed dramatically over time, and goes through permutations all the time. This is both in response to additional information, and to my changing needs over time. For example, if I am in a period when I am not working out as much, my dosages drop significantly (and some supplements drop out altogether). Also, I tend to cycle all my supplements (except vitamins C and E) so that I can discern whether or not they are still beneficial to me.

> if you could simply take pills during the day that would provide sustenance and nutrition, instead of bothering with financial district lunch, would you?
No, never. I enjoy the sensory and sensual nature of food too much. Also, the communal and interactive nature of a shared meal is very enjoyable, and could never be achieved by a bunch of people sitting around a table and popping pills.

> do you cook for yourself? do you eat nutritionally?
I do cook for myself, although very simply. My tastes run to omelets, salads, steamed veggies, sandwiches. Things that do not require substantial amounts of time or clean-up. I also buy a significant amount of prepared food at (primarily) Whole Foods. And yes, I eat nutritionally. I keep very few of what I consider to be unhealthy foods at home, and I avoid them when I'm out. I have found that after several years of eating healthily, "unhealthy" foods don't even appeal to me anymore. (Note: It's important to note here that I have only been making a concerted effort to improve my health by nutritional means for the last few years. Prior to that, my diet was pretty abominable. So maybe I am a creature of extremes.)

> do you think most folks should ingest more vitamins/pills than they do now?
That is a very individual matter. Each person has to evaluate their own needs, based on stress, general health, specific concerns or restrictions, etc. Although I don't like to generalize, I do think the American population in general has a pretty nutrient-deficient diet (hence the proliferation of McDonalds', Burger Kings, etc.), and could benefit from some supplementation. I also think wiser food choices and proper supplementation would cut health care costs in this country considerably. Which is why the AMA wants to come down so hard on supplement manufacturers. But that's a whole other story.

> would you support additional vitamins being provided through common consumed foods, such as chips or cereals?
I think that might be a good answer for a vast majority of the population, since few people are willing to invest, or may not have, the time or money to feed and supplement themselves optimally. However, I am always skeptical about the financial incentives behind such mass supplementation, and whether you are really getting what is promised. (This is not to say that vitamin and supplement manufacturers don't have financial incentives -- they most certainly do, as do most product manufacturers, but I think with individual supplements a consumer is more able to separate the wheat from the chaff, i.e., to discern whether what they are taking is really benefitting them.)

> do you make a point of eating vitamin/nutrient fortified foods, in addition to or in lieu of taking certain pills?
No, because I eat very few processed foods, so fortification is pretty irrelevant to me.


Whew! That's all for now. As you know, I'm always happy to talk about diet and supplements! Hope you're doing well. Love you.

index | biblio

technology affects food relationships and death determining potential directions for our society.
definition
penetration
expertise
 - composition
fortification
msg
olestra
- pills
diet pills
vitamins
- distribution 
electronic babysitting fluoridation
vaccines
return
stasis
computopia
technological determinism
heart


thesis biblio
how to read this thesis
outline
"we"
food
relationships
death
technology
direction
process notes