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From: Jeff Novick, MS, RD, LD, LN (
Subject:         Re: Please help me understand
Date: September 8, 2007 at 9:24 am PST

In Reply to: Please help me understand posted by wuzzette on September 8, 2007 at 7:58 am:

Sure. Would be glad to.

First, don't get mixed up in "possible" concerns, therapeutic interventions, and my "general" recommendations. For most, the general recommendations to live a healthy lifestyle, really are simple and easy and for many can be done without ever having to use a supplement or medication.

Second, you may be jumping to conclusions about my recommendations and confusing "Pritikin" consensus statements with my personal recommendations.

Third, there is a huge difference between the therapeutic use of a supplement as an intervention based on someones real medical/health diagnosis and issues and the prolific flurry of so called "necessary" supplements that flood the market and media that many people take many of every day and spend fortunes on thinking they are going to prevent and/or cure everything that without which, health isn't possible. These are 2 different scenario's.

Neither the Pritikin Program nor I recommend a vegan diet as the only option or the only possibility. While a whole foods intact plant based diet should compromise the majority of ones intake if they want to be healthy, there is no evidence at all that is must compromise all of it. Its a choice people can make. This is no different than what Dr Ornish, or Dr Fuhrman or those who follow CR-ON and many of the others in the field have taught.

If you choose to be a vegan, then you should take a B12 supplement and/or get your levels checked regularly and if necessary, take a supplement. That is a simple thing to do. And, there is a very good reason to do this based on many studies. Now, B12 deficiencies also occur in the non vegan community and that has do to with some metabolic issues that may be due to poor lifestyle choices along the way. So, its not a vegan issue only, its also a health issue for some.

The recommendation for DHA is only a "possible" recommendation and still open to debate and again, based on someones choice to be a vegan and their possible health/medical issues. But again, its not a vegan issue only. Personally, I am not convinced that someone on a low fat, adequate Omega 3 and low Omega 6 diet, cant synthesize enough EPA & DHA. However, again, some people have serious medical conditions. EPA/DHA is now available by prescription and being recommended for those with various medical conditions. The recommendation you quote comes from the Pritikin center where most of the patients have advanced heart disease. As part of their medical treatment, that may be an option regardless of whether they are vegan or not. Though we don't push/promote supplements they are a few available for those who need them as part of their medical treatment and are only used under such conditions. For many, its not an issue nor is it necessary.

Same with Vit D. The simple solution to Vit D is to get enough sun. But, not everyone can or wants to or chooses to live here in sunny S Florida :) Again, there are also personal and health issues that may need to be addressed.

Not everyone comes to me (or Pritikin) in optimal health. Some come when they are near the edge of the cliff.

I would not wish type I Diabetes on anyone. But many have it, and for many its of no fault of their own. What should they do if they want to be a vegan? They will still need to take insulin, we cant change that, but aside from that, we can offer great help and greatly simplify their life and reduce their risk for complications and their need for medications and/or any supplements.

For many, if not most all, this process is actually one of simplifying their lifestyle, and reducing the amount of medications and/or supplements they use or may need. But, for some, it may not mean total elimination.

Hopefully, on your road to become your healthiest self, you can do it without the need or use of any medications or supplements. And, I hope that it comes true for you. But, don't deny yourself the right to proper treatment if and when necessary. Or see that as somehow complicating the process or a contradiction.

As the saying goes,

"Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater"

I hope that helps
In Health

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