It has long been known the benefits of proper human and natural nutrition & health.
The phrase “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”, often attributed to ancient healer and the “Father of medicine” Hippocrates, though perhaps misattributed, still highlights the necessity of proper nutrition as the factor of truly natural health.
Our world is increasingly becoming dominated by synthetics.
Synthetic fabrics, synthetic fuels, synthetic medicines, synthetic ingredients in foods, synthetic vitamins, etc.
In fact, most vitamins sold and/or added to foods for “enrichment” are synthetic derivatives, not born of Nature.
Many are byproducts of the mining, gas & oil industries.
Sure, we are told they are equivalent to their natural counterparts, but they aren’t (they may have similar, even identical basic chemical structures, but this is reductionism, and there are many more aspects to natural vitamins than single chemical compounds).
German-Jewish Chemist Fritz Haber, recognized as the Inventor of the Haber Process for nitrogen synthesis, recognized this in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize, stating “…Nitrogen bacteria teach us that Nature, with her sophisticated forms of the chemistry of living matter, still understands and utilizes methods which we do not as yet know how to imitate.“
That recognition of the role of bacteria is key.
As is the benefit of enzymes, secondary metabolites, and other compounds that may accompany the natural versions of vitamins.
Synthetic antibiotics are another example.
Most all natural antibiotics known are produced via the interactions of bacteria, fungi, enzymes, and other microbes & compounds.
They are used as a sort of germ warfare, as species of microbes battle other species microbes for control & dominance of wherever they reside (plant roots are a great example, as they exist as virtual battlegrounds of microbe vs. microbe, each looking to control the nervous system of that plant).
But bacteria are one of the quickest mutating/evolving forms, and they develop resistance to those existing natural antibiotics, but in equal response those other microbes mutate/evolve and generate evolutionary antibiotics to counter that resistance.
It’s a naturally balancing and evolving system.
Whereas synthetic antibiotics don’t evolve to match the evolution of the bacteria it’s suppose to fight.
The purpose of all this goes back to natural nutrition, and more of it.
It’s been often reported by numerous Scientists, Researchers, Historians and such that decreasing human nutrition likely exacerbated the Black Plague during the Middle Ages.
That decreased nutrition resulted in severely deficient immune systems.
I’ve little doubt the same is happening today.
Our grown foods have been shown in numerous studies to contain only a fraction of the nutrition as it did just 60 years ago.
Plus, with increased fertilizer use, there is increased harm to natural microbes, which need organic matter to feed on to live & thrive.
Fewer microbes means not only fewer natural vitamins but fewer natural antibiotics too.
And it’s true – you are what you eat.
I’m honestly astonished when people express surprise over any typical or recent health scares.
Like “The Virus”.
How can our bodies possibly be expected to properly fight infection when we constantly shovel garbage & toxic stuff into it?
And when even our “health promoting” supplements are low-quality substitutes, at best?
To make matters worse, rather than tackling the source of the problem, we’re demanding purely reactionary measures.
Perhaps just a mask today, but what about tomorrow?
Fully enclosed personal bubble?
To ward off the growing number of potentially harmful things attacking our increasingly weakening bodies?
I prefer a stronger body.
But synthetics are not providing for that stronger bodies.
But rather than attack our own terrible habits & failings, we can blame “The Virus”.
The Soft Drink Example:
I consider the history & evolution of soda/soft drinks as an epitome of that rise of synthetics, and as an analogy of the downfall of humanity.
Patent medicines of the 18th to 19th centuries, though holding a complicated and controversial history, often had roots in beneficial natural remedies.
Cough drops, bitters, root vegetable brews, and other such originally contained vegetables, oils, herbs and other compounds that were effective at treating numerous ailments.
Though largely unknown at the time, these natural products contain various allelochemicals, plant phytonutrients, of which a growing number of pharmaceuticals are based.
White Willow Bark, for example, contains natural Salicin, the original source of Salicylic Acid for aspirin.
Or Menthol and Eucalyptus used for cough suppression, throat irritation, even as antibiotics and antivirals.
Coca-cola & root beer were originally formulated as patent medicines, using natural ingredients (despite the stigma of coca, which is deserved due to abuse, it does have beneficial medicinal properties, when used correctly).
Ginger Ale and Sarsaparilla have also demonstrated medicinal properties.
But the quest for profit and greed quickly consumed the patent medicine industry.
Today, few of these drinks contain any of their natural ingredients anymore.
Most are just artificial flavorings, colorings, and highly-processed sugars, or sugar substitutes.
None of which provide any medicinal benefits.
How much has that move away from natural beneficial compounds to most purely synthetic ingredients affected human health?
There is plenty of evidence that increased consumption of soft drinks leads to more negative consequences on health.
The Tobacco Example:
There is perhaps little doubt that smoking & tobacco use can cause cancer, or that use of tobacco products is linked to greater incidences of cancer.
But tobacco products are highly-processed, and contain much more than just tobacco.
There are some ~600 known additives contained in processed tobacco products.
Many are demonstrable carcinogenic.
Of all the studies that have linked tobacco use to cancer, none have focused on pure, unprocessed (no additives) tobacco (to be fair & accurate, tobacco smoke itself has been shown to create carcinogenic chemicals – thus I am excluding smoking herein).
And in fact, tobacco was used for centuries as a medicine (see here, and here for example).
“…when the use of Nicotiana by the indigenous populations in the New World was first observed by Columbus and the plant was brought to Europe…“
“Indeed, Nicotiana [the tobacco plant] acquired a reputation as a panacea, to the extent of being called the ‘holy herb’ and ‘God’s remedy’.“
“For three hundred years following its importation into Europe, tobacco came to be considered a universal remedy highly prescribed by physicians. In the early history of tobacco, the literature on its medicinal benefits was voluminous.“
Many native American tribes used tobacco for both medicinal and spiritual purposes.
And as of recent, there have been several studies conducted by numerous research universities and other Researchers demonstrating that pure natural tobacco contains anti-cancer compounds.
See here, here and here, for example.
There are obviously several factors involved here, but the increased synthesis and processing of tobacco is most likely a large factor.
Marijuana has been noted for numerous potential medicinal benefits, but the marijuana industry is see similar increases in synthesis of the plant.
I’ve little doubt today’s “legalization” movement will lead to increasing health consequences in the future.
As has happened with tobacco.
As has happened with fertilizers.
As is seemingly happening with the increased synthesis of most all other products, including food & vitamins.