A rolling stone gathers no moss. Over the last several months, we have placed particular emphasis on the importance of real vitamin-A, aka retinol, especially its ability to regulate iron metabolism and literally, dozens and dozens of other key metabolic pathways.
And by virtue of this series of 75+ Iron Toxicity Posts, we know that since 1941, the food industry has been adding inorganic iron (filings) to our wheat.
In the early 1970s, this was increased by 50% thanks to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine.
As horrific as this is, iron is but one of many synthetic nutrients that are being added to our foods, not the least of which are many vitamins.
And what we’re now learning is that synthetic vitamin-A (often in the form of Retinyl Palmitate), is also being routinely added to our foods – from orange juice to cereals, and many other processed foods. Well, yesterday, the insanity of these food “enrichment” practices got cranked up yet another notch.
One of my clients forwarded this article to my attention, expressing concern about the “anti retinol” message of its contents:
Matt Stone’s recent 360 Degrees Blogpost.
Clearly, this author, as noted in his remarks, has been influenced by the research of a Canadian engineer who professes that vitamin-A is very bad for our bodies and needs to be expunged from our diet. WHAT? I did a double-take the 1st time I read his Blog. But I stayed with it and decided to not simply reject it as more inane static, but see what we could all learn from this material and the positions that are being espoused and taken.
As many of you might know, I’m relatively “new” to this “real vitamin-A (retinol) party” and have spent the past 6 months taking a deep, deep dive into the retinol research (1855-Present), only to be stunned by what I did not know about retinol’s profound, and pervasive roles in our bodies.
That these metabolic dynamics are not common knowledge is breathtaking!
This image below is a screenshot of articles I’ve downloaded to my computer on this subject. This represents ~50% of what I’ve read to date. And much of it, as you can see is focused on the powerful interplay between retinol and iron metabolism.
What we need to learn from the Matt Stone Blogpost, based on two online books published by Grant Genereux (2015, 2017), are as follows:
- The reductionist model of nutrition that isolates one nutrient – at the expense of its agonists and antagonists – is very risky, misleading and simply has got to stop.
- The era of thinking that Mother Nature designed and test tube-crafted nutrients are equal has also got to stop! I absolutely agree with Grant and Matt that synthetic retinol (Retinyl) palmitate is not an advisable, or needed part of our diet. Please know, we are not promoting just “any” form of retinol with the RCP (Root Cause Protocol). We go to great lengths to emphasize the importance and essentiality of natural, non-synthetic (wherever possible) nutrients, especially with regard to the real vitamin-A, retinol sources (such as Cod Liver Oil) in our recommendations on foods and supplements to use regularly.
- The era of “dipstick dietetics,” based on “highs” and “lows” has also got to stop! Our body and our metabolic pathways clearly work on a bell-shaped curve. Optimal functionality and performance is always in between those extreme bookends. Eliminating a nutrient that has the depth and breadth of metabolic and genetic impact in our bodies seems a bit irrational and irresponsible. I’ve never known that throwing “babies out with bathwater” was ever successful!
- Real, naturally occurring vitamin-A (Retinol) has a well-documented relationship with iron metabolism. This is noted extensively in the compelling studies by Semba & Bloem, 2002 (towards the bottom of that 1st Figure), who document scores of studies that demonstrate the critical interplay of these two key nutrients, much of which is poorly understood in the modern era of dietary dogma. Of utmost importance, it is retinol and its retinoid derivatives that play such an instrumental role in the constant Iron RE-cycling System (RES, Reticulo-endothelial System). That delivers 24 mgs of iron, 95% of the Total Daily Iron Quotient of 25 mgs. (Please note: A mere 1 mg/day of Iron is needed daily via our diet and our mouth)
- It is retinol, working with its metabolic partner, copper, that guarantees the necessary handoffs and transitions that enable proper and effective iron circulation of this essential, but highly reactive, metal around our body. This notion of “handoffs” is profiled in the 2nd Graphic to represent the interplay of three key “buckets” of where iron resides and where the principal movements are to and fro. These interactions are clearly dependent on the interplay of retinol and bioavailable copper and are profiled extensively in the literature. To completely eliminate this fat-soluble vitamin from our diet makes is troubling to me, particularly as it relates to this vital role that retinol plays in this iron dynamic that is so critical to our optimal health, and has become so confused in the modern era.
- Real vitamin-A, retinol also has a well-documented relationship with hormone-D metabolism, although much of this pioneering research from the 1910’s-1950’s has been cast aside for the much-ballyhooed, and dogmatic, emphasis on this demonic (IMHO) synthetic hormone that is potentially a key contributor to the many ills that folks suffer from these days. Suffice it to say, Mother Nature understands the importance of their interplay, and provides many foods (Cod Liver Oil, for example) that deliver both, but at levels and ratios that would shock most earthlings who think unopposed hormone-D supplements are the “gateway to good health!” (Sadly, nothing could be farther from the truth which is well documented on Jim Stephenson, Jr’s Facebook Group: Secosteroid Hormone D that sheds detailed truth and no dogma!)
- Real vitamin-A, retinol, as we have delved into repeatedly, has a vital and well-chronicled relationship with another transition metal, copper. Where, oh where, would we be on this planet if retinol were unable to load the coppers into the many Multi-Copper Oxidase enzymes that enable us to activate oxygen so we can create energy successfully on this oxygen-filled planet? It is no small role that copper plays to transform these oxygen (O2) molecules into water (2H2O) molecules to release the energy molecules (Mg-ADP) and a myriad of other essential functions. We should all say a prayer of thanks to Barber & Cousins (1987) for their pioneering and penetrating research to fully understand the interdependence of retinol and copper. These nutrients are another vital “Fric & Frac” that ensures our vitality.
- And finally, the world struggles mightily with the myth-led perception that “Anemia of Iron Deficiency” is real. It is among the greatest myths on this planet. Presented in the last two Graphics below are a key Figure from a seminal study by Robert E. Hodges, MD et al (1978) that demonstrates the vital impact that real vitamin-A, retinol, has on the process of building new blood, known as erythropoiesis. On the final graphic are key quotations and notable events that clearly verify the essential role that retinol play in healthy blood metabolism. That your favorite M.ineral D.enialist does not know this may be a matter for your later reflection and consideration.
These would be among my highest priority reasons for challenging the position being proposed to “eliminate” all vitamin-A from our diet. As laid out by Matt Stone, it simply does not pass the nutritional and metabolic “sniff test,” but I will caution the reader and qualify my remarks by saying that I have not taken the time to read the two studies by Grant Genereux. And I should point out, I do not intend to.
Aside from the research that I’ve noted and profiled above, we would be remiss in not acknowledging the legendary research of Weston A. Price, DDS & his wife, Florence, that meticulously codified the diets of 14 indigenous Communities around the Globe, during the 1920’s, that had “perfect” teeth. And the cornerstone of their diets was fat, esp. vital sources of retinol!
At the time, Dr. Price noted that, on average, these individuals ate as much as 10X more fat-soluble vitamins, especially retinol, than the average American at that time. It was a priority in their nutrient-dense diets, and to suggest its complete removal flies in the face of this pioneering research that represents the bedrock of what foods ensure optimal health for humans.
Weston A. Price, DDS, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration
(If you have not read this amazing research, it will forever change how you view food and how you eat on a day-to-day basis.)
So, there you have it. This is a mosaic of issues that surround the importance and role of Retinol in attaining optimal health.
“A” votre sante!
Morley M. Robbins
P.S. Here are the links for the two books by Grant Genereux for those interested in exploring his innovative concepts and nutritional theories further: