Vitamin Primer

Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig

The study of vitamins has not waned since the early days of research, and the subject of food science has proved to be far more complex than scientists at first imagined. The early discoveries led some researchers to conclude that all vitamins necessary to life could be supplied in their isolated factory-produced form as vitamin pills. We now know that vitamins do not exist as single components but as parts of a complex of compounds, each part contributing to the whole.

… While supplementing the diet with certain isolated vitamins has proven temporarily bene cial for many disease conditions, the best source of vitamins for most of us in the long term is properly prepared whole foods.

… Vitamin and mineral content of food varies enormously with farming methods.3 Nitrogen fertilizers produce initial high yields, in part by pulling minerals from the soil. In time, commercially fertilized soils become depleted, and the foods grown on them su er accordingly.

… Food processing affects vitamin content to varying extents. Some vitamins are heat-sensitive while others survive heating fairly well. Steaming and waterless methods of cooking preserve vitamins better than rapid boiling, and vegetables cooked in an acidic liquid preserve vitamins better than those cooked in an alkaline medium.

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