Originally published April 10 2008
Interview: Greg Kunin from Ola Loa reveals the health secrets of drinkable vitamins
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
In this NaturalNews exclusive interview, Mike Adams (the Health Ranger) interview Greg Kunin of Ola Loa (www.DrinkYourVitamins.com) about nutrition, quality supplements, disease prevention and much more. Adams received no money to conduct this interview and earns nothing from the sale of Ola Loa products.
Mike: I'm joined here today by Greg Kunin, of Ola Loa. Better known as Drink Your Vitamins Company. I understand you have a new product on the market Greg; can you tell us about that?
Greg: Well, we're very excited, it's a product called Ola Loa SPORT. It's designed for people who have an active life. Whether you are a soccer mom, to an extreme athlete. Our new product provides significant nutrient support in an absolutely delicious drink that can be taken with or without food, even on an empty stomach.
Mike: Okay, so people may already be familiar with your existing formulation, which is the Ola Loa ENERGY product.
Greg: Well that's our foundation multivitamin product. It replaces over a dozen vitamin pills, and it's providing therapeutic doses of vitamin C and trimethylglycine and glycine, all in gram doses.
Mike: Let's talk about the qualitative difference in your product than some of the others that are out there on the market.
Greg: Well in large measure, up until Ola Loa came along, the only products that were available in powder form were nothing more than vitamin C with usually five or six grams of sugar. In fact I've seen a couple of other products that were as much as 90% sugar and very little nutrient support. Ola Loa was the first company to actually go outside the box and say, how do we get qualitative nutrient support in a single packet? So, we're providing your vitamins, your minerals, amino acids, digestives, in a powder form. Unlike anything else on the market today.
Mike: And also, even though your product uses the term energy, this is not based on the typical context of that word where other companies may put in caffeine or other kinds of stimulants. This is more of a cellular energy, correct?
Greg: Absolutely, we provide both the cellular energy with the use of coenzyme Q10 which is the key to energy production at the mitochondria. It is what really fires the cell. Of course then we're providing muscle energy through the use of trimethylglycine and glycine and arginine. These key amino acids that produce SAM-e, which is muscle energy. We're not providing a stimulant. No caffeine, no herbal stimulate of any sort.
Mike: And yet the energy on this product is amazing! As a personal note, I put a package of Ola Loa energy into my morning smoothie everyday, and I drink blended cucumbers and celery, with some fruits as well, and I'll tell you just last night in my Capoeira class, I think I wore out two other people with some of the moves and I was ready for more. The endurance on this is just unbelievable.
Greg: Well, your body's working better. What of course is really exciting about all our products is that we take into consideration an area of biochemistry that's known as methyltransferase. This is really - I think one the most important aspects of what Ola Loa is all about. My father as you know has been in the medical profession for over fifty years and has been one of the leaders in an area known as orthomolecular medicine. Some people would refer to it as a nutritional orientated approach to treating disease. This has really become the most significant pathway that my father has identified in all of the years that he's been in medical practice.
I say that this is really your body's major means of adaptation to whatever set of circumstances that you're dealing with. To make a long story short, methylation is going on in every cell of your body and every organ of your body is dependent upon it. We are now able to identify how well you're using your vitamins and how well your methylating process is working. This is where Ola Loa I think really shines because you're able to affect so many control mechanisms of the human body. To give you an overall perspective, methylating and methyl transfer is responsible for your body's energy - both on a cellular level and on a muscular level. So a number of key byproducts occur in the body from creating production to carnitine production to even CoQ.
So, for example, people are taking coenzyme Q, your body produces coenzyme Q10 and when you're methylating well your body's ability to produce CoQ is also enhanced. So, you're getting an added benefit on a cellular level. Methylation is also the key to healing and repair. It's the key to, for example, the production of neurotransmitters, affecting everything from dopamine to norepinephrine, epinephrine, melatonin. So we're talking about from a physical standpoint, from sleep, to just physical energy. Methylating is there to protect you and to make sure your body is working properly.
Mike: So, if I understand you correctly, when we're methylating correctly our bodies naturally produce many biochemically active compounds that are available as isolated nutritional supplements, such as SAM-e or DMG.
Mike: What are some others that fall into that category?
CoQ10 and homocysteine implications for heart healthGreg: Well, CoQ10 would be one; one of the big ones that we're hearing now a lot about is in the area of the cardiovascular disease. People who are highly susceptible to cardiovascular disease have a problem in that they can't properly deal with homocysteine. Homocysteine is pretty hard to avoid, in so much as every time you eat anything related to protein, whether it be cottage cheese, chicken, or fish, you're going to have an elevation of homocysteine. And for those people who are susceptible to the major diseases, heart disease, stroke, cancer, blood vessel damage, they have a problem in being able to detoxify their homocysteine.
And if you can't process your homocysteine, it becomes what is known as a pro-clotting factor; it actually starts to turn your blood and clot your blood. This, of course, is not something you want to have happening. It leads to major, major problems. In an extreme case, people have a huge steak dinner, for example, and come home and their blood pressure goes down and they go to sleep. These people don't wake up in the morning. Four hours after the ingestion of the protein, that's when their homocysteine level peaks and you start to have cells that start to die, which ultimately leads to a catastrophic type of an event.
Mike: There's been a lot of research, even in the conventional medical community, about the correlation between homocysteine and cardiovascular events, including stroke I believe.
Greg: Absolutely. Heart disease, stroke, cancer, blood vessel damage are all related to it. But this is just one. Of course, what we also know is that your body's normal adaptive process here plays in the role with the B vitamins: Folic acid, B12, B6, and it requires multiple cofactors that make this transaction occur. Whereas, when you're methylating you only need one methylating enzyme. To effectively do the same thing it would take three other cofactors to do it. So with a B vitamin, you have to have an adequate diet to be able to process homocysteine. A lot of people don't have an adequate diet. And a lot of people we're now finding who are more susceptible have more of an impairment in that they have a problem with their biochemistry. Their body's ability to utilize their B vitamins is hampered through what's known as a genetic mutation. Now some people want to know, why is that the case? Well right now, no one really knows.
Quality nutrients vs. junk vitaminsMike: Well, let me ask you this. To summarize that, you're saying that these methyl groups function as sort of super adaptive compounds that are far more effective at supporting methylation processes than, say, isolated B vitamins?
Greg: Oh, certainly. But keep in mind that there is a relationship between getting adequate nutrient support and these methyl factors. What we're now starting to see, for example, is that a lot of people are eating, but they're not getting much nutrient support out of their food. And they have these impairments where it makes it even more difficult for them to activate their vitamins. The B vitamins in particular are notorious for having problems with absorption and utilization. There's a mutation that my father has been testing for in his medical practice that's known as the MTHFR, and this is basically a test to identify how well your body is able to actively use your folic acid. And for a lot of these people, who are sick, they have these mutations and they have a more difficult time utilizing these B vitamins than somebody who has got their blood chemistry working better.
Mike: So, for those people they really need to take advantage of different biochemical pathways?
Greg: Well, think that it's a couple of things, first thing is finding a reliable source of comprehensive nutrition support, that's going to be something that you integrate into your daily life. That's what really led me to found Ola Loa and to try and develop these formulas. Because I started to recognize there was a problem: People have a very difficult time staying with the program; they have a difficult time taking handfuls of pills. When you're doing pills, you can only get so much nutrient support in a single pill.
And out of that single pill you can only absorb so much. And you're dependent upon stomach acids and a functioning digestive system to be able to maximize getting those nutrients out of those pills. A lot of people, especially sick people, have a tough time. They'll take pills, they won't feel good. They get stomach pain and they don't absorb their nutrients. So in essence, you know, it's not uncommon for them to lose 70 % or more of a tablet. So after looking at it, you spend $1.00 on that vitamin pill; $0.70 is going down the drain.
Mike: I've heard stories of people passing those tablets through undigested.
Greg: It's not uncommon. Tablets, of course, are the worst. Capsules tend to be a little bit better. The nice thing about Ola Loa is we're able to provide a great deal of support, meaningful amounts. You'll actually feel the difference. You don't have to go through the digestive trauma that you would go through in taking a handful of pills.
Fillers and excipients in junk vitaminsMike: The other thing is, that a lot of these pills from other companies can be as much as 90% filler and excipients. The active ingredient in there is minuscule.
Greg: Oh, very small. In fact, I'm embarrassed in some respects when I look at the vitamin industry as a whole. It somewhat mimics the soft drink industry. I heard a talk one day from a guy who said. If you want to be successful in the soft drink industry, you want to start up with the cheapest ingredients possible: water and sugar. The key is to put as little active ingredient product as possible. Well, the exact same thing happens in the vitamin industry. I've been amazed to see vitamin products that are being promoted with major ingredients on the front of the label and you look at the back of the label where the supplement facts are and you realize that it has microgram doses, were talking a millionth of a gram, of a particular ingredient, and that's the featured ingredient on the front of the label. It's shocking to me.
Mike: And often the forms of some of those nutrients are not the best forms anyway. For example, can you talk about vitamin B12?
Greg: Well, I've mentioned it to you before, this is something that I think makes Ola Loa stand out. Most of the vitamin B12 that's on the market today is known as cyanocobalamin. It's a toxic form of vitamin B12 and most of the vitamin companies use it because it's a cheaper form of vitamin B12. Ola Loa provides a form that is known as hydroxycobalamin, which your body can much more readily use and it doesn't leave poison in your body.
Mike: What's the cost difference on this? Is it a factor of ten or what?
Greg: Well, vitamin B12 is an expensive product no matter what just because of the process in which it's fermented. You could spend as much as $6,000 more per kilo to get the better vitamin B12.
Mike: Wow! That is an extremely valuable kilogram of nutrient right there.
Greg: Well, the other problem too is that the cyano form of vitamin B12 interferes with your body's methylation pathway. And again, I come back to the fact that methylation is so important because there are so many ways where people are being hit. You have exposure for example to fluoride, you have exposure to chlorine. Just drinking your water is putting poisons into your body which affects your methyl pathways. When you have exposure to more fluoride, if you're going to the dentist, for example, and having a fluoride treatment, you definitely want to make sure that you're getting those methyl donors, to be able to provide protection.
Greg: You know, people don't realize fluoride is a toxic material - in fact so toxic there's a warning label on every single tube of toothpaste. If you were, for example, to feed a tube of toothpaste to an eight- or 10-year-old child, there's a high likelihood that the child would die. From consuming one tube of toothpaste. You hear about people, for example, who will actually eat toothpaste.
Mike: Right, it's not uncommon.
Greg: So, here's another reason why it's great to have a product that's providing these methyl donors that play a role in so many, literally hundreds of chemical transactions that are taking place in the body. I mean, we're talking, for example, from cell energy, as I mentioned earlier, to healing, immunity, genetic expression and DNA. We're now seeing in the nutrition science field, people are starting to realize that one of the major contributors to aging is methylation, or lack there of."
Methyl group nutrientsMike: Now, which raw materials in your product contribute these methyl groups the most?
Greg: Well, the really big one is the amino acid, which I mentioned earlier, and trimethylglycine, it's also known as TMG or betaine. It gets its name from beets.
Mike: You have a thousand milligrams in your energy product, how many beets would a person have to eat to get the equivalent amount of TMG?
Greg: You know, that's a great question Mike. If you want, I could probably put you on hold and get you that information, or email it to you a little later. We do have a thousand milligrams of course in our foundation multivitamin product, the Ola Loa ENERGY. In an effort to make our product more available and more affordable for people and for people who like to use our product throughout the day, more than once a day, we did create the new Ola Loa SPORT, which has a smaller amount of the TMG in there. But we are finding that a lot of people are utilizing this sport product, sometimes up to three a day. If they do three a day they're getting 750 milligrams of the TMG and the glycine in the sport product.
The truth about most sports drinksMike: I've got a number of questions about this sport product. I love the fact that you have a sport product, because the sport drinks that are on the market, you know the big brand name ones, I've written about them before, they are just junk. Mostly artificial food colors with water and some salt.
Greg: It's a soft drink.
Mike: It is!
Greg: I mean, there are usually soft drink companies and they're looking for another profit stream, and they do what they do best; they produce soft drinks. Some people of course are thinking that they are getting more than they really are. They are not really getting a nutrient-rich supportive product.
Mike: No, not at all. They are just getting neon green water.
Greg: It's a mystery to me.
Mike: Yeah, me too. As we know, some athletes, especially body builders, will eat anything, I mean the craziest stuff if it promises to pack on one more pound of muscle. They're not interested in health, they're just interested in one result and that's, you know, muscle mass.
Greg: Well, of course, we can also help them too. We can protect them from the toxic side effects of being over-proteinized. This happens with a lot of body builders in particular. I've heard stories from body builders who get into competition and they will stop eating and only consume dried protein powder which puts an incredible, incredible load on their kidneys. Ola Loa and methylation again, plays a critical role in providing the kind of support you want to get if you happen to fall into that category. At the same time, anybody who is working out will find that their energy and endurance will go up, their connective tissue repair will be enhanced and their body again will function that much better just by integrating Ola Loa into their program.
Mike: Now, I've got a question for you about your energy product as well. You have 40 mineral complexes, CoQ10, the good B12, amino acids, plus a gram of TMG, a gram of L-Glycine. When I open up this package and there's not that much powder in it, I mean, it must be 100% of active ingredients.
Greg: The active ingredients in Ola Loa are roughly 85%. I think what really surprises people is the fact that they've seen some other products that are out there that are primarily just vitamin C and they are usually anywhere from 60-70% and as much as 90% sugar, these other products. People take a look at our products and they're shocked. That there on the energy product we have a gram of fructose, which is such a small amount of sugar that it has virtually no effect on the glycemic index. It's the equivalent of having a bite of a pear, and also that small amount of fructose actually assists in being a carrier to taking the nutrients deep into the cell. You also find, one of the neat things is that, amino acids taste pretty good.
Mike: Yeah they do, don't they? I was eating some TMG yesterday and thinking, this is pretty good stuff.
Greg: I think I mentioned to you in the past, one of the neat things that happen when you take our product - of course a lot of complexing occurs. It's a very reactive solution as it mixes and complexes with the solution. Our vitamin C for example, becomes a buffered form of vitamin C. The trimethylglycine as it gives off its first methyl donor group; it has another donor group to give off after that. The TMG goes through a transformation and becomes dimethylglycine, so you're getting the best of both worlds.
Portable nutrition without the bulk of vitamin bottlesMike: Absolutely, and we could do a whole article about dimethylglycine, but let's move on. I've got another comment; another question. My comment first, is another thing I really like about your product is that it's perfect for both traveling and for sending to friends, because you can easily drop it into the mail, just put it in an envelope that you're sending out. But for traveling, what's wonderful about this is you know travel is a high stress endeavor, but you can buy a bottle of water at any airport, open it up and drop in Ola Loa powder. You've got yourself a fantastic nutrient drink, without having to lug around a bottle of pills and some kind of liquid supplement.
Greg: And of course you know the nice thing about it is, well first you can bring it on board the aircraft with you, and they'll even give you the water for free. But you know it's interesting, it brings up another subject that is ready-to-drink vitamin liquids. Again, they promise everything and when you get down to it and take a look at these labels, they have very small amount of actual nutrients that are in there. More importantly, what else are they adding to it? Once they put it in solution they generally have to add things like sodium benzoate.
Mike: I was thinking the same thing.
Greg: Yeah, it's a preservative, which unfortunately when mixed with vitamin C it produces what's called benzene, which is another word for gasoline.
Mike: That's a very carcinogenic chemical.
Greg: Yes, and that's one of the reasons why that Ola Loa has not produced anything in liquid form, because of that problem.
The Ola Loa qualitative differenceMike: Well, that's a good point. I have looked at a lot of nutritional juices and you find this to be especially prominent with the super fruits. You know, there are juices with mangosteen or xanthones, all kinds of other fruits. But you know, the thing is most of them are loaded with sweeteners that are concentrated pear juice for example, or apple juice. You'd be better off just eating a couple of dried berries.
Greg: Yes, and you'll save a bloody fortune.
Mike: Yeah! Eat a berry and drink a glass of water, you know, and you've got the same thing.
Greg: Yeah, I was pretty shocked when I was looking at some of these things on the market; they are charging as much as $60.00 for a bottle. Which is pretty remarkable. When I look at that figure I started thinking, my goodness, Ola Loa's a deal.
Mike: Well, Ola Loa is a deal, but I imagine you still have some price resistance, because isn't it difficult for consumers to easily recognize the quality and difference between your products and competing products?
Greg: Well, I'm doing everything I can, you know, and I salute you for what you're doing. I think that the general public is getting smarter and is starving for good information, and being trained in how to objectively look at things, and how to study the labels. I try everything I can to inform and educate people about the differences between these products. At the same time, I also try to make it easy for people to understand. I think it ultimately comes down to, for me at least, I found when people try our product, it's a common occurrence where someone says: You know what, I've take vitamins before, have never really felt any different and I'm doing it as an insurance policy. I get these people who say: I've tried your product and it's the first time I've ever felt a difference with a vitamin product.
Mike: That's not surprising.
Greg: That makes a huge difference and of course as I've told you before, I always provide samples for people who are interested. So if they want to they can go to our website at www.DrinkYourVitamins.com and they can call us at 800-800-9550 and we're always happy to send out samples, to talk to people and answer their questions.
Mike: Is that US only, or where are you willing to send samples to?
Greg: Well, generally speaking it's the United States and Canada. We do get people who order products internationally. We try to work with everybody.
Beware the toxic form of B12 found in many vitaminsMike: It's a good policy. Now, I want to get back to asking you some details about vitamin B12. In some of the literature put out by your company, there's a mention of the toxic for of B12, the cyanocobalamin, being especially harmful to people of African descent. I'm curious about this, because I noticed there are a lot of other nutritional problems to watch out for other than your ethnic background. Are you familiar with why cyanocobalamin is harmful to people?
Greg: Well, again you're dealing with the effects of methylation for one thing. So if you're not methylating well, this can also lead to problems in terms of how the cyanocobalamin is handling itself in you body, especially for people who have weak antioxidant protection. I mean the extreme case, for example, it occurs especially in injectable form. Some people, for example, we've actually seen patients who have gone blind from a cyanocobalamin injection. Smokers for example are also at high, high risk for problems associated with cyanocobalamin.
Mike: Because they're already compromised and then that...?
Greg: What happens is, their body's ability to detoxify the poisonous side of it is highly compromised. So, in general, we have a very matter-of-fact approach at Ola Loa and that is: no poison.
Mike: I like that approach. That's a good one. What are the other differences by the way, between the sport and the energy product? You've talked about the lower levels of TMG, for example, but the energy product also has more minerals and vitamins, correct?
Greg: Well, the energy product has more of the fat soluble product, you know, it offers a little more of vitamin B12, whereas, the sport product offers, it doesn't offer the coenzyme Q10, that's probably the most significant difference. Coenzyme Q10 ,you know, is a very expensive vitamin. It can be priced as much as $5000 a kilogram. Typically, when you're buying vitamins you paying $6.00 a kilo. Right now I think coenzyme Q10 is probably in the neighborhood of between $1000 and $1300 per kilogram. So we removed the coenzyme Q10 and we put in carnitine; again, which has profound impact on energy for your muscles. It's an instant effect; let me put it like that. So people who are in the middle of a sports activity, they'll feel that carnitine almost immediately.
I guess the other thing too that we should talk about and mention is the fact that a lot of people who are physically active, who are in warm climates, have probably heard recently something in the area that's called electrolytes. You know, there are four major electrolytes, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium. Your body usually has quit a bit of calcium in it. It's what you're made of, your bones. Magnesium gets a little bit harder to get, but potassium and sodium your body loses very quickly. When you're physically active, and you start to sweat, you can run out of electrolytes within an hour. You hear these cases of people, for example, who decided they're going to run a marathon, and they're not getting their electrolytes and they're just hydrating with water, and you hear the extreme case, all of a sudden their electrolytes go way out of balance and all of a sudden you have an extreme case where someone passes out or all of a sudden someone dies during a run. Then of course, this year here in California, we've had a number of incidents where we had during the summer, I think we had somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 deaths in the state of California, attributable to the temperature.
Mike: But that could have been avoided easily if they had proper electrolyte balance.
Greg: Certainly, and the electrolytes are just a piece of the puzzle. This is another aspect of Ola Loa that goes into the realm of osmolytes. Osmolytes, in essence, extend the life of your cells, and protect you. Even if your electrolytes start to, you know, as you deplete your electrolytes. The osmolytes effect has profound, major impact on protecting your cells, and it extends the life of the cell so you literally don't fall apart so quickly.
Mike: Where do these osmolytes come from?
Greg: Well, we have them, again TMG glycine. The bone joint formula we offer is taurine, also an osmolyte.
Mike: Oh okay, and that's, isn't that also an amino acid that helps calm the nerves?
Greg: Certainly, yes.
Greg: I think what you're really seeing here is the fact that, since we're a powder, we've got a remarkable strategic formula that just works so well together, as well as for your body. I think that, to me, is what's so exciting.
Ola Loa for senior citizens and obese patientsMike: Yes, well, that's what I've absolutely noticed. That's what gets me excited about this product. I keep recommending it. I mailed a couple of 30-day supplies to my grandparents actually, and they are doing so much better on this product. I mean they are just more alert, they are more active, it made a huge difference and I think among the elderly population, this kind of product can almost seem miraculous because that group in particular is not usually digesting supplements well at all.
Greg: Of course, and of course we find that as people age, digestion in general does not work as well. And it's interesting, I'll tell about a couple of other groups that we've been working with. There has been, sadly, and increase in major obesity in the United States. A surgical process that's being done by about 150,000 people a year, known as bariatric surgery, where they're literally shrinking your stomach. Once you go through an operation like that, you're basically cutting down the surface area of the stomach, and how much surface area can actually digest your food and digest the nutrients out of that food. It's actually critical for patients who have had bariatric surgery to have a reliable source of nutrients. Again, Ola Loa provides more nutrient support than most people can; they can't, most people can't do it in pill form. It's too much of a struggle. Of course, you know, you mentioned your grandparents; I have to tell you a little aside: what led me to developing this product in the first place, this powder, ultimately, was my son.
When my son was almost three years old, we started looking into developing a complete line of vitamin supplements that would work together as a modular system. And I realized at the time, that I would never be able to share this with my son.
Mike: Why is that?
Greg: Well, until he got much older. I wanted to be able to have my son have access to nutrient support because it was so important to me growing up. I was very, very fortunate. I had sugar sensitivities as a child and was unable to drink soft drinks, was developing headaches, and unfortunately I had had some lead poisoning as a child. Fortunately for me, my father got into this area of medicine when I was six years old. So, vitamins have played a major impact on my life. I realized I wanted to be able to share that with my son and the rest of the world. So that's really what led us to developing it into a powder. When you really get down to it, it just makes so much more sense.
Great nutrition doesn't have to taste like chemicalsMike: It really does, yes. And actually the taste too is something that I want to mention. The taste is really quite pleasant. It's not something that you have to choke down at all. The Cran-Raspberry flavor, I think is my favorite. You have a number of different flavors. They're all very nice to drink.
Greg: We're always striving to make it better and better. Of course, this gets into another area. Ola Loa goes the extra mile, and we don't use synthetic flavors. Everything we use is natural in the product. Now, most people don't realize that when you use a natural flavor that costs incredibly. I mean it's always cheaper to use synthetics. And again, most companies do it because of cost. We want to produce the very best product we can.
Mike: Well, that's really who this is for. This is for the educated consumer who wants premium nutrition and doesn't want all these synthetic chemicals in their body, pretending like they're taking vitamins. The more we read about it, too, the more we find the products on the market are just junk vitamins. The B vitamins are from dubious sources. The vitamin B12 that we talked about is probably toxic. The minerals, sometimes the minerals are in the cheapest possible form as well.
Greg: I think what really is significant about Ola Loa, besides the distribution, you know the formula itself, and the method in which you absorb the nutrients, is the fact that it's such a thoughtful formula. We're very lucky, my father is the director of research for the company and has had fifty years in working with patients and we've gone out of our way to think about the little things. For example, you'll find that there's a little copper in our product. Well, when you're taking vitamin C, vitamin C depletes your body of copper. So, we've gone out of our way to take care of that relationship.
In our bone joint formula, I've had people who tell me, you know, I take glucosamine products and I just don't feel good. Then, you find out that they have diabetes in their family, and I have to explain to them that glucosamine is a sugar-amine. Glucose – amine. And it can have a major impact on putting people into a pre-diabetic state. We've included glycine and vanadium in there to manage blood sugars. I don't know any other vitamin company that goes through the trouble of doing that.
Mike: No, they just want to be able to put something on the label.
Greg: These are the synergistic relationships that go into each and every formula that we have.
Answers the vitamin criticsMike: Now, let me switch gears for a second and ask you a bigger question, which is, many doctors still practicing today come from that old school of medicine that doesn't think nutrition really matters; they think vitamins are useless. How do you respond to that kind of outmoded…?
Greg: Generally, I find that it's just not the doctors, I mean, some of the members of the public also feel the same way. I mean they'll say, Well, I get everything I need out of my food. I'll ask them, well how do you know that? Most people have never even checked. In 50 years of doing this kind of work, I have never seen anybody who has been able to get everything they need out of their food. The food itself, there are a lot of compromises in modern day food delivery. Not to mention the fact that there's a lot more poisons now that we're dealing with and having to contend with.
Back to your point as to why is it that, you know, most doctors that are out there don't seem to understand this. Well, I think they're practicing a form of medicine that I call crisis medicine. Disease model - they wait for you to get sick; whereas we're practicing health medicine, preventive medicine. I don't think, you know, people go and they understand that they have to check the oil in your car; well, the same thing goes for your body. If you're going to take your health seriously, wouldn't you like to know and just get a general check to see, well, how am I doing on my vitamin levels? Why wait until you get sick when we have the tools right now, to not only identify your vitamin levels and how you\re doing on your vitamin levels, but we can also check for toxins.
Mike: So, in your father's clinical practice, and he's been in practice for decades, what do you see when a typical patient comes in, what do you see as their pattern of deficiency?
Greg: Well, there are a couple of different classifications, I would say. You get your one group, who actually takes their health very seriously and wants to make sure that everything is okay. So they want to go through a general workup to identify where they're at, to see if there's anything hidden. They're feeling good, they're in good shape, by all means they're in fine shape. Then you get people who are sick; typically what we find is that there is a problem with nutrient support, nutrient levels that plays a role in it. There's a toxic side that also plays a role in it, whether it be pesticides to metals, and then now we've been able to identify blood flow. We've been able to find out if you have a clotting disorder, and of course we've now gone deeper in the past five years in the genetic side and identify, well, not only do you have a vitamin deficiency, but you also have an inability to properly use these nutrients. So it's more of a struggle for this person to utilize food for example, and get those nutrients than somebody else who's got a, you know, luck of the draw, you know, somebody who's got better genetics is going to have an edge.
What's important though, is that we're able to identify these things and we're able to assist the body, and concentrate on these areas that could potentially be a major, major problem. For example, if you have a concern about major diseases, there's heart disease, stroke, cancer, blood vessel damage, in your family history - wouldn't you like to know that you've got these major factors that trigger your blood to clot and turn your blood from a nice flow into a thick clot? Wouldn't you like to know before you go into surgery, that you've got this clotting factor disorder that potentially could kill you, when you go into surgery?
I'm utterly amazed when I hear of people who are going in to have open heart surgery and they have absolutely no idea what their homocysteine is, or their fibrinogen, or their lipoprotein; these key factors that are major contributors to blood clotting. Well, so, for me, I think that you're going to do better in identifying your blood chemistry and having a complete picture as to the whole person rather than going in there with cut, burn and poison. Because the people that are having open heart surgery, they're still going to have those contributory factors after they have the surgery. But the exciting thing is, we have a lot of information to work with and we can actually identify what's happening, specifically with you and your blood chemistry. To me, that is good medicine.
Nutrition and geneticsMike: There's a lot of buzz these days in the industry that's about this marriage of nutrition and genetics. The term epigenetics keeps coming up, which I saw mentioned in your literature as well. Can you explain how nutrition alters the expression of our genetic code?
Greg: Well it's really identifying where you have problems; I mean, for example, on the methylation pathway, there are hundreds of chemical transactions that are methyl dependent. Along that pathway, you can have certain road blocks based on your genetics. I go back to the MFTHR, which is simply a test to identify how your body can utilize folic acid. And for those people who have a problem with it, again, you want to identify it, because if you're not able to utilize your folic acid well, then you simply want to be able to enhance your methyl transfer rates and you're getting those methyl donors, so that you can, in fact, maintain your health.
But ultimately, getting this kind of information is only going to help you and it's going to assist you in identifying, you know, foods to eat, it's going to assist you in nutrients you need to make sure you're getting everything. And it's something to also watch out for in conjunction with understanding your family history and knowing what risk factors you have. There is a lot that you can do now. That's why I tell people, it's so painful when you see people who tell you that they don't need vitamins. You take a look at them and they look twenty years older than they are.
Mike: Oh yeah, I see it all the time.
Greg: It's just so painful, everyday I come in contact with people like that, and it's just such a sad situation when I know that we can offer them so much more support. And it's terrible, too, when you look at the diet that they're getting. You'll see a lot of these people that are utilizing, unfortunately, the wrong oils, and they're getting these peculiar long chain fatty acids into their bodies, that, you know, up until 50 years ago were not even part of the genetic make-up of mankind. We're going through an evolution right now with these adulterated foods that are changing mankind before our very eyes.
Mike: What's interesting about nutritional supplementation, too, is that often these supplemental nutrients can help protect us in some ways, from many of the additives and adulterations of processed foods. For example, a good quality vitamin C can stop sodium nitrite from turning into nitrosamine compounds, right?
Greg: Sure, well, it's just so sensible, that's what I think is so frustrating. There's even been talk, you know, on a broader issue; there have been some members in Washington, for example, who are thinking that, well, vitamins need to be regulated more and more. And it's so frustrating, because as far as I'm concerned, I don't see a difference between a vitamin pill and food. People who take their health seriously select food based on not only taste, but also on nutrient density. People want to have meaningful food that has nutrients in it. And unfortunately we're seeing a lot of pretty food. You go into the stores and you know, everything looks very pretty, but unfortunately a lot of it is limited in terms of what it's actually providing you.
Consumer taste expectations and sugared-up foods and drinksMike: Absolutely. And it's fascinating how consumers will make decisions on these foods. I do a little experiment that might amuse you - sometimes when I have new food bars sent to me by various companies. I will walk around to friends and I'll hand them the food bar, and I'll say, "what's your opinion of this?" And I'm looking to see if they're going to A: open it and taste it, and give me an opinion, or B: read the label. And you know, probably 90% of the people judge it only by taste. They'll taste it and they'll use the chemical sensors on their tongue, and then they will report, oh, this is good.
Greg: Well, and then of course that's something that we're very sensitive to. I mean, there's no question, when you're doing a powder that makes a drink you want to make it the best tasting product you possibly can. And I'm very proud of the fact that most of the people who have tried our product actually tell us that they're impressed with how good the product tastes. And the fact that we're able to get the level of nutrient support in there that we have, with the small amount of sugar that we put in there, is really, I think, quite an achievement.
Mike: It is, indeed. But I hope that as consumers evolve in the health industry, they will shift more away from just eating to amuse their tongue sensors and more toward eating because they understand what their body actually needs.
Greg: Well I think part of that too is conditioning. It's interesting; I've had people that have told me they're addicted to sweets. And it is amazing to me how much sugar is used in the average American diet. People have become kind of numb to how powerful sugar is. But it's amazing - if you just go off of sugar, just for a short period of time, and then all of a sudden a week or two later just taste a sweet and all of a sudden your sensitivity comes back and you realize, "my god, that's just so sweet", you know. I'm shocked that so many food products seem to be unnecessarily loaded with sugars.
Mike: It is amazing. I mean, you find sugars in salad dressings, pasta sauce, I mean, all kinds of crazy places where you don't need it.
Greg: No, it's amazing. And again, in a large measure I think that one of the culprits there is that people are conditioned because of soft drinks. I am utterly amazed at the volume of soft drink consumption here in the United States.
Mike: I am too, but this one takes the prize: I saw an advertisement, I think this was by Dean foods, for sausage on a stick, this was a breakfast sausage, wrapped in chocolate pancakes. So it's sort of like a corn dog, but it's chocolate pancake.
Greg: Really? That's pretty far out.
Mike: Yeah. That's when I knew that we're going to end up as mutants. I said if they're doing this….
Greg: I'm doing my part. I mean, I realize that people are only human. And ultimately I think what they're looking for is convenience. And it's great when they can actually see results. And typically we hear from people, they go: "God, I can't tell you… I felt the difference."
Mike: By the way, I'm amazed at how much technical knowledge you have about nutrition. There's a lot to memorize when it comes to biochemistry and nutrition.
Greg: It is a daunting task. And what's so remarkable about it is that it's so far-reaching, Mike. I mean this is absolutely amazing. It involves virtually about every single disease. We're talking, you just go right down the list. If there is one thing to add it would be that there are a lot of people that are out there that are suffering today, whether they be lumped in a category of chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, a number of things that in large measure conventional medicine seems stuck. And one of the exciting things here is that for these people in particular, this product opens up their blood chemistry and these pathways and it can provide them an enormous amount of support. So it's pretty exciting that it's able to touch on… I mean, I have not found an area of disease, for example, that does not touch on this subject.
And that's why they say, to have something that is this powerful in terms of your body's self-regulating mechanism; it's not just one thing. And that's really the point I'm really trying to stress to people. This is a comprehensive molecular control mechanism that's affecting every single organ of your body. And if the systems are working and you've got these methyl factors there, you are going to see benefit.
Mike: I'm so glad you mentioned that, because conventional medicine has, you know, 10,000 different names for patterns of symptoms that they can measure and diagnose, but when you get down to it, they all stem from cellular malfunction.
Greg: Oh yeah. And it's interesting because there are so many areas where there also are a number of factors that can block this pathway. For example, you know, I'm sure you get these emails all the time. I must receive more emails, these mass emails that are involving, you know, sexual problems, and male impotence… And let's face it, I think Viagra is the number-one-selling pharmaceutical in the world. But you know, we have here again, sexual activity involves the formation of a nitric oxide, which causes free radical damage and affects your methylation. So if you are having activity of that sort you certainly want to be able to make sure that your methyl transfer rates are working. If you're working out hard, your body is going through, again, free radical damage, methylation is critical. It really is far-reaching. I mean, methylation affects every part of your body. And I'm trying to find a way to be able to communicate this in a very easy way.
That booklet is the most dense two pages I've ever produced. And it's really a design to kind of wake people up to say: "My God, there is an amazing system of the body that is there to protect me."
Mike: And it really requires a paradigm shift too, because so much of medicine today is based on straight allopathy, where one substance is designed to treat or control one set of symptoms. And people still think that way when it comes to nutrition. And what they've got to do is abandon that outdated idea and come to understand that the best way to heal disease is to support the body's own innate healing processes.
Greg: Balance, you know, the system…. It's amazing when you take a look at the biochemical pathways of the human body. They are all interdependent on these key ingredients.
Mike: Yeah. And that interdependence also helps explain why, when people take a prescription drug, like a statin drug, it causes all these unintended side effects, all through the body and the biochemical pathways.
Conventional medicine is slow to recognize the power of nutritionGreg: Well the interesting thing: No one has ever died from lack of a pharmaceutical, or a prescription drug. But people have died from lack of a single nutrient. People seem to forget that. And it's amazing. This has been going on for a while. It took over 50 years for the British to accept the fact that they needed to have limes on the boat. Okay, and they knew it. The number of people that died unnecessarily over something so silly as a lack of vitamin C is amazing to me.
Mike: Yeah. Well, medicine changes slowly. I mean I still think even today, in modern society, they're practicing the medicine of the 1950s.
Greg: Well, there's a lot to that. It's a frustrating situation. I think in large part you've got, you know, there's a bureaucracy of medicine. And you've got medical doctors who wants to get paid. And you've got an administrator at an insurance company who says, "We pay for this, we pay for this, we don't pay for that." What we're discussing today, most of the medical doctors out there don't really know that much about human biochemistry, and get very nervous about this because they know they don't know a lot about the intricacies of these pathways of the human body and how they are all interdependent on these key ingredients.
I mean, let's face it: It's great when you can pull out your pad, and you write down, you take this one thing. It's a very empowering feeling. And the other issue is the fact I think that people want to believe, I think more now than ever before, though we're starting to see that people are realizing: "Hey, you know what, better living through pharmacy, on the pharmaceutical side, is not as great as they were telling me." They're starting to realize, you know, that people die from taking these drugs and you're trading in one set of problems for another.
Mike: But the advantage is when you die, you don't need embalming because of all the chemicals you take already. (Laughs)
Greg: Well, again, I'm just trying to make it easy for people. That's my goal. And some people want to learn more, and we're going to try and give them more information. But for those people who just want to experience feeling better, all they have to understand is I put the product in a glass, I add some water, I taste it, I feel better. And I'm happy for those people too.
Mike: I really want to thank you, Greg, not only for this interview, but for what you're doing; putting this quality product on the market and being willing to talk about it in such detail…. You know, you're helping to educate people; your product is helping people to get healthy, we need more companies like yours operating today. So, thanks for doing what you're doing.
Greg: Well, thank you. It's nice to be appreciated, and we appreciate you.
Mike: And again, for everyone reading, it is Ola Loa, at www.DrinkYourVitamins.com, and if you can't find this product at your local health food store, ask for it by name and encourage them to get it in stock for you.
Greg: Absolutely. And anybody who wants samples, we're happy to send out samples.
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