The Vital Spark
The vitamin is the vital spark, which vitalizes all the food elements and sets them at work. Without this they are slow to move and act.
It is like building a fire in your fireplace. You may lay all of the materials ever so carefully but there will be no fire until you apply the spark—the match. No amount of wishing will take the place of that vital spark.
In nature there are mysterious forces at work that cause action, another name for growth, which is one manifestation of life. The plants are composed of elements in the soil, but the soil has no power or ability to assemble itself into forms of potatoes, cabbages, strawberries, peaches, corn, apples, beans, or nuts. Other powers and forces not found in the soil must be associated with its elements to cause them to work and arrange them into the various forms of vegetation, which will aid in sustaining the life which is within humans and animals. Among these mysterious forces is the vitamin.
To explain: Plant a bean, which is last year’s dirt (it grew from dirt last year), and beside it plant a pebble, another lump of dirt. Water and watch. Soon the insides of the bean begin to move, then the interior will move so much that it bursts the shell, cracks the soil, sends up leaves, blossoms, and soon you have more beans. But nothing will ever happen inside that pebble! It will never grow! If it would, evolution might be true. The bean contained something which the pebble did not—it contained every earthly element, plus vitamins.
Likewise, not one of these elements will ever stir in your body to cause growth or activity any more than in a bottle or in the dirt of your garden unless that mysterious vitamin and other forces be associated with them to make them move and go to work.
The vitamin is necessary to the growth of all plants. It also makes boys and girls grow. Without it all food is as dead as the dirt in your garden, and to eat food without vitamins is almost comparable to eating dirt. You may make sure of an ample supply of calcium in the rations, but if vitamins are not present, no bones or teeth will ever be made. And thus it is with all of the other elements.
The vitamins are present in all seeds—the grains, legumes, and nuts. They are in the fruits, leaves, and roots. They are in all vegetation. They are one of the essential factors of growth.
As in all plants, so it is in animals. The life and growth of all animals depend upon the vitamins found in seeds, fruits, leaves, and roots. The vitamins function in some way as an activating principle, which sets going the processes that develop energy, power and activity. All animals are dependent upon this life principle to sustain their lives. A monkey fed a good ration but with vitamins removed, died in ninety days.
As in plants and animals, so it is in man. His life and growth depend upon the vitamins found in all vegetation. They are as necessary to the daily food as any other element. …
We Always Had Them in Natural Foods
No vitamin has been discovered or ever will be found that has not been in natural foods since the dawn of time; no scientist can discover anything which God did not set in operation thousands of years ago. When He made man and commanded his rations to grow out of the earth, He provided for all of man’s necessities. My confidence in my Creator is complete, and I am free to say that scientists will never find a nutritional need of the human body that is not met by natural foods—whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts.
What Vitamins Do
It appears that vitamins assist in the maintenance of every life process and the normal conditions of every cell in the body. This, then, includes every organ, gland, tissue, nerve, bone, and tooth; the eyes, skin, hair, blood, digestive juices and all other fluids—everything that can be named in the body.
Certain vitamins promote growth; some contribute to the health of the skin and mucous membrane and glands throughout the body; others maintain nerve vitality; some sustain the health of the capillaries; still others assist them in building bones or aid digestion or reproduction or coagulation, and so on at length. This is marvelous indeed. …
“Vitamin A is essential for life, health, and growth. It is indispensable for the maintenance of normal epithelium.” “The parts of the body which are built of epithelial tissues are the skin and its appendages, the hair and the nails, the sweat glands and the oil glands, the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth, sinuses, throat, trachea, bronchial tubes, and air sacs of the lungs. The enamel of the teeth, the salivary glands, the mucosa of the esophagus, the stomach and all its glands, the liver, the pancreas, the tubules of the kidney, the kidney pelvis, the ureters and bladder, all the ductless glands of the body, the nervous system, the brain and spinal cord, are also governed in their development, structure, and function by vitamin A. For these reasons a deficiency of vitamin A produces a host of diseases—over ninety main types with many more subtypes, and many infections which are enabled to gain entrance to the body because of the breakdown of the entrance barrier presented by the skin and the mucous membranes.” G.K. Abbott, M.D., in Life and Health, May 1940, 17.
When vitamin A is deficient, the cells flatten, become hard and horny with a tendency to slough off. They then lose all power of normal function. As an example, tear gland cells cannot produce tears and the eyes will be dry. Again, the mucous membrane in all the places mentioned above will be unable to secrete its accustomed fluid.
Bacteria Find an Open Road
Furthermore, healthy mucous membrane does not allow bacteria to pass through into the blood, but as this deficiency of vitamin A continues, these cells slowly lose their power to stop bacteria and then may follow infections of many kinds like those of the respiratory tract, broncho-pneumonia, inflammation of the intestine, infection of the kidneys, gall-bladder, reproductive glands, and so on throughout the body.
We have heard much about glands for a number of years, but we are now learning more about how to maintain their vitality for more years. But to do so, we cannot wait until their vitality is gone. Vitamins are pre-eminently necessary.
Thus we could go up and down within the body and at every turn find marvelous activities upon which life depends, and which cannot continue without the various vitamins. These elements are not here by accident. They have all been planned and provided by a Master Mind. If we would know the plan and use the elements that the Creator has provided for us, it would help us to have the health He intended us to have.
But here is the mischief; the vitamins have been removed from ever so many of our staple foods upon which we live from youth up, and this is one of the reasons why men and women are going to pieces so often after age forty.
Excerpts from Abundant Health, Julius Gilbert White, Northwestern Publishing Association, Buckley, Washington, 1951, 63–72.