Saturday, September 20, 2008

Vitamins for Long-Term Storage

Provident Principles and Practices
© David Edwards, 2008...

PRINCIPLES: “Where garden space is limited, a multiple vitamin pill for daily use by each person may be stored as a safety measure for long periods of emergency. However, vitamin pills deteriorate so must be replaced within two to four years.” – Essentials of Home Production & Storage, 1978, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“To meet nutritional needs, also store foods containing vitamin C and other essential nutrients.” – The Church’s Web site, at the “Product Recommendations” Web page

“Sugar, salt, baking soda (essential for soaking beans), and vitamin C in tablet form also store well long-term.” – The Church’s Web site, at the “Longer-Term Storage – 30 Years or More” Web page

PRACTICES: Throughout the winter months in Winter Quarters, Nebraska, LDS pioneers had nearly no fruits and vegetables to eat. This led to malnutrition, disease and death. Prominent among diseases causing death was “black-leg”, characterized by bruises and lesions on legs, and bleeding, spongy gums. Today, we recognize these as late-stage symptoms of scurvy, caused by lack of vitamin C. Hundreds of saints died, perhaps as many as 15% of the camp. Elder George A. Smith was inspired to urge pioneers to eat unpeeled potatoes, helping to cure scurvy. He became known as the “Potato Saint”. (See links below and Hampl et al., 2001, scourge of the black-leg (scurvy) on the mormon trail, Nutrition, 17:5,416-418; some of the links also pertain to statements that follow).

Foods that we store for long-term storage contain little vitamin C and several other vitamins. So, you may want to store vitamin pills, too. Use of vitamin C and multivitamin pills during prolonged crises when fruits and vegetables are not available may help prevent scurvy and other disease. Keep stored vitamins cool, dark and dry, with minimal air exposure. Replace multivitamins every few years. Consider storing vitamin C, which may react with certain other vitamins, by itself in tablets.

Vitamin C is lost from our tissues rapidly. Many of us are depleted or deficient in vitamin C even in ordinary times. In one study, it was found that 37% of HMO outpatients presenting to a U.S. lab had either vitamin C depletion or deficiency. That is sad. Vitamin C promotes optimal health in many ways, too many to fully describe here. Vitamin C is essential for development of collagen found in healthy skin, tendons, ligaments, bones and other connective tissue. Vitamin C is also important in the synthesis of norepinephrine, which affects mood. Vitamin C is necessary for production of carnitine, required to convert fat into useful energy. Finally, vitamin C protects the body against oxidative stress by counteracting free radicals and other oxidants. Vitamin C provides maximum protection against oxidative damage to human cells at safe doses of 500-1,000 mg/day.

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Image credits:
Painting: Winter Quarters by CCA Christensen, public domain, from

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