This section is from the "Impaired Health: Its Cause And Cure" (Volume 1) book, by John H. Tilden. Also available from Amazon: Impaired health its cause and cure: A repudiation of the conventional treatment of disease
Vitamin ("vita" = life + "minum" = small)--small life. We talk much about life; we see where it is, we see what it does, we see it manifest all about us, we know that there is life; yet we cannot see it, we cannot feel it, we cannot analyze it. We cannot live without it. We know that it is, because we see how matter acts under its influence, and how it acts when life is removed from it.
Life is, or it is not, an entity. If it is an entity, it is much too microscopic for man's extended senses (instruments of precision). If it is not an entity, then it must be the "summa summarum" of a physiological synthesis. If it is an entity, then it must be a something that is ommipresent, and at the same time so subtile, subsensorial, and elusive as to sidestep the chemist and all his analytical wiles. Yet it adds the missing link to a synthesis that becomes an animate being.
It is difficult to conceive of life as not present. As in the case of air, light, and electricity, we must assume that it is; or otherwise analytical reasoning becomes void. Nature--the great artificer, the chemist par excellence--and the associational, or social, nature of elements, cause the latter to assemble and unite in just the right proportion to make a compound--a synthesis--attractive for the everpresent life, which at once enters, and the inanimate becomes animate.
Would not life--animal life--be exceedingly precarious if omnipresent life itself were not ever present? Suppose a supply of air, which is a coarse substance compared with life, should have to be gathered, or material for its supply should have to be discovered and purposively supplied--would not life be so precarious that being would scarce secure a hold, and that to remain in being for years, as man does, would be impossible? As it is, man dies for lack of air. The lungs and blood fail to exchange gases, notwithstanding the fact that air is ever present and man's body is submerged in it continually. Let us assume a simile for life: Suppose that a living being were compelled to discover just what foods contained life--vitamin--and he were compelled to provide himself with enough or die, is it thinkable that the world would be populated with beings? Every little while the medical profession discovers something which "God forgot" that is necessary for man's continuance in life! Oh, wonderful man! Wonderful doctor! Wonderful mind!
We must not forget that, in seeking knowledge, a little wisdom should not be despised. The medical blend of knowledge and wisdom is not good. A little more wisdom and a little less knowledge would help some.
Life is not dependent upon procuring a food that has a mysterious property, but upon knowing how to care for the body in such a way that life will flow in and take up its habitation therein.
Iron is needed in our bodies; without it we cannot extract the oxygen from the air. Why do we at times lose the power to appropriate iron from the food consumed? Because assimilation is injured by toxemia, and toxemia is developed by living in a manner to cause intestinal decomposition. The toxin overstimulates and enervates; and enervation causes sluggish elimination. The retention of excretions injures the life of the blood, so that it renews itself badly; then it fails to appropriate the iron from the food intake. And as this is true of iron, so is it true of every other element. At times all elements are refused; namely, minerals in the food, oxygen from the air, and, neither last nor least, life--vitamin--from the living presence.
A physiological synthesis must be made up of just the required elements to attract the absent--which is ever-present--life. Then, when the elements in the synthesis become quantitatively disturbed, this subtile element departs and the synthesis disintegrates.
Vitamin is a new name--a misnomer--to describe an element that may or may not be found in food. It may be refined out of food, as in polished rice and white flour; it may be rendered inert by cooking; and it may be antidoted, as we can prove at any time, by the use of iron, alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, narcotic drugs, mineral poisons, toxin from decomposition, and, neither last nor least, by depressing and discouraging thoughts, fear, envy, hate, etc. This element is as old as life--as old as creation--and is known as enzyme. Digestive ferments have been known for many years, but not known in their most subtile forms and obscure developments.
No wonder that the subtiler forms of enzymes are mistaken for life--vitamin; for they are so closely linked to the genesis of being that one appears as necessary as the other, and the action of one may be confused with, or mistaken for, the action of the other.
If there were some way to extract the enzyme from an egg, it would not--it could not--hatch. Of course, we know that the egg must be fertilized, or it cannot take on quickening--the vitamin, the little life, cannot be attracted. The last step, however, in the synthesis of being is fermentation, and coincidently quickening. The most refined, unorganized ferment is the last element before life-vitamin--adds itself to an organized compound of elements, which I call a synthesis of being.
Enzymes range from the coarse solvents--namely, ptyalin, amytopsin, trypsin, steapsin, pepsin, et al.--to those within the blood, and those whose subtilty fits them for cell-building and becoming the all-important key to life in the formation of new beings. It is these bodies--it is one or more of these subtiler enzymes--that have been discovered and named vitamin. How do I know? By analogy. It is unthinkable that life (vitamin) is an entity that can be destroyed, or that can be extracted from vegetable or animal beings, bottled, and given out "ad libitum" to those who have forfeited theirs in riotous living.
The description of the substance said to be vitamin tallies exactly with what we know, and can conceive, of the action of a refined and subtile enzyme.