This program was born out of a need to directly address the physiological needs of the veterans that Racing for Heroes serves. Too many times we have worked with veterans who have suffered due to their physical health being sub-optimal and the cascading effect on their psyche. In many cases, their mental health was severely impacted by their physical health. Lack of sleep day after day and week after week takes its toll and the resultant effect is devastating. We watched as both ourselves and fellow warriors were prescribed medicines from opioids to sleeping pills, etc… focused primarily on symptoms but not root causes. In many cases the downward spiral of physical and mental health results in tragic outcomes, the worst of which is suicide. Racing for Heroes’ topmost issue we focus o is Suicide Prevention and many, if not all, of our programs, lead to this end. If we can help one veteran avoid this then we are successful.
Program & Foundations
The Vitamin and Supplement Program was created after consultations with our Board Member Dr. Ricky Camp and Regenesis led by two trusted medical professionals David LeMay M.D., and Kevin Lacz NP-C having served the Special Operations community for some time. We discovered that addressing root issues and trying to get veterans’ biochemistry “right” for them would have a positive effect on their long-term outcomes including reducing or removing the use of opioids in particular.
To start, all of the veterans that are part of this program are able to participate free of charge for any vitamins and supplements. For veterans that are particularly in need, we can help defray any other costs (e.g. copays for blood testing). Veterans start the process by undergoing bloodwork to ascertain a starting point and how to directly address the underlying conditions.
Once the medical professionals have had a chance to review the data, they discuss the plan with the veteran to come up with a list of vitamins and supplements to assist in bringing the veteran’s biochemistry where it needs to be. Veterans are mailed the vitamins and supplements from Regenesis with instructions along with the quantity needed. Through continued analysis, the team comes up with an individually tailored list over time to really hone in on the right fit.
Vitamin and Supplements… A Discussion
When Racing for Heroes was looking into helping veterans through the use of vitamins and supplements it was clear early on that not all of them are created equal. After working with our partners at Regenesis we realized that the quality of the materials mattered. This is why we only use medical-grade supplements. They use only two providers to source supplements, specifically Klaire Labs and Pure Encapsulations. Both sources of manufacturing take place in temperature, humidity, and dust-controlled facilities. Laboratory conditions are maintained with each piece of equipment dismantled and sterilized before each production run including scales, mills, blenders, powder fillers, encapsulating machines, and capsule counters. Materials are maintained in climate-controlled facilities in order to maximize the stability of our raw materials and finished products. Then, certified independent laboratories test raw materials and finished encapsulated products. Independent microbiological testing is also performed to ensure supplement purity and safety.
There are very particular reasons for using medical-grade supplements versus over-the-counter (OTC) supplements. One reason is that OTC vitamins are not regulated by the government. As an example, a recent report shows that some OTC supplements that were called gluten-free had gluten in them, some that said they contained a certain amount in a capsule had less than the amount listed, and one didn’t even contain the ingredients listed on the label at all. There are thousands of OTC supplement companies, and they all say the same things about their products – pure, high quality, etc., etc. – but usually, they are not able to back up those claims. Further, good marketing does not necessarily equate to it being a good product.
This is where the care of a medical provider to get the “right” vitamins and supplements really matters. Because, many people don’t know that there are often multiple forms of a single vitamin – from cheap and synthetic, to more pricey but natural and much better for you. For example, folic acid is an inexpensive and synthetic form of the naturally occurring vitamin folate, and many people (due to common genetic mutations such as MTHFR) need the methylated natural forms of their B vitamins, including methyl folate and methyl B12. This is because folic acid can actually block the folate receptor and prevent it from responding to the better, more natural vitamin folate. For example, Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is better than the more expensive P5P (pyridoxine-5-phosphate). Vitamin E is better as the pricier mixed tocopherols as opposed to alpha-tocopherol only, and so on. Hence, medical-grade supplements are preferred to ensure that your body is getting the most natural and effective form of the vitamin or supplement required.
Another big reason that OTC vitamins are not the same as medical-grade vitamins is the concentrations found in the product. For example, as anyone in the military can attest Motrin (Ibuprofen) used to be a prescription drug only and was 800 mg per pill. When it became available OTC, they lowered the dose to 200 mg. Vitamins are often the same, with much lower doses being the norm in OTC products. For example, in fish oil pills, OTC products usually say “1000 mg per pill” but this is not necessarily the reality. Because the most important part of that fish oil is the omega-3 fraction of the oil. In OTC fish oil, there is usually only around 200-400 mg of omega-3 (EPA + DHA) per 1000 mg of oil in a capsule. Since our daily goal for EPA+ DHA should be 1500 – 2000 mg per day, you would have to take five to ten of those OTC fish oil pills to get what you need, as opposed to usually 2 of the medical grade versions. In essence, OTC isn’t necessarily the cheaper route to get the same result.
Another issue we see is the bioavailability of products that are not subject to stringent standards. For example, many of the “one-a-day” kinds of multivitamins, have small amounts of lots of different things stuffed into one pill – so that the label looks good, and again, people believe they are getting a lot of impact in one pill. In reality, many of those compacted pills are excreted in the stool undigested and unabsorbed, because they are compacted so densely, that they don’t dissolve well and therefore the benefit is lost.
Additionally, many producers focus on the percent of Recommended Daily Allowance. However, RDA is really the amount of a vitamin that you would have to get, in order to not have a vitamin deficiency disease. The number of vitamins that you need to be optimally healthy, is often many times more. This is where the combination of blood work profiles coupled with oversight from a medical professional truly matters.
A number of Veterans have been stymied in their search for healing on their own or through traditional resources, such as those provided by surgery or pharmaceuticals. In those cases, Veterans are forced to live with the profound consequences of being unable to heal. Pain, paralysis, and loss of mobility are a few of the challenges facing these suffering veterans.
It is from this experience that Racing for Heroes has worked toward sourcing stem cell therapy for veterans who have no other serious options. This program has incredible potential and although we have only served a handful of veterans the success we have seen so far may show the pathway.
In Veteran of the U.S. Army Eric Ditty's case, he has suffered the deleterious effects of Multiple Sclerosis since being diagnosed while in uniform. Over the past year, he has received two stem cell therapy treatments. He recently was given a CAT scan and found out that the lesions in his body have reduced or disappeared (on his brain) and he is able to walk again. Listen to his story below:
Interview with Eric Ditty about his experience with stem cell therapy and dealing with MS.
Stem cells are the body's raw materials — cells from which all other cells with specialized functions are generated. Under the right conditions in the body or a laboratory, stem cells divide to form more cells called daughter cells.
These daughter cells either become new stem cells (self-renewal) or become specialized cells (differentiation) with a more specific function, such as blood cells, brain cells, heart muscle cells, or bone cells. No other cell in the body has the natural ability to generate new cell types.
Racing for Heroes' partners only utilizes Perinatal stem cells. Researchers have discovered stem cells in amniotic fluid as well as umbilical cord blood. These stem cells also have the ability to change into specialized cells. Amniotic fluid fills the sac that surrounds and protects a developing fetus in the uterus. Researchers have identified stem cells in samples of amniotic fluid drawn from pregnant women to test for abnormalities — a procedure called amniocentesis.
Your body's tissues need an adequate supply of oxygen to function. When tissue is injured, it requires even more oxygen to survive. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases the amount of oxygen your blood can carry. With repeated scheduled treatments, the temporary extra high oxygen levels encourage normal tissue oxygen levels, even after the therapy is completed.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used to treat several medical conditions. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may help if you if you have one of the following conditions:
Whether you're in an individual or multi-person environment for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the benefits are the same. During therapy, the air pressure in the room is about two to three times the normal air pressure. In order to benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy, you'll likely need more than one session. The number of sessions is dependent upon your medical condition. Some conditions, such as carbon monoxide poisoning, might be treated in three visits. Others, such as non-healing wounds, may require 40 treatments or more.
To effectively treat approved medical conditions, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is usually part of a comprehensive treatment plan provided with other therapies and drugs that are designed to fit your individual needs.
In March 2022 RFH commissioned an HBOT Chamber in our Health and Wellness Center. By having a HBOT chamber physically located at our Headquarters veterans being served need not travel hours and can sit in the chamber for a morning and evening session without impacting their employment.
HBOT Chamber Capabilities:
Identical to a race car, the body is a machine that must be maintained and able to operate to its fullest potential in order to prevent degradation and failure. Combined with our other Health and Wellness Programs the RFH Wellness Center provides an opportunity to work muscles in an ergonomically responsible manner. This center is made available to all veterans and members of the military who are visiting our headquarters.
At Racing For Heroes, we have been through a series of institutional approaches to PTS remedies and have not only been on the receiving end but also researched and studied professionally to develop and support new ideals that we have found not only help many of us... but others as well.
We know this because we have done it ourselves.