Guest Author - Jacqueline Rosenbalm
There is much concern today about the nature of the vitamins and supplements that are currently available to us at the health food store. When we purchase these items how do we really know what is in them and if they are really safe? The answer is a question, are your vitamins and supplements natural or synthetic?
Synthetic vitamins and supplements are the same as drugs in that when we take them the body does not recognize them as food and can’t metabolize them. Instead our body tries to eliminate them from our system as quickly as it can. This completely negates the reason we purchased them in the first place.
Did you know that the base of some synthetic vitamins is made from coal tar? It is derived from petrochemical sources and used as a base ingredient in paints, dyes and toxic preservatives. It is also used in cosmetics and is a known carcinogen. Does that sound like something you would want to put into your body?
Synthetic vitamins and supplements unfortunately make up the majority of the commercially available supplements today. These synthetic supplements do not perform the same functions as the nutrients that are available from natural whole organic foods. Instead many of them actually deplete the body of needed nutrients and tax the liver and kidneys as the body tries to rid itself of these synthetic chemical compounds.
A natural vitamin, on the other hand, is made up of several components that work synergistically with each other; enzymes, co-enzymes and co-factors that can only work together to still be able to produce their intended effects. Nature always packages vitamins in groups which work together for better absorption, for this reason the body accepts and responds because it can assimilate the nutrients provided while synthetics use isolated components that the body responds to as if it were a toxin.
Natural is always better. Naturally occurring whole food sourced vitamins is more potent per milligram than synthetic fractions of those vitamins because they are whole and not chemically synthesized in a laboratory. So when buying vitamins and supplements buying a natural one with a smaller milligram count is always better than buying a higher quantity milligram synthetic one. Bigger is not better, natural is better.
So how do you know what you are buying? How can you tell which is which? Here are a few ways to help identify the impostors.
1) Synthetics are generally listed on the label as follows: Vitamin B (thiamine), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (niacin), Vitamin B5 (calcium pantothenate). Most B vitamins are synthetics and are made from petrochemicals.
Natural supplements will be listed as food products like Pumpkin Seed (Curcubia pepo) or Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)(fruit).
2) Avoid base chemicals like nicotine, coal tars and alloxal.
3) Avoid toxic flowing agents like magnesium stearate or stearic acid.
4) Check the label carefully many supplement manufacturers use common sand as filler that makes the bottle weigh more listing it as silicon dioxide or silica.
5) Natural flavors like MSG, methylcellulose, carnauba wax and titanium dioxide are a few synthetics but there are too many to list.
6) Avoid items used to increase stability and potency like nitrate, sodium ascorbate, sodium benzoate, chloride, hydrochloride and other ingredients that end in “ide” or “ate”.
7) Avoid dl-alpha tocopherol acetate and dl-alpha tocopherol both are synthetic forms of Vitamin E along with other ingredients listed on the labels that begin with “dl” also indicate synthetics.
So what is the best way to get a natural form of the vitamins and minerals our body needs to live a healthy life?
It is best to eat whole organic unprocessed foods instead of taking manufactured vitamins and supplements. If you feel you must take vitamins then look for ones that list whole foods as ingredients to get the product and benefits you are paying for and the results that you hope to achieve.
Beware and read the labels because on the whole, most synthetic or isolated vitamins can cause more harm than good. We need truth in labeling laws to protect ourselves and our family from the misleading terminology on all vitamin and supplement labels. To have “Natural” on the label they currently only need 10% of the product to come from a natural source. We need assurance to know what we are buying and not be deceived by corporations who believe their profits are more important than our health.
For more information on what you can do to make a difference contact The Organics Consumer Association and the Naturally Occurring Standards Group. They are dedicated to establishing labeling protocols for all health impacting natural materials used in consumer products including vitamins and nutritional supplements, medicines and food that protect the consumer.
I hope you found this article helpful and if you would like to know more about how to live naturally check out other articles at our Natural Living site.