If you are currently using or plan to use a food
supplement, why not use one that will actually provide
your body with the nutritional help that it needs. You
may use any nutritional supplement from the shelf but
why not use health supplements with vitamins and
minerals that will really give you value for money.
Several nutritional supplements on the market do not always provide much nutrition while few companies produce true food supplements.
Vitamins, as found in nature, are groups of chemically related compounds. Science identifies part of this compound as the organic nutrient. In the case of Vitamin C the organic nutrient is ascorbic acid. These are the parts that science feels are the workhorses and thus the essence of the vitamin.
The conclusion then, if these can be reproduced and supplied to a human being, all that is needed has been provided.
The problem is that this thinking does not take into consideration all of the enzymes, co-enzymes, trace elements, activators and numerous other naturally occurring synergistic micronutrients that we may or may not know about at this time, by which the organic nutrient is rendered usable by the body.
As one researcher has put it, to take the organic nutrient alone is tantamount to consuming a banana peel without the banana and thinking one has consumed nutrition. Whether or not this view of the role the organic nutrients play is entirely accurate, the principle of wholeness stands: leave out part of the watch, and you cannot keep time.
Types of food supplements
There are 3 types of supplements:
As the name implies this supplement is taken directly from a food source. The word natural truly applies, as these are vitamins, co-factors, enzymes and other synergistic micronutrients taken from a raw food. The only thing removed from the food is moisture and fiber – nothing is added or extracted that can destroy or change the molecular, biological or biochemical combinations or actions.
Fractionated vitamins (crystalline)
This type of product has a food as its original source (and is therefore not considered a synthetic vitamin) but the extraction process eliminates the synergistic co-factors, leaving only the pure organic nutrient. The motivation behind this is to concentrate the organic nutrient and thus increase the milligram levels for marketing purposes. These types of vitamin are also referred to as crystalline in that they are but a portion of the complete and original complex from which they are derived. The problem with this type of vitamin is that they are only of value to the body if all the associated synergistic micronutrients are intact, which make it bioavailable to the cells of the body.
Synthetic vitamins (not a food supplement)
Here the organic nutrient (sometimes called the crystalline vitamin molecule) is constructed or synthesized primarily from corn sugar and non-food compounds such as coal tar. While the exact molecular formula of the organic nutrient is replicated there are at least 2 problems with this type of vitamin:
These synthetic products contain absolutely none of the co-factors, trace elements, enzymes etc. that are vital for the body to effectively utilize the vitamin. Without the necessary micronutrients required to make the vitamin bioavailable, these synthetic vitamins will be of no value to the body. You may be thinking that the body is capable of supplementing these nutrients from its own reserves but the body is already deficient – where would it obtain these synergists from? Even if it could, there is a second concern.
When these vitamins are synthesized under laboratory conditions, the vitamin is actually a mirror image of its natural counterpart and this therefore leaves the synthetic vitamin having a problem with spin. In other words the natural molecules have a right hand spin whereas the synthetic vitamin has a left hand spin. Unfortunately, for some reason, the proper rotation cannot be mastered in the laboratory. This is significant in that the attachment sites for the synergistic micronutrients are not available. Gilbert Levin, Ph.D., has the following to say on the subject: “Because its structure is reversed, a left-handed molecule cannot take part in chemical reactions meant for a right-handed molecule any more than a left hand can fit into a right-handed glove. It’s odd geometry would prevent it from being metabolized by the body.
A key factor to keep in mind when it comes to vitamin supplementation is that of bioavailability i.e. how available and useable is the vitamin to the body. Consuming fractionated vitamins or synthetic vitamins where the co-factors are not present or the spin is incorrect is paramount to handing someone a steering wheel of a car and telling them they are now the owner of a car able to transport them to wherever they want to go – it’s absurd!
How do these synthetic/fractionated vitamins work?
Without going into too much detail (as this is a topic of discussion all on its own) there are two possibilities why one will feel better when taking a “health product”.
Provides some semblance of nutrition
This applies mainly to the crystalline form of vitamins as it is these that contain some residual, small quantities of the co-factors and they also have the right hand spin. Now if the body is nutritionally deficient and is handed this poor excuse for nutrition, out of desperation the body will respond by doing whatever healing it can with the elements provided. As low as it may be this is probably the most nutrition the body will have received in years. Thus for the first weeks, or even months (depending on how the person felt), the person will experience improvements, but given time, their health problems begin to return. Most people find that over time they need to take larger quantities of the vitamins to maintain the same level of well-being. This is a clear indication that the nutritional deficiency is not being adequately dealt with by the vitamin supplement.
Causes a stimulatory reaction in the body
This is a complicated matter but simply put these vitamins may exert some stimulatory effect on the adrenal glands causing a feeling of euphoria (due to excess functioning of the adrenal glands). The consumer naturally interprets this as a healing response but this same feeling can be achieved by introducing coffee into their diet (perhaps a safer option).
Ineffective, if not harmful
With foods and food concentrates – containing whole nutritional complexes – the body can choose its needs for assimilation and excrete what it does not need. This is called ‘selective absorption’. However, with fractionated or synthetic vitamins, there is no choice – the body must handle the chemical in some manner and can suffer consequences of biochemical imbalances and toxic overdose.
The following are just a few (of many) references and citings on this subject that may make you think twice when choosing a vitamin supplement in the future (the Journal’s publishing these articles are considered highly reputable)
A 10-year Finnish study done on 29,133 male smokers was done to determine if vitamin E and beta-carotene would reduce the incidence of lung cancer and other cancers. The daily dose of beta-carotene was 20mg and that of alpha-tocopherol was 50mg – both were in synthetic form. The researchers were astonished to find that, not only was there no protection noted from the supplementation, but there were noted harmful effects, which included: 18% higher incidence of lung cancer, more heart attacks, more strokes, and an 8% increase in the overall death rate. New England Journal of Medicine (Volume 330, Number 13), April 14, 1994.
Agnes Fay Morgan, Ph.D., food research scientist at the University of California, reported in Science, 93, pages 261-262, that animals on a synthetic vitamin enriched diet died long before animals on an unprocessed diet became disabled. She further stated that the enrichment of processed foods with synthetic vitamins may “precipitate conditions worse than the original deficiency”.
Synthetic multivitamins, given to elderly Americans (average age 63) as a supplement, for the purpose of improving muscle weakness and physical frailty, demonstrated no benefits to the participants. New England Journal of Medicine, June 23, 1994.