Nature intended for us to get nutrients from whole foods, because all vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants are together and work synergistically, to deliver the needed nutrition to the cells of the body. When nutrients are isolated or separated from the whole, they are "synthetic", which is not at all the same and cannot function alone. Taking high doses of individual vitamins or combinations of isolates over time can cause severe health problems.
Vitamins are organic compounds that are necessary for normal growth and essential for maintaining optimal health. They activate enzymes, which in turn make all the body processes work. Vitamins are needed to balance hormones, produce energy, boost the immune system, are vital for brain and nervous system function as well as all other bodily systems. As we are unable to synthesize (make our own) vitamins, we were designed to get them from fresh, organic whole food. Sometimes supplementing the diet is necessary to counteract deficiencies. There are only two basic types of vitamins; Whole food and Synthetic.
Thirteen essential vitamins have been identified. These are divided into two categories; water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins include vitamin C and B vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored by the body and can be quickly depleted. They must be consumed daily to maintain adequate amounts in the body. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamin A, D, and E, which remain in the body for longer periods of time.
Whole food vitamins are made from concentrated whole foods. They include highly complex structures that combine a variety of enzymes (a substance produced by a living organism that acts as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction), antioxidants (a substance that inhibits oxidation and counteracts deterioration), trace elements (chemicals required only in minute amounts by living organisms for normal growth), activators (convert into a reactive form), phyto-chemicals (various biologically active compounds found in plants) and many other unknown and still undiscovered cofactors (a non-substrate substance whose presence is essential for the activity of an enzyme) that all work together synergistically (the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts). All are necessary, in the right proportions, the way nature designed, to enable the vitamin complex to do the same job in your body that the whole food would do.
Whole food vitamins are derived from plant and animal sources. For example, sources of Vitamin C are beets, Elderberry fruit, Black Cherries, Blueberries, oranges and Acerola cherry fruit. Good sources of vitamin E come from soy bean oil or wheat germ and appear as D-alpha tocopherol on the label. (Dl-alpha tocopherol is the synthetic form). It is good to know the different names when you read labels. Because whole food vitamins retain many of the components that accompany the vitamins in their natural state, they are more bioavailable (the degree to which a nutrient becomes available to the target tissue after it has been metabolized) and offer greater health benefits.
The processing of whole food vitamins does not involve the use of pressure, heat, or toxic solvents. Whole food vitamins are processed using fresh, raw food ingredients that are prepared as food extracts, with no artificial chemicals or sugar coating. Whole food vitamins are complete and do not need to take missing nutrients from the reserves stored in the body, if there are any, to make metabolic processes proceed normally, as is the case with synthetic vitamins.
Isolated vitamins: Once the nutrients are separated or isolated from the whole food or vitamin complex, they are converted from an active micronutrient into a disabled, debilitated chemical with little or no value to living cells. The synergy is gone.
Your vitality depends upon a careful balance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, which are the source of 13 vitamins, 15 minerals and 24 amino acids, which we get when proteins are digested, and two fatty acids. One-third of the chemical reactions in our bodies are dependent on tiny quantities of minerals and even more on vitamins. The absence of just one of these nutrients, brakes the circle. The result is that vitality, energy and the other nutrients are lost. All are needed together, or non of them work.
Deficiency in protein, fat, or carbs is vary rare, but vitamin, mineral and essential fatty acid deficiency is common, despite popular belief. As much as 2/3 of the average calorie intake of the typical American diet consists of empty calories from fat, sugar and refined ingredients in processed foods. These are "empty calories," which provide no nutrients. It is impossible to get the levels of essential nutrients required for adequate health from the remaining 1/3 of the calories, even if they come from organic, whole foods. Nutrients are removed during the refining process, and the synthetic nutrients that are added to the processed food and called "enriched" are no more natural or beneficial than taking synthetic vitamins.
Vitamin K is stored in the liver and the fat tissue of the body. It helps blood to clot properly, and is necessary for healthy bones. Though vitamin K deficiency is rare, those at risk include people with gallbladder disease, biliary disease, celiac disease, Crohn's, cystic fibrosis and liver disease. Natural vitamin K1 is found in leafy, green vegetables. Vitamin K2 is made by bacteria in the intestines. Synthetic vitamin K3 (Menodione) can cause severe liver damage and has been banned by the FDA, but it was previously given to newborns to prevent hemorrhaging.
Synthetic vitamins are vitamins that are not natural, in that nature never produces a single nutrient in an isolated form. They are created by scientists in a laboratory by mimicking the molecular structure of vitamins found in food, but are not derived from foods in the way that whole food vitamins are made.
Most nutrients are isolated from foods by using a variety of unhealthy solvents and other chemicals. Taking large amounts of these pills, over an extended period of time can expose you to toxic levels of these chemicals.
In addition, binders, fillers and other substances are used in the manufacture of these pills. Some "other ingredients" actually make the nutrient unavailable to the body. Synthetic vitamin C, for example, can be made from corn, which these days is mostly GMO, if it isn't specifically labeled "organic".
Synthetic forms of vitamins A, D & E (fat-soluble) are especially dangerous and should be avoided. Natural forms of vitamin A & D come from cod liver oil, shellfish, real butter and liver.
Synthetic vitamin B12 is cyanocobalamin.
The most notable difference between whole food vitamins and synthetic or isolated vitamins is that the accompanying vitamins and minerals, which are contained in whole food vitamins and are needed to work synergistically to help the body metabolize and use the vitamins (as it would whole foods), are not in synthetic or isolated vitamins. Actually, for the synthetic and isolated version to work, it must pull these missing nutrients from reserves in the body, causing deficiency of those nutrients and imbalance in the body. If your diet is primarily processed foods, you are not getting the nutrients you need, much less have enough of the other nutrients to build up a reserve, from which the synthetic vitamins can steal in order to work. Synthetic vitamins may actually do more harm than good.
Synthetic vitamins, though less expensive because they are mass-produced without the added work of harvesting the fruits and vegetables that serve as the origin of whole food vitamins, do not contain all the components of a vitamin complex.
Many of the popular vitamin products on the market today are all or partially synthetic. You can tell the difference between whole food vitamins and synthetic copies, because most vitamin supplements that are sold in pharmacies and grocery stores are composed of synthetic vitamins. Natural food stores and websites do sell "natural" vitamins, but they may not be from organic whole food sources. When you read the list of ingredients on the label, if for example, the ingredient is Vitamin C, it is synthetic. If it lists the whole food source, like Acerola cherry fruit, or some other food source, then it is from a whole food source. When I open a bottle of whole food vitamins, they smell like food.
I am puzzled by the fact that so many naturopathic doctors and nutritionists talk about the value of eating a whole food diet and about how refined, processed foods are robbed of all the nutrition that whole foods naturally contain, and are not healthy, yet they will recommend isolated, refined (heated) and processed synthetic vitamins. Just like refined, processed foods, these refined vitamins have been robbed of all the nutrients that they come with as well. Like processed foods, synthetic vitamins can create numerous deficiencies and imbalances which promote disease, not the health so many people think they are getting from taking them.
Taking synthetics and isolated nutrients, especially in the high doses found in todays vitamin formulas, is more like taking a drug. Synthetic vitamins can act more like drugs in your body, forcing themselves into your system. They will not help you as much as a high quality, whole food diet and whole food supplements. Studies show that the body treats isolated and synthetic nutrients like foreign substances. On the other hand, food-based supplements are not treated like foreign substances by the body. Look at meat and vitamin B for example. Your urine will never turn florescent yellow from eating a lot of meat. Rapid excretion of synthetic vitamins happens only with foreign substances.
For a vitamin to nourish the body, it must be accompanied by and blended together with all the amino acids, fats, minerals, other vitamins and cofactors in a balanced way. If you remove one of those nutrients, the circle is broken and none of it works. They depend on each other. If all the parts are not there from the start, they are removed from the body's reserves. This is why isolated nutrients seem to work for a little while and then suddenly stop working. Once your body has used its reserve, and the supply is gone, the isolated nutrient you are taking stops working. Worse yet, a deficiency of the nutrients that were in your reserve are depleted, leaving you in worse shape.
More is not better, when it comes to nutrients. Often times, supplement manufacturers will isolate vitamins and then put them together in a multivitamin combination that is out of balance from what nature intended. Too much of one vitamin can hinder the absorption of another, or cancel it out completely, like too much calcium or can hinder the absorption of zinc. Too much zinc interferes with iron absorption. Too much copper inhibits the absorption of calcium and molybdenum. An excess of iron or magnesium can inhibit the absorption of phosphorus. When vitamins are made from whole food, that balance is transferred to the supplement.
I used to get hung up on wanting to see the RDA% of each vitamin, but the amount of nutrient in mg, mcg, or IU, is not as important as the form and how much is bioavailable. Ingesting a single nutrient can create imbalances in the body, thus, logic would dictate that the higher the amount of a single nutrient, the quicker the imbalance will occur. The potency of a supplement has more to do with synergy than milligrams, micrograms or any other measurement. The combined effect of all the parts of the food, rather than a single chemical, is most important.
Remember the most important, basic part of health and healing is proper diet, rest, exercise, detoxification, mental, emotional and spiritual health, and having balance. No supplement will work on its own without these basic foundations. Acute situations require a more immediate response that is balanced. There are no quick fixes. It takes years of poor nutrition to cause disease, and it will not be remedied over the course of a few days, a month or even a year or two. Prevention is always the best course of action, but if you have already been traveling the path of disease, there is always time for a U turn.
The label on the left does not list foods or herbs. It is a list of synthetic or isolated vitamins and other chemicals. The label on the right lists the foods that the whole food supplement was made from. This is an example of what to look for when searching for a whole food vitamin. Also, listed in "Other ingredients," you do not want to find any artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, binders, fillers, or other unnatural substances; ie. Caramel color, which is a suspected carcinogen - causes cancer. Remember, garbage in, garbage out!
I want to consume supplements that have been made from the same kind of foods I eat, which are pure, life giving, organic, whole foods. No supplement alone can help achieve the level of health you desire, if your diet and lifestyle are unhealthy. Behavior and lifestyle changes are the first step toward the goal of optimal health.
Look for the following:
☺︎ A product that is as close to the natural form as possible.
☺︎ I choose supplements that declare to be free of fillers and binders, also called "excipients".
☺︎ The product must be of the highest quality, with the utmost care taken in every process of its production -- from growing the ingredients, to manufacturing, testing for potency and quality control. GMPs or Good Manufacturing Practices, are a set of guidelines that address the principles required in the manufacturing and care of products intended for human use and are regulated by the FDA. GMPs were established in June 2009 to ensure that common standards of manufacture, packaging, holding and labeling are consistent to ensure that products are manufactured safely and with quality assurance.
☺︎ The product must deliver the desired results.
I suffered from severe malnutrition as a result of many years of not being able to digest my food. Now I need to take HCL and digestive enzymes with meals, or they do not get digested. What better test could their be for a vitamin supplement or other product than this body?
It is better to have natural, rather than synthetic nutrients.
Capsules, which are encapsulated by gelatin or vegetable cellulose, are preferred over tablets, which contain binders, fillers, lubricants and other ingredients that are needed in their manufacture, but can actually inhibit absorption. Unfortunately, tablets also contain artificial colors and flavors, as well as a sugar coating. The following fillers and binders are perfectly acceptable, and some can enhance the nutritional properties of the tablet or capsule: Dicalcium phosphate, cellulose, alginic acid/sodium alginate, gum acacia/gum arabic, calcium stearate or magnesium stearate, Silica, Brazil wax.
Many products that claim to be "natural", simply are not. Through careful wording and by using a certain percentage of natural ingredients, supplement manufacturers can give the impression that they are natural. Example: Vitamin C with rose-hips is synthetic vitamin C with added rose-hips, which is confused with vitamin C from rose-hips. Synthetic vitamin C is ascorbic acid, which is synthesized from sugar, such as dextrose. Many are corn based. If you are on medication, consult with your physician before beginning any supplement program. For any supplement program to work, the right doses should be taken regularly, as they have a cumulative effect and the best results happen over time.
The things that rob you of vitamins and minerals are: Cooking at high temperatures, light, alcohol, caffeine, smoking, preservatives, stress, antibiotics, intestinal parasites, alkaline agents in baking powder, birth control pills and other steroids, petroleum products, toxic metals, pesticides and other pollutants, phosphates from soft drinks, the use of antacids, tannic acid in tea and coffee, aluminum from cans, foil and cookware, sugar, diuretics, laxatives and hydrogenation. You may be taking the right kind of vitamin supplement and eating the right organic, whole food diet, and then throwing all that investment and effort away without realizing it. It is important to know what other things you may be consuming that affect the absorption and utilization of the nutrition you think you are getting.
Caffeine is present in coffee, tea, chocolate, cola drinks and energy drinks. Caffeine, and in particular coffee, is commonly thought to improve concentration, but it actually diminishes it. A number of studies have shown that the ability to remember lists of words is made worse by caffeine. A diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates is another factor that reduces intelligence. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that the IQ score dropped as the intake of refined carbohydrates increased. Sugar consumption is also associated with aggressive behavior, anxiety, depression, hyperactivity, ADD, eating disorders, fatigue and learning difficulties. When you also consider that both caffeine and sugar also inhibit vitamin and mineral absorption, resulting in deficiencies, and that most people consume a diet containing a large amount of processed foods which are devoid of nutrients, is it any wonder so many people are suffering from disease?
Just feeling "all right", is not all right. Most people are tolerating a life of "feeling all right" and accepting or excusing the frequent, or even occasional headache, mood swings, fatigue, PMS, poor concentration and cold or flu as a normal part of life. "Symptoms" have become acceptable nuisances to the extent that a list of them is included at the end of commercials for drugs that are worse than the symptoms the drug is intended to relieve. Symptoms are words your body is using to communicate to you that something is not right. The more symptoms you are experiencing, the more your body is desperately trying to get your attention and tell you to listen. The more numerous and severe the symptoms, the more severe the problem may be and the more systems may be affected. Ignoring these communications is like ignoring the check-engine light on the instrument panel of your car. How long do you thing it will continue to take you where you want to go if it isn't checked and the problem fixed?
Just like food, whole food vitamins should be refrigerated. Taking them with a hot beverage or food destroys their effectiveness, because heat is being introduced with them in the stomach. I have a lack of hydrochloric acid, which can inhibit the absorption of the nutrients in both food and supplements, so the addition of an HCL product has been necessary for me to get optimum digestion and absorption.
Organic, fresh whole food and good supplements cost money, but it actually costs much less to eat healthy than you may think. I want to get the most value for every dollar I spend, so I can obtain the maximum results. That is why I eat only organic produce, no processed foods and I take high quality organic whole food supplements as needed.
When you loose something,
God will replace it with something better.