You've probably noticed that you can buy vitamins and minerals at your local supermarket and your local drugstore as well as at health food stores. You may have thought that maybe the vitamins and minerals in the health food stores were in some way better or were higher quality? Or maybe you've just assumed that the ones in the supermarket or drugstore are just as good?
Well, funnily enough, you were right - except for one thing, neither of them are good for you, especially over the long term. How come?
More than 95% of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that you can buy at "health food" stores and close to 100% of those sold in other stores are now made by the same few pharmaceutical and chemical companies who supply them to most all the vitamin and mineral companies.
They are no longer the "nutritional supplements" they once were but are, more accurately, "nutraceuticals". And once again the drug companies, who realized some years ago that the best way to handle the threat of people getting better through real nutrition was to quietly take over the nutrition business, are profiting from your deception.
People tend to assume that Vitamin C from one brand is pretty much the same as Vitamin C from another brand and in many cases they're right since the Vitamin C came from the same original supplier.
But what most people don't realize is that these vitamins and minerals are not true and complete vitamins and minerals as would be supplied by good organically-grown whole foods but are in fact chemical synthetics made from such things as coal tar, petroleum products, animal by-products, waste and fecal matter, ground rocks, stones, shells and metal.
And not only do they not supply the benefits of the real vitamins and minerals but they can actually be quite harmful to you when taken over time. Especially in the mega doses so often recommended. Real vitamins only require very minute doses to be effective.
Dr. Richard Schulze, creator of the excellent whole food formulation, "SuperFood", has this to say:
"Many so called natural vitamins are made from horrible substances. All the vitamin B-12, cyanocobalamin, on the market is made from either ground up toxic cow livers or activated sewage sludge. These cow livers are overloaded with steroids and antibiotics, and the pesticides the cow assimilates while eating. The sewage sludge is just that, fecal matter. In today's environment of depressed immune diseases I can think of hundreds of reasons that these materials would be a health risk, not benefit. Just because a so-called natural substance (fecal matter is natural ) is high in a particular vitamin, does that also mean it is a good food?
"Vitamin A from fish liver juices loaded with toxic PCB's and mercury, B vitamins from coal tar and petro-chemicals, known central nervous system depressants, respiratory irritants and carcinogens, Vitamin C from acid blends irritating to the lining of the digestive tract (Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin D from radiated oil, Vitamin E from Eastman Kodak, need I say anymore?
"All minerals used in nutrient manufacture are basically dirt. The iron, calcium, zinc etc. are just mined ore, pulverized and powdered to a fine dust. This doesn't make it any easier to assimilate...Modern research shows us that minerals of this type are 99% inassimilable. The manufacturers response to this is to add pig digestive enzymes, which supposedly pre-digests it or chelates it, in their attempts to force our body to accept this toxic material. Is this practice of chelating minerals really to our benefit or a dangerous act of ignorance?"
And as Dr. Timothy O'Shea, author of "Conventional Medicine Vs. Holistic: A World of Difference", points out:
"Vitamins are not individual molecular compounds. Vitamins are biological complexes. They are multi-step biochemical interactions whose action is dependent upon a number of variables within the biological terrain. Vitamin activity only takes place when all conditions are met within that environment, and when all co-factors and components of the entire vitamin complex are present and working together. Vitamin activity is even more than the sum of all those parts; it also involves timing.
Vitamins cannot be isolated from their complexes and still perform their specific life functions within the cells. When isolated into artificial commercial forms, like ascorbic acid, these purified synthetics act as drugs in the body. They are no longer vitamins, and to call them such is inaccurate."
Let's look at Vitamin C as an example. Many people buy Vitamin C as ascorbic acid, but ascorbic acid is not Vitamin C and in fact taken by itself can be quite irritating to the lining of the digestive tract. Complete Vitamin C is composed of many co-factors such as rutin, bioflavonoids, Factor K, Factor J, Factor P, Tyrosinase, Ascorbinogen, ascorbic acid and other components. Each of these is vital to the complete biological activity that enables Vitamin C to function fully. Ascorbic acid is only a very small fraction of naturally occurring vitamin C.
As Dr. O'Shea also points out,
"In addition, mineral co-factors must be available in the proper amounts. If any of these parts are missing, there is no vitamin C, no vitamin activity.
"The ascorbic acid you buy at the grocery store every few weeks, thinking you are buying Vitamin C, is just a chemical copy of naturally occurring ascorbic acid, which itself is still only a fraction of the actual Vitamin C. Real vitamin C is part of something living, and as such, can impart life. Your synthetic, fractionated chemical ascorbic acid never grew in the ground, never saw the light of day, never was alive or part of anything alive. It's a chemical, a cornstarch derivative, a sulfuric acid by-product. In your body it's just another drug. Synthetic vitamins have toxic effects from mega-doses and actually can increase the white blood cell count. Vitamins are only necessary in minute quantities on a daily basis. Whole food vitamins, by contrast, are not toxic since the vitamin is complexed in its integral working form, and requires nothing from the body, and triggers no immune response.
"Whole food vitamin C as found in potatoes, onions, and citrus fruits is able to quickly cure any case of scurvy. By contrast, the fractionated chemical ascorbic acid has been shown to be insufficient in resolving a scurvy condition, simply because it does not act as a nutrient. (Lancet 1842)"
More than 90% of ascorbic acid in this country is manufactured in Nutley, New Jersey, by Hoffman-LaRoche, one of the world's largest drug manufacturers. Most U.S. vitamin companies buy bulk ascorbic acid from this one company. Each vitamin company then makes its own labels and each usually claims to have a superior form of Vitamin C, even though it all came from the same plant and what's more, it's not really Vitamin C in the first place.
So what does this tell us? Well, one thing it tells us is that if you look at the label on a bottle of so-called "Vitamin C" and it says only ascorbic acid, don't buy it.
Looking at a typical multi-vitamin label we see such things as: Acetate, Palmitate, Thiamine mononitrate, Thiamine hydrochloride, Thiamine Chloride, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Cobalamin or cyanocobalamin, Ascorbic Acid, Pycnogenols, Irradiated ergosterol or Calciferol, dl-alpha tocopherol, Menadione, Beta Carotene and Retinoic acid . How many of these are true vitamins? Not a one - they are all chemical derivatives concocted in a pharmaceutical laboratory.
And they are none of them complete vitamins. And they are in forms that your body doesn't know what to do with. Especially in the absence of the synergistic minerals that enable the vitamins to work.
SO WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?
So, what's the big deal with taking synthetics - why is it really a problem? And how come some people report feeling better when they first take them? If a person has in his or her body enough reserves of the missing parts of a particular vitamin when combined with the vitamin isolate from the synthetic they will experience some initial relief. But as soon as those reserves are used up, the synthetic will no longer work, the symptoms will return and the person will now experience the often unpleasant effects of vitamin imbalance and deficiency.
As Dr. Judith DeCava points out in "The Real Truth about Vitamins and Antioxidants", "This is what occurs with all synthetic vitamins: the body treats them as toxins, leading to the "expensive urine" of excess vitamin intake referred to frequently, since the human system via the urinary tract attempts to rid itself of the major quantity of such foreign chemicals."
Dr. DeCava also points out that vitamin B1, as synthetic Thiamine (Thiamine HCL or Thiamine Mononitrate), "will initially allay fatigue but will eventually cause fatigue by the buildup of pyruvic acid. This leads to the vicious cycle of thinking more and more Thiamine is needed, resulting in more and more fatigue along with other accumulated complaints...
...Natural food-source vitamins are enzymatically alive. Man-made synthetic vitamins are dead chemicals."
True whole food vitamins don't leech the body of their missing co-factors and don't cause a vitamin imbalance leading to the return and increase of symptoms. True vitamins also don't need mega doses to create their effect. A high number of milligrams is often an indication of a synthetic source.
According to Dr. Timothy O'Shea, "In one experiment, synthetic vitamin B (thiamine) was shown to render 100% of a group of pigs sterile!"
and, "A study reported in Apr 94 in the NEJM of some 30,000 Finnish subjects showed conclusively that synthetic vitamin A had no antioxidant effect whatsoever. A true antioxidant helps to protect heart muscle, lungs, and artery surfaces from breaking down prematurely. In this study, the subjects who received the synthetic beta carotene actually had an 8% higher incidence of fatal heart attacks, strokes, and lung cancer than those who got the placebo (sugar pill). Stands to reason: the synthetic brought no vitamin activity to the tissues that needed it. As a dead, purified chemical introduced into the body, the synthetic further stressed the immune system, the liver, and the kidneys which all had to try to break down this odd chemical and remove it from the body. It would be bad enough if they were harmless, but synthetic vitamins actually have a net negative effect."
There is a chart at the bottom of this page that you can look at and see from the labels if the vitamins you are taking are real or synthetic. Just looking at the labels and acting accordingly could change your life.