Why Natural Supplements?
How To Choose Your Supplements
This is just information I have pieced together through my research of vitamins and minerals, etc…I will eventaully get up all of the references. The topic of vitamins and minerals is one that is often overlooked so I figured I would post some good info on the subject.
I would recommend everyone be taking a 100% natural whole food vitamins and not synthetic ones. The same goes for a separate vitamin C, B complex, etc…In nature, vitamin C is only found as a complex food with all the beneficial factors, such as bioflavanoids intact. The label should say it’s made from foods such as green peppers or acerola cherry, or rose hips. This means you are getting a complete vitamin C with all of it’s co-factors as intended rather than just absorbic acid. A complete vitamin C needs rutin, J factor, K factor, absorbic acid and other bioflavanoids to be fully active in the body. When you take a natural vitamin C supplement 250-500mg is all you need.
Another example, alpha-tocopherol is only part of the vitamin E family; it is missing gamma-tocopherol, and the other tocopherols and tocotrienols, which make up a complete vitamin E.
Fractioning, or pulling apart the constituents that make up food changes that food into a non-food. These non-food fractions are often unrecognizable by the body, and some can actually create harmful reactions. Because the necessary co-factors are missing from a supplement, most supplements will actually rob the body of the nutrients cofactors required for proper functioning, which deprives you of the nutrient factors you already had in storage!
Also keep in mind that all-natural vitamins can be taken on an empty stomach. Naturals are also a bit more expensive because they are perishable. Synthetics are “dead” inert, and cheaper and present much less expensive handling problems. As with any inert matierial greater mass production creates cheaper bargain prices.
Why Natural Supplements?
All of us are much more conscious of our health today. We watch what we eat, exercise, keep fats down, or at the very least, take vitamin supplements. They’re plentiful and cheap and you can get them at your local grocery store. Practically everything in the grocery store is enriched with vitamins anyway, so we shouldn’t be missing a thing right?
The vitamin phenomenon started after the turn of the century during the beginning of the industrial revolution. Science found ways to create molecular duplicates or copies of vitamins occurring in nature. Most vitamins can now be synthesized and are made from substances ranging from corn syrup to coal tar.
These synthesized duplicates differ from natural vitamins in two essential ways. First, the molecular polarity of the substance has changed, rendering it a “mirror image” of the original molecule. Dr. Royal Lee, founder of Standard Process, discovered this mirror image attribute of vitamins while studying light refraction the 1930′s. While this may seem like a minor issue, it is not. The body continues to look for the shape of the original molecule, and the man-made substance becomes a burden to be excreted rather than a help to healing.
Second, each vitamin occurring in nature comes in a complex form easily assimilable by the human body. Take vitamin C for example. Naturally occurring in citrus fruits, acerola cherries, rose hips and other fruits and vegetables, this vitamin comes in a package containing vitamin P factors such as bioflavonoids and rutin, vitamin K, vitamin J, various enzymes and coenzymes plus a small amount of ascorbic acid, the antioxidant of the complex. Vitamin C is rated according to the amount of ascorbic acid it contains. Ascorbic acid is not vitamin C, ascorbic acid is ascorbic acid, a fraction of the biologically utilizable natural vitamin C complex. Furthermore, most ascorbic acid on the market is produced synthetically.
In a study conducted by Dr. Victor Herbert, professor of medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and published in The New York Times, it was found that rather than reduce free radicals which lead to cell damage, synthetic C supplements promoted free radical generation. “The vitamin C supplements mobilizes harmless ferric iron stored in the body and converts it to harmful ferrous iron, which induces damage to the heart and other organs. Unlike the vitamin C naturally present in foods like orange juice, ascorbic acid as a vitamin C supplement is not an antioxidant, it’s a redox agent – an antioxidant in some circumstances and a pro-oxidant in others,” said Dr. Herbert.
According to The New York Times, reporting on an another study, a team of British pathologists at the University of Leicester studied 30 healthy men and women for six weeks, giving them 400 milligrams of vitamin C daily in the form of ascorbic acid. They found that at this level, vitamin C promoted damage to the DNA in these individuals.
Synthetic B vitamins have performed similarly. Writing in a Pennsylvania newspaper, a medical columnist who had been medical officer in a North Korean prisoner-of-war camp during the Korean conflict, found his fellow prisoners contracting Beriberi, a disease caused by a deficiency of Vitamin B. He obtained Thiamine Hydrochloride, a synthetic form of vitamin B, from the Red Cross, and administered it to the sickest men. No positive change was seen and the men continued to get worse. The guards suggested rice polish, a natural source of vitamin B, which he administered in small amounts. The Beriberi symptoms abated within a week.
Vitamin E is another example. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution summarized the April, 1997 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences with a headline proclaiming “Megadoses of E May Be Harmful, A Study Indicates.” The story discussed that individuals taking vitamin E supplements might be depleting their bodies of other forms of the vitamin that perform unique and vital chemical tasks. The author mentions that vitamin E supplements were administered in the form of alpha-tocopherol. Alpha-tocopherol is one of seven tocopherols, the antioxidants of the vitamin E complex, but it is not the active ingredient. Natural vitamin E contains seven tocopherols plus polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins F, A and K and forms of vitamin D and manganese. The body is designed to utilize food in its whole form. If incomplete foods such as refined alpha-tocopherol are digested, the missing factors are borrowed from tissue reserves in order to make the partial food usable.
In a Spring 1994 Finnish study published in the New England Journal of Medicine synthetic vitamin E was supplied by a major pharmaceutical company. In the study, users of the product had a statistically significant loss of protection from lung cancer, stroke and other degenerative diseases.
The list goes on and on. From sterility, to reduced life span, to poorer fur in animals, to malnutrition, synthetic vitamins are being found not only unhelpful, but downright damaging. Living beings need the whole, natural vitamin complex. This is what we were designed for, what we expect, and what we will respond to. When the body can get vitamins in the form it expects – in its entirety, including all trace minerals, enzymes and other factors – much less is required to achieve results.
To determine whether vitamins are synthetic or natural, read the label. If the ingredients sound more chemical in nature, the supplement is probably synthetic. If they sound more like food, it is usually natural. If the potency is expressed in neat round numbers like 100 mg, 200 mg or 400IU, it is probably synthetic. Nature is rarely that neat.
Some more reading for those who are interested…
Why does every leading supplement manufacturer suggest you take their supplements with a meal?
THE MANUFACTURER KNOWS: FOOD IS THE KEY TO NUTRIENT UTILIZATION
Nutrients can only be delivered with a matrix of Vital Food Factors
In 1937 Albert Szent-Gyorgyi was awarded the Nobel Prize for discovering and isolating a fraction of vitamin C known as ascorbic acid. Professor Szent-Gyorgyi discovered that vitamin C rich concentrated whole food is more bio-available than isolated ascorbic acid. This increase in bioavailability is due to the presence of enzymatic activity and important complex food factors known as the Vital Food Factors. Over the following years, this crucial aspect of Albert Szent-Gyorgyi’s discovery was lost in the rush to find more isolated fractions of “natural” vitamins and minerals.
The Vital Food Factors and Protein Chaperone Delivery. One of the Vital Food Factors, Protein Chaperones, are the key delivery mechanisms. They are essential to how nutrients are safely and efficiently transported through the body. The Protein Chaperones are the messengers that carry the nutrients to the specific sites, within the cell, where they are utilized. These chaperones create superior absorption and utilization. Regular nutrients, lacking Protein Chaperones, do not provide the same highly specialized delivery mechanism that enhances the nutrients effectiveness.
Regular “natural” vitamins are devoid of co-worker components that provide optimal utilization. Research and identification of these Vital Food Factors has begun to unravel the complexity of food and its use within the body. The discovery of Protein Chaperones has allowed an enhanced understanding of nutrient utilization. No isolated vitamin fraction can provide all of the Vital Food Factors in the proper balance. The exact structure of food is unknown. There are at least 103,000 known phyto-nutrients (a tomato contains at least 10,000). Why would one isolated fraction of a tomato, such as ascorbic acid, be considered as beneficial as the whole tomato?
Nutrients Must Have Their Vital Food Factors
The Importance Of Vital Food Factors
There are over 103,000 phyto-nutrients currently identified in food. The simple tomato contains over 10,000 of these known Vital Food Factors. This complex phyto-nutritive nature of food is the major factor in its benefit to humans. The argument that synthesized isolated nutrients are as beneficial as those found in food is not supported by the scientist who discovered the isolated fractions. Dr. Casmir Funk, who won the Nobel prize for the discovery of the first vitamin (thiamin) and created the word “vitamin” wrote, “Synthetic vitamins: These are highly inferior to vitamins from natural sources” .Dr Albert Szent -Gyorgyi, Nobel laureate for discovering ascorbic acid, found that the whole food concentrates he created early in his search were far more effective in preventing and curing scurvy than the isolated fraction of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) Voluminous research now validates the uncovering of the importance of the Vital Food Factors found by these esteemed scientists. Diets with high Vitamin C content from fruits and vegetables are associated with lower risk, especially for cancers of the oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, colon and lung. In contrast, consumption of ascorbic acid as a supplement in experimental trials had no effect on development of colorectal adenoma and stomach cancer. These differences may have several explanations. Fruit and vegetable ingestion is associated with lower cancer risk, not because of ascorbic acid alone, but because of complex interactions between the vitamin C and multiple bioactive compounds in these foods.
What to look for in a Multi-Mineral Supplement?
For a multi-mineral supplememnt look for one that is “amino-acid chelated.” Look for Albion amino acid chelated minerals. Amino acid chelated minerals are more bioavailable than any other type of mineral. Bioavailability refers to how available a mineral is for use in the body. Here is where mineral supplements vary widely. While some supplements have a high trace mineral content, those minerals are not “chelated” and so are not as absorbable and useable in the body. Through chelation, an amino acid claws onto, or binds to a mineral. This enables that mineral to pass through the stomach wall. Albion laboratories is the only company that holds a patent on this process. There are other chelation processes and companies claiming to use chelated minerals. However, only the chelation process used by Albion is effective. It is the only process that involves bonding an amino acid to a mineral in the same way nature does it and is the only way to produce this natural amino acid-mineral complex. You can recognize chelated minerals by their suffix (chelate, chelazome, or chelavite) on the label rather than terms such as oxide, chloriode, acetate, or sulfate.
For example, the most common form of iron in supplements and iron-enriched foods is ferrous sulfate, which has only a 10-15% absorption rate. However, the amino acid chelate form of iron, Ferrochel, has up to a 70% absorption rate, depending on health status.
Ferrochal is also less likely to interact with other ingredients in the intestine. In fact, ferrochel was the focus of a recent study published in the journal of Nutirtion. This study looked at the availability of iron when combined with factors that typically inhibit or block iron absorption. In this study, iron absorption from Ferrochel was about twice the absorption of ferrous sulfate in healthy adults who were not deficient.
What to look for in a Digestive Enzyme?
Look specifically for one that contains plant enzynes and avoid one with pancreatic or animal enzymes. Plant enzymes are more effective for a couple reasons. First, plant enzymes have a broader pH activity range, which means they can help digest foods and remain active throughtout the intestinal tract. Second, they do not interfere with the natural functioning of the body and therefore have no side effects. Look for formulas that list enzymes such as protease, lipase, amylase, and peptidase.
How to Choose a Probiotic Supplement
Look for a high-quality stabilized probiotic. Probiotics are live microbial food supplements that provide health benefits by improving the intestinal balance of microflora (gut bacteria).
An effective probiotic should:
1. Exert a beneficial effect on immunity and digestion. To have the most beneficial effect on health a probiotic supplement should contain at least eight different strains of bacteria (the ideal is twelve or more).
2. Be nonpathogenic and nontoxic. To ensure that the bacteria are truly beneficial and not harmful look for the following bacteria listed on the label Lactobacillus acidophilus, L bulgaricus, L brevis, L lactis, L reuteri and Bifodobacterium longum.
(This list is not all inclusive)
3. Contain a large number of viable cells. One way to help ensure that a supplement contains a large number of viable cells is to look for whole food fructooligosaccharides (FOS), such as Jerusalem Artichoke. Fructooligosaccharides, more commonly known as FOS, are a class of simple carbohydrates found naturally in certain plants (Jerusalem, artichokes, onions, and bananas) and act as “food” for the bacteria in the probiotic supplement. Be sure that the FOS (Jerusalem artichokes, onions, and bananas) listed on the label is a whole food and not a chemically produced FOS (Fructooligosaccharides), which may have toxic effects.
4. Be capable of surviving metabolism in the gut. The probiotic should be in capsule form to help ensure that the bacteria survive the trip through the digestive tract to the colon.
1. H.E. Dubin and Casmir Funk, Vitamin and Mineral Therapy (Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins
1936) pg 65
2. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi – The Living State – Academic press – 1972
3. Byer S T, Guerreron (1995) Epidemiologic Evidence for Vitamin C and Vitamin E in cancer
prevention. Am J Clin Nutr 62: 1385S – 1392S.
4 Blot WJ, LI J, Taylor PR et al (1993) Nutrition Intervention Trials in Linxian, China:
Supplementation with specific vitamin/mineral combinations, cancer incidence and disease
mortality in the general population. J Natl Cancer Inst 85: 1483 – 1492
5. Greenburg ER, Baron JA, et all (1994). A clinical trial of antioxidant vitamins to prevent colorectal
adenoma – N Engl J Med 331: 141-147