Can Vitamin Supplements be Harmful: Synthetic vs Natural Ingredients
Can Vitamin Supplements be Harmful is a question I am often asked? Also What are Synthetic Vitamins as opposed to Vitamins that have been manufactured from Natural ingredients?
Nutritional supplements have fast become a multi billion dollar industry with everyone on the band wagon. But at what risk to your health.
Nutritional supplements even when they are “Naturally derived” will never be a replacement for a well balanced diet including fresh produce. Fruit, Vegetables, Lean meat, Chicken, fish, nuts, pulses and lentils.
Supplementing your Diet
I am not going to disagree that at various times supplementing your diet with vitamins that are derived naturally from plants and minerals may not be necessary. I would highly recommend that you get advice from a Health Professional and beware that you aren’t taking more vitamins than necessary and the second thing that you are actually being treated for what is wrong with you.
Over my years of practice, I have had many clients that have come to me, even with a myriad of supplements that have been prescribed for them and the worst scenario after going through all of these, was that the person hadn’t been treated for what was actually wrong with them and their health problems.
Not all Vitamins are Made Equal
The Differences Between Synthetic & Natural Vitamins
However, whether or not your vitamins are hurting you is another story.
What you may not be aware of is all vitamins are not created equal, and most are actually synthetic.
Vitamins and Supplements
Whether you get your vitamins from your daily diet, from sunshine, or from store bought capsules or liquids, vitamins are vital to your health and to the proper functioning of your body.
Vitamin deficiencies lead to a wide range of problems spanning from anorexia to obesity, organ malfunction, confusion, depression and fatigue.
However it is important to be aware, for the most part even Natural Vitamin tablets will have fillers that you may well have an adverse reaction to. Also You will not be getting the full benefit of the vitamin quantity within the tablet or capsule.
Synthetic Vitamins are Chemically Derived your Body recognizes it as a toxic substance therefore eliminating it.
Even Natural Vitamin supplementation shouldn’t be taken in place of a Healthy Diet and Lifestyle. It Just Won’t Work
When Vitamin Supplementation may be Necessary
There may be times through sickness or other areas of ill health where supplementation may be necessary.
It is vitally important that you seek Professional advice as to what your body may be lacking. Whilst making positive changes to your diet and lifestyle habits.
However rather than tablets – Supplements such as Vital Greens and Magnesium Powders, Liquid forms of Vitamins are far more effective. Always ensure that they are derived from the direct plant or mineral source.
How Can I tell if it is a Synthetic Vitamin or Mineral?
This can be vary difficult unfortunately, vitamins can be labelled as natural if they contain as little as 10% of the natural form of the vitamin. This means that your “natural” vitamin could contain 90% of synthetically produced chemicals! B-Vitamins and Vitamin C are also usually synthetically produced. For further knowledge in regards to this:
The Organic Consumers Association has published an ingredient chart to help consumers identify natural vs. synthetic vitamins. Many vitamin producers want you to believe that you are getting a “natural product” because it seems more wholesome to take “natural” vitamins.
Look for the words “100 percent natural” on the product’s label: Some product labels may contain the words “natural,” but manufacturers can claim “natural” on their nutritional products if at least 10 percent of the product comes from natural food sources. The Organic Consumers Organization recommends looking for products that contain “100 percent plant-based” or “100 percent animal-based” on the product’s label.
What to Look for in the Ingredient List
- Identify whole foods in the ingredient list instead of the particular nutrient: Look for foods on the list of ingredients that contain a certain vitamin, such as “acerola cherry powder,” which contains vitamin C. If you can’t identify “vitamin C” as a plant base in the ingredient list, then you can guarantee that the vitamin is synthetic.
- Look for salt forms on the product label: This means synthetic as this is added to supplements for increasing the stability of the vitamin or mineral. Some of the salt forms to look for include acetate, bitartrate, chloride, gluconate, hydrochloride, nitrate and succinate.
- Learn how to read the product’s label by looking for keywords that indicate the supplement is synthetic: These are words that end in “ide” or “ate” indicate that the product contains salt forms, which are synthetics. Examples of this are: if you see chloride, hydrochloride, acetate or nitrate on the list of ingredients, the manufacturer used synthetics for the product.
Additionally, the letters “dl” that appear before the name of an ingredient indicates the supplement is synthetic. As an example, look for “fish oils” when buying a vitamin A supplement. If the product’s label states “palmitate,” it is a synthetic vitamin A supplement
Important Word of Wisdom
Please – Remember if it is sold in bulk quantity and cheap, then it will NOT be derived from the Natural Source.
Always Remembering that Vitamin Supplements
Should NEVER replace a Healthy, Well Balanced Diet
An Example of a Healthy, Well Balanced Diet
As a Rule of Thumb a Balanced Diet would include: one to two serves (the size of the palm of your hand) of red meat per week: two to three serves of organic chicken same portion size per week and three to four serves of fish per week. Vegetables, yes Vegetables and Fruit.
These are packed full of vitamins and minerals that your body just loves, using them for growth and repair. Good oils such as olive oil, coconut oil and Flaxseed oil. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts and seeds. Optimal Health is found within the Foods you EAT. Plus also in the pleasure of eating Real Food straight from the Farmer to You.
If you do not happen to like fish then include some vegetarian meals to break up the routine. Each day you need to include five to six serves of vegetables/salad vegetables and two to three serves of fruit preferably red apples, berries, mangoes, bananas, pears and melons. Citrus fruits make wonderful additions to salads and cooking.
Why! NOT ALL Vitamins are Equal
The vitamins that you see on the supermarket shelves and in bulk quantity in the chemists are all made from synthetic ingredients.
Synthetic vitamins are manufactured from man-made materials, therefore allowing them to be sold at a much lower cost. Many of the ingredients that are used in this manufacturing act as binding agents and are harmful to us. The body doesn’t recognize synthetic vitamins as nutrition and therefore quickly goes about getting rid of them, seeing them as being harmful and toxic.
Studies show that vitamins that are manufactured by the use of natural ingredients derived from plant matter is the best way to take vitamins. As they are efficiently absorbed by the body, therefore bringing the nutritional benefits that are required.
As I have said there is no better source of vitamins than from food itself. In times of great stress, ill health, playing sport etc, it may be necessary to supplement your diet with vitamins. When you combine vitamins derived from natural sources with that of a well balanced diet, this is the best combination for optimal health and performance.
To get the best knowledge of what you need it is best to talk to a health professional that has your best interests at heart and not their profit margin. I have found in my years of practice either liquid or powder forms of nutritional supplementation works best. There are two reasons behind this there are no fillers used as there are with many tablet forms and they are more efficiently absorbed by the body.
The Science behind “Synthetic” Vitamins
According to scientific theory, if products look similar under a microscope, then they can be marketed the same. Regardless of what the actual product is made from. Many companies see this as a great opportunity to save money. Not thinking for one minute about the consumer and the effects of this product and what harmful effects it will have on them.
As the nutrients that are found in fruits and vegetables are chemicals in their purest and simplest form. It is easy to manufacture similar substances that are then reproduced in a laboratory. However the manufacturing of these vitamins doesn’t possess the health benefits of the naturally derived vitamins. As mentioned to the point of even causing harm.
Toxic Ingredients to Avoid In Supplements
- Magnesium stearate (or stearic acid)
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) disguised as “natural flavors”
- Carnauba wax is used in car wax and shoe polish
- Titanium dioxide is a carcinogen
Common Synthetic Vitamins to Avoid:
Look for clues on your vitamin’s label that offer insight into the origin of the vitamin.
- Vitamin A: Retinyl Palmitate
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Thiamine Mononitrate, Thiamine Hydrochloride
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Riboflavin
- Pantothenic Acid: Calcium D-Pantothenate
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
- Vitamin B12: Cyanocobalamin – is made from activated sewage sludge
- PABA (Para-aminobenzoic Acid): Aminobenzoic Acid
- Folic Acid: Pteroylglutamic Acid
- Choline: Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate
- Biotin: d-Biotin
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Ascorbic Acid – is manufactured from acid
- Vitamin D: Irradiated Ergosteral, Calciferol – is manufactured from irradiated oil
- Vitamin E: dl-alpha tocopherol, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate or succinate
NOTE: The “dl” form of any vitamin is synthetic.
The Negative Effect that Synthetic Vitamins to your Body
The most affected organ is your liver, the damage here is irreversible as it attempt to filter the harmful ingredients. Synthetic agents such as ground-up shells and metal will quickly bring about damage and destroy your liver. Women taking synthetic Vitamin A whilst pregnant can find that their child may well suffer from birth defects. There have been found trace amounts of lead in each vitamin A pill. This cannot be properly digested in your body and therefore over time will create dangerous and toxic build up.
Examples of Specific Chemical fillers commonly found in ALL kinds of synthetic vitamin supplements:
- Carnauba wax: This is the wax found in car wax and shoe polish
- Titanium Dioxide: This is a suspected carcinogen, a substance that causes cancer
The effects of synthetic vitamins may not appear “deadly” in the short term. However they have no valuable benefit to your body, not to mention that they can well be “harmful”. With testing that had been done on Natural and Synthetic forms of say for example – Vitamin E in women, a group of researchers found that the women using the synthetic vitamin needed three times more to achieve even any slight benefits as those who took the Natural Form. There also has been similar tests done with Vitamin E with Cancer patients and the natural form proved superior, with minimal amount and had great benefits.
Natural Vitamins are also known as whole-food vitamins. These are extracted from fruits and vegetables where they are naturally found.
Foods to Eat to Get your Essential Vitamins & Minerals
- Vitamin C – grapefruit, potatoes, lemons, capsicum, oranges, kiwi fruit and dark leafy greens such as spinach
- Vitamin A – Carrots (when cooked), sweet potato, dark leafy greens, pumpkin, dark green lettuces, spinach and rockmelon
- Folic Acid (B12) -lentils; dried beans and peas; dark green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, cauliflower or turnip greens, okra, and asparagus; and citrus fruit
- B Vitamins (biotin B7) – fortified cereals and wholegrains – quinoa, mushrooms, pearl barley, buckwheat brown rice (other important nutrients found in wholegrains are: selenium, potassium and magnesium) Learn to love your dark green vegetables and leaves such as beet leaves, kale, spinach as the majority of your vitamins and nutrients are found in these.
- Calcium – Yes once again believe it or not your dark green vegetables, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, kale, chickpeas, roasted fresh soy beans, bok choy, figs, oranges, sardines, almonds, canned salmon, white beans and tofu.
- Magnesium – Yes you believe it once again dark leafy greens, fish, avocado, bananas, wholegrains, beans and lentils:
- Potassium – beans, dark leafy greens, potatoes, squash, yogurt, fish, avocados, mushrooms, and bananas
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D is unique among vitamins; you can synthesize it in your skin as well as absorb it from foods or supplements. To complicate things further, vitamin D also comes in two forms: D2 and D3. Your skin synthesizes vitamin D3, also called cholecalciferol; you can also take D3 in supplement form. The safest and most effective way to get Vitamin D3 is from the sun, yes I know, but we are not talking about being out in it for hours on end, the recommended dose is 15 the 30 minutes per day. A few foods naturally supply vitamin D. Beef liver, cheese, egg yolks and also cod liver oil.
Fresh Food is your Best Source of Essential Vitamins & Minerals for Supporting Optimal Health
We have “Hippocrates” to thank for the saying – “Let Food be thy Medicine & Medicine be thy Food”
Considered to be one of the most influential figures in the history of medicine and healing, Hippocrates was ahead of his time when, around the year 400 B.C, he advised people to prevent and treat diseases first and foremost by eating a nutrient-dense diet based on Fresh, Whole foods.
The foods that you eat each day play a critical role in controlling inflammation levels, balancing blood sugar, regulating cardiovascular health (including blood pressure and cholesterol levels), helping the digestive organs to process and eliminate waste, and much, much more. Did you know that certain anti-inflammatory foods even contain powerful active ingredients that help control how your genes are expressed?
Because foods influence inflammation levels, blood sugar, energy, hormones, brain, and heart health, they truly do act like medicine once consumed. A healthy diet plays a role in how genes are expressed and can have a positive effect toward preventing disease, even when a disease may appear to be hereditary.
Medicinal foods to include in your daily diet, include all fresh vegetables and fruits, organ meats, grass-fed meats, healthy fats like coconut, nuts and seeds, sea vegetables and what are now being classed as superfoods like cocoa, papaya, spinach, kale, blueberries, broccoli, cooked tomatoes, oats, blackberries, garlic, brazil nuts, walnuts and black pepper.