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Three Kinds of Vitamin Supplements

By Thelma Ledford

Good Eats LedfordThere are basically three kinds of vitamin supplements: The Test Tube or Synthetic; The Natural Isolate/Organic Extract; and The Natural/Unaltered Food Supplements. The body does not receive all nutritional supplements the same way; they are not created the same way, and they will not be received by the body equally. They must be in harmony with “nature.”
The test tube, or synthetic kind, is the usual drug store variety.   They are man-made, and derived from tar, plastics, petroleum by-products, and coal (inorganic substances). They have no enzymes; are stimulants with harsh binders and fillers, and may cause side effects. Most vitamins today are synthetic. This type of processing is the cheapest, and the majority of profit-minded companies follow this route. These are commonly sold in drugstores, through mail order houses, and sometimes even in health food stores. They are produced in the laboratory (or synthesized).  Although they are the same as natural vitamins “chemically,” synthetic vitamins may be quite different structurally, and this may cause different reactions, or side effects in the body.
Dr. E. E. Pfeiffer, a biochemist who was awarded an honorary M.D. degree, performed some of the earliest research comparing synthetic nutrients to natural. He discovered that even when synthetic and natural nutrients contained exactly the same atoms, they reacted differently to a beam of polarized light. Synthetic nutrients rotated the beam in one direction, while natural nutrients rotated it in the opposite direction. The bottom line is that the body knows the difference. This is why I went into such detail for some of these articles. We must realize that the body does not accept and utilized just any kind of substance.
For example:  Vitamin E is known scientifically as alpha tocopherol. The “d” alpha is the natural form of “E” and is well-absorbed by the body. The “l” alpha is the synthetic form of “E,” and is not well-absorbed; “dl alpha tocopherol” is quite common in health food stores, and is not well-utilized by the body. The reason for this is that our enzyme systems are structured for nature; not for the laboratory. Trying to fit your enzymes to a synthetic vitamin is like trying to fit your right hand into a left-hand glove. Synthetic vitamins are not as active biologically as the natural ones. Natural Vitamin E may be twice as potent. You may get only half what you think you are getting with the synthetic E. Aside from the problems of utilization and potency, synthetic vitamins may present other problems says Theron Randolph, M.D., a noted allergist. They can cause allergic reactions, stomach upset, and diarrhea. Important enzymes may be lacking, destroyed, or altered in manufacturing.
To understand the importance of enzymes, take two grains of wheat; cook one and compare it to the other. Chemically, they are identical. Now plant them both in good soil; one will not grow.  The same is true of synthetic nutrients. They may appear identical “chemically” to the natural, but the effects in the body are considerable less potent, less effective, less life-sustaining, and more expensive.
This is not a difficult principle to learn. On the whole, we can trust nature further than the chemist and his synthetic vitamins. As the saying goes “You can’t fool mother nature!” The body recognizes food whether we do or not. Our bodies are made of living cells, and tissues, and no man can make them. Neither can man make a living plant. Let’s get back to the basics. It really isn’t difficult to distinguish what we need to put into our mouths, is it? I think the body is doing a good job for us considering what it has to use, don’t you? At any rate, a better quality of food is our best defense.
The natural isolate/organic extracts are found primarily in health food stores.  Organic extracts are usually health store variety. Often the label will imply that the product is a “natural” supplement, usually because it originated at some point from a natural source, however, it is not the same as a whole food supplement because of the way it is processed. By law, this kind of vitamin must contain a certain percentage of food.
An organic extract is a nutrient that has been selectively removed from a natural source. The process may use excess heat and harsh petroleum by-products causing the loss of nutrients that naturally occur with the vitamin being extracted, leading to an imbalanced product. To save money, the manufacturers use low quality raw materials; they are stimulants and may have harsh binders and fillers that can not be dissolved by the body, and they will be excreted—wasted money!
To understand the nature of a supplement, organic extract, consider oxygen. The air we breathe contains a number of other life-giving substances as well as oxygen. Take oxygen and put it in a vacuum bottle, we have an organic extract. It can save a person’s life temporarily, but after a period of time, it will cease to have value and if breathed too long will actually kill the person.  Humans are not built to breathe pure oxygen. We need the other ingredients in the air for it to have life-sustaining value. The body knows what and how much we need.
Vitamins are never found “isolated” in nature. They are found in complexes. For example you never find pure, simple Vitamin C growing in a field; but a C-complex, which includes many other factors. B-complex contains about 22 known factors and there may be others. Science still has not isolated all the nutrients we get from foods; therefore, if we rely on extracts we may miss some unknown, essential nutrients.
Because of my interest in health and nutrition, I have found time to explore, examine, and experiment for many years. Understand that before you choose to accept some of my information, I suggest you do your own research. I believe each of us have a legal right to use, or not use, another person’s information. When I started, I knew that I had to accept the responsibility for the outcome; therefore, I do my research before I use the product. If you do not have time, find someone you can trust to help you. This is why doctors encourage us to eat good foods, but we know now that our food lacks many nutrients. A person would have to eat large amounts of food to even get the daily minimum of nutrients. People are beginning to understand the importance of supplementation; however, I am not sure they know how to find the right one for the body.
The natural/unaltered supplements are made from whole food.   Natural nutrients are the kinds which come from live food sources grown on uncontaminated soil as God intended, instead of man-made, inorganic substances derived from tar, plastic, petroleum, or coal. Because they are a “food source,” they will feed and improve the cell’s health. They have strong enzymatic action, contain essential unknown nutrients, balanced as in nature, and are processed at low temperature and low pressure without the use of alcohol or other petroleum products. For these nutrients to remain stable in a natural, unaltered form, the processing must be different. This process is more costly, and the company who makes them must have integrity. Not many companies make this kind of supplement, but I found one.
We all like to save money and make money. Profit-minded companies are no different, and most do not follow integrity. Only integrity will dictate the quality of a product. Our government does what it can, but rules and regulations have not, nor will not control quality, but sales will. Informed consumers can control the market if they get together. We don’t buy—they can’t sell; it is as simple as that. In reality, natural, whole food supplements may seem to cost more, but are they really more expensive? Natural ones are more potent, better absorbed, non-toxic, have no harsh fillers and binders, and nature’s balance is kept as closely intact as possible. We have already learned that these may be twice as potent as the synthetic ones. Make up your own mind: “Would they be more expensive?” “Is the cheapest always the cheapest?” When choosing food, I try to locate the highest quality for my budget. Why not do the same when choosing supplements? They are an extension of food. We watch quality in other purchases, why not in health? My philosophy is? “It’s better to use less of the best, than lots of the inferior!”
What happens when we take an inorganic substance into our body? “First of all, science tells us that “our bodily enzymes cannot break down “inorganic substances.” our body builds a toxic stimulus, and goes into warfare against the toxins which causes a surge of all the surplus hormones, antibodies, and enzymes which are stored, throwing them into your system, and you fell peppy—just as in a drug abuse. You are not nourishing a cell, but fighting the warfare of toxins. You do not gain health.
However, it should be established that in certain cases, synthetic, or isolated vitamins, do have a place. These in large doses should be limited to prescription by a physician or nutritionist for the short-term treatment of an acute condition, or a severe deficiency disease. Professionals may also prescribe isolate vitamins for specific therapeutic purposes. “Still, these uses of synthetic or isolated vitamins more closely resemble drug therapy than they do simple preventive health care.”
Try this test:  Put one of your multivitamin tablets in a glass of water with a little vinegar, and note how long it takes to dissolve—20-30 minutes. Take another glass and do the same thing with a whole food supplement and observe the differences. I’ve done this many times, and discovered for myself what I want in my body.
Some helps:
-read labels, write the company; ask for their research and development material
-ask if they do clinical studies on people
-ask how long they have been in business
-ask if petroleum by-products are being used in their products

Negative report on vitamin testing:
-you need to hear the whole story
-what kind of vitamin was used
-who is paying the bill for the study

“The story told of Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgui, the Nobel laureate who discovered Vitamin C, is illustrative of the natural vs. the extracts. In the early l930, after he had isolated Vitamin C, but still had it only in an impure condition (as a natural vitamin), he was asked to supply some of it for a patient who had severe bleeding from his capillaries. (Such bleeding is a symptom of a Vitamin C deficiency disease—Scurvy.) His impure preparation ended the man’s bleeding. Later, after Szent-Gyorgyi had isolated pure Vitamin C (as an organic extract), a patient with a similar under-the-skin bleeding turned up. This patient was treated with the pure Vitamin C preparation, but he failed to benefit completely. Then he gave the man his original impure (natural) vitamin, and the patient recovered. “My impure preparation,” he later said, “was still active, so evidently it had to contain some substances besides ascorbic acid that were responsible for the therapeutic action that I purified out of it.”  This story typifies the advantage of natural over synthetic vitamins, or organic extracts.
The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of  a cheap price is forgotten!
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