Are you confused about supplements?
Is it a vitamin, mineral, homeopathic tincture, synthetic, whole food, chelated, cold processed, colloidal?
Does it inhibit, promote, aid, detoxify, support, cleanse, boost, eliminate, decalcify?
Will you have more energy, focus, strength, colour, tone : Less nausea, pain, fatigue, stress, hormone imbalance?
Does it work on an organ, the blood, the bones, cellular levels, emotions, hormones?
Does it contain filler, alcohol, gluten, dairy, animal byproducts?
How about now?
If you think carefully about what we buy and how we buy it as a society, do we ever really have as much information as we need or would like about the product? There are very few cases where knowing about your product is more important that when we talk about supplements. It could be argued that there has never been so much money spent on advertising and purchasing of health products, with so little knowledge; from the buyer or the seller!
Billions are being spent annually, and most of the time, no one in the chain of purchase know enough about the product. Purchasers, wholesalers, retailers or direct-to the-consumer sales people do not know the difference between a synthetic, a crystalline, and a fully natural vitamin, or the difference between a chelated organic and an inorganic mineral. They know little of how supplements are made, their characteristics, their attributes, their sources, their uses, their advantages and disadvantages, and how to tell one from another other than by reading a label. The biggest question you will come across is 'Are they natural or synthetic?' This is a very important question.
Do you know what you are buying?
What's the difference between natural and synthetic?
It's really simple...It's the difference between something that's alive, and something that's dead. That's a pretty serious difference.
Let me put it to you this way... If you cook an onion and plant it in the garden, would you expect it to grow? Of course not. Dead things do not promote life. This principle is as sound in terms of supplements and vitamins as it is when you try to plant and grow a cooked vegetable!
Anything that is completely natural is not patentable, which is why companies create crystalline and synthetic products. Patents are extrememely valuable.
To the left is a picture of natural and synthetic Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C). These pictures are known as Chromatograms: An analytical technique which identifies components of a solution by the colour absorbed by filter paper.
Lines of force and fluted edges found in the pattern of the natural substances are due to enzymes and enzyme activity. The more lines of force the more natural the substance.
This is where the processing of a vitmain is important. If you process natural substances at high heat, you destroy the enzymes, the life force within the natural substance.
So, you can see just by looking at the two images, that there is an obvious potency about the image on the far right, the natural substance. Underneath each image is the chemical structure of the substance. You can see how the natural structure has been manipulated to form the synthetic "vitamin".
Natural Whole Food Supplements
The definition of natural on a supplement label really only means that it exists somewhere on the planet or in space, so when you read labels, look for the words WHOLE FOOD. When you read on a label that something contains WHOLE FOOD VITAMINS, it means that the vitamins are just as found in the whole food, untampered with in any way that would change their molecular structure, their biological or biochemical combinations, or their actions.
Vitamins in their natural state always exist as living complexes with specific synergistic co-factors, enzymes, phytonutrients and organic mineral-activators; Never as single isolated factors. A vitamin needs all of its synergists to function, so anything that removes them, or isolates them negates the vitamins ability to benefit you fully. Furthermore, there are literally hundreds of such synergists, most of which have not yet been studied, but are nevertheless very important. This is why organic food sources are preferred, since they are more nutrient dense and contain no pesticide residues.
Crystalline means that a natural food has been treated with various chemicals, solvents, heat and distillations to reduce it down to one specific "pure" crystalline vitamin. In this process,all the synergists, which are termed "impurities," are destroyed. There is no longer anything natural in the action of crystalline "vitamins": They should more accurately be termed 'drugs'.
Synthetic means that a chemist or other such qualified professional has tried to reconstruct the exact structure of a crystalline molecule by chemically combining molecules from other sources. The 'other' sources are not living foods, but dead chemicals. For example, Vitamin B is made from a coal tar derivative and alphatocopherol (so-called vitamin E) is a byproduct of materials used by the Kodak company to make film. It is not legally necesary to give the source from which the synthetic "vitamin" has been derived, which is why you should avoid them. Synthetic "vitamins" should also more accurately be called drugs.
A great example of something synthetic and very much dead is the product with the label to the right. If you look at the figures and the amounts per serving, it looks very healthy and quite impressive. If you look carefully at the actual ingredients (and follow the how to read a label guidelines below) you will see that there is NOT A SINGLE natural, living ingredient in it. I know none of you think that FD&C Blue #1 could be natural! It's full of chemicals, fillers and binders.
How to read a label
No, i'm not being patronising...it is extremely important for your health and your bank balance to make informed decisions when it comes to supplements. After all, would you put just anything into your body because it cost a lot of money?
1. Look for SYNTHETIC
These terms also identfy a "vitamin" - acetate, bitarrate, chloride, gluconate, hydrochloride, nifrate, succinate.
If the label does not give you a source, presume that it is synthetic.
2. Check the dosage
Whole food supplements never come in high doses. It is only possible to create high dose 'vitamins' by isolating one fraction of the vitamin complex (crystalline) or synthesise one fraction (synthetic).
3. Check for filler
Binders, fillers and agents are extra unecessary ingredients that simply take up space and in some cases can induce allergic type reactions to the "vitamin"
In this example, when we follow the rules...
We cannot see the word synthetic but we do find the word acetate and as (as dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate).
Next, looking at the dosage, it's 3333% of a daily value! Can you imagine how much natural vitamin E oil you would have to ingest to get to that value!? Dead give away, and dead is the right word!
In these labels to the left you can clearly see the difference between the natural Vitamin C and the created / synthetic "vitamin C".
Following the rules above, lets look for synthetic.
We cannot see the word synthetic, but we do see ascorbate. When a "vitamin" is not natural, it will generally follow with an
(as ascorbic acid) or (as 'whatver applies').
With the natural product, there is no (as), and there are no give away words that would highlight a synthetic product.
High dosage doesn't mean high potency
We have been thoroughly misled about vitamins. Both practitioners and consumers have been fooled into thinking that delivering large quantities of dead chemicals is more potent than smaller amounts of high quality living compounds. Relatively small amounts of whole-food natural vitamins, with all of their naturally occurring synergists, are far more potent than high doses of synthetic imitation "vitamins".