Supplements: natural or synthetic?

Article submission, Thursday 16th November 2006

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Should this really be a choice? It shouldn't be, however it unfortunately is, and its a choice that is driven by economics more than anything else. The majority of `cheap' vitamins in the marketplace are `synthetic, period. Made by unscrupulous nutrition manufacturers for commercial exploitation on an unwary public. Sell them cheap, with a picture of a pretty green plant on there label and bingo the punters come running to buy, its so sickening.

Again reality is that most vitamins in the marketplace are synthetic, therefore they do not perform the functions in the body as do vitamins found naturally in whole foods. Not to mention that these synthetics generally end up depleting valuable nutrients from your body.So how do we end up being conned? Well needless to say you will not find the word `synthetic' on a supplement label. Who's going to buy that? However if they are labeled as natural, well thats a different ballgame altogether. So how can something be both `synthetic' and `natural' at the same time. Answer is simple, if the end ingredient is carbon based then its naturally by default considered organic.

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How is this done?

Vitamins are NOT a singular unit, but rather they are highly complex components made from enzymes, co-enzymes and other co-factors that work synergistic ally together to produce their intended biological effect(s) So therefore a synthetic vitamin is only an isolated portion of the entire vitamin complex. For example within the vitamin C complex group you will find rutin, bioflavonoids (vitamin P), factors K, J and P, tyrosinase, ascorbinogen and ascorbic acid. All of these components would form the vitamin C group within a plant. Most synthetic vitamin C supplements contain only ascorbic acid, usually in the more acidic form of a compound called ascorbate.

So if we ingest only ascorbic acid (or the synthesised stronger salt based equivalent ascorbate acid) then the body must deplete its own reserves of the other essential components from within itself to make use of it. Whats the sense in that? You may as well have not taken it in the first place. Vitamin C also even needs the presence of copper within the system to assist it with its operations. Indeed all the vitamin groups have their own components which they need to function properly.

So whats the solution?

Indeed originally our bodies were designed to extract these important nutrients from the plant sources. So whole foods can give us the necessary components we need which also includes various minerals also. But in the likelihood that ones diet is lacking in valuable plant intake or the plants themselves are deficient then supplements are definitely needed.

So how do we know if the supplements we are purchasing are natural or synthetic?

By far the easiest way is to look at the label of ingredients. It should either state the actual vitamin complex group or better still the actual food source, in the case of vitamin C for example acerola cherry powder. So in conclusion the label should list the actual foods as their ingredients. So if this is not the case simply do not purchase that product. Health food stores are usually have the best supply of such, however if in doubt ask questions to verify wether the product is bona fide or not. Be discerning in your choice. You may indeed have to pay a little extra, but its well worth it in the long run, believe me your body knows the difference and by giving it the best you can will yield great health benefits. I for one believe this.

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