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Natural Vitamins vs. Synthetic
Common sense should tell you that when you take a "fraction" of something it is not the same as the whole substance. When the "fraction" by itself is obtained from an altogether different source than the original substance simply because "its the same thing" (translates into –cheaper to produce)

A prime example to consider is Ascorbic Acid. Let's be real clear on this. Ascorbic Acid is not Vitamin C. Ascorbic Acid is Ascorbic Acid which is a fraction of the biologically utilizable Vitamin C complex!!

There is a NATURAL ascorbic acid, which is derived from citrus fruits, ascerola cherries, rose hips, green peppers and other fruits and vegetables. However, most of the ascorbic acid (so-called Vitamin C) on the market is synthetically manufactured from corn sugar (glucose). Even though it is synthetically made, it is called natural and organic because corn sugar comes from corn (unless synthetic)—corn is found in nature, and of course anything containing carbon is "organic".

A fraction of a vitamin, whether natural or synthetic, is at best a drug—not a vitamin—and can only have a drug effect in the body—not a physiological or curative benefit. There are an abundance of studies demonstrating that megadoses of ascorbic acid can and do create serious problems in the body. Reports include: Collagen disease, rebound scurvy (which is a vitamin C deficiency disease), impaired mineral metabolism, imbalance of other vitamins like vitamin A and B, formation of some types of kidney stones, and diabetes mellitus.

The same principals apply to all synthetic forms of so called vitamins. It’s not as if this information is new. If you look at studies back around World War II, you will find a great deal of controversy surrounding synthetics. This was of course before the high powered dollars were spent to "enrich" our food supply to make us all healthier.

For example, in 1940 a Scandanavian Veterinarian Journal detailed an experiment involving Silver Foxes. One group was fed all of the known synthetic B vitamins as part of their rations. The second group were given natural sources of B complex. Results? The first group did not grow; the quality of their fur deteriorated; and they died prematurely!!! All was normal with the second group.

The sad truth about synthetic "vitamins" is that they can be dangerous!! For example, there is a report on the test effects of vitamin D in 500 human pregnancy cases. All the women given synthetic D developed calcified and diseased kidneys while women given natural vitamin D had no observable changes in the kidneys.

Back in 1939 there was a report on an animal study done with vitamin B. A number of pigs were fed twice the "daily requirement" of synthetic B and a similar number of pigs were fed the same amount of natural B. Results? ALL of the first generation of off-spring from the pigs fed the synthetic vitamin were STERILE. None of the first generation off-spring were sterile from the parents fed natural vitamin B.

So what’s this all got to do with you? Consider this little gem of a "coincidence".

White bleached wheat flour has more than thirty known nutrients removed with four synthetically added back in. This "enrichment" of flour began in 1939 when by law, the FDA required the addition of a few synthetic factors. These are: thiamin (B1 ), riboflavin (B2 ), nicotinic acid (B3 ), and iron.

In 1929 the average sperm count for a young American male was 100 million sperm cells per milliliter of semen. By 1973 the count had dropped to 60 million/ml. In 1980 the average count was down to 20 million/ml. Today ??

But synthetic vitamin B added to our "daily bread" couldn’t be to blame could it? Of course we all know that the good old pet food manufacturers don’t use synthetic vitamins, do they? Nobody has fertility problems with their male dogs, do they?

In the last decade, numerous, large scale, studies have confirmed that synthetic vitamins can and do present a clear cut danger, whereas the same vitamins from foods show no evidence of harm. For example, in late 1995 a direct link between synthetic vitamin A and birth defects was reported as the results of a four year study involving 22,748 pregnant women. The results of this study show a 240% increase in birth defects when the women took 10,000iu per day and a staggering 400% increase in risk from taking 20,000iu per day of synthetic vitamin A. The researchers were very careful to point out that the risk from actual foods containing natural vitamin A presented NO BIRTH DEFECTS!! No amount of naturally occurring vitamin A, even liver which contains as much as 30,000iu in three ounces, showed any evidence of contributing to birth defects.

And some people think the body can’t tell the difference??

Next time somebody tries to convince you that you are "wasting your money" on the good stuff, just say no—I prefer to stay away from drugs!

And more on the difference between real and synthetic …

A significant number of the vitamins you will find on the pharmacy shelves these days are made synthetically through chemical processes, rather than derived directly from plants or other materials, although some manufacturers still produce natural vitamins. In fact, manufacturers of natural vitamins and some of their adherents claim they are superior to synthetic vitamins. Is there any substance in these claims?

It is rather difficult to make the distinction between "synthetic" and "natural" vitamins. Some define a natural vitamin as a concentrated nutrient derived from a quality natural source. The idea is maximum retention of the natural material; no artificial colours, sweeteners, or preservatives should be used.

A natural source contains co-factors that come with the nutrient in nature. For instance, some co-factors that are usually found with Vitamin C are various bioflavonoids. It is concentrated from its natural source as carefully as possible. No extreme heat, pressure, or possibly toxic solvents are used. There are no sugar or chemical tablet coatings. The nutrients are prepared from high quality raw ingredients. No artificial chemicals are added. Harsh binders and fillers do not hinder absorption.

Synthetic vitamins are made in a laboratory setting from coal tar derivatives. No co-factors are present. Most of the food supplements sold on the market today are synthetic and often cheaper to produce than natural vitamins. Any additional way to compare natural and synthetic vitamins is to consider the differences in their molecular structures. Is the molecular structure of natural vitamins altered by the synthetic process?

±8G+ With Vitamin E, for example, the d- form of vitamin E derived from vegetable oils and other natural sources is different from the dl- form (which is often called the synthetic form). The dl- tocopherols are actually a mixture: the d-form and the l-form (usually a 1:1 mixture).

The human body uses only the d- form. The l- form, when present, does not confer any known health benefit and is normally excreted by the body. So, in essence, when consuming the dl- form of vitamin E, you obtain an effective dose of about half the vitamin E dosage reported on the label.

Vitamin C that is found and isolated from oranges is identical to the vitamin C derived from other plant sources, largely because plants containing vitamin C biosynthesize the substance in the same manner. However, when Vitamin C was first isolated and produced in a supplement form, we did not know about bioflavonoids. They were discovered later. It was found that in nature, bioflavonoids always accompany Vitamin C. In fact, the bioflavonoids are essential for better absorption. They increase bioavailability by 30%. This suggests you should take the natural form of vitamin C.

Laboratory-produced compounds provide the biochemist with numerous advantages. One example is dose consistency. In nature, one orange may contain 50 mg of vitamin C and another may contain only 10 mg. It depends on where it was grown, when it was harvested and under what conditions it was transported and stored. Conversely, nutritional supplement companies must guarantee that their products deliver precisely what is on the label.

GUIDE TO BETTER VITAMIN SHOPPING

When it comes to buying vitamins you must consider some guidelines in order to get the better, if not best, brand available for your particular reasons or condition. As with any product on the marketplace, you’ll encounter quality vitamin brands and those that are anything but effective no matter how affordable or expensive the product might be.

If you buy, for instance, an electrical appliance, you’ll soon know whether or not it works, however, if you buy certain vitamins, multi-vitamin supplements, herbs, minerals, etc., it’ll take you some time to realize whether or not that supplement is working for you.

And there are a number of reasons for this.
  • The quality of the product. As mentioned in the previous article, “natural” supplementation provides your body with a matrix it understands and can use to greater benefit. Not all supplements are created equally.
  • Its potency, 60mg of pomegranate extracts is not the same as 500mg
  • How often and how long the supplement is taken. Take as recommended for the best results.
  • How healthy or unhealthy the person is.
  • And if the right substance is being taken for the condition in question.
One of the things that tends to confuse most health conscious vitamin shoppers is how to recognize and where to find quality supplements. As with food, not all edible things found in supermarkets are the same, a conventional carrot and a local organic one are not the same even though they can pretty much look alike. And pasteurized, treated, and/or irradiated foods, such as almonds, and juices among others, will lack much of their original phyto-nutrients and vitamins.

Such is the case with nutritional supplements, not all vitamin brands are the same. Not all vitamin supplements are the same or should be.

First of all, let us not forget that there is not and there will not be any supplement, let alone pharmaceutical drug (poison), able to substitute fresh truly organic untreated vegetables, fruit, nuts, etc., they are your healthiest and best source of minerals, vitamins, fats, phyto-nutrients and other substances yet to be researched. Most of us however, don’t eat sufficient fresh, organic foods and thus require supplementation.

Second, if you have a condition requiring medical supervision, it is wise to seek the assistance of a health professional knowledgeable in herbs, minerals, nutrition, et al. Ask questions, your health provider should be able to give you answers, a yes or a no is not enough sometimes.

Not all doctors, or MDs, or alternative health professionals are the same.

Once you know the right natural supplement for yourself, then it is up to you to choose and buy from a company that should deliver its promise. And it is not as difficult as it seems to find such companies among the hundreds out there.

You don’t want to end up with a product whose potency, and its disclosed and undisclosed ingredients are questionable. Many MDs in America and elsewhere lack the knowledge and interest in nutrition, they seem to be programmed to completely miss nutrition’s key role in preventing and even curing disease.

For example, on an online short article posted by Yahoo on September 24, 2007 an MD gives some sound suggestions regarding choosing supplements except for, and not surprisingly, her following advice: “Stick to known, big-name brands. For example, I like GNC and Nature's Made products". In an article that appears to be following ethical common sense - where this MD suggests doing your homework, - this MD for some reason fails to recommend quality supplements, for instance. She instead recommends GNC, which is a vitamin chain store found in the US and other countries.

The problem with vitamin brand chain stores is mainly quality, their aim is in fact sales, quantity. Many big corporations have taken notice of the ever growing vitamin market in the US, in other words, sales – money. Solgar is now owned by Pfizer (pharmaceutical co.).

Remember always to:
  • Check if the company manufactures its supplements; many brands only distribute or sell cheap vitamins manufactured by others. Check the research.
  • Check what the manufacturer has to say about their products, their philosophy, their impact on the environment, how they produce their vitamins, and origin of their raw materials.
  • Keep in mind that most of the liquid supplements available are saturated with sugars, preservatives, and contain pasteurized and processed ingredients such as fruit juices in order to enhance flavour.
  • Stay away from vitamin brand chain stores (unless they sell other brands, quality brands), whenever looking for trustworthy supplements.
  • And last but not least, there are some vitamin companies available even in some alternative health practitioner’s whose catalogue stress how much money they’ve made and how much they can make for whomever sells their products. Not good.
It is essential for anyone interested in supplementing their diet to be informed, to do their homework before experimenting with their health. Being alert is the key, people are constantly bombarded by thousands of ads from companies trying to get rich no matter what. Such is the case with most, if not all, pharmaceutical drugs, and now with many vitamin brands.

All Fountainhead products are the “real” thing! Vitality , Naturally!


The Fountainhead

P O Box 107, RiverClub, 2149, Sandton, South Africa
670 Pretoria Main road, Wynberg, Sandton, 2191, South Africa
Phone: 086 111 2054 Fax: 011 887-7213 :: E-mail: florence@thefountainhead.co.za