About Me

Vivica Menegaz

Nutritionist, Author, & Blogger

Hi I am Vivica, welcome to my blog! I am a certified nutritionist and the creator of the Healing Foods Method. My philosophy of healing is to let the right foods delight you, nourish you and make you healthy!

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What you don’t know about vitamins that could cost you your health.

vitaminWhat you don’t know about vitamins that could cost you your health! I have been using whole food Supplements for more than 10 years. They have made a tremendous difference in my life (like saving my gallbladder, fixing endometriosis, rebalancing my hormones etc etc). But when I talk about whole food supplements most people have no idea what the heck I am talking about. Most people have NO IDEA about the difference between a CHEMICAL ISOLATE and a WHOLE FOOD CONCENTRATE, or just a WHOLE FOOD, and they do not know that supplements you buy over the counter are DRUGS not FOOD!

I think few people have explained this better than Judith DeCava, who wrote a whole book about it (The Real Truth About Vitamins and Antioxidants). Here is an excerpt from her book:

“A vitamin is a complex mechanism – a working process – of biological “wheels within wheels” of functional, interrelated, interdependent components. A vitamin consists of, not only the organic nutrient(s) identified as the vitamin but also enzymes, coenzymes antioxidants, and trace element activators. (…) A vitamin supplement, then, can not simply be an individual chemical or several chemicals. Supplements MUST be food concentrates, intact, integrated, with their vitamin complexes incorporated, so as to retain their functional and nutritional integrity. They must contain ALL the factors indigenous to food that make up the vitamin’s organic unity and entirety.”

When you go to your local drugstore and see isles upon isles filled with vitamins, you might think that those are the real thing. Alas, they are not. Have you tried reading the ingredients?

So what is the difference between the chemical isolates and the whole food supplements?

ISOLATES:

  • can be chemically synthetized
  • are in chemically “pure” form (without all the associated components)
  • high concentration (never found in nature)
  • separated form the enzymes (therefore no biological activity)
  • need to be “re-assembled” in the body (so the body needs to provide the missing parts)
  • can be easily overdosed as they come in chemically high doses
  • are often not recognized by the body (so they just get excreted instead of assimilated)

WHOLE FOOD SUPPLEMENTS:

  • come in complexes of nutrients as found in nature
  • they are colloidal (gelatin like solution)
  • they are proteins in nature and exist as enzymes/coenzymes (so they are heat sensitive)
  • contain trace mineral activators (needed in order to absorb them)
  • come with all the elements needed for their function
  • the same vitamin complex can serve different function depending on its (animal/plant) origin
  • living things can be produced ONLY from living things never from inert matter

A look at the way the supplement is made and the INGREDIENTS always helps to shed some light on the truth. Lets look at Vitamin C. By law the only part of the vitamin we are allowed to call Vitamin C is Ascorbic Acid. (Ascorbic acid is actually just the antioxidant wrapper of the whole vitamin complex).

How is Ascorbic Acid made ??

Wikipedia Says:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascorbic_acid

here is a simpler overview of the process

The base ingredient is CORN SYRUP.

  • Steps 1 thru 9 (Starch Hydrolysis): Corn starch is broken down into simple sugar (D-Glucose) by the action of heat and enzymes.
  • Step 10 (Hydrogenation): D-Glucose is converted into D-Sorbitol.
  • Step 11 (Fermentation): D-Sorbitol is converted into L-Sorbose.
  • Step 12 (Acetonation): (Acetone!!)! L-Sorbose is combined with an acid at low temperatures.
  • Step 13 (Oxidation): The product is then oxidized with a catalyst, acidified, washed and dried forming L-Gluconic Acid.
  • Step 14 (Hydrolysis): L-Gluconic Acid is treated with hydrochloric acid forming crude ascorbic acid.
  • Step 15 (Recrystallization): The crude ascorbic acid is filtered, purified and milled into a fine crystalline powder.

Does anything in nature resembles this processes?

Let’s now look at the ingredients of a whole food supplement…

Here is Standard Process Cataplex C:

Proprietary Blend: 595 mg Veal bone PMG™ extract, bovine adrenal, dried buckwheat (leaf) juice, buckwheat (seed), nutritional yeast, dried alfalfa (whole plant) juice, alfalfa flour, mushroom, magnesium citrate, bovine bone, defatted wheat (germ), calcium acid phosphate, echinacea (root), carrot (root), veal bone, soybean lecithin, mixed tocopherols (soy), and rice (bran). Other Ingredients Calcium lactate, honey, acerola (berry), camu camu (berry), manioc (root), calcium stearate, and arabic gum.

Is there anything you do not recognize as food?

To learn more about how the supplements are made you can go to the SP website:

https://www.standardprocess.com/Why-Whole-Foods

https://www.standardprocess.com/Our-Company/Frequently-Asked-Questions

Potency is another issue:

Judith De Cava explains: “Since potency really refers to effectiveness quality rather than quantity – the TRUE high potency vitamins are whole complexes,  those intact with their natural synergists as found in unrefined food. If an emaciated person could not gain weight eating three meals a day, would it make sense to increase the number of meals to ten, or to look at the quality of the food?”

What happens when we start taking synthetic vitamins?

As you can well see in the picture above the vitamin complex, as it comes in nature, is made up of enzymes, co-enzymes, anti-oxidants (like alpha-tocopherol)  and trace mineral activators. When we ingest a high potency isolate, especially in the presence of a nutritional deficiency, (and most people nowadays have deficiencies due to the poor quality of our food) the body rushes to grab the missing pieces of the puzzle form its own resources. Those enzymes and minerals are still needed to process the large quantity of isolate that entered your blood stream, so to maintain the balance and make use of it, the body needs to supply the missing components taking them out of it’s own tissues, organs and bones. That is why after the initial rush of good results, vitamins usually stop working, and if you would dig a bit deeper, you will find that they actually exacerbated the problem you were trying to solve in the first place!

Whole Food Vitamins

Next time you are buying a bottle of “Vitamin C” over the counter, try to read the ingredients and see if you can tell what kind of supplement you have in your hand.

Hopefully this will give you a better idea about the difference between real whole food supplements and  chemical isolates, and enable you to make better informed decisions about what supplements to take.

If you want to know more I recommend reading this great article:

http://www.thedoctorwithin.com/vitaminc/ascorbic-acid-is-not-vitamin-c/

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Comments 3

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  2. Chaya says:

    You made this really easy to understand, thank you! We quit taking supplements altogether (except fermented cod liver oil) because of some of my confusion over this–but mostly because we are corn-free and you are hard pressed to find anything out there that does not have cellulose or dextrose, etc etc…we tend to treat things just herbally around our place…but now I do think I have a better idea of what I should be looking for when we need to address a health concern.

    • The Nourished Caveman says:

      That is great Chaya! I feel like too many people fall victim to ignorance when it comes to choosing a good supplement. Luckily whole food supplements are becoming more popular and readily available to the public.
      In my work practice we use whole food supplements both to treat deficiencies and to help correct issues.
      I am 45 and I have not touched a medication for many years. I just eat well and use the supplements when needed.
      I do want to learn more about herbal medicine though…as soon as I have a moment 😉

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