Sadly, more than 90% of the products on the market are chemicals. The first question we should ask is, “What is the difference between concentrated, whole food nutrients and synthetic mega-, multi-, anti-oxidant supplements?” The second question is, “What is the impact on my health?”
A properly processed whole food supplement contains an infinite number of vitamins, minerals and enzyme co-factors that work together synergistically to support the health of your body. I say infinite because science has not finished finding all of the useful nutrients in a single carrot. What makes us think that we truly understand which is the most important? Isolating out “THE” one most effective element is a way of standardizing, controlling, obtaining a patent and also a way of manufacturing a product for pennies and selling for a huge profit.
In reality what many think happens when you take a synthetic vitamin such as ascorbic acid or alpha tocopherol is that you may feel better at first. If your body has the co-factors needed to utilize the isolate, you will make use of that for a few days or weeks. However, as the co-factors are used up, you may find you are increasingly deficient in the very nutrient you are taking!
When looking at supplement labels, you want to look for whole food ingredients Examples are beets, pea vine, liver, wheat germ, buckwheat, kale, barley grass, carrots, etc. These do not sound glamorous, but they are the living fuel that you need for the job of regenerating yourself on a daily basis.
There are very few whole food supplements on the market. Even among those that are whole food, many are not processed in such a way as to maintain the enzymes and nutrients at their highest levels. There are several reasons for this.
- First, it is more costly to grow an orange organically, cold process it and press and package it in a way that preserves the enzymes and co-nutrients and yet offers some reasonable shelf life. Contrast this to the inexpensive process of synthetically manufacturing the isolate of the vitamin and you can see there is an economic motivation.
- Secondly, there is a marketing advantage to synthetics. It is very confusing to the consumer to see one product that shows 1000 mg Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and then compare that to a whole food supplement that only shows 17mg Vitamin C (ascorbic acid). We think, “Surely more is better.” Legally, the only portion of the Vitamin C Complex that is allowed to be called Vitamin C is the isolate, ascorbic acid, although it comprises only about 5% of the whole Vitamin C complex.
- Thirdly, you may wonder how the current system of labeling the isolate as the vitamin came to be. The heritage of modern medicine and pharmaceutical research is to isolate each of the parts, determine the role that each part plays and then put it back together in a way that is superior to the original product found in nature. This is one of the foundational differences between holistic health care and conventional or modern medicine.