Supplements: Natural vs. Synthetic

In the health tip titled 'What is Health?', I stated that nutritional supplementation was a means to help improve your health. With this issue, I want to get into the subject of the difference between synthetic and natural supplements. The reason is that many of you are presently taking or have taken all types of supplements without feeling any benefit. If you aren't experiencing the energy and vitality that you would like to, and you are taking supplements, there is a good chance that the supplements that you use are synthetic and of little value to your body.

In nature, meaning in plants, fruits and vegetables, vitamins are found as a complex. The vitamin complex will contain trace mineral activators, enzymes and co-enzymes among other factors called phytochemicals. These combinations are critical to proper biological function. A synthetic vitamin is only an isolated fraction of the full complex and therefore is biologically dysfunctional. We can use an analogy of a watch and a vitamin complex. We have all heard the saying that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. All of the diverse components of a functioning mechanism function synergistically. If we remove even one part, the function fails. Mechanically or biochemically, this principle holds true.

For a synthetic vitamin to even have a chance to function, it must recombine with the other members of the complex. That means it has to get these missing factors from your cells. Unfortunately, before the body can put these missing factors in proper combination, most of the synthetic vitamin is lost through the kidneys. This is why most of the synthetic vitamins are high potency, because most of it is lost. You can feel results for a period of time with synthetics, but after a while you deplete the missing complex components from your body leaving deficiencies that you hadn't intended to create. Am I saying that synthetic vitamins can be harmful to your health? Unfortunately, the answer is yes, and there is good research to back it up. I will present some of those studies in another issue.

Many of you may remember the April 1994 issue of Newsweek Magazine which discussed the discovery of phytochemicals. The other factors in the vitamin complex are the phytochemicals. The following is an interesting quote from that Newsweek edition. "It is the whole foods--especially fruits and vegetables--that pack the disease-preventing wallop. That's because they harbor a whole ratatouille of compounds that have never seen the inside of a vitamin bottle for the simple reason that scientists have not until very recently, even known that they existed, let alone brewed them into pills." It is certainly good news that the media is beginning to get the message out about the importance of a good diet and how it can impact your health. I would however like to make a correction to the quote because the media (as is often the case) is not fully informed.

There was a pioneer in nutritional supplementation and research named Dr. Royal Lee. He was a dentist, and in my opinion, dentists have over the years done much of the finest nutritional research in this country. He formulated his first supplement in 1929 with the concept of the complete vitamin complex. It was very unfortunate that his concepts of the whole vitamin complex fell on mostly deaf ears for decades. He was also an inventor and developed highly sophisticated equipment to be able to extact nutrients out of plants and create whole complex vitamins. He also believed that you needed healthy soil to grow plants, fruits and vegetables that had maximum nutrional value. Dr. Lee became the founder of Standard Process, a company dedicated to producing the finest in whole food concentrates. Standard Process, as far as I know, is the only nutritional company that has their own farms and grow their own raw materials to be able to manufacture the most potent and complete nutritional supplements in the country. The writer of the Newsweek article was misinformed--Dr. Royal Lee's supplements have contained these nutrients and phytochemicals for almost 70 years. I carry the complete line of Standard Process supplements in my office, and many of you have been taking them and have seen the benefits to your health. To help you understand the concept of the vitamin complex and the use of whole food concentrates more completely, I have an audio cassette tape available at the office. Please ask for a copy next time you are in.