How To Tell The Difference Between Natural And Synthetic Supplements
I’m the first to admit that taking supplements is a pain in the ass. It can be expensive, it’s a bit of an inconvenience, and I would much prefer to receive all of the nutrients I need from food. However, the reality is that our food these days just doesn’t cut it – even if you eat a clean, organic diet. We need supplements to make up for the areas our bodies are lacking in.
“We need these additional nutrients because our soils, our farming techniques, our food processing and our food distribution system result in nutrient depleted foods,” says awesome integrative doctor Dr Mark Hyman. “Even with the perfect diet, the combination of our depleted soils, the storage and transportation of our foods around the world, the genetic alterations of traditional heirloom species, and the increased stress and nutritional demand resulting from a toxic environment make it almost impossible for us to get the vitamins and minerals we need just from the foods we eat. The evidence shows that we can’t get away from the need for nutritional supplements.”
Everyone’s supplement needs are different, so I highly recommend being tested by a naturopath or an integrative doctor to find out what your body needs. I did a Smart DNA test with Dr Sherill Sellman to discover what my body is asking for.
Another reason I recommend working with an expert on your supplement plan is so they can prescribe the best quality vitamins and minerals. Purchasing them from any old pharmacy or health food store won’t guarantee that you’ll be consuming something of quality. In fact, more often than not, store-bought supplements are made up of mostly synthetic ingredients, which can do more harm than good.
Our bodies are not designed to consume synthetics. It confuses them. Instead of nourishing us, synthetic ingredients rob us of nutrients because our bodies mine minerals from their own reserves to make up for what’s missing in the pill or food or whatever we’ve consumed. Our bodies know what to do with ingredients that are whole and genuinely natural and they will take as much as they need while excreting the rest. When the ingredient is synthetic, the excess is stored in our cells and fatty tissues and leads to toxicity.
JUST BECAUSE IT SAYS ‘NATURAL’ DOESN’T MEAN IT IS
In a similar form of sorcery to the beauty industry, vitamins can be labelled as natural if they contain as little as 10% of the natural form of the vitamin. So, that “natural” vitamin you’re consuming may actually be made up of 90% synthetic chemicals. The Organic Consumers Organization recommends looking for products that contain “100 percent plant-based” or “100 percent animal-based” on the product’s label.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR ON THE LABEL
1. The food source: A food source will indicate that the product has been made from something natural. A missing food source indicates it was made in a test tube. Look for food sources such as yeast, fish, vegetable and citrus. Also, identify whole foods in the ingredient list instead of the particular nutrient.
2. Salt forms: Salt forms (like acetate, bitartrate, chloride, gluconate, hydrochloride, nitrate and succinate) are synthetic ingredients added to supplements to increase the stability of the vitamin or mineral.
3. These keywords: Words that end in “ide” or “ate” (like chloride, hydrochloride, acetate or nitrate) indicate that the product contains salt forms, which are synthetics. If you see the letters “dl” before the name of an ingredients, this tells you it’s synthetic.
COMMON SYNTHETIC VITAMINS TO AVOID
Look for clues on your vitamin’s label that offer insight into the origin of the vitamin.
Vitamin A: Acetate and Palmitate
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Thiamine Mononitrate, Thiamine Hydrochloride
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Riboflavin
Pantothenic Acid: Calcium D-Pantothenate
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
Vitamin B12: Cobalamin
PABA (Para-aminobenzoic Acid): Aminobenzoic Acid
Folic Acid: Pteroylglutamic Acid
Choline: Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Ascorbic Acid
Vitamin D: Irradiated Ergosteral, Calciferol
Vitamin E: dl-alpha tocopherol, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate or succinate
NOTE: The “dl” form of any vitamin is synthetic.
Other Toxic Ingredients to Avoid In Supplements
• Magnesium stearate (or stearic acid)
• Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) disguised as “natural flavors”
• Carnauba wax is used in car wax and shoe polish
• Titanium dioxide is a carcinogen
(The above list was taken from: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/synthetic-vs-natural-vitamins/)
Again, I highly recommend seeing a naturopath or integrative doctor to work out the best supplement plan for you. This is the best way to not only make sure you’re only taking what you need, but they will be able to prescribe reputable brands. Still, grill them about the ingredients and make it very clear that you will only consume something if it’s 100% natural and 0% synthetic.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the supplement topic. Which do you take? Do you see an expert or to do just take what you feel you need? Share away in the comments below!
Positive affirmation for the day: My inner environment remains calm and peaceful despite what’s going on in my external environment.
join the tribe
Join the green mo revolution! Subscribe to get Jess's updates & Green Mo Revolution e-book FREE with over 80 green smoothie recipes!