Food Antioxidants Are Superior To Isolated Antioxidants

Abstract: Although many people take isolated nutrients as antioxidant supplements, they may not be getting the benefits they hope for. While isolated nutrients have powerful antioxidant abilities in vitro, they rarely have significant antioxidant benefits in vivo. High antioxidant containing foods have proven benefit in humans (in vivo) and high antioxidant effects in vitro as well. High antioxidant containing plants and other herbs are recommended for those interested in obtaining true antioxidant benefits.

Introduction

We live in a world where free radicals can come from many sources and contribute to deterioration of health. “Sources of free radicals include pollutants, drugs, metal ions, radiation, high intakes of polyunsaturated fatty acids, strenuous exercise, mitochondrial dysfunction and smoking. These may result in damage to membrane lipids, proteins, nucleic acids and carbohydrates, which can result in cancer, neurological diseases, lung diseases, diabetes, vascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, aging and eye diseases” [1]. Each day, each cell in the human body endures 104 hits from free radicals—that is about three hundred trillion hits to the body per day!

Antioxidants can inhibit oxidation by giving away an oxygen molecule without requiring much energy. Oxidation is the addition of oxygen or the removal of hydrogen and can be caused by free radicals. An antioxidant can slow down or even stop the chain reaction of oxidation by giving away an electron without changing its stability. Many believe that since real antioxidants can prevent free radical damage, that perhaps aging and various chronic conditions can, to some degree, be slowed down through the consumption of isolated antioxidant nutrients. Is this belief correct?

It is true that free radical damage to the skin contributes greatly to the aged appearance of the skin [2]. It is true that the consumption of high antioxidant containing foods is associated with a decreased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease [3]. It is true that the consumption of high amounts of antioxidant containing foods is correlated with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s [4]. “Epidemiological studies have shown that consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases. Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables containing high levels of phytochemicals has been recommended to prevent chronic diseases related to oxidative stress in the human body” [5].

Yet, it is also true that every large clinical trial, which has used isolated antioxidant supplements, has failed to show benefit for cancer and cardiovascular disease [6,7]. It is also true that in a recent trial, “The intake of {ISOLATED} vitamin C, beta-carotene and vitamin E supplements was not significantly associated with the risk of Alzheimer’s disease” [8]. “In two recent observational studies, higher dietary intakes of antioxidants {FOOD}, especially {FOOD} vitamin E, were found to be associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Neither study showed that supplemental {ISOLATED} vitamin E and vitamin C reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. These findings suggest the involvement of other nutritional factors that may be involved in the reduced risk” [9].

(Note: Any words in this paper contained within {} are supplied by this investigator for clarification.)

Food vs. Isolated Form Nutrients

It should be understood that some who have concluded that antioxidant vitamins have little positive effect in vivo have normally failed to realize that the chemical forms of antioxidants used in these trials are often not quite the same as the form found in food.

Food antioxidants, be they vitamins, minerals, or concentrated herbs are superior to the commonly sold non-foods (note only officially recognized vitamins/minerals are listed below):

Food NutrientCompared to USP Vitamin/Mineral Salt
BetacaroteneProvides much greater betacarotene diversity in blood [10]
Vitamin COver 15.6 times antioxidant effect [11]
Vitamin EUp to 4.0 times the free radical scavenging strength [12]
SeleniumNearly 2 times better retained [13]
ZincBetter absorption, better form [14,15]

Many have erroneously concluded that taking many times the quantity of isolated antioxidants will give the same effect as consuming food antioxidants. However, the differences are more than absorption or antioxidant effectiveness. Most isolated ‘antioxidant’ nutrients are chemically and structurally different from those found in foods and do not have the same effect in the human body.

Beta-carotene has been found to have antioxidant effect in vitro…Whether {ISOLATED} beta-carotene has significant antioxidant effect in vivo is unclear” [16]. Carrots, a food high in betacarotene, do have high antioxidant ability [5,16]. Natural betacarotene, as found in foods, is composed of both all-trans and 9-cis isomers, while synthetic betacarotene is all-trans isomers [17]. Carrots, yellow and green leafy vegetables, and turmeric contain natural betacarotene along with multiple carotenoids. Natural betacarotene was found to significantly decrease serum conjugated diene levels for children exposed to high levels of irradiation, though it is not known if synthetic betacarotene would provide similar benefits [17].

Regarding isolated betacarotene, “The data presented provide convincing evidence of the harmful properties of this compound if given alone to smokers, or to individuals exposed to environmental carcinogens, as a micronutrient supplement” [7]. “The three beta-carotene intervention trials: the Beta Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial (CARET), Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study (ATBC), and Physician’s Health Study (PHS) have all pointed to a lack of effect of synthetic beta-carotene in decreasing cardiovascular disease or cancer risk in well-nourished populations. The potential contribution of beta-carotene supplementation to increased risk of lung cancer in smokers has been raised as a significant concern. The safety of synthetic beta-carotene supplements and the role of isomeric forms of beta-carotene (synthetic all-trans versus “natural” cis-trans isomeric mixtures)… have become topics of debate in the scientific and medical communities” [18]. Now, although the consumption of both synthetic betacarotene and food betacarotene raise serum vitamin A levels about the same, this obscures the fact that synthetic betacarotene tends to mainly increase serums all-trans betacarotene, while food betacarotene increases other forms as well [19].

It is possible that synthetic betacarotene can negatively affect vitamin E’s antioxidant ability as a clinical study found, “These results support earlier findings for the protective effect of a-tocopherol against LDL oxidation, and suggest that beta-carotene participates as a prooxidant in the oxidative degradation of LDL under these conditions. Since high levels of alpha-tocopherol did not mitigate the prooxidative effect of beta-carotene, these result indicate that increased LDL beta-carotene may cancel the protective qualities of alpha-tocopherol” [20]. In a consumer-directed publication, Stephen Sinatra (M.D.) observes, “Research has shown that high doses of synthetic beta-carotene—the kind found in many popular brands—may actually increase your risk for lung cancer. Because at high levels it can become prooxidative—exactly the opposite of what you want…I’ve seen harmful effects (such as serious vision loss) in people who have taken up to 80,000 IU of beta-carotene per day. The bottom line is: Less is more when it comes to beta-carotene. To be safe I recommend between 12,500 and 25,000 IU of beta-carotene per day from food sources such as carrots” [21].

In my opinion, betacarotene in carrots, however, is safer than even Dr. Sinatra suggests (there is about 12,000 i.u. of betacarotene in one raw carrot). The reason for this is because betacarotene in carrots is attached to lipoproteins which appear to aid in preventing toxicity. Isolated USP betacarotene, even if it allegedly comes from “natural” sources, simply does not have the attached lipoproteins or other potentially protective substances as found in foods like carrots.

Vitamin C in foods exists in at least two distinguishable forms with accompanying food factors [22]. Yet, regular ascorbic acid as well as mineral ascorbates are too incomplete to be properly called vitamin C as they do not contain both forms (i.e., they lack DHAA) and the accompanying food factors [22]! Foods contain both natural forms of vitamin C [22]! Also, foods containing vitamin C are normally less acidic than ascorbic acid.

In vitro studies found that food vitamin C has negative oxidative reductive potential [23], while isolated ascorbic acid had positive ORP [24]. Why is that so important? Because while antioxidants can stop free radical damage, only those substances with proper oxidative reductive potential can actually ‘clean up’ the damage that the free radicals cause. Please understand that “negative ORPs indicate active reducing power, which is immediately capable of antioxidant activity, whereas items with positive ORPs are not” [25]. It should be noted that the Merck Index shows that isolated ascorbic acid has positive redox potential [26].

A Cornell University study found that food vitamin C (as found in whole fruit) was 263 times more eftective as a free radical scavenger than isolated ascorbic acid [27]. This appears to be because fruits contain various naturally occurring phytochemicals are responsible for most of the antioxidant activity [27].

Although ascorbic acid has strong antioxidant effects in vitro, it is even possible isolated ascorbic acid has no in vivo antioxidant effects because “Despite epidemiological and some experimental studies, it has not been possible to show conclusively that higher than anti-scorbutic intake of {SYNTHETIC} vitamin C has antioxidant clinical benefit…{ISOLATED} Vitamin C may be a weak antioxidant in vivo, or its antioxidant actions may have no physiological role, or its role may be small. The oxidative hypothesis is unproven” [28]. Why should people take supplemental synthetic ascorbic acid when it is NOT been proven to have antioxidant effects in humans? On the other hand, high vitamin C containing foods do have proven in vitro and in vivo antioxidant effects [27,29].

One study found that food complex vitamin C had 492 micro moles per gram T.E. (Trolox equivalents) of hydrophilic ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) [30]—ORAC is essentially a measurement of the ability to quench free radicals (antioxidant ability)—while blueberries (one of the highest ORAC sources [11]) only had 195 micro moles per gram T.E. [30]—thus food complex vitamin C has 2.52 times the ORAC ability of blueberries. Vitamin C containing food has over 15.6 times the ORAC of isolated ascorbic acid [11] (food complex vitamin C is even higher). Actually, there are doubts that isolated ascorbic acid has any significant antioxidant effects in humans [28]. Food vitamin C is clearly superior for any interested in ORAC.


“Cross sectional and longitudinal studies show that the occurrence of cardiovascular disease and cancer is inversely related to vitamin C intake…the protective effects seen in these studies are attributable to fruit and vegetable {FOOD} intake…In general, beneficial effects of supplemental {SYNTHETIC} vitamin C have been noted in small studies, while large well controlled studies have failed to show benefit” [28]. The other quantitative is that in humans, “Plasma is completely saturated in doses of 400 mg and higher daily producing a steady-state plasma concentration of 80 mM…Tissues, however, saturate before plasma” [28]. De-emphasizing vitamin C containing foods by attempting to consume higher quantities of isolated ascorbic acid simply will not have the effects on plasma vitamin C levels, ORP, ORAC, or other health aspects that many consumers of isolated ascorbic acid hope it will [25,28].

So-called ‘natural’ ascorbic acid is made by fermenting refined sugar into sorbitol, then hydrogenating it until it turns into sorbose, then acetone (commonly referred to as nail polish remover) is added to break the molecular bonds which creates ascorbic acid [31]! How ‘natural’ is that?

While it is true that ascorbic acid has certain proven health benefits, no matter how much isolated ascorbic acid one takes orally:

1) It will never saturate plasma and/or tissue vitamin C levels significantly more than can be obtained by consuming sufficient vitamin C containing foods.
2) It will never have negative ORP, thus can never ‘clean-up’ oxidative damage like food vitamin C can.
3) It will never have the free radical fighting capacity of food vitamin C.
4) It will never contain DHAA (the other ‘half’ of vitamin C) or the promoting food factors.
5) It will never have the same effect on health issues, such as aging and cardiovascular disease as high vitamin C foods can.
6) It will not ever be utilized the way food vitamin C is.
7) It will always be a synthetic.

Although vitamin C, “can readily donate electrons to quench a variety of reactive free radical and oxidative species and is easily returned to its reduced state”, simply taking ascorbic acid C with two or three different antioxidants is not enough. Why? Because all free radical and oxidative substances do not get neutralized by all antioxidants.

Vitamin E “as found in foods is [d]-alpha tocopherol, whereas chemical synthesis produces a mixture of eight epimers” [32]. Natural vitamin E has recently been renamed to be called RRR-alpha-tocopherol whereas the synthetic has now been renamed to all-rac-alpha-tocopherol, though supplement labels rarely make this clear; on supplement labels d-alpha-tocopherol is generally ‘natural’, whereas dl-alpha-tocopherol is synthetic [32]. All acetate forms of vitamin E are synthetic. “The antioxidant function of vitamin E cannot be fulfilled by just any antioxidant” [12]. Natural RRR-alpha-tocopherol, which is found in food, has 1.7 – 4.0 times the free radical scavenging strength of the other tocopherols [12]. RRR-alpha tocopherol has 3 times the biological activity of the alpha-tocotrienol form, and synthetic vitamin E simply does not have the same biologic activity of natural vitamin E (some synthetic forms have only 2% of the biological activity of RRR-alpha-tocopherol) [12]. The biologic activity of vitamin E is based on its ability to reverse specific vitamin E-deficiency symptoms [12], therefore it is a scientific fact that, overall, synthetic vitamin E has less ability to correct vitamin E deficiencies than food vitamin E. There is an interesting reason for this, which is that the body regulates plasma vitamin E through a specific liver alpha-tocopherol transfer protein, whereas it has no such protein for other vitamin E forms [12]. Or in other words, the liver produces a protein to handle vitamin E found in Food, but not for the synthetic forms!

The body retains natural vitamin E 2.7 times better than synthetic forms [33]—it attempts to rid itself of synthetic forms as quickly as possible [33]. Vitamin E has been shown to reduce the risk of various cancers, coronary heart disease, cataract formation, and even air pollution [12,34]. It also is believed it may slow the aging process and decrease exercise-induced oxidative stress [12,34]. Artificial fats seem to increase the need for vitamin E [35]. Vitamin E content is highest in oils such as soy, but is also relatively high in rice bran [36].

Both chemical form and source of vitamin E may play a role as “chemically synthesized alpha-tocopherol is not identical to the naturally occurring form” [12]. Thus those who claim that a synthetic vitamin, even when it is in the same “chemical form” (it is never in the same actual form due to the presence of food constituents), is as good as one in a natural, food form, are simply overlooking the scientific facts about vitamins.

Food vitamin E, as found in specially grown rice, has been proven to have 12 micro moles per gram T.E. of lipophilic ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) [57]—ORAC is essentially a measurement of the ability to quench free radicals (antioxidant ability). It is interesting to note that so-called “natural” forms (like succinate) do not even work like food vitamin E. Even though many consider d-alpha-tocopherol as the best (isolated) natural form of vitamin E, the PDR notes, “d-Alpha-Tocopherol succinate itself has no antioxidant activity” [16] so why would anyone want that for their vitamin E supplement?

High dose isolated vitamin E can have pro-oxidant effects [37]. Jerome Block (M.D.) reports, “My research of the literature and my patients supports that this {ISOLATED} vitamin E supplement by itself does not supply adequate antioxidant protection…If one takes the {ISOLATED} commercial form of vitamin E…there is evidence that the effect of the antioxidant is not present…vitamin E found in foods is much more effective than the single alpha-tocopherol supplements…Although vitamin E has an excellent safety record, studies show that alpha-tocopherol alone…has been pro-oxidant rather than antioxidant” [38]. Food vitamin E, which has proven antioxidant abilities [12], is clearly superior to the isolated versions.

Selenium is a mineral with antioxidant abilities and is also “a necessary mineral for the production of antioxidants in the body” [27]. The three most common forms of selenium in supplements are sodium selenite, seleniomethionine, and food selenium. The predominant form of selenium found in the body and in food selenium is selenocysteine [39]. Human research suggests that food selenium is less toxic than industrial/mineral salt form [39].Food selenium (which is normally a specially grown yeast food) should not be confused with yeasts which have been simply fortified with sodium selenite, which can be quite toxic. Sodium selenite is not a food, but is the result of combining sodium hydroxide and selenious acid; sodium selenite is commonly used to remove green color from glass during glass manufacturing [26]. Why would anyone want to take that as part of their antioxidant supplement?

One study using 247 mcg/day of high-selenium yeast found that plasma selenium levels were 2-fold higher than baseline values after 3 and 9 months and returned to 136% of baseline after 12 months, whereas there was a 32% increase in blood glutathione levels also seen after 9 months. This change coincided with a 26% decrease in protein-bound glutathione and a 44% decrease in the ratio of protein-bound glutathione to blood glutathione. The changes in glutathione and protein-bound glutathione were highly correlated with changes in plasma selenium levels and were believed to reflect a reduction in oxidative stress [40].

It has been reported that food selenium seems to reduce toxicity associated with cisplatin chemotherapy [41], hence many people take it when undergoing conventional cancer treatments. Furthermore, Larry Clark, Ph.D. and others have found that selenium in yeast appears to reduce risk of certain cancers [42]. Julian Whitaker, M.D. reports, “The best absorbed form of selenium, and the one used by Dr. Clark’s research, is high-selenium yeast” [42].

Food selenium is about twice as well retained as non-food forms [13,40].

Zinc is an important component of superoxide dismutase (see below). “Dietary zinc has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties” [43]. Additionally, “Poor zinc nutrition may be an important risk factor in oxidant release and the development of DNA damage and cancer. Approximately 10% of the United States population ingests <50% of the recommended daily allowance for zinc, a cofactor in proteins involved in antioxidant defenses, electron transport, DNA repair and p53 protein expression” [44].

High zinc-containing foods include wheat bran, beef, miso, spinach, mushrooms, alfalfa sprouts, brewer’s yeast, turkey, lamb, bean sprouts, tofu, and to a lessor degree in whole wheat bread [45] (shellfish also contains zinc, but this researcher cannot recommend that as a source). Zinc in unleavened whole wheat bread is less bioavailable than zinc in whole wheat bread leavened with yeast [15]; enzymatically-processed food grade yeast seems to contain some of the most bioavailable food zinc. Research also suggests that certain food forms of zinc are better absorbed and retained than non-food forms [15,16].

Superoxide Dismutase

Superoxide dismutase (S.O.D.) is naturally found in foods such as nutritional yeast and barley green. It is not considered to be an essential nutrient, nor is it an herb (though it does exist in plants). However, S.O.D. “is one of the most important enzymes that functions as a cellular antioxidant…The absence of this enzyme is lethal” [46]. Although S.O.D. (like glutathione, lipoic acid, etc.) is not a vitamin/mineral it is listed here separately because it may be the single most important antioxidant (it is possible that some other antioxidant will take over that role, but more studies appear to have been published about S.O.D. than possibly any other non-vitamin, non-mineral antioxidant).

“It protects intracellular components from oxidative damage, converting the superoxide ion to hydrogen peroxide” [47]. S.O.D. appears to be able to prevent activation of “phospholipase A2 and proanoid synthesis by scavenging free radicals, thereby reducing lipid peroxidation products” [48]. It is a powerful free radical scavenger, which has been clinically shown to protect the brain, heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, skin, muscles, penis, nerves, and spinal cord from ischemic injury [48].

S.O.D. has been shown to inhibit articular tissue damage associated with osteoarthritis [49], decreases lipid peroxidation in damaged skin cells [50], protect against late radiation-induced tissue injury [51], improves clinical symptoms associated with Bechet’s syndrome [52], helps protect the retina [53], helps protect against iron toxicity [54], inhibits vasogenic brain edema after brain injury [55], increases flu survival rates in mice [56], plays a role in bacterial defense [57], helps normalize blood pressure [58,59] helpful for cardiovascular problems [48,60,61], reduces LDL oxidation involved in atherosclerosis [61], is reduced in Alzheimer’s patients [62], improves sperm motility [63], and even helped patients with TMJ who did not respond to traditional therapy [64]; there over a thousand recent (within the last 5 years) peer-reviewed papers on S.O.D. High levels of S.O.D. have been associated with reduced growth of Candida albicans [65]. It is often sold in a “purified” version (from animal products) as an antiaging product [44]; S.O.D. seems to have “antiaging” properties [48]. Ingestion of polyethylene glycol-conjugated superoxide dismutase is not as effective as CuZn (copper/zinc) superoxide dismutase [66,67]. CuZn superoxide dismutase, along with Mn superoxide dismutase [68] exists naturally, in foods such as nutritional yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae).

Antioxidant Herbs

There are many antioxidant plants and other herbs. All antioxidants in plants and herbs exist in their natural food forms, hence (unless isolated) are true antioxidants. The following list is not exhaustive (and intentionally does not include green tea as the caffeine it contains is a problem for some):

Barley Grass Concentrate contains a variety of antioxidant substances, including natural S.O.D. (see Superoxide dismutase earlier in this paper) which is also able scavenge reactive oxygen species [69,70]. “Research at the University of California Davis has demonstrated that a flavonoid in barley grass known as 2-0-glycosylisovitexin (2-0-GIV) is a potent antioxidant which is more powerful than other antioxidants in protecting against fat oxidation (lipid peroxidation) in human cells’ [71]. Others state, “the major flavonoid antioxidants in young green barley leaves are in fact the flavone-C-glycosides, saponarin and lutonarin” [72]. Barley grass (like wheat grass and other green plants) also contains chlorophyll, which has antioxidant ability [15].

Carrots provide betacarotene (see Betacarotene earlier in this paper) and other antioxidant carotenoids. Carrots also contain “xanthophyll, a very powerful anticancer phytochemical” [71]. Carrots are one the vegetables with high total antioxidant activity [5].

Citrus Fruits, which are common in Western diets, contain a variety of antioxidants such as flavonoids [15] and food vitamin C (see Vitamin C above). Citrus fruits have been shown to have significant antioxidants in vivo (and in vitro) [5]. Pink grapefruit is a source of lycopene (as are tomatoes) [15]. The peel and pulp of citrus has more of the flavonoid hesperidian than the juice [15].

Eleuthro Root, which was formerly called Siberian Ginseng, is an adaptagen, which means that it helps the body deal with various forms of stress [73]. It has been found to have “strong antioxidant against scavenging on DPPH free radical and also ethyl acetate fractionation exhibited high antilipid peroxidative activities. In the cytotoxic effects were evaluated on seven human cancer cell lines, the values of 50% growth inhibition (GI(50)) were mostly below 30 microg/ml for crude extracts to be considered as significantly active” [74]. A Russian study found that it had strong antioxidant abilities [75].

Ginger Root has constituents with antioxidant effects and can improve peripheral circulation [73]. Specifically it has at least “four shogaols that protect IMR32 human neuroblastoma and normal human umbilical vein endothelial cells from beta-amyloid(25 – 35) insult at EC50 = 4.5 – 81 microM” [76]. Ginger is one of the plants that contain the most antioxidants [77].

Ginkgo Leaf contains about 40 different bioflavonoids, including proanthocyanidins (see Grape Seed/Skin extract below) and quercetin, that “act as free radical scavengers” [73]. “Quercitin is a phenolic antioxidant that and has been shown to inhibit lipid peroxidation” in vitro, but it may need food substances to be an effective antioxidant in vivo [15]. “Cerebral insufficiency many cause anxiety and stress, memory, concentration, and mood impairment, and hearing disorders, all of which may benefit from ginkgo therapy” [73]. “Recent studies conducted with various molecular, cellular and whole animal models have revealed that leaf extracts of Ginkgo biloba may have anticancer (chemopreventive) properties that are related to their antioxidant, anti-angiogenic and gene-regulatory actions. The antioxidant and associated anti-lipoperoxidative effects of Ginkgo extracts appear to involve both their flavonoid and terpenoid constituents…In humans, Ginkgo extracts inhibit the formation of radiation-induced (chromosome-damaging) clastogenic factors and ultraviolet light-induced oxidative stress – effects that may also be associated with anticancer activity. Flavonoid and terpenoid constituents of Ginkgo extracts may act in a complementary manner to inhibit several carcinogenesis-related processes, and therefore the total extracts may be required for producing optimal effects” [78]. Ginkgo biloba extracts, “could reduce cytokine-stimulated endothelial adhesiveness by downregulating intracellular reactive oxygen species formation, nuclear factor-kappaB and activator protein 1 activation, and adhesion molecule expression in HAECs, supporting the notion that the natural compound Ginkgo biloba may have potential implications in clinical atherosclerosis disease” [79].

Grape Seed/Skin Extract contains a variety of antioxidant substances and is over 90% proanthocyanidins, which are a type of bioflavonoid with powerful free radical fighting ability [73]. “Oligomeric proanthocyanidins, naturally occurring antioxidants widely available in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, flowers and bark, have been reported to possess a broad spectrum of biological, pharmacological and therapeutic activities against free radicals and oxidative stress. We have assessed the concentration- or dose-dependent free radical scavenging ability of a novel IH636 grape seed proanthocyanidin extract (GSPE) both in vitro and in vivo models, and compared the free radical scavenging ability of GSPE with {ISOLATED} vitamins C, E and beta-carotene. These experiments demonstrated that GSPE is highly bioavailable and provides significantly greater protection against free radicals and free radical-induced lipid peroxidation and DNA damage than vitamins C, E and beta-carotene. Oxidative tissue damage was determined by lipid peroxidation and DNA fragmentation, while apoptotic cell death was assessed by flow cytometry. GSPE provided significantly better protection as compared to vitamins C and E, singly and in combination. GSPE also demonstrated excellent protection against acetaminophen overdose-induced liver and kidney damage by regulating bcl-X(L) gene, DNA damage and presumably by reducing oxidative stress. GSPE demonstrated excellent protection against myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury and myocardial infarction in rats. GSPE was also shown to upregulate bcl(2) gene and downregulate the oncogene c-myc. Topical application of GSPE enhances sun protection factor in human volunteers, as well as supplementation of GSPE ameliorates chronic pancreatitis in humans. These results demonstrate that GSPE provides excellent protection against oxidative stress and free radical-mediated tissue injury” [80]—it should be noted that this study compared against isolated (non-food) vitamins and isolated betacarotene. Interestingly it is believed that “grape-skin extract may have a sparing effect on vitamin C” in human plasma [81]. Grape seeds, but mainly grape skin, contains resveratrol which has antioxidant abilities and may be “associated with a reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease and a reduced incidence of cancer” [15]. Resveratrol is prized by many for its anti-aging properties and “has recently been found to possess glutathione-sparing activity” [15].

Kudzu Root contains a powerful antioxidants, including an isoflavone known as puerarin [82]. “Kudzu was found to be an effective adsorbent for basic dye colour removal” [83]. Kudzu and puerarin are being investigated for their apparent ability to suppress alcohol desire for alcoholics [84]; it is also being investigated for its ability to glucose control for diabetics. One study found that kudzu in crude form appears to have greater antioxidant effects than isolated puerarin [85].

Milk Thistle Seed contains silymarin, which is a polyphenolic antioxidant flavonoid [17]. “Silymarin is an antihepatotoxic substance isolated from fruits of Silybum marianum. Possibly due to their antioxidant and membrane stabilizing properties, the compounds have been shown to protect different organs and cells against a number of insults” [86]. Silybinin is a component of silymarin and has been shown to reduce lipid peroxidation [87]. Furthermore, “silibinin inhibits the growth of human prostate cancer cells (PCA) both in vitro and in vivo” [88].

Rosemary Leaf contains flavonoid antioxidants [71] and can “increase detoxification of carcinogens” in certain instances [73]. It contains such flavonoids as cirismarin, diosmin, hesperidin, homoplantiginin, and phegopolin [89]. Topically, rosemary is used to promote wound healing and as an analgesic for myalgias and neuralgias [89].

Saccharomyces cerevisiae, also known as nutritional yeast, contains antioxidants such as S.O.D. (see above) and glutathione (actually most isolated glutathione comes from fermented yeast [15]). Certain food antioxidant nutrients grown in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, such as zinc and selenium have been shown to have higher antioxidant effects and/or better absorption than the isolated mineral salt versions that are commonly sold [13,14,35,43,45]. Saccharomyces cerevisiae also naturally contains protein chaperones, which are essential for mineral absorption. Saccharomyces cerevisiae also stimulates phagocytosis [89]. The bioavailability of coenzyme q10 (a substance with antioxidant properties) is enhanced when it is in a media containing Saccharomyces cerevisiae [90].

Schisandra Fruit “has pronounced liver protective effects” [73] and strong antioxidant activity [91]. Schisandra contains at least 9 dibenzocyclooctene lignans, “Seven of the 9 lignans (1 mM) inhibited iron/cysteine-induced lipid peroxidation (malondialdehyde, MDA, formation)…The actions of the 7 lignans were much more potent than vitamin E at the same concentration of 1 mM. Among the lignans, schisanhenol was the most active one. This compound also prevented the decrease of membrane fluidity of liver microsomes induced by iron/cysteine. The results indicated that seven of the lignans such as schisanhenol have anti-oxidant activities” [91].

Tomatoes are a source of lycopene [15] and food vitamin C [21]. “Lycopene is a member of the carotenoid family…[and] is responsible for the red color of red tomatoes” [15]. “In vitrostudies have demonstrated that lycopene has the highest antioxidant activity of all the carotenoids” [15]. Yet, it does not seem to have the same effect in vivo as tomatoes themselves do. One recent study that compared tomatoes to isolated lycopene found that tomatoes inhibited prostate carcinogenesis but that lycopene did not [92].

Turmeric Root contains curcuminoids which have antioxidant and cancer-inhibiting properties [73]. Many “laboratory studies have identified a number of different molecules involved in inflammation that are inhibited by curcumin including phospholipase, lipooxygenase, cyclooxygenase 2, leukotrienes, thromboxane, prostaglandins, nitric oxide, collagenase, elastase, hyaluronidase, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), interferon-inducible protein, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and interleukin-12 (IL-12)” [93].

Water Thyme is one of the most mineral-dense foods and contains nutritional antioxidants, including vitamin C (see Vitamin C above) and chlorophyll. It is sometimes included in food antioxidant formulas.

Conclusion

Herbs and plants containing antioxidants offer unique benefits, which have not been synthetically duplicated.

Actually, no matter how much synthetic vitamins or industrially-processed rock ‘nutrients’ one takes orally, they will:

1) Never be a truly complete nutrient source.
2) Never replace all the functions of food/herbal vitamins and minerals.
3) Always be unnatural substances to the body.
4) Always strain the body by requiring that it detoxify or somehow dispose of their unnatural structures/chemicals.
5) Never be utilized, absorbed, and retained the same as food/herbal nutrients.
6) Not be able to prevent advanced protein glycation end-product formation the same as food/herbal nutrients.
7) NEVER BE ABLE TO HAVE THE PROVEN ANTIOXIDANT EFFECTS THE SAME AS FOOD NUTRIENTS.
8) Always be industrial products.
9) Always be composed of petroleum-derivatives, hydrogenated sugars, and/or industrially-processed rocks.
10) Never build optimal health the same as food nutrients.

The standards of naturopathy agreed to in 1947 (at the Golden Jubilee Congress) included the statements, “Naturopathy does not make use of synthetic or inorganic vitamins…Naturopathy makes use of the healing properties of…natural foods, organic vitamins” [94]. Even back in the 1940s, professionals interested in natural health recognized the value of food, over non-food, vitamins.

Although many studies have demonstrated that isolated nutrients such as betacarotene, ascorbic acid, and alpha-tocopherol do have significant antioxidant effects in test tubes (in vitro), more recent research has raised serious questions as to whether these chemical isolates have significant antioxidant effects in humans (in vivo) [15,23,33]. Furthermore, in 1999 the Nobel prize for medicine was awarded to Gunter Blobel who discovered that nutritional minerals need protein chaperones for absorption. Such protein chaperones do not exist in mineral salt forms which are commonly included in ‘antioxidant’ or multivitamin formulas. Protein chaperones do, of course, exist in foods such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae [95,96].

While it is known that diets focused on foods high in antioxidants can help prevent cancers [3], synthetic antioxidants appear to be so ineffective that they may actually increase cancer risk [6]. Additionally, regarding cancer and other diseases, “The available evidence points to the benefits of food-derived antioxidants, but more evidence is needed before {ISOLATED} antioxidant…supplementation can be routinely recommended” [97]. “A predominantly plant-based diet reduces the risk for development of several chronic diseases. It is often assumed that antioxidants contribute to this protection, but results from intervention trials with single antioxidants administered as supplements quite consistently do not support any benefit. Because dietary plants contain several hundred different antioxidants” [77], it makes sense to consume food antioxidants and not individual, isolated ones.

Although some scientists think isolated nutrients have questionable and even negative effects, “It is doubtful that antioxidant-rich foods would have a negative impact on brain aging” [9]—or anything else for that matter. Humans are supposed to eat foods and not consume isolated USP nutrients (even if they are called ‘natural’ and even if they are called ‘antioxidants’). Since all free radical and oxidative substances do not get neutralized by all antioxidants, it makes sense to consume a variety of plants and/or antioxidant containing herbs—plants which contain hundreds of antioxidant compounds [15,77,89].

“Unfortunately, a single purified substance will not always have the same antioxidant activity, nor provide the same clinical benefits as…combinations occurring in natural extracts” [98]. Some of these ‘purified’ substances have been shown to sometimes have pro-oxidant instead of antioxidant effects [19,20,32,33].

Why would anyone want to take isolated ‘antioxidants’ instead of foods or those antioxidant formulas which are only composed of 100% food?

References:

[1]Lachance PA, Nakat Z, Jeong W-S. Antioxidants: An Integrative Approach. Nutr, 2001;17:835-838

[2] Kagan VE, Kisin ER, Kawai K, Serinkan BF, Osipov AN, Sertbinova EA, Wolinsky I, Shvedova AA. Towards mechanism-based antioxidant interventions. Ann NY Acad Sci 2002;959:188-198

[3] Francheschi S, Parpinel M, La Vecchia C, Favero A, Talamini R, Negri E. Role of different types of vegetables and fruit in the prevention of cancer of the colon, rectum, and breast. Epidemiology 1998;9(3):338-341

[4] Engelhart MJ, Geerlings MI, Ruitenberg A, et al. Dietary Intake of Antioxidants and Risk of Alzheimer Disease. JAMA 2002;287(24):3223-3229

[5] Chu YF, Sun J, Wu X, Liu RH. Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of common vegetables. J Agric Food Chem. 2002;50(23):6910-6916

[6] Rautalahti M, Huttunen J. Antioxidants and carcinogenesis. Ann Med 1993;25:435-441

[7] Paolini M, Abdel-Rahman SZ, Sapone A, Pedulli GF, Perocco P, Cantelli-Forti G, Legator MS. Beta-carotene: a cancer chemopreventive agent or a co-carcinogen? Mutat Res. 2003;543(3):195-200

[8] Morris MC, Evans DA, Bienias JL, et al. Dietary Intake of Antioxidant Nutrients and the Risk of Incident Alzheimer Disease in a Biracial Community Study. JAMA 2002;287(24):3230-3237

[9] Foley DJ, White LR. Dietary Intake of Antioxidants and Risk of Alzheimer Disease: Food for Thought. JAMA, 2002;287(24):3261-3263

[10] van het Hof KH, Gartner C, Wiersma A, Tijburg LB, Weststrate JA. Comparison of the bioavailability of natural palm oil carotenoids and synthetic beta-carotene in humans. J Agric Food Chem. 1999;47(4):1582-6

[11] Williams D. ORAC values for fruits and vegetables. Alternatives, 1999;7(22):171

[12] Traber MG. Vitamin E. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed. Williams & Wilkins, 1999:347-362

[13] Biotechnology in the Feed Industry. Nottingham Press, UK, 1995: 257-267

[14] Andlid TA, Veide J, Sandberg AS. Metabolism of extracellular inositol hexaphosphate (phytate) by Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Int J. Food Microbiology. 2004;97(2):157-169

[15] King JC, Cousins RJ. Zinc. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10 th ed. Lipponcott Williams & Wilkins, Phil., 2006:271-285

[16] Hendler S, Rorvik D ed. PDR for Nutritional Supplements. Medical Economics, Montvale (NJ), 2001

[17] Ben-Amotz A, et al. Effect of natural beta-carotene supplementation in children exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl accident. Radiat Environ Biophys 1998;37:187-193

[18] Patrick L. Beta-carotene: the controversy continues. Altern Med Rev. 2000;5(6):530-45

[19] Ben Amotz; van het Hof KH, Gartner C, Wiersma A, Tijburg LB, Westrate JA. Comparison of the bioavailability of natural palm oil carotenoid and synthetic beta-carotene in humans. J Agric Food Chem, 1999;47(4):1582-1586

[20] Bowen HT, Omaye ST. Oxidative changes associated with beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol enrichment of human low-density lipoproteins. J Am Coll Nutr. 1998;17(2):171-179

[21] Sinatra S. Consumer Alert: Don’t Touch this Button, 2003:34-35

[22] Jacob RA. Vitamin C. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed. Williams & Wilkins, Balt.,1999:467-483

[23] Thiel R. ORP Study on Durham-produced Food Vitamin C for Food Research LLC. Doctors’ Research Inc., Arroyo Grande (CA), February 17, 2006

[24] Thiel RJ. Natural vitamin C is better than isolated ascorbic acid. ANMA Monitor, 1999;3(3):5-7

[25] Thiel R.J, Fowkes S.W. Can cognitive deterioration associated with Down syndrome be reduced? Medical Hypotheses, 2005; 64(3):524-532

[26] Budavari S, et al. The Merck Index, 12th ed. Merck & Co., Whitehouse Station (NJ), 1996

[27] Eberhardt MV, Lee CY, Liu RH. Antioxidant activities of fresh apples. Nature 2000;405:903-904

[28] Sebastian J, et al. Vitamin C as an antioxidant: evaluation of its role in disease prevention. J Am Coll Nutr, 2003;22(1):18-35

[29] Proteggente AR, et al. The antioxidant effect activity of regularly consumed fruit and vegetables reflect their phenolic and vitamin C composition. Free Radic Res, 2002;36(2):217-233

[30] ORAC Test by Brunswick Laboratories, Wareham (MA), February 2006

[31] Vitamin-Mineral Manufacturing Guide: Nutrient Empowerment, volume 1. Nutrition Resource, Lakeport (CA), 1986

[32] Farrel PM, Robert RJ. Vitamin E. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phil.;1994:326-341

[33] Traber MG, Elsner A, Brigelius-Flohe R. Synthetic as compared with natural vitamin E is preferentially excreted as alpha-CEHC in human urine: studies using deuterated alpha-tocopherol acetates. FEBS Letters, 1998;437:145-148

[34] An Overview of Vitamin E Efficacy. VERIS Research Information Service, November 1998

[35] Schlagheck TG, et al. Olestra’s effect on vitamins D and E in humans can be offset by increasing dietary levels of these vitamins. J Nutr,1997;127(8):1666S-1685S

[36] Rice bran, crude. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18, 2005

[37] Ikemoto M, Okamura Y, Kano M, Hirasaka K, Tanaka R, Yamamoto T, Sasa T, Ogawa T, Sairyo K, Kishi K, Nikawa T. A relative high dose of vitamin E does not attenuate unweighting-induced oxidative stress and ubiquitination in rat skeletal muscle. J Physiol Anthropol Appl Human Sci. 2002;21(5):257-263

[38] Block J. To E or not to E, that is the question. Orig Internist 2003;10(3):23

[39] Levander OA, Burk RF. Selenium. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phil., 1994:242-263

[40] El-Bayoumy K, Richie JP Jr, Boyiri T, Komninou D, Prokopczyk B, Trushin N, Kleinman W, Cox J, Pittman B, Colosimo S. Influence of Selenium-Enriched Yeast Supplementation on Biomarkers of Oxidative Damage and Hormone Status in Healthy Adult Males: A Clinical Pilot Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2002;11:1459-1465

[41] Ya-Jun, H, et al. The protective role of selenium on the toxicity of cisplatin-contained chemotherapy regimen in cancer patients. Bio Trace Element Res, 1997;56:331-341

[42] Whitaker J. Minerals, part 1: Cut your cancer risk with selenium. Health & Healing, 1999;9(4):6-8

[43] Meerarani P, Reiterer G, Toborek M, Hennig B. Zinc modulates PPARgamma signaling and activation of porcine endothelial cells. J Nutr. 2003 Oct;133(10):3058-3064

[44] Ho E, Courtemanche C, Ames BN. Zinc deficiency induces oxidative DNA damage and increases p53 expression in human lung fibroblasts. J Nutr. 2003 Aug;133(8):2543-2548

[45] Whitney EN, Hamilton EMN. Understanding Nutrition, 4th ed. West Publishing, NY, 1987

[46] Thomas JA. Oxidative stress, oxidant defense, and dietary constituents. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phil.;1994:501-512

[47] Turnland JR. Copper. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:231-241

[48] Null G. Superoxide Dismutase. In The Clinician’s Handbook of Natural Healing. Kensington Books, New York, 1997:137-144

[49] Hoedt-Schmidt S, et al. Histomorphological studies on the effect of recombinant human superoxide dismutase in biochemically induced osteoporosis. Pharmacol,1993;47(4):252-260

[50] Okumura K, Nishiguchi K, Tanigawa Y, Mori S, Iwakawa S, Komada F. Enhanced anti-inflammatory effects of Cu, Zn-superoxide dismutase delivered by genetically modified skin fibroblasts in vitro and in vivo. Pharm Res,1997;14(9):1223-1227

[51] Delanian S, Baillet F, Huart J, Lefaix JL, Maulard C, Housset M. Successful treatment of radiation-induced fibrosis using liposomal Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase: clinical trial. Radiother Oncol,1994;32(1):12-20

[52] Merit J, et al. Preliminary study of the therapeutic effect of superoxide dismutase in 7 cases of Bechet’s syndrome. C R Acad Sci III,1986;302(7):243-246

[53] Behndig A, Svensson B, Marklund SL, Karlsson K. Superoxide dismutase isoenzymes in the human eye. Invest Opthalmol Vis Sci,1998;39(3):471-475

[54] Wi’snicka R, Krzepiko A, Wawryn J, Krawiec Z, Bili’nski T. Protective role of superoxide dismutase in iron toxicity in yeast. Biochem Mol Biol Int,1998;44(3):635-641

[55] Chan PH, et al. Protective effects of liposome-entrapped superoxide dismutase on posttraumatic brain injury. Ann Neur,1987;21(6):540-547

[56] Sharonov BP, et al. The effective use of superoxide dismutase from human erythrocytes in the late stages of experimental influenza infection. Vopr Virusol,1991;36(6):477-480

[57] San Mateo LR, Hobbs MM, Kawula TH. Periplasmic copper-zinc superoxide dismutase protects Haemophilus ducreyi from exogenous superoxide. Mol Microbiol,1998;27(2):391-404

[58] Zhang XM, Ellis EF. Effects of superoxide dismutase decreases mortality, blood pressure, and cerebral blood flow responses induced by acute hypertension in rats. Chung Kuo Yao Li Hsueh Pao,1990;11(4):324-328

[59] Przyklenk K, Kloner RA. Superoxide dismutase plus catalase improve contractile function in the canine model of the stunned myocardium. Circulatory Res,1986;58(1):148-156

[60] Nelson SK, Bose SK, McCord JM. The toxicity of high dose superoxide dismutase suggests that superoxide can both initiate and terminate lipid peroxidation in the reperfused heart. Free Radic Biol Med,1994;16(2):195-200

[61] Wang P, et al. Overexpression of human copper, zinc-superoxide dismutase (SOD1) prevents postischemic injury. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A,1998;95(8):4556-4560

[62] De Deyn PP, et al. Superoxide dismutase activity in cerebrospinal fluid of patients with dementia and some other neurological disorders. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Discord,1998;12(1):26-32

[63] Kobayshi T, Miyazaki T, Natori M, Nozawa S. Protective role of superoxide dismutase in human sperm motility: superoxide dismutase activity and lipid peroxide in human seminal plasma and spermatozoa. Hum Reprod,1991;6(7):987-991

[64] Lin Y, et al. Use of superoxide dismutase (SOD) in patients with temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Intl J Oral Maxillofac Surg,1994;23(6pt2):428-429

[65] Romandini P, Bonotto C, Bertoloni G, Beltramini M, Salvato B. Superoxide dismutase, catalase and cell dimorphism in Candida albicans cells exposed to methanol and different temperature. Comp Biochem Physiol Pharm Toxicol Endocrinol,1994;108(1):53-57

[66] Haun SE, Kirsch JR, Helfaer MA, Kubos KL, Traystman RJ. Polyethylene glycol-conjugated superoxide dismutase fails to augment brain superoxide dismutase activity in piglets. Stroke,1991;22(5):655-659

[67] Tibell L, Aasa R, Marklund SL. Spectral and physical properties of human extracellular superoxide dismutase: a comparison with CuZn superoxide dismutase. Arch Biochem Biophys, 1993;304(2):429-433

[68] Turi TG, Kalb VF, Loper JC. Cytochrome P450 lanosterol 14 alpha-demethylase (ERG11) and manganese superoxide dismutase (SOD1) are adjacent genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Yeast,1991;7(6):627-630

[69] Cremer L, Herold A, Avram D, Szegli G. A purified green barley extract with modulatory properties upon the TNF alpha and ROS released human specialised cells isolated from RA patients. Roum Arch Microbiol Immunol 1998;57(3-4):231-242

[70] Yu YM, Chang WC, CHang CT, Hsieh CL, Tsai CE. Effects of young barley leaf extract and antioxidative vitamins on LDL oxidation and free radical scavenging activities in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Metab 2002;28(2):107-114

[71] Duarte A. Health Alternatives. Megasystems, Morton Grove (IL), 1995

[72] Markham KR, Mitchell KA. The mis-identification of the major antioxidant flavonoids in young barley (Hordeum vulgare) leaves. Z Naturforsch [C] 2003;58(1-2):53-56

[73] DerMarderosian A, editor. The Review of Natural Products, 1st ed. Facts and Comparisons, St. Louis, 2001

[74] Yu CY, Kim SH, Lim JD, Kim MJ, Chung IM. Intraspecific relationship analysis by DNA markers and in vitro cytotoxic and antioxidant activity in Eleutherococcus senticosus. Toxicol In Vitro. 2003;17(2):229-236

[75] Bol’shakova IV, Lozovskaia EL, Sapezhinskii II. Antioxidant properties of a series of extracts from medicinal plants. Biofizika. 1997 Mar-Apr;42(2):480-483

[76] Kim DS, Kim DS, Oppel MN. Shogaols from Zingiber officinale protect IMR32 human neuroblastoma and normal human umbilical vein endothelial cells from beta-amyloid(25-35) insult. Planta Med. 2002;68(4):375-376

[77] Halvorsen BL, Holte K, Myhrstad MC, Barikmo I, Hvattum E, Remberg SF, Wold AB, Haffner K, Baugerod H, Andersen LF, Moskaug O, Jacobs DR Jr, Blomhoff R. A systematic screening of total antioxidants in dietary plants. J Nutr. 2002 Mar;132(3):461-471

[78] DeFeudis FV, Papadopoulos V, Drieu K. Ginkgo biloba extracts and cancer: a research area in its infancy. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2003;17(4):405-417

[79] Chen JW, Chen YH, Lin FY, Chen YL, Lin SJ. Ginkgo biloba Extract Inhibits Tumor Necrosis Factor-{alpha}-Induced Reactive Oxygen Species Generation, Transcription Factor Activation, and Cell Adhesion Molecule Expression in Human Aortic Endothelial Cells. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2003; 23(9):1559-1566

[80] Bagchi D, Bagchi M, Stohs SJ, Das DK, Ray SD, Kuszynski CA, Joshi SS, Pruess HG. Free radicals and grape seed proanthocyanidin extract: importance in human health and disease prevention. Toxicology. 2000;148(2-3):187-197

[81] Young JF, Dragsted LO, Daneshvar B, Lauridsen ST, Hansen M, Sandstrom B. The effect of grape-skin extract on oxidative status.Br J Nutr. 2000;84(4):505-513

[82] Guerra MC, Speroni E, Broccoli M, Cangini M, Pasini P, Mingett A, Crespi-Perellino N, Mirasoli M, Cantelli-Forti G, Paolini M. Comparison between Chinese medical herb Peuraria lobata crude extract and its main isoflavone puerarin antioxidant properties and effects on rat liver CYP-catalased drug metabolism. Life Sci 2000;67(24):2997-3006

[83] Allen SJ, Gan Q, Matthews R, Johnson PA. Comparison of optimised isotherm models for basic dye adsorption by kudzu. Bioresour Technol. 2003;88(2):143-152

[84] Rezvani AH, Overstreet DH, Perfumi M, Massi M. Plant derivatives in the treatment of alcohol dependency. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003;75(3):593-606

[85] Guerra MC, Speroni E, Broccoli M, Cangini M, Pasini P, Minghett A, Crespi-Perellino N, Mirasoli M, Cantelli-Forti G, Paolini M. Comparison between chinese medical herb Pueraria lobata crude extract and its main isoflavone puerarin antioxidant properties and effects on rat liver CYP-catalysed drug metabolism. Life Sci. 2000;67(24):2997-3006

[86] Kvasnicka F, Biba B, Sevcik R, Voldrich M, Kratka J. Analysis of the active components of silymarin. J Chromatogr A. 2003;990(1-2):239-245

[87] Shimizu I. Antifibrogenic therapies in chronic HCV infection. Curr Drug Targets Infect Disord. 2001;1(2):227-240

[88] Dhanalakshmi S, Agarwal P, Glode LM, Agarwal R. Silibinin sensitizes human prostate carcinoma DU145 cells to cisplatin- and carboplatin-induced growth inhibition and apoptotic death. Int J Cancer. 2003 Sep 20;106(5):699-705].

[89] Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C, ed. PDR for Herbal Medicine, 2 nd ed. Medical Economics, Montvale (NJ) 2000

[90] Kurowska EM, Dresser G, Deutsch L, Bassoo E, Freeman DJ. Relative bioavailability and antioxidant potential of two coenzyme q10 preparations. Ann Nutr Metab. 2003;47(1):16-21

[91] Lu H, Liu GT. Anti-oxidant activity of dibenzocyclooctene lignans isolated from Schisandraceae. Planta Med 1992;58(4):311-313

[92] Boileau TW, Liao Z, Kim S, Lemeshow S, Erdman JW, Clinton SK. Prostate carcinogensis in N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (NMU) testosterone-treated rats fed tomato powder, lycopene, or energy restricted diets. J Natl Cancer Inst 2003;95(21):1578-1586

[93] Chainani-Wu N. Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of tumeric. J Altern Complement Med. 2003;9(1):161-168

[94] Gehman JM. From the Office of the President: Pseudo-Group Once Again Misleading the Naturopathic Field. Official Bulletin ANA, January 25, 1948:7-8

[95] Rouhi AM. Escorting metal ions: protein chaperone protects, guides, copper ions in transit. Chem Eng News, 1999;11:34-35

[96] Himelblau E, et al. Identification of a functional homolog of the yeast copper homeostasis gene ATX1 from Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol 1998;117(4):1227-1234

[97] Adams AK, Best TM . The Role of Antioxidants in Exercise and Disease Prevention. Physician & Sportsmed, 2002;30(5):37-46

[98] Hardy G, Hardy I, Ball PA. Nutraceuticals – a pharmaceutical viewpoint: part II. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2003;6(6):661-71

Some of these studies (or citations) may not conform to peer review standards. Therefore, the results are not conclusive. Professionals can, and often do, come to different conclusions when reviewing scientific data. None of these statements have been reviewed by the FDA. All products distributed by Doctors’ Research, Inc. are nutritional and are not intended for the treatment or prevention of any medical condition.

Why are Synthetics Sold as Imitations of Natural Foods and Drugs?

If you have read this far, you probably have already asked yourself that question.  Instead of me trying to answer that, I felt it might be helpful to know that this question was raised a half-century ago.  To answer it, Dr. Royal Lee, in 1948, wrote the following paper which he titled, How and Why are Synthetic Poisons Sold as Imitations of Natural Foods and Drugs?, “

An honestly enforced food and drug law is just as essential to the proper operation of commerce in foods and drugs as the rules and an umpire to administer them in a ball game.

It is obvious to all that such a law should stop the sale of poisonous imitations of common foods and drugs, except where proper labeling warns the buyer of just what he is getting, New synthetic products are constantly appearing, and are sold without proper tests or proper in­vestigation of what their real proper‑ties are.

In fact, the Food & Drug laws seem to be suspended where synthetic imitations of good foods are concerned, and often actually perverted to persecute makers and sellers of real products, as we shall later show.

Let us first get to the bottom of this question of how synthetic products differ from natural. There are two ways in which a difference may exist:

a.   The synthetic product may not be the same thing, but something that resembles the natural product.
b.   The synthetic product is always a simple chemical substance, while the natural is a complex mixture of related and similar materials.

The first situation, where the synthetic material is not the same thing, is common. Take lactic acid, originally made from sour milk, now made synthetically in large quantities. The sour milk lactic‑acid consisted entirely of molecules that were of a right‑handed character. The synthetic is a mixture of equal parts of right‑handed molecules (dextro‑lactic acid) and left­-handed molecules (laevo‑lactic acid). Such mixtures are known as racemic compounds. (In catalogs, etc., the prefixes I‑, d‑, or r‑, are used before the name of the substance.)

About thirty years ago, Dr. Crofton, an English endocrinologist explained how digestive enzymes could only act upon part of the food available. Here are his words:

“It will not be unprofitable now to inquire into the raison d’etre of this curious adaptor mechanism. How is it that the ferments of the tissue‑cells themselves cannot deal with the comparatively simple food material presented to them without the aid of adapters?

Pasteur first discovered that there are certain compounds of carbon which, while identical in every other respect having the same chemical formulae and the same chemical reactions differ only in their behavior to polarized light, that is one compound rotated the light to the right, the other to the left. Such compounds have the same specific gravity, molecular volume melting point, solubility, heat of solution, of combustion and of neutralization. They have the same amount of chemical affinity and index of refraction. Their absorption spectra are the same, and they have the same chemical action, yet one body rotates the light to the right as much as the other to the left. Pasteur’s discovery was made with ammonium tartrates, and he found that if the common mould penicillium glaucum was made to grow in a solution of both (ammonium racemate) it lived on the dextro‑isomer but left the levo‑salt, as he thought, quite untouched, But it now appears it is broken up to a small extent.”[1] (This requirement of the living cell for a minute amount of the laevo‑salt, and the reason for their requirement for the major amount to be the dextro‑ form is explained by Lee and Hanson in their discussion of cell reactions in their book, “Protomorphology”, 1947, Lee Foundation [2].)

Few people know that dextro‑lactic acid is a food and laevo‑lactic acid is a poison. (One is converted into sugar in digestion, the other is a waste product.) Lactic acid once was found useful as a source of carbohydrate as a milk modifier for babies., and began to get into use in special cases where sugars were not well tolerated. In Halifax, some time ago, a number of babies died from the administration of lactic acid in milk, and here was a case where the synthetic product was inadvertently used in place of the natural, because of inadequate labeling precautions. [3] The doctors who recommended its use probably did not even know that there was a difference between the synthetic and natural lactic acid, although the drug catalog of Eli Lilly and Company of 1938, page 195, offers some information on the subject. The basic trouble is that the makers of synthetic products do not want a stigma of inferiority to be put on their imitation products, and will not label their imitations as different unless forced by conscientious food and drug inspectors to do so. And it is a notorious fact that the law is being ignored in many ways.

Where a food product must be composed of, say right‑handed molecules, the left‑hand may be as useless as in the case of left and right hand bolts and nuts in machinery. If you needed right hand cap screws to put the head of your auto engine back on, left hand screws would only serve to cause confusion and probably a failure to get the machine back into operation, unless you could find among them enough of the right screws to finish the job. To feed racemic or wrong “handed” food products is just as foolish. In the case of the babies in Halifax it caused death to feed the racemic product.

In 1895 Paul Walden, of the University of Rostock, (Germany), announced his discovery of the ‘Walden Effect,” the phenomena of the alteration of the optical inversion of natural organic substances that had been isolated M‑ crystal purity, over a period of time, apparently a result of removal from their normal environment and association with other protective and colloidal factors.

Walden, in a series of lectures at Cornell University, (1927‑28), stated:

“The phenomenon of autoracemization is of interest in connection with the question of permanency of optically active substances. Let us consider a pure organic substance such as the dextrorotatory bromo‑succinic ester. When it is kept for some time in a closed flask at ordinary temperatures, it undergoes spontaneous intramolecular rearrangement and a gradual decrease of the optical rotation results; in other words, it racemizes. Several examples may be cited to illustrate this remarkable fact…Might we
not speak of ‘dying molecules’ much as we speak of ‘dead catalysts’?… The effect of
these reactions is, as we may express it, a complete turning ‘inside out’ of the molecule.”

Dr. Emil Fischer, in 1906, said:

“This discovery is the most surprising observation in the field of optically active substances since the fundamental investigations of Pasteur.”

Amino acids are also useless if not toxic when present in synthetic forms. only left handed (laevo‑) amino acids can be assimilated. All synthetic aminos are racemic.

Adrenalin is an outstanding example of a synthetic product that is being commercialized in disregard of the difference in physiological action. The natural adrenalin is fifteen times as 35 active as the synthetic dextro form [4] in its effect on blood vessels, while the dextroadrenalin is eighteen times as effective in promoting glycosuria.

Now, since the commonest use of adrenalin is to promote the vascular changes that relieve the asthmatic patient, the glycosuria (diabetes promoting) effect is definitely not wanted. But to get the same vascular effect, 15 x 18 or 270 times as much of the synthetic stuff must be used, in terms of its unwanted effect of putting sugar into the urine.[5]

The cost of calling a doctor and of getting a shot of adrenalin by the asthmatic patient when he is struggling for a breath of air is far too much to offset the two‑cent saving made by the pharmaceutical manufacturer who puts synthetic adrenalin in the ampule used by that doctor. But, if neither the doctor or the patient knows the difference, the synthetic stuff certainly win be the one he gets. Although natural adrenalin can be made as a by‑product in the processing of glands in making adreno‑cortin, makers of this material tell us there is no market for natural adrenalin because of the low price of the synthetic product.

Pantothenic acid is a vitamin now commercially available only in the synthetic form. Probably this is the reason for its effect of causing a loss of sex function, particularly in females. This castrating action has been found both in test animals and in human patients receiving the “vitamin”, according to unpublished reports to us.

Pure natural Vitamin E was found three times as potent as pure synthetic Vitamin E.[6]

Of course, the poisonous nature of the synthetic Vitamin D sold as “Viosterol” and “Vigantol” is well established. It causes blood in the urine very quickly in children, by its destructive action to the kidneys. Deaths have been reported from the ordinary dosages used to “protect” from rickets. [7]

WHY DO NOT THE PEOPLE AND MEDICAL MEN KNOW THESE FACTS? Is it because the commercial promoters of cheap imitation food and drug products spend enough money to stop the leaking out of information?

Here is a good example of how hard it is to get the facts. In “Good Housekeeping” for September, 1943, in the “Question Box”‘ department, the question was asked, “Are synthetic vitamins as beneficial as those from food sources?” The answer was made “Manufactured vitamins are identical with those found in foods. They are just as beneficial.

When asked what references they could offer to substantiate that statement, “Good Housekeeping quoted the journal of the American Medical Association, December . 21, 1940, page 2185: ‘There is no detectable difference between the synthetic chemical vitamin and the natural ones. Ascorbic acid is just as good Vitamin C as one gets from an orange.”

When pressed for actual experimental evidence instead of swivel chair opinions, the Editor of “Good Housekeeping” referred the question to a group of “experts.” Here are their opinions:

Dr. E. V. McCollum of Johns Hopkins:”…each and every one of these synthetic vitamins is identical with the natural product.”

Dr. Henry C. Sherman, Columbia University: “In some cases the natural and synthetic forms seem to be identical while in other cases there may be more than one natural or more than one synthetic form.” When asked for factual evidence from experimental work to prove that the synthetic vitamins in “enriched” flour, were equal to the natural, he replied, “I think any answers that a scientific worker would give you would be based upon facts and that nothing would be gained by spending time on library researches in order to attach specific references to our answers.”

Dr. George R. Cowgill, Yale University School of Medicine: “In answering the question raised in your letter about relative values of synthetic as compared with “natural” vitamins one should keep clearly in mind the meaning of the terms involved. There is no difference between these two sources of the vitamins as such. However, in many nutritional experiments one works with highly artificial diets containing the synthetic vitamins and there is no supply of various unknown factors that are needed for nutrition. If these unknown factors are missing, obviously some malnutrition will result, but it seems clear in this situation that one is not thereby justified in concluding that the synthetic vitamins are inferior to the “natural” vitamins”.

“This is the position taken by most of the authorities in the vitamin field. Thiamine as thiamine will meet the body’s needs for this vitamin whether it is the synthetic variety or if it comes as a part of a food like a whole‑grain breakfast food. The natural food, of course, may contain the unknown factors that are missing from a specific mixture of vitamins, and therefore, be superior to this extent.”

(Dr. Cowgill was not aware of the fact that natural thiamine can not be separated from B4, the vitamin that prevents some kinds of heart disease.[8] Therefore, it is impossible to compare natural thiamine with synthetic thiamine. He is comparing the synthetic B1 to a pro­duct purely hypothetical that is not known to science, not available for tests.)

We also obtained the opinion of Dr. S. Ansbacher, U. S. Vitamin Corporation, New York: “There is no difference whatsoever in the physiological activity of vitamins from natural sources and the ones made synthetically.”

(Dr. Ansbacher here differs from a book his own firm published, “Vitamin and Mineral Therapy,” by H. E. Dubin and Casimir Funk, 1936, (Dr. Funk was the discoverer of Vitamin B and the man who invented the word “vitamin.”), in which is the comment: “Synthetic Vitamins: These are highly inferior to vitamins from natural sources, also, the synthetic product is well known to be far more toxic.” Page 65)

Dr. Funk’s opinion is significantly different from that of Dr. Ansbacher, present Research Director of the company. Why is it that none of these men seem able to refer to any concrete reason for their present opinions? Could it be that the profits involved in the sale of synthetic foods and drugs are so great that there is a constant campaign on to cover up the facts?

In the September 1948 issue of “Reader’s Digest” is an article by Paul de Kruff, “Harry Steenbock Trapped the Sun,” that appears to be for the express purpose of reviving the reputation of Steenbock and Viosterol the synthetic and poisonous form of Vitamin D. Aside from the dangerous nature of Steenbock’s vitamin, its promotion by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation was an unconscionable racket. its nature is well exposed in the appended reprint from “This Month,” June 1945…

Viosterol is still on the market. It will still poison your child if YOU do not watch out. Your doctor has not yet been informed by his medical society, (if he is a member of the A. M. A.), that they made a mistake in approving it as real Vitamin D, although all vitamin authorities, including Steenbock himself, who first published the fact, knows that Viosterol is NOT Vitamin D. [9]

The same issue of “Reader’s Digest” carries an article on the nickel‑cadmium storage battery, a
common article in Europe for the last 40 years. it is completely unknown in this country.
WHY? Simply because the American makers of lead storage batteries have succeeded in
keeping out any knowledge of this battery from all American territories, and have stopped any
production in this country by hook or crook, (as the article tells it, by acquiring control of the
European concerns), all to protect their racket of selling a short‑lived battery to their customers text books ignore the cadmium battery.

In Canada the adulteration of white flour with synthetic vitamins is a criminal offense. In this country it is an approved practice, and the makers of synthetic vitamins reap a fat harvest for their contribution to the advertising propaganda of the flour millers. The real vitamins are removed to keep insects and molds out of the flour. Synthetic vitamins are added to fool the public, which knows that white flour without vitamins is unfit to eat. The fact that insects and molds still can not live in the flour any better than before the synthetic vitamins were added is not mentioned. Neither is the fact mentioned that test animals fed enriched” diets, (“enriched” with synthetic imitations of natural vitamins), DIE SOONER than control animals fed the deficient diets. Proof that synthetic vitamins are worse than none as food fortifiers, [10], proof that they are put into foods to defraud the buyers, cheat him out of his health and life, as well as his money.

This situation cannot be an accident. It must be a carefully planned conspiracy, with varying degrees of guilt for all the pseudo‑ scientists who have varying degrees of knowledge of the real situation, and who do not dare to expose the truth.

Food & Drug Inspectors and Officials are as helpless to combat this overwhelming influence as they would be to stop the sale of bootleg whiskey during prohibition days. To keep their jobs they have to keep one eye shut.

Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, the first head of the Federal Food & Drug Department tried to stop the use of synthetic sugar, known as glucose of com sugar, in preserved fruits and canned goods. He felt that it was a fraudulent practice to load up such foods with synthetic materials of unknown effect on the human body. Further, people eat sugar as a sweetener, and the synthetic sugar was far less sweet than cane sugar, and would have to eat much more to get the same taste when added to preserves, etc. Dr. Wiley lost out in his desire to even get the label warning on containers that the product carried synthetic sugar, in fact, lost his job because he tried to protect the public.

Only this year have supporting tests confirmed Dr. Wiley’s fears. On May 10, 1948, the University of Pennsylvania released the news to the Associated Press that they had found that the feeding of glucose to test animals caused diabetes. (Dr. Francis D. W. Lukens and Dr.
F. Curtis Dohan.)

Dr. Wiley thought that glucose was a possible cause of diabetes, but had no way to prove it. He felt that the makers of glucose should not be permitted to experiment on the whole population of the United States to find out.

It is the use of glucose in candy, soft drinks, bakery goods, ice cream, canned fruit etc., the low price of which enables their users to undersell all competitors who may try to use better sugars, and put them out of business. It is a clear case of where the public SHOULD be protected by a law, but, as Dr. Wiley said when he was forced to leave his job                       “thus the very law which the Supreme Court has said was enacted chiefly to protect the public health has
been turned into a measure to threaten public health and to defraud the purchaser of flour.

When you add up the industries that depend upon their foisting of synthetics as foods alone, (not considering drugs), you will find you have a list of the biggest in the country. Naturally, they are watching all loopholes where their rackets might start to crack. It is probably impossible for any research worker operating under the auspices of a university or in a government laboratory to be free from their indirect influence, Such items as have been quoted here are leaks that have commonly been quickly suppressed. No further work is done on these important questions. If a book like Dr. Daniel W. Quigley’s, “The National Malnutrition which exposes these food racketeers, gets into public libraries, these influences get it off the shelves. This happened at Rochester, New York, where twelve of the Quigley books were donated by request, for the library and its branches. Later, when it was found that the books had been taken off the circulating list, the librarian admitted that no book inimical to local, industries could remain on the library shelves. Later, that same librarian was Written up in the local paper as a “Champion of FREE libraries where no outside influence could alter the nature of the “free speech” of the library. (Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, November 21, 1944.) Was this a deliberate attempt to nullify a truth by circulating a lie? Or, maybe just a coincidence.

The Food & Drug Administration, and the Federal Trade Commission, instead of getting the facts in this situation and protecting the public against these dangerous imitations of natural foods, are bending their energies it seems to cover up for the racketeers.

We cannot find a single instance of where a maker of synthetic imitation vitamins has been prosecuted by the Food & Drug Administration for improper claims on his labels or advertising. But many makers of NATURAL products have been prosecuted for making claims IDENTICAL to what the makers of synthetic products are constantly and continually promoting. WHY THE SELECTION OF THE MAKERS OF NATURAL PRODUCTS FOR PERSECUTION? In one case in which we have the transcript at hand, the prosecuting attorney was successful in getting the testimony of a key witness REVERSED in the process of printing the record, which the Court of Appeals was able to use to support their argument to uphold the original judgment Without this help, it is hard to see where the original verdict could have been sustained, obtained as it was by obvious fraud, where Government “experts” declared no, vitamin deficiency could create either a degenerative, infectious, or a functional disease.

The Federal Trade Commission has issued orders and interpretations to makers of natural vitamins to “cease and desist” stating that a synthetic vitamin is in any way inferior to a natural.

Pages could be filled with examples of misuse of authority of this kind, where special business interests are being protected by police activity. If one asks the question, “Why do they prosecute one concern for a violation, and then let far bigger ones continue to use the pro­hibited advertising‑‑if it is wrong for one to make a statement why is it not wrong for another? The answer you get is “action can only be taken where a complaint is made, no one has filed a complaint against these concerns.”

If a police authority can stop a murderer only after someone files a complaint, lets get busy and start filing complaints. For a lot of people are being murdered, slowly maybe in most cases, but none the less surely, by food racketeers, who are constantly finding ways to make a poor product worse, and sell it for less, thereby driving better ones off the market. On top of this, they are using the police power to stop the maker of better products from telling the truth on his label as to the difference.

Just WHY should the TRUTH be subservient to the OPINIONS of hired crooks who sell their reputations as EXPERT WITNESSES?

Can you imagine a better way to protect racketeers under the Federal laws? Or a better way for them to discredit their competitors?  ”[12]

References (These references are listed the same way that Royal Lee listed them)

[1]      Crofton, W. M.: AN OUTLINE OF ENDOCRINOLOGY. Wm. Wood and Company, New York,
Second Edition, 1929.

]2] Lee, R. and W. A. Hanson: PROTOMORPHOLOGY. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research,, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1947.

[3] Young, E. G. and R. P. Smith: LACTIC ACID: A CORROSIVE POISON. Journal of American Medical Association 125:1179‑1181) 1944.

[4] Harrow and Sherman: THE CHEMISTRY OF THE HORMONES. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, Maryland, page 122, 1934.

[5] Dyson: THE CHEMISTRY OF CHEMOTHERAPY. The Chemical Publishing Company, Brooklyn, New York, page 66.

[6] THE RELATIVE ACTIVITY OF NATURAL AND SYNTHETIC VITAMIN E. Nutrition Reviews 5:251‑253,1947.

[7] Bauer, J. M. and R. H. Freyberg: VITAMIN D INTOXICATION WITH METASTATIC CALCIFICATION. Journal of American Medical Association 130:1208‑1215,1946.

[8] Stepp, W., Kuhnau, J. and H. Schroeder: THE VITAMINS AND THEIR CLINICAL APPLICATIONS. English translation published by The Vitamin Products Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, page 24, 1938

[9] Steenbock, H., Kletzein, S. N. F. and J. G. Halpin: THE REACTION OF THE CHICKEN TO IRRADIATED ERGOSTEROL AND IRRADIATED YEAST AS CONTRASTED WITH THE NATURAL VITAMIN D OF FISH LIVER OIL. Journal of Biological Chemistry 97:249,1932.

DeSanctis, A. and J. D. Craig: A FIVE‑YEAR CLINICAL STUDY OF THE PROPHYLACTIC VALUE OFANTIRACHITIC AGENTS. New York journal of Medicine 34:712‑714,1934.

[10] Morgan, Agnes Fay: THE EFFECT OF IMBALANCE IN THE “FILTRATE FRACTION” OF THE VITAMIN B COMPLEX IN DOGS. Science page 261, March 14,1941.

[11] Wiley, H. W.: THE HISTORY OF A CRIME AGAINST THE PURE FOOD LAW. Published by himself, page 391, 1929.

[12] Lee R.  How and Why Synthetic Poisons are Sold as Imitations of Natural Foods and Drugs.  Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, Milwaukee, 1948

The above is an excerpt written by Royal Lee and from the book, Serious Nutrition: Incorporating Clinically Effective Nutrition Into Your Practice.

Royal Lee, in addition:

The late Dr. Royal Lee knew that food vitamins were superior to synthetic ones.

For another example, Dr. Royal Lee felt that food vitamin C was superior to ascorbic acid. “Dr. Lee felt it was not honest to use the name ‘vitamin C’ for ascorbic acid. That term ‘should be reserved for the vitamin C COMPLEX'” [DeCava, J. The Lee Philosophy-Part II. Nutrition News and Views 2003;7(1):1-6].

Why then, according to the ingredients listed in a recent catalog, would a supplement company that Dr. Lee originally founded currently include ascorbic acid, inorganic mineral salts, and/or other isolated nutrients in the majority of its products?

Dr. Lee, like the late Dr. Bernard Jensen [Jensen B. Chemistry of Man. Bernard Jensen, Escondido (CA), 1983], was also opposed to the use of other isolated, synthetic, nutrients [DeCava, J. The Lee Philosophy-Part II. Nutrition News and Views 2003;7(1):1-6].

As shown earlier, Dr Lee specifically wrote, “In fact, the Food & Drug laws seem to be suspended where synthetic imitations of good foods are concerned, and actually perverted to prosecute makers and sellers of real products. The synthetic product is always a simple chemical substance, while the natural is a complex mixture of related and similar materials. Pure natural Vitamin E was found three times as potent as pure synthetic Vitamin E. Of course the poisonous nature of the synthetic Vitamin D is well established. WHY DO NOT THE PEOPLE AND MEDICAL MEN KNOW THESE FACTS? Is it because the commercial promoters of cheap imitation food and drug products spend enough money to stop the leaking out of information?” [Lee R. How and Why Synthetic Poisons Sold as Imitations of Natural Foods and Drugs? 1948].

All products distributed by Doctors’ Research, Inc. are nutritional and are not intended for the treatment or prevention of any medical condition.

The Truth About Minerals in Nutritional Supplements

Abstract: Even though natural health professionals agree that humans should not try to consume industrial chemicals, most seem to overlook this fact when mineral supplementation is involved.  And even though many people interested in natural health take minerals, the truth is that nearly all the minerals taken are “natural” for nothing except plants and/or industrial chemicals.  While plants are designed to ingest and break-down minerals, humans are not.  The truth about nearly all minerals in supplements is that they are really industrial chemicals made from processing rocks with one or more acids.  The consumption of this “other half” of the mineral compound is not only unnatural, it can lead to toxicity concerns.  Humans were designed to eat food and to get their minerals from foods. Foods DO NOT naturally contain minerals bound to substances such as picolinic acid, carbonates, oxides, phosphates, etc.  When supplementation is indicated, only supplements made from 100% food should be considered for supporting optimal health.

In a nutritional context, minerals are certain elements, such as iron and phosphorus that are essential for the physiology of living organisms to exist.

When it comes to nutrition, plants and humans differ: “a typical plant makes its own food from raw materials… A typical animal eats its food” [1].  For plants, these raw materials include soil-based inorganic mineral salts [2].  Soil-based mineral salts can be depleted through synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, as well as repeatedly growing crops on the same soil [3,4].

Plants, with the aid of enzymes and soil-based microorganisms, can take in from soil the mineral salts that they have an affinity for through their roots or hyphae [4].  After various metabolic processes, when these minerals no longer exist as salts, they become complexed with various carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins present in the plant as part of the living organism [5].  Thus for nutrition, humans eat plants and/or animals that eat plants, whereas plants can obtain their nutrients from the soil [4].  This process is commonly referred to as the “food chain” [5].

Unfortunately most mineral supplements contain minerals in the form referred to as ‘mineral salts’.  Even though mineral salts are often called “natural”, they  are rocks (e.g. calcium carbonate exists as the rock commonly known as limestone) or they are chemically produced in accordance with the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP).  Mineral salts are natural food for plants, they are not a natural food for humans–humans do not have roots or hyphae!

Dietary Guideline number 18 of the Weston A. Price Foundation, an organization devoted to consuming real foods, is: “Use only natural, food-based supplements” [6].  One of the standards of naturopathy agreed to in 1947 was, “Naturopathy does not make use of synthetic or inorganic vitamins or minerals” [7].  Why would naturopaths have mentioned minerals since they are ‘natural’?  Because even back then, most naturopaths knew that the inorganic minerals being placed into supplements were often simply industrial rocks and not foods.  Little has changed in the nearly seven decades since.  This paper documents the availability, sources, and some of the chemical differences between minerals found in foods and the industrially processed mineral salts that are found in most ‘natural’ mineral supplements.

Absorption

Mineral absorption is affected by many factors including the chemical form, structural form, existence or lack of protein chaperones, health, dietary factors, and even medications.

“Absorptive efficiency for many minerals is governed by homeostatic feedback regulation.  When the body is in a depleted state, the intestine upregulates absorption of the nutrient.  At the biochemical level , this regulation must be expressed by the control of intraluminal binding lignans, cell-surface receptors, intracellular carrier proteins, intracellular storage proteins, or the energetics of the transmembrane transport…In general mineral bioavailability decreases because of many drugs, decreases with age, and in the presence of malnutrition, is associated with poorer integrity of the small intestine.  Therefore, older individuals who are often taking numerous medications and who are eating more poorly than young people are at greater risk of mineral deficiencies” [8].

Chemical Differences

The basic difference between minerals found in foods and those found in industrial mineral salts is chemical. 

The chemical form of a mineral is an important factor in its absorption and bioavailability…there is evidence that the form in which minerals are ingested affects absorption.  For example, particle size, surface area, and solubility of a substance affects is dilution rate…In many solid foods, elements are not free, but firmly bound in the food matrix” [8]. 

This, of course, is not true of most minerals in supplements as they are normally industrially processed inorganic rocks (mineral salts) hence they are void of the factors found in a food matrix.  Only 100% food minerals have minerals attached in a food matrix.

Minerals are normally found in food and in the body they are attached with some peptide [9,10]. When humans eat plants or animals they are consuming minerals in those forms.  Humans are not supposed to directly consume soil components [1].  With the exception of sodium chloride (common table salt), humans do not normally in any significant quantity consume minerals in the chemical forms known as mineral salts.  When they do, it is considered to be a disorder called ‘geophagia’ or ‘pica’ [11,12].

It is a fact that mineral salts are often called “natural”, but they are not food minerals.  Mineral salts are normally inorganic molecular compounds that look like rocks [13].  Mineral salts are a compound containing a mineral element, which is the mineral normally listed on a supplement label, and some other substance it is chemically bound to.  Mineral salts are either rocks (e.g. calcium carbonate exists as the rock commonly known as limestone) or they are rocks that are chemically-altered.  Mineral salts are natural food for plants which can chemically change and detoxify them [14]; they are not a natural food for humans, although some people do consider crushed bones and naturally-calcified sea algae, etc. as food.  Minerals bound in mineral salts simply are not treated the same way in the body as are minerals found in food.

Minerals vs. Industrial Chemicals

The following list describes what many mineral salts/chelates used in supplements actually are and what they are used for when not in supplements:

  • Boric acid is the rock known as sassolite.  It is used in weatherproofing wood, fireproofing fabrics, and as an insecticide [15].
  • Calcium ascorbate is calcium carbonate processed with ascorbic acid and acetone.  It is a manufactured product used in ‘non-food’ supplements [15].
  • Calcium carbonate is the rock known as limestone or chalk.  It is used in the manufacture of paint, rubber, plastics, ceramics, putty, polishes, insecticides, and inks.  It is also used in fillers for adhesives, matches, pencils, crayons, linoleum, insulating compounds, and welding rods [15].
  • Calcium chloride is calcium carbonate and chlorine and is the by product of the Solvay ammonia-soda process.  It is used for antifreeze, refrigeration, fire extinguisher fluids, and to preserve wood and stone.  Other uses include cement, coagulant in rubber manufacturing, controlling dust on unpaved roads, freezeproofing of coal, and increasing traction in tires [15].
  • Calcium citrate is calcium carbonate processed with lactic and citric acids.  It is used to alter the baking properties of flour [15].
  • Calcium gluconate is calcium carbonate processed with gluconic acid, which is used in cleaning compounds.  It is used in sewage purification and to prevent coffee powders from caking [15].
  • Calcium glycerophosphate is calcium carbonate processed with dl-alpha-glycerophosphates.  It is used in dentifrices, baking powder, and as a food stabilizer [15].
  • Calcium hydroxyapatite is crushed bone and bone marrow.  It is used as a fertilizer [16].
  • Calcium iodide is calcium carbonate processed with iodine.  It is an expectorant [15].
  • Calcium lactate is calcium carbonate processed with lactic acid.  It is used as a dentifrice and as a preservative [15].
  • Calcium oxide is basically burnt calcium carbonate.  It is used in bricks, plaster, mortar, stucco, and other building materials.  It is also used in insecticides and fungicides [15].
  • Calcium phosphate, tribasic is the rock known as oxydapatit or bone ash.  It is used in the manufacture of fertilizers, milk-glass, polishing powders, porcelain, pottery, and enamels [15].
  • Calcium stearate is an octodecanoic calcium salt and can be extracted from animal fat.  It is used for waterproofing fabrics and in the production of cement, stucco, and explosives [15].
  • Chromium chloride is a preparation of hexahydrates.  It is used as a corrosion inhibitor and waterproofing agent [15].
  • Chromium picolinate is chromium III processed with picolinic acid.  Picolinic acid is used in herbicides [17].
  • Copper aspartate is made “from the reaction between cupric carbonate and aspartic acid (from chemical synthesis)” [18].  It is a manufactured product used in ‘non-food’ supplements [18].
  • Copper (cupric) carbonate is the rock known as malachite.  It is used as a paint and varnish pigment, plus as a seed fungicide [15].
  • Copper gluconate is copper carbonate processed with gluconic acid.  It is used as a deodorant [19].
  • Copper (cupric) glycinate is a copper salt processed with glycine.  It is used in photometric analysis for copper [15].
  • Copper sulfate is copper combined with sulfuric acid.  It is used as a drain cleaner and to induce vomiting; it is considered as hazardous heavy metal by the City of Lubbock, Texas that “can contaminate our water supply” [20].
  • Dicalcium phosphate is the rock known as monetite, but can be made from calcium chloride and sodium phosphate.  It is used in ‘non-food’ supplements [18].
  • Ferric pyrophosphate is an iron rock processed with pyrophosphoric acid.  It is used in fireproofing and in pigments [15].
  • Ferrous lactate is a preparation from isotonic solutions.  It is used in ‘non-food’ supplements [15].
  • Ferrous sulfate is the rock known as melanterite.  It is used as a fertilizer, wood preservative, weed-killer, and pesticide [15].
  • Magnesium carbonate is the rock known as magnesite.  It is used as an antacid, laxative, and cathartic [15].
  • Magnesium chloride is magnesium ammonium chloride processed with hydrochloric acid.  It fireproofs wood, carbonizes wool, and is used as a glue additive and cement ingredient [15].
  • Magnesium citrate is magnesium carbonate processed with acids.  It is used as a cathartic [15].
  • Magnesium glycinate is a magnesium salt processed with glycine.  It is used in ‘non-food’ supplements.
  • Magnesium oxide is normally burnt magnesium carbonate.  It is used as an antacid and laxative [15].
  • Manganese carbonate is the rock known as rhodochrosite.  It is used as a whitener and to dry varnish [15].
  • Manganese gluconate is manganese carbonate or dioxide processed with gluconic acid.  It is a manufactured item used in ‘non-food’ supplements [15].
  • Manganese sulfate is made “from the reaction between manganese oxide and sulfuric acid” [18].  It is used in dyeing and varnish production [15].
  • Molybdenum ascorbate is molybdenite processed with ascorbic acid and acetone.  It is a manufactured item used ‘non-food’ supplements [21].
  • Molybdenum disulfide is the rock known as molybdenite.  It is used as a lubricant additive and hydrogenation catalyst [15].
  • Potassium chloride is a crystalline substance consisting of potassium and chlorine.  It is used in photography [15].
  • Potassium iodide is made from HI and KHCO3 by melting in dry hydrogen and undergoing electrolysis.  It is used to make photographic emulsions and as an expectorant [15].
  • Potassium sulfate appears to be prepared from the elements in liquid ammonia.  It is used as a fertilizer and to make glass [15].
  • Selenium oxide is made by burning selenium in oxygen or by oxidizing selenium with nitric acid.  It is used as a reagent for alkaloids or as an oxidizing agent [15].
  • Seleniomethionine is a selenium analog of methionine.  It is used as a radioactive imaging agent [15].
  • Silicon dioxide is the rock known as agate.  It is used to manufacture glass, abrasives, ceramics, enamels, and as a defoaming agent [15].
  • Vanadyl sulfate is a blue crystal powder known as vanadium oxysulfate.  It is used as a dihydrate in dyeing and printing textiles, to make glass, and to add blue and green glazes to pottery [15].
  • Zinc acetate is made from zinc nitrate and acetic anhydride.  It is used to induce vomiting [15].
  • Zinc carbonate is the rock known as smithsonite or zincspar.  It is used to manufacture rubber [15].
  • Zinc chloride is a combination of zinc and chlorine.  It is used as an embalming material [15].
  • Zinc citrate is smithsonite processed with citric acid.  It is used in the manufacture of some toothpaste [15].
  • Zinc gluconate is a zinc rock processed with gluconic acid.  Gluconic acid is used in many cleaning compounds [15].
  • Zinc lactate is smithsonite processed with lactic acid.  Lactic acid lactate is used as a solvent [15].
  • Zinc monomethionine is a zinc salt with methionine.  It is used as a ‘non-food’ supplement.
  • Zinc orotate is a zinc rock processed with orotic acid.  Orotic acid is a uricosuric (promotes uric acid excretion) [15].
  • Zinc oxide is the rock known as zincite.  It is used as a pigment for white paint and as part of quick-drying cement [15].
  • Zinc phosphate is the rock known as hopeite.  It is used in dental cements [15].
  • Zinc picolinate is a zinc rock processed with picolinic acid.  Picolinic acid is used in herbicides [17].
  • Zinc sulfate can be a rock processed with sulfuric acid.  It is used as a corrosive in calico-printing and to preserve wood [15].

 

There is a relatively easy way to tell if minerals are industrial chemicals.  Whenever there are two-words on a label describing a mineral, it is a logical to conclude that the substance is an industrial mineral product and not 100% foodThe exception is chromium GTF (the GTF stands for glucose tolerance factor) which is food if it is from nutritional yeast [18].

Chelated Minerals

Chelated minerals are generally crushed industrial rocks that are processed with one or more acids.

Probably the biggest difference in minerals now compared to 1947 is that some companies have decided to industrially produce versions of minerals attached to peptides.  Essentially they take a rock or industrial mineral salt, chemically alter it, and attempt to attach it to the mineral.  This results in a mineral that is different from normal mineral salts, but does not turn the substance into a food.  Examples of this include the various mineral ascorbates, picolinates, aspartates, glycinates, and chelates.  It needs to be understood that since there is not a universally accepted definition of the term ‘chelate’, when this term is used on a label, one generally does not know if the chelate is amino-acid based or some type of industrial acid.

While it is true that humans can, and do, utilize minerals from USP mineral salts or chelated minerals, this is not as safe (or even normally as effective) as consuming them from foods (or in the case of real food supplements, food concentrates).

Non-Food Attachments, Including Some “Chelates,” Are Not Desirable

Is it wise to consume non-food minerals? 

Dr. Bernard Jensen, an early 20th century advocate of food-based nutrition, once wrote, “When we take out from foods some certain salt, we are likely to alter the chemicals in those foods.  When extracted from food, that certain chemical salt is extracted, may even become a poison.  Potash by itself is a poison, whether it comes from a food or from the drugstore.  This is also the case with phosphorus.  You thereby overtax your system, and your functions must work harder, in order to throw off those inorganic salts or poisons introduced… The chemical elements that build our body must be in biochemical, life-producing form.  They must come to us as food, magnetically, electrically alive, grown from the dust of the earth… When we are lacking any element at all, we are lacking more than one element.  There is no one who ever lacked just one element.  We don’t have a food that contains only one element, such as a carrot entirely of calcium or sprouts totally made of silicon” [22]. 

It should be noted that the addition of “citric acid and picolinic acid do not appear to enhance zinc absorption” [23].  Chromium picolinate is a human-made substance, created by Gary Evans [24]; it is not a natural food.  Picolinic acid is used in herbicides [17]; furthermore “picolinic acid is an excretory or waste product.  It is not metabolized by or useful to the body” [25].  Scientists report, “some research groups recently suggested that chromium (III) picolinate produces significantly more oxidative stress and potential DNA damage than other chromium supplements” [26]. 

Concerns are being raised from various sources about the implications of intentional ingestion of inorganic substances in supplements by human beings [22,25,26].  These substances are not natural for humans to consume and a long period of consumption may cause some type of toxic accumulation [22,25,26].   Yet, many people supposedly interested in natural health are daily consuming various carbonates, gluconates, oxides, picolinates, phosphates, sulfates and other rock components that were not intended to be ingested that way.  Since there are many possible negative implications associated with “the other half” of these non-food minerals [25], people truly interested in their health would be much better off consuming foods that are high in minerals or supplements made from those foods.

Jay Patrick claims to have originally developed procedures to manufacture all seven of the mineral ascorbates [21]; thus it would seem highly inappropriate to call supplements with ascorbate attached minerals ‘food’.

Actually, it does not appear that any of the minerals marketed as ‘chelated’ are food concentrates, though there are foods which contain naturally chelated minerals, but these are normally marketed as food minerals.  Even though there are some theoretical advantages to industrially-produced mineral ‘chelates’ as compared to inorganic mineral salts, these chelates are not natural food.

More on Bioavailability 

It is well known among nutrition researchers that most essential minerals are not well absorbed; for some minerals, absorption is less than 1% [27].  “Bioavailability of orally administered vitamins, minerals, and trace elements is subject to a complex set of influences…In nutrition science the term ‘bioavailability’ encompasses the sum of impacts that may reduce or foster the metabolic utilization of a nutrient” [28].  Research demonstrates that the bioavailability and/or effectiveness of mineral containing foods is greater than that of isolated inorganic mineral salts or mineral chelates [e.g. 28-52].  These studies have concluded that natural food minerals may be better absorbed, utilized, and/or retained than mineral salts.

Furthermore, minerals used in most supplements do not contain protein chaperones or other food factors needed for absorption into the cell.  In 1999, the Nobel Prize for medicine was awarded to Guenter Blobel who discovered that minerals need protein chaperones to be absorbed into cellular receptors. When mineral salts without protein chaperones are consumed, “It is after digestion when other mineral forms {mineral salts} have their mineral cleaved from their carriers. In this situation, these minerals become charged ions, and their absorbability becomes in jeopardy. These charged free minerals are known to block the absorption of one another, or to combine with other dietary factors to form compounds that are unabsorbable” [53].  The body must discard the residual chemicals.

Foods used in supplements that commonly provide significant quantities of essential minerals include dulse, horsetail herb, kelp, nutritional yeast, rice bran, and water thyme.  These types of foods have been shown to contain not only minerals in natural food forms, but also important protein chaperones such as ATX1 and ceruplasmin [54,55].  Industrial mineral salts do not contain the protein chaperones or other food factors needed for proper mineral absorption. Furthermore, some foods also contain factors which reduce the probability of certain minerals to be toxic to the body [32,33,55]; industrial mineral salts and chelates are simply not that complete. 

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Differences

There are quantitative and qualitative differences in food vs. non-food minerals. Table 1 lists some of them by mineral.

Table 1 Quantitative and Qualitative Differences

Food Mineral

 

Compared to Mineral Salt/Chelate

Calcium

 

Up to 8.79 times more absorbed into the blood [47] and 7 times as effective in raising serum ionic calcium levels [30].

Chromium

 

Up to 25 times more bioavailable [31].

Copper

 

85% more absorbed [45]; also contains substances that reduce potential toxicity [32,46].

Iron

 

Safer, non-constipating, 77% more absorbed [33, 34, 45].

Magnesium

 

Up to 2.20 times better absorbed [52] and retained [35].

Manganese

 

Better absorbed and retained [45,46] and not as likely to contribute to toxicity as mined forms [36,56].

Molybdenum

 

Up 6.28 times better absorbed into the blood and 16.49 times better retained [45].

Phosphorus

 

Less likely to cause diarrhea or electrolyte disorders [37].

Selenium

 

17.6 time the antioxidant effect [46], 123.01 times more effective in preventing nonenzymatic protein glycation [17], and  2.26 times better retained [29,38,44].

Vanadium   

 

Safer and 50% more effective [39].

Zinc 

Up to 6.46 times better absorbed [45,46,51], better form [40,41].

Foods, almost by definition, are not toxic, and as mentioned earlier, can have protective factors to prevent certain potential mineral toxicities, such as those sometimes associated with copper, iron, manganese, or other minerals [32,33,55,56].

Information by Individual Mineral

Some differences between food complexed minerals and mineral salts have been documented by published research and are shown by individual mineral below:

Boron “Boron complexes with organic compounds containing hydroxyl groups” [9], which is how it is found in foods. Boron affects macromineral and steriodal hormone metabolism; without sufficient boron bone composition, strength, and structure weaken [9]. 

Calcium  “The amount of calcium absorbed depends on its interaction with other dietary constituents…The absorbability of calcium is mainly determined by the presence of other food constituents” [56].  This is one of the reasons why isolated calcium mineral salts (such as calcium carbonate) are not absorbed as well as calcium found in natural food complexes [56,57].  “Calcium carbonate, an antacid, counteracts not only the absorption of calcium, but also the absorption of iron” [11] (though its calcium absorption appears to be better with food [58]).  At least one researcher has concluded that commonly used mineral salts such as calcium lactate and calcium gluconate primarily succeed in creating high blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia) instead of alleviating symptoms of low tissue calcium [59].  “Calcium has a structural role in bones and teeth” as well as in some enzymes involved with blood clotting [48]. Calcium can affect mood and blood pressure [57,60].  Clinical reports consistently confirm that dietary/food calciums [5-8] are important in the management of blood pressure.  This does not appear to be the case with isolated calcium salts (the results appear inconsistent [30,61-63]).  One study found that calcium in Food raised serum ionic calcium levels from 1.08 to 1.15 mmoles, but that serum ionic calcium levels were not raised with calcium carbonate [30].  Serum calcium levels affect blood pressure [60,64].  Since low bone mass is somewhat inversely correlated with high levels of diastolic blood pressure [9], this suggests that calcium from Food may be superior when hypertension issues are present. Calcium is important for optimal health as calcium deficiencies can contribute to osteoporosis, muscle cramps (especially in the legs), insomnia, mood/behavioral/nerve problems, hypertension,  kidney stones, and colon cancer [61,65,66].  It appears that overdose of calcium can only occur when taking mineral salt forms of calcium supplement as opposed to food [66].  A human study found that Natural Food Complex calcium is 8.79 times more bioavailable than calcium carbonate (which is the most common form found in supplements) and 2.97 times more than calcium gluconate [47]. This same study found that Food calcium “produced no undesirable side effects and was the most suitable form of calcium for long-term supplementation” [47].

Chromium, GTF  “The biologically active form of chromium, sometimes called glucose tolerance factor or GTF, has been proposed to be a complex of chromium, nicotinic acid, and possibly the amino acids glycine, cysteine, and glutamic acid.  Many attempts have been made to isolate or synthesize the glucose tolerance factor; none have been successful” [67].  Chromium is not naturally found in the body in the commonly supplemented forms such as chromium picolinate or chromium chelate.  “Chromium is generally accepted as an essential nutrient that potentiates insulin action, and thus influences carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism” [67].  Research suggests that there is much less likelihood of toxicity from natural food complex chromium than from forms such as chromium picolinate [26].  Only 1% or less of inorganic chromium is absorbed vs.10-25% of chromium GTF [31].  One small study found that Food  chromium GTF reduced blood glucose levels by 16.8% versus 6.0% for inorganic chromium [48], thus it was 2.80 times more effective. One study found that Food  chromium benefited certain diabetics by improving blood glucose control, lowering serum lipids, and decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease [49]. Chromium GTF only comes from nutritional yeast [58].

Copper  In the human body, in addition to various plasma-bound coppers, “at least one copper peptide complex” has been isolated [60].  Copper is predominantly found in Food nutrients in a copper peptide complex (such as Cu/Zn superoxide-dismutase). Copper is not naturally found in the body in the form of copper gluconate or copper sulfate.  “Anemia, neutropenia, and osteoporosis are observed with copper deficiency”; copper is involved in connective tissue, iron metabolism, the central nervous system, melanin pigment, thermal regulation,  cholesterol metabolism, immune function, and cardiac function [60].  Copper in foods like nutritional yeast contains protective factors that reduce the possibility of toxicity issues [32,46].  A human study found that Food copper was 1.44 times more absorbed into the blood than copper sulfate and 1.43 times more than copper gluconate [45]. Animal studies showed similar results, plus concluded that Food copper was retained in the liver 1.85 times more than copper gluconate and 1.42 times more than copper sulfate [45].

Iodine Most of the iodine in the body exists in the form of iodine-containing amino acids [61].  Iodine is needed by the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones which influence most of the body’s metabolic processes [61].  Kelp is an excellent food source of iodine [61].

Iron  Most researchers acknowledge that organic iron is better absorbed than inorganic iron [71].  The body has different mechanisms for the absorption of iron depending upon its form [72].  Iron in foods is found in an organic form.  Iron is required for growth and hemoglobin formation; inadequate amounts can lead to “weakness, fatigue, pallor, dyspnea on exertion, palpitation, and a sense of being overly tired” [72].  Iron in food is safer, less-constipating (actually it is non-constipating), and better absorbed than non-food forms [33,34].  An animal study found that Food iron was absorbed into the blood 1.01 times more than ferrous sulfate and 1.77 times more than amino acid chelated iron and was retained in the liver 1.21 times more than ferrous sulfate and 1.68 times more than amino acid chelated iron [45,46].

Magnesium  “The percentage of absorption of ingested magnesium is influenced by its dietary concentration and by the presence of inhibiting or promoting dietary components [73].  There are no promoting dietary components in inorganic isolated magnesium salts. “Magnesium is involved in many enzymatic steps in which components of food are metabolized and new products are formed”; it is involved in over 300 such reactions [6].  Clinical deficiency of magnesium can results in “depressed tendon reflexes, muscle fasciculations, tremor, muscle spasm, personality changes, anorexia, nausea, and vomiting” [73].   Magnesium in foods is better absorbed and retained than magnesium from inorganic mineral salts [35].  A human study found that Natural Food Complex magnesium was 2.20 times more absorbed into blood than magnesium oxide and 1.60 times more than amino acid chelated magnesium [52].

Manganese  In the body, absorbed manganese complexes with various peptides [9].  Manganese is predominantly found in foods in a manganese peptide complex (such as Mn superoxide-dismutase).  It is not found in the body in forms like manganese sulfate.  Manganese deficiency can cause “impaired growth, skeletal abnormalities, disturbed or depressed reproductive function, ataxia of the newborn, and defects in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism” [9].  It can also affect skin, hair, nails, and problems with calcium metabolism [9].  Manganese in foods is safer and much less likely to cause any toxicity compared to mined forms [36,56].  ]. An animal study found that Natural Food Complex manganese was absorbed 1.56 times more into the blood and was retained 1.63 times more in the liver than manganese sulfate [45,46].

Molybdenum  Molybdenum…in foods…is readily absorbed” [9].  “Molydenum in {nearly all} nutritional supplements is in the form of either sodium molybdate or ammonium molybdate.  Molybdenum in food is principally in the form of molydenum cofactors” [67]. “Molybdenum functions as an enzyme cofactor”, thus “detoxifies various pyrimidines, purines, pteridines, and related compounds” [9]; it may also affect growth and reproduction [9].  An animal study found that Food molybdenum was absorbed 6.28 times more into the blood and was retained 16.49 times more in the liver than ammonium molybdate and 10.27 times more than molybdenum amino acid chelate [45].

Phosphorus Phosphorus is found in plants [11].  Phosphorus salts can cause diarrhea and other problems [37]—problems that do not happen with phosphorus in foods.  Phosphorus works with calcium to produce strong bones [57].

Potassium  Potassium is found in plants [11].  Potassium is the leading intracellular electrolyte and is necessary for electrolyte balance, stimulating aldersterone for the adrenal glands, and blood pressure regulation [11].  Dr. Bernard Jensen seemed to believe potassium is only safe in its natural food complex form [22].

Selenium   “The predominant form of selenium in animal tissues is selenocysteine” [74].  That is how it is predominantly found in certain foods.  One study found that diets naturally high in selenium (daily consumption as high as 724mcg) produced no signs or symptoms of selenium overexposure while another found that exceedingly high consumption of  selenium salts could induce selenium poisoning [74].  Selenium seems to support thyroid hormone production, function as part of many enzymes, and have antioxidant effects [74].  Larry Clark, Ph.D. and others have found that selenium in yeast appears to reduce  risk of certain cancers [75].  Julian Whitaker, M.D. reports, “The best absorbed form of selenium, and the one used by Dr. Clark’s research, is high-selenium yeast” [75].  A study using 247 mcg/day of high-selenium yeast found that plasma selenium levels were 2-fold higher than baseline values after 3 and 9 months and returned to 136% of baseline after 12 months, whereas there was a 32% increase in blood glutathione levels also seen after 9 months [29].  Food selenium is about twice as well retained as non-food forms [29,38].  Research suggests that Food selenium is 2.26 times more retained in the liver and 1.22 times more absorbed in the blood than sodium selenite [44]. An in vitro study found that Food selenium had 17.6 times the antioxidant effect than did selenomethionine [44]. One study found that Food selenium was 123.01 times more effective than sodium selenite in preventing nonenzymatic glycation in diabetics [50].

Silicon “In animals, silicon is found both free and bound” [9].  Silicon absorption is quite dependent upon the form [9].  Silicon is involved in bone calcification and connective tissue formation [9].  It is also needed for healthy hair and skin [51].  Silicon is found in foods in an organic form.

Trace Minerals  Trace minerals, including “ultra trace minerals” are necessary for the proper functioning of human health [9,51].  There are many in the human body, some of which are known to be essential and others of which their “essentialness” is under investigation.  Sea vegetables and certain yeasts are a good source of trace minerals [11,31,61]. 

Vanadium  “Vanadate forms compounds with other biological substances” [9].  “Vanadium has been postulated to play a role in the regulation of (NaK)-ATPase, phosphoryl transferase enzymes, adenylate cyclase, and protein kinases; as an enzyme cofactor in the form of vandyl and in hormone, glucose, lipid, and tooth metabolism” [9].  Vanadium in foods is found in an organic form.  Vanadium in food is safer than non-food forms and also appears to be about 50% more effective [39].

Zinc  Most researchers acknowledge that organic zinc is better absorbed than inorganic zinc [71].  Zinc itself is generally found in the human body in ionic form [71,76]; it is often bound with albumin [23,76] or alpha2-macroglobulin [23] or exists as part of one of the many zinc metalloenzymes [23,76].  Zinc is predominantly found in foods as zinc peptide complex (such as that complexed with superoxide dismutase).  Zinc is not naturally found in the body as zinc gluconate, zinc orotate, zinc sulfate, nor zinc picolinate. In humans “zinc deficiency does not exist without deficiency of other nutrients” [76]. Zinc deficiency in humans can cause alopecia, impotence, skin problems, immune deficiencies, night blindness, impaired taste, delayed wound healing, impaired appetite, photophobia, difficulty in dark adaptation, growth retardation, and male infertility [23].  Zinc in yeast-containing foods is better absorbed and is a better form for humans than inorganic forms [40,41].  Studies indicate that Food zinc appears to be 1.72-1.75 times more absorbed in the blood than zinc sulfate (1.71 times more than zinc chelate; 6.46 times more than zinc gluconate; 3.11 times more than zinc orotate) and 1.75-1.87 times more retained in the liver than zinc sulfate (1.45 times more than zinc amino acid chelate; 3.68 times more than zinc gluconate; 1.50 times more than zinc orotate) [45,46,51].

Food and Food Processing

“In the historic struggle for food, humans ate primarily whole foods or so-called natural foods, which underwent little processing…The nutrient content of food usually decreases when it is processed” [77].  “Intensive animal rearing, manipulation of crop production and food processing have altered the qualitative and quantitative balance of nutrients of food consumed by Western society.  This change, to which the physiology and biochemistry of man may not be presently adapted to, is thought to be responsible for the chronic diseases that are rampant in the Industrialized Western Countries” [78].  Some reports suggest that simply taking a synthetic multi-vitamin/mineral formula does not change this [79,80].

Dr. Burr-Madsen has written,

Nutrition ‑ in its most basic sense the process by which the organism finds, consumes,liberates, absorbs, and utilizes the nutrients it must have to live. Although food and therefore nutrients are seemingly plentiful, because of modern use of chemical herbicides and pesticides as well as poor air quality and bad water, the nutrients we buy in the market are very inferior. Human bodies require nutrition found in the form of plants, meat, milk, eggs and water, but all animals get their food directly or indirectly from plants, and all plants get their food from the soil. Therefore mineral deficient soil may be one of the greatest original sources of disease in the world today.

Real soil

We cannot appreciate enough the importance of our relationship with the land, with soil.  This is particularly so in this era of artificial chemicals, artificial foods, and the abundance of artificial materials on which we have come to depend. This system cannot replace real soil and the living food crops it produces. Our dependence on artificial, man­made products interferes with our relationship with the soil and the natural world in general. Because of this Nutritional supplementation is necessary.

Soil condition.
After genetics and weather, the condition of the soil is the most important factor in thenutrient content of any plant food and, indirectly, of animal foods. The soils of the world have suffered, and continue to suffer, at the hands of farming. The present food production system, while correcting some abuses of the past, inflicts on the soil a variety of new and old insults that diminish its nutrient value. Because of intensive farming, poor crop management, erosion, commercial fertilization, the use of pesticides, and other problematic factors, much of the soil in which our crops are now raised has been depleted, particularly of essential minerals.

The Human Food Chain.

The human food chain includes animals, animal products and plants, which depend directly or indirectly on the soil. Plants draw their nutrients and general health from a complex of inorganic and organic factors. Inorganic substances include oxygen and carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, along with iron, calcium, and an array of other minerals. The chief organic factors range from decaying plant material and animal wastes to earthworms and an amazing variety of microscopic organisms including bacteria, fungi, algae, and protozoa (Hall 1976: 134). All of these elements are important to the health and nutrient value of the crop ‑ and of the animals that feed on it.

Healthy soil.

Healthy soil is America’s greatest natural resource. But few realize that the current state of wide spread soil erosion in North America threatens our way of life. It may be hard to believe, but only a few inches of topsoil stand between you, me, and starvation. We cannot appreciate enough the importance of our relationship with the land, with soil. What is popularly called topsoil is the rich, nutrient‑laden cover of the Earth’s crust from which food crops draw their sustenance. Underneath the topsoil there may be clay, shale, or rock ‑ Substances that do not support food crops. It is only in the precious shallow topsoil that plants are seeded, germinated, sprouted, nurtured, and grown. These plants serve as food for animals on the lowest ends of the food chain. Animals that eat these plants supply food to animals on the highest ends of the food chain. Attention is important because topsoil is easily exhausted from lack of care. The best farmers replenish the soil as it is farmed. Unfortunately, this practice has become an exception to the rule, this is particularly so today.

Depleted Soil.

When the soil becomes depleted, the plants often show symptoms of poor nutrition, much like human deficiency diseases. For example, a general yellow or pale green color (chlorosis) indicates a lack of sulfur and nitrogen and a white or pale‑yellow color iron deficiency. Some of these deficiencies are apparent enough to hurt the marketability of the crop. Most, however, are not visible to the shopper’s or even the farmer’s eye, and the crop is shipped to market deficient as it is. The toll that fertilization and pesticides take on the soil is wide‑reaching, ultimately including the kind of soil erosion that is now plaguing the Midwest. The most direct and immediate loss are the mineral and vitamin deficiencies in the soil that are passed up the food chain to humans (it is a domino effect) [81].

Commercial food processing definitely reduces the nutrient content of food [81, 82] and can be dangerous to human health [83].  The refining of whole grains (including wheat, rice, and corn) has resulted in a dramatic reduction of their natural food complex nutrition [11,82]; specifically the milling of wheat to white flour reduces the natural food complex vitamin and mineral content by 40-60% [82].  Food refining appears to reduce trace minerals such as manganese, zinc, and chromium [2] and various macrominerals (such as magnesium) as well [10,56].  The treatment of canned or frozen vegetables with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) can strip much of the zinc from foods [11].  The high incidences of disorders of calcium metabolism [28] suggest that the forms of calcium many are consuming simply do not agree with the body (and sometimes result in calcium loss [11]). 

Organically-grown produce appears to contain higher levels of some essential minerals than does conventionally (non-organically) grown produce [84,85] and appears to contain lower levels of toxic heavy metals [86].   Even if modern food practices did not affect nutrition (which they do), all minerals that humans need for optimal health do not exist uniformly in soils. “Soils in many areas of the world are deficient in certain minerals; this can result in low concentrations of major or trace minerals in drinking water, plant crops, and even tissues of farm animals, thus contributing to marginal or deficient dietary intakes of humans [76]. From a geological perspective, a few examples include iodine, molybdenum, cobalt, selenium, and boron [2,70,77].  Although humans need at least twenty minerals (over sixty have been found in the body), most plants can be grown with only the addition of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium compounds [2].  If other minerals necessary for human health are reduced in the soil, the plant can (and will) grow without them.  This means, though, that constantly farming the same ground can result in the reduction of some of the essential minerals we as humans require for optimal health [78].

Ground Up Rocks Pose Risks

Rock minerals are not optimal for human health and post health risks.  Perhaps it should be mentioned that typical multi-vitamin-mineral formulas are dangerous and do not result in optimal health.  A study involving 38,772 women in the USA who took synthetic multi-vitamins with ground up rock minerals found that the women died earlier than those who did not take them [87].  Other studies have concluded that the acid-processed rocks that many take as calcium supplements increase risk of cardiovascular disease and other problems [88]—yet those studies did not find problems with food calcium.

Ground-up rocks are dangerous to ingest.  Yet, 100% food vitamins and minerals are beneficial as well as essential to human health and longevity.

Conclusion

No matter how many industrially produced mineral supplements one takes orally, they will:

1) Never be a truly complete nutrient source.
2) Never replace all the functions of food minerals.
3) Always be unnatural substances to the body.
4) Always strain the body by requiring that it detoxify or somehow dispose of their unnatural structures/chemicals.
5) Never be utilized, absorbed, and retained the same as food nutrients.
6) Not be able to prevent advanced protein glycation end-product formation the same as food nutrients.
7) Never be able to have the antioxidant effects the same as food nutrients.
8) Always be industrial products.
9) Always be composed of petroleum-derivatives, hydrogenated sugars, acids, and/or industrially-processed rocks.
10) Never build optimal health the same as food nutrients.

Industrially processed minerals can have some positive nutritional effects, yet they are not food for humans, but they also pose risks [87-88]. 

Unlike humans, plants have roots or hyphae which aid in the absorption of minerals.  Plants actually have the ability to decrease the toxicity of compounds by changing their biochemical forms [14].  Plants are naturally intended to ingest rocks; humans are not [1]. 

The truth is that plants, or supplements only made from plants, are the best form of mineral supplement for humans, yet most people who take nutritional mineral support consume some type of industrially processed rock.

REFERENCES
[1] Cronquist A. Plantae. In Synopsis and Classification of Living Organisms, Vol 1. McGraw-Hill, NY, 1982:57
[2] Schroeder HA. The Trace Elements and Man. Devin-Adair, New Greenwich (CT), 1973
[3] Howell E. Enzyme Nutrition. Avery Publishing, Wayne (NJ), 1985
[4] Milne L, Milne M. The Arena of Life: The Dynamics of Ecology. Natural History Press, Garden City (NJ), 1972
[5] Wallace RA. Biology: The World of Life, 6th ed. Harper Collins, New York, 1992
[6] Dietary guidelines in The Weston A. Price Foundation brochure. Weston A. Price Foundation, Washington, 1999
[7] Gehman JM. From the Office of the President: Pseudo-Group Once Again Misleading the Naturopathic Field. Official Bulletin ANA, January 25, 1948:7-8
[8] Shapes SA, Schlussel YR, Cifuentes M.  Drug-Nutrient Interactions That Affect Mineral Status.  In Handbook of Drug-Nutrient Interactions.  Humana Press, Totowa (NJ), 2004: 301-328
[9] Nielsen F. Ultratrace Minerals. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:269-286
[10] Turnland JR. Copper. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:231-241
[11] Whitney EN, Hamilton EMN. Understanding Nutrition, 4ed. West Publishing, New York, 1987
[12] Beers MH, Berkow R, eds. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, 17th ed. Merck Research Laboratories, Whitehouse Station (NJ), 1999
[13] Thiel RJ. Mineral salts are for plants, food complexed minerals are for humans. ANMA Monitor 1999;3(2):5-10
[14] Huang Y, Chen Y, Tao S. Effect of rhizospheric environment of VA-mycorrhizal plants on forms of Cu, Zn, PB and Cd in polluted soil. Ying Yong Sheng Tai Xye Bao 2000;11(3):431-434
[15] Budvari S, et al eds. The Merck Index, An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals, 12th ed. Merck Research Laboratories, Whitehouse Station (NJ), 1996
[16] Anagisawa KY, Rendon-Angeles JC, Shizawa NI, Ishi SO. Topotaxial replacement of chlorapatite by hydroxy during hydrothermal ion exchange. Am Mineralogist 1999;84:1861-1869
[17] DiTomaso JM. Yellow starthistle: chemical control. Proceedings of the CalEPPC Symposium, 1996, as updated 5/2/02
[18] Vitamin-Mineral Manufacturing Guide Nutrient Empowerment, volume 1. Nutrition Resource, Lakeport (CA), 1986
[19] Hojo Y, Hashimoto I, Miyamoto Y, Kawazoe S, Mizutani T. In vivo toxicity and glutathione, ascorbic acid, and copper level changes induced in mouse liver and kidney by copper (II) gluconate, a nutrient supplement. Yakugaku Zasshi 2000;120(3):311-314
[20] City of Lubbock. www.solidwaste.ci.lubbock.tx.us/hhw/hhw.htm 7/18/02
Cunnane SC. Zinc: Clinical and Biochemical Significance. CRC Press, Boca Raton (FL),1988
[21] Patrick J. What most people don’t know about vitamin C. The Alacer Health Report, Foothill Ranch (CA), 1994
[22] Jensen B.  The Chemistry of Man.  Bernard Jensen, Escondido (CA),1983
[23] King JC, Keen CL. Zinc. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed. Williams & Wilkins, Balt., 1999:223-239
[24] Chromium picolinate, rev. 6/96B.BLI website, July 16, 2002
[25] Implications of the ‘other half’ of a mineral compound. Albion Research Notes 2000;9(3):1-5
[26] Stoecker B.J. Chromium.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10th ed.  Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Phil., 2005: 332-337
[27] Turnland JR. Bioavailability of dietary minerals to humans: the stable isotope approach. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 1991;30(4);387-396
[28] Schumann K, et al. Bioavailability of oral vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals in perspective. Arzneimittelforshcung 1997;47(4):369-380
[29]  El-Bayoumy K, Richie JP Jr, Boyiri T, Komninou D, Prokopczyk B, Trushin N, Kleinman W, Cox J, Pittman B, Colosimo S.  Influence of Selenium-Enriched Yeast Supplementation on Biomarkers of Oxidative Damage and Hormone Status in Healthy Adult Males: A Clinical Pilot Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2002;11:1459-1465
[30] Hamet P, et al. The evaluation of the scientific evidence for a relationship between calcium and hypertension.  J Nutr, 1995;125:311S-400S
[31] Ensminger AH, Ensminger ME, Konlade JE, Robson JRK.  Food & Nutrition Encyclopedia, 2nd ed.  CRC Press, New York, 1993
[32] Avery SV, Howlett NG, Radice S. Copper toxicity towards Saccharomyces cerevisiae: dependence on plasma fatty acid composition. Appl Environ Microbiol 1996;62(11):3960-3966
[33] Wi’snicka R, Krzepiko A, Krawiec Z, Bili’nski T. Protective role of superoxide dismutase in iron toxicity in yeast. Biochem Mol Biol Int 1998;44(3):635-641
[34] Wood R.J., Ronnenberg A.G.  Iron. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10th ed.  Lippincott William & Wilkins, Phil, 2006: 248-270
[35]  Rude R.K., Shils M.E. Magnesium.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10th ed.  Lippincott William & Wilkins, Phil, 2006: 223-247
[36] Buchman A. Manganese.  In Modern Nutrition in Health & Disease, 10th ed. Lippincott William & Wilkins, Phil, 2006:326-331
[37] Beloosesky Y, Grinblat J, Weiss A, Grosman B, Gafter U, Chagnac A.  Electrolyte disorders following oral sodium phosphate administration for bowel cleansing in elderly patients.  Arch Intern Med. 2003;163(7):803-808
[38] Biotechnology in the Feed Industry.  Nottingham Press, UK, 1995: 257-267
[39] Badmaev V, Prakash S, Majeed M.  Vanadium: a review of its potential role in the fight against diabetes.  J Altern Complement Med. 1999;5(3):273-291
[40] Andlid TA, Veide J, Sandberg AS.  Metabolism of extracellular inositol hexaphosphate (phytate) by Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  Int J. Food Microbiology. 2004;97(2):157-169
[41] King JC, Cousins RJ.  Zinc.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10th ed.  Lipponcott Williams & Wilkins, Phil., 2005:271-285
[42] Thiel R, Fowkes S.  Can cognitive deterioration associated with Down syndrome be reduced?  Med Hypo, 2005; 64(3):524-532
[43] Jenkins DJA, Wolever TMS, and Jenkins AL. Diet Factors Affecting Nutrient Absorption and Metabolism. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed. Lea and Febiger, Phil.:583-602, 1994
[44] Vinson, J.A., Jennifer M. Stella, J.M.,  Flanagan, T.J. Selenium yeast is an effective in vitro and in vivo antioxidant and hypolipemic agent in normal hamsters.  Nutritional Research, 1998, Vol 18, No. 4: 735–742
[45] Vinson J, Bose P, Lemoine L, Hsiao KH. Bioavailability studies. In Nutrient Availability: Chemical and Biological Aspects. Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge (UK) 1989:125-127
[46] Vinson JA, Bose P. Comparison of bio-availability of trace elements in inorganic salts, amino acid chelates, and yeast. Mineral Elements 80, Proceedings II, Helsinki, Dec 9-11, 1981
[47] Vinson J, Mazur T, Bose P. Comparisons of different forms of calcium on blood pressure of normotensive males. Nutr Reports Intl, 1987;36(3):497-505
[48] Vinson JA, Hsiao, KH. Comparative effect of various forms of chromium on serum glucose: an assay for biologically active chromium. Nutr Reports Intl,1985;32(1):1-7
[49] Vinson JA, Bose P. The effect of high chromium yeast on the blood glucose control and blood lipids of normal and diabetic human subjects. Nutr Reports Intl, 1984;30(4):911-918
[50] Vinson JA, Howard TB. Inhibition of protein glycation and advanced glycation end products by ascorbic acid and other vitamins and nutrients. Nutr Biochemistry, 1996;7:659-663
[51] Vinson J. Rat zinc bioavailability study. University of Scranton, Scranton (PA)
[52] Vinson J. Bioavailability of magnesium. University of Scranton, Scranton (PA), 1991
[53] Frequently Asked Questions. www.albionlabs.com July 19, 2002
[54] Rouhi AM. Escorting metal ions: protein chaperone protects, guides, copper ions in transit. Chem Eng News 1999;11:34-35
[55] Himelblau E, et al. Identification of a functional homolog of the yeast copper homeostasis gene ATX1 from Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol 1998;117(4):1227-1234
[56] Lapinskas PJ, Lin SJ, Culotta VC. The role of Saccharomyces cerevisiae CCC1 gene in the homeostasis of manganese ions. Mol Microbiol 1996;21(3):519-528
[57] Allen LH, Wood RJ.  Calcium and Phosphorus.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed.  Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:144-163
[58] Heaney RP, Dowell MS, Barger-Lux MJ.  Absorption of calcium as the carbonate and citrate salts, with some observations on  method.  Osteoporosis Int, 1999;9:19-23
[59] Timon S.  Mineral Logic: Understanding the Mineral Transport System.  Advanced Nutrition Research: Ellicottville (NY),1985
[60] Burger S.  Vitamins and Minerals for Health.  Wild Rose College of Natural Healing, Calgary,1988
[61] Orlov SN, Li JM, Tremblay J, Hamet P. Genes of intracellular calcium metabolism and blood pressure control in primary hypertension. Semin Nephrol. 1995 Nov;15(6):569-592
[62] Osborne G, et al.  Evidence for the relationship of calcium to blood pressure.  Nutr Reviews, 1996;54(12):365-381
[63] Yamamoto ME., et al. Lack of blood pressure effect with calcium and magnesium supplementation with adults with high-normal blood pressure results from phase I of the Trials of Hypertension and Prevention (TOHP).  Ann Epidem, 1995;5:96-107
[64] Afghani A, Johnson CA.  Resting blood pressure and bone mineral content are inversely related in overweight and obese Hispanic women.  Am J Hypertens. 2006;19(3):286-292
[65] Knight KB, Keith RE. Effects of oral calcium supplementation via calcium carbonate versus diet on blood pressure and serum calcium in young, normotensive adults.  J Opt Nutr, 1994;3(4):152-158
[66] Weaver CM, Heaney R.  Calcium.  In Modern Nutrition in Health & Disease, 10th ed.  Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Phil., 2006:194-210
[67] Nielson F.  Chromium.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed.  Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:264-268
[68] Hendlor S, Rorvik D, eds.  PDR for Nutritional Supplements, 1st ed.  Medical Economics, Montvale (NJ), 2001
[69] Turnland JR.  Copper.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed.  Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:231-241
[70] Hetzel BS, Clugston GA.  Iodine.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed.  Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1999:253-264
[71] Greene HL and Moran JR.  The Gastrointestinal Tract: Regulation of Nutrient Absorption.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed.  Lea and Febiger, Phil.,1994:549-568
[72] Fairbanks VF.  Iron in Medicine and Nutrition.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed.  Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:185-213
[73] Shils M.  Magnesium.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed.  Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:164-184
[74] Levander OA, Burk RF.  Selenium.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed.  Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:242-263
[75] Whitaker J.  Minerals, part 1: Cut your cancer risk with selenium.  Health & Healing, 1999;9(4):6-8
[76] Cunnane SC.  Zinc: Clinical and Biochemical Significance.  CRC Press, Boca Raton (FL),1988
[77] Bauernfeind JC.  Nutrification of foods.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed.  Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:1579-1592
[78] Ghebremeskel K, Crawford MA.  Nutrition and health in relation to food production and processing.  Nutr Health, 1994;9(4):237-253
[79] Bazzarre TL, Hopkins RG, Wu SM, Murdoch SD.  Chronic disease risk factors in vitamin/mineral 9supplement users and nonusers in a farm population.  J Am Coll Nutr, 1991;10(3):247-257
[80] Sax NI, Lewis RJ.  Hawley’s Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 11th ed.  Van Nostrand Rheinhold, New York,1987
[81] Burr-Madsen A.  Gateways College of Natural Therapies, Module 1.  Gateway College, Shingle Springs (CA), 1996
[82] Erdman JW, Poneros-Schneir AG.  Factors affecting the nutritive value in processed foods. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed.  Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:1569-1578
[83]  Ascherio A and Willett WC.  Health effects of trans fatty acids.  Am J Clin Nutr, 1997;66:1006S-1010S
[84] Hornick SB.  Factors affecting the nutritional quality of crops.  AM J Alternative Ag,1992;7(1-2)
[85] Organic tomatoes, vitamin C, and calcium.  Nutr Week, 1998;28(24):7
[86] Smith BL.  Organic foods vs. supermarket foods: J Applied Nutr,1993;45(1):35-39
[87] Mursu J., et al.  Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older WomenThe Iowa Women’s Health Study. Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(18):1625-1633
[88] Boland MJ, et al. Calcium Supplements and Cardiovascular Risk. Ther Adv in Drug Safe. 2013;4(5):199-210

Some of these studies (or citations) may not conform to peer review standards. Therefore, the results are not conclusive. Professionals can, and often do, come to different conclusions when reviewing scientific data. None of these statements have been reviewed by the FDA. All products distributed by Doctors’ Research, Inc. are nutritional an

In a nutritional context, minerals are certain elements, such as iron and phosphorus that are essential for the physiology of living organisms to exist.

When it comes to nutrition, plants and humans differ: “a typical plant makes its own food from raw materials… A typical animal eats its food” [1].  For plants, these raw materials include soil-based inorganic mineral salts [2].  Soil-based mineral salts can be depleted through synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, as well as repeatedly growing crops on the same soil [3,4].

Plants, with the aid of enzymes and soil-based microorganisms, can take in from soil the mineral salts that they have an affinity for through their roots or hyphae [4].  After various metabolic processes, when these minerals no longer exist as salts, they become complexed with various carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins present in the plant as part of the living organism [5].  Thus for nutrition, humans eat plants and/or animals that eat plants, whereas plants can obtain their nutrients from the soil [4].  This process is commonly referred to as the “food chain” [5].

Unfortunately most mineral supplements contain minerals in the form referred to as ‘mineral salts’.  Even though mineral salts are often called “natural”, they  are rocks (e.g. calcium carbonate exists as the rock commonly known as limestone) or they are chemically produced in accordance with the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP).  Mineral salts are natural food for plants, they are not a natural food for humans–humans do not have roots or hyphae!

Dietary Guideline number 18 of the Weston A. Price Foundation, an organization devoted to consuming real foods, is: “Use only natural, food-based supplements” [6].  One of the standards of naturopathy agreed to in 1947 was, “Naturopathy does not make use of synthetic or inorganic vitamins or minerals” [7].  Why would naturopaths have mentioned minerals since they are ‘natural’?  Because even back then, most naturopaths knew that the inorganic minerals being placed into supplements were often simply industrial rocks and not foods.  Little has changed in the nearly seven decades since.  This paper documents the availability, sources, and some of the chemical differences between minerals found in foods and the industrially processed mineral salts that are found in most ‘natural’ mineral supplements.

Absorption

Mineral absorption is affected by many factors including the chemical form, structural form, existence or lack of protein chaperones, health, dietary factors, and even medications.

“Absorptive efficiency for many minerals is governed by homeostatic feedback regulation.  When the body is in a depleted state, the intestine upregulates absorption of the nutrient.  At the biochemical level , this regulation must be expressed by the control of intraluminal binding lignans, cell-surface receptors, intracellular carrier proteins, intracellular storage proteins, or the energetics of the transmembrane transport…In general mineral bioavailability decreases because of many drugs, decreases with age, and in the presence of malnutrition, is associated with poorer integrity of the small intestine.  Therefore, older individuals who are often taking numerous medications and who are eating more poorly than young people are at greater risk of mineral deficiencies” [8].

Chemical Differences

The basic difference between minerals found in foods and those found in industrial mineral salts is chemical.

The chemical form of a mineral is an important factor in its absorption and bioavailability…there is evidence that the form in which minerals are ingested affects absorption.  For example, particle size, surface area, and solubility of a substance affects is dilution rate…In many solid foods, elements are not free, but firmly bound in the food matrix” [8].

This, of course, is not true of most minerals in supplements as they are normally industrially processed inorganic rocks (mineral salts) hence they are void of the factors found in a food matrix.  Only 100% food minerals have minerals attached in a food matrix.

Minerals are normally found in food and in the body they are attached with some peptide [9,10]. When humans eat plants or animals they are consuming minerals in those forms.  Humans are not supposed to directly consume soil components [1].  With the exception of sodium chloride (common table salt), humans do not normally in any significant quantity consume minerals in the chemical forms known as mineral salts.  When they do, it is considered to be a disorder called ‘geophagia’ or ‘pica’ [11,12].

It is a fact that mineral salts are often called “natural”, but they are not food minerals.  Mineral salts are normally inorganic molecular compounds that look like rocks [13].  Mineral salts are a compound containing a mineral element, which is the mineral normally listed on a supplement label, and some other substance it is chemically bound to.  Mineral salts are either rocks (e.g. calcium carbonate exists as the rock commonly known as limestone) or they are rocks that are chemically-altered.  Mineral salts are natural food for plants which can chemically change and detoxify them [14]; they are not a natural food for humans, although some people do consider crushed bones and naturally-calcified sea algae, etc. as food.  Minerals bound in mineral salts simply are not treated the same way in the body as are minerals found in food.

Minerals vs. Industrial Chemicals

The following list describes what many mineral salts/chelates used in supplements actually are and what they are used for when not in supplements:

  • Boric acid is the rock known as sassolite.  It is used in weatherproofing wood, fireproofing fabrics, and as an insecticide [15].
  • Calcium ascorbate is calcium carbonate processed with ascorbic acid and acetone.  It is a manufactured product used in ‘non-food’ supplements [15].
  • Calcium carbonate is the rock known as limestone or chalk.  It is used in the manufacture of paint, rubber, plastics, ceramics, putty, polishes, insecticides, and inks.  It is also used in fillers for adhesives, matches, pencils, crayons, linoleum, insulating compounds, and welding rods [15].
  • Calcium chloride is calcium carbonate and chlorine and is the by product of the Solvay ammonia-soda process.  It is used for antifreeze, refrigeration, fire extinguisher fluids, and to preserve wood and stone.  Other uses include cement, coagulant in rubber manufacturing, controlling dust on unpaved roads, freezeproofing of coal, and increasing traction in tires [15].
  • Calcium citrate is calcium carbonate processed with lactic and citric acids.  It is used to alter the baking properties of flour [15].
  • Calcium gluconate is calcium carbonate processed with gluconic acid, which is used in cleaning compounds.  It is used in sewage purification and to prevent coffee powders from caking [15].
  • Calcium glycerophosphate is calcium carbonate processed with dl-alpha-glycerophosphates.  It is used in dentifrices, baking powder, and as a food stabilizer [15].
  • Calcium hydroxyapatite is crushed bone and bone marrow.  It is used as a fertilizer [16].
  • Calcium iodide is calcium carbonate processed with iodine.  It is an expectorant [15].
  • Calcium lactate is calcium carbonate processed with lactic acid.  It is used as a dentifrice and as a preservative [15].
  • Calcium oxide is basically burnt calcium carbonate.  It is used in bricks, plaster, mortar, stucco, and other building materials.  It is also used in insecticides and fungicides [15].
  • Calcium phosphate, tribasic is the rock known as oxydapatit or bone ash.  It is used in the manufacture of fertilizers, milk-glass, polishing powders, porcelain, pottery, and enamels [15].
  • Calcium stearate is an octodecanoic calcium salt and can be extracted from animal fat.  It is used for waterproofing fabrics and in the production of cement, stucco, and explosives [15].
  • Chromium chloride is a preparation of hexahydrates.  It is used as a corrosion inhibitor and waterproofing agent [15].
  • Chromium picolinate is chromium III processed with picolinic acid.  Picolinic acid is used in herbicides [17].
  • Copper aspartate is made “from the reaction between cupric carbonate and aspartic acid (from chemical synthesis)” [18].  It is a manufactured product used in ‘non-food’ supplements [18].
  • Copper (cupric) carbonate is the rock known as malachite.  It is used as a paint and varnish pigment, plus as a seed fungicide [15].
  • Copper gluconate is copper carbonate processed with gluconic acid.  It is used as a deodorant [19].
  • Copper (cupric) glycinate is a copper salt processed with glycine.  It is used in photometric analysis for copper [15].
  • Copper sulfate is copper combined with sulfuric acid.  It is used as a drain cleaner and to induce vomiting; it is considered as hazardous heavy metal by the City of Lubbock, Texas that “can contaminate our water supply” [20].
  • Dicalcium phosphate is the rock known as monetite, but can be made from calcium chloride and sodium phosphate.  It is used in ‘non-food’ supplements [18].
  • Ferric pyrophosphate is an iron rock processed with pyrophosphoric acid.  It is used in fireproofing and in pigments [15].
  • Ferrous lactate is a preparation from isotonic solutions.  It is used in ‘non-food’ supplements [15].
  • Ferrous sulfate is the rock known as melanterite.  It is used as a fertilizer, wood preservative, weed-killer, and pesticide [15].
  • Magnesium carbonate is the rock known as magnesite.  It is used as an antacid, laxative, and cathartic [15].
  • Magnesium chloride is magnesium ammonium chloride processed with hydrochloric acid.  It fireproofs wood, carbonizes wool, and is used as a glue additive and cement ingredient [15].
  • Magnesium citrate is magnesium carbonate processed with acids.  It is used as a cathartic [15].
  • Magnesium glycinate is a magnesium salt processed with glycine.  It is used in ‘non-food’ supplements.
  • Magnesium oxide is normally burnt magnesium carbonate.  It is used as an antacid and laxative [15].
  • Manganese carbonate is the rock known as rhodochrosite.  It is used as a whitener and to dry varnish [15].
  • Manganese gluconate is manganese carbonate or dioxide processed with gluconic acid.  It is a manufactured item used in ‘non-food’ supplements [15].
  • Manganese sulfate is made “from the reaction between manganese oxide and sulfuric acid” [18].  It is used in dyeing and varnish production [15].
  • Molybdenum ascorbate is molybdenite processed with ascorbic acid and acetone.  It is a manufactured item used ‘non-food’ supplements [21].
  • Molybdenum disulfide is the rock known as molybdenite.  It is used as a lubricant additive and hydrogenation catalyst [15].
  • Potassium chloride is a crystalline substance consisting of potassium and chlorine.  It is used in photography [15].
  • Potassium iodide is made from HI and KHCO3 by melting in dry hydrogen and undergoing electrolysis.  It is used to make photographic emulsions and as an expectorant [15].
  • Potassium sulfate appears to be prepared from the elements in liquid ammonia.  It is used as a fertilizer and to make glass [15].
  • Selenium oxide is made by burning selenium in oxygen or by oxidizing selenium with nitric acid.  It is used as a reagent for alkaloids or as an oxidizing agent [15].
  • Seleniomethionine is a selenium analog of methionine.  It is used as a radioactive imaging agent [15].
  • Silicon dioxide is the rock known as agate.  It is used to manufacture glass, abrasives, ceramics, enamels, and as a defoaming agent [15].
  • Vanadyl sulfate is a blue crystal powder known as vanadium oxysulfate.  It is used as a dihydrate in dyeing and printing textiles, to make glass, and to add blue and green glazes to pottery [15].
  • Zinc acetate is made from zinc nitrate and acetic anhydride.  It is used to induce vomiting [15].
  • Zinc carbonate is the rock known as smithsonite or zincspar.  It is used to manufacture rubber [15].
  • Zinc chloride is a combination of zinc and chlorine.  It is used as an embalming material [15].
  • Zinc citrate is smithsonite processed with citric acid.  It is used in the manufacture of some toothpaste [15].
  • Zinc gluconate is a zinc rock processed with gluconic acid.  Gluconic acid is used in many cleaning compounds [15].
  • Zinc lactate is smithsonite processed with lactic acid.  Lactic acid lactate is used as a solvent [15].
  • Zinc monomethionine is a zinc salt with methionine.  It is used as a ‘non-food’ supplement.
  • Zinc orotate is a zinc rock processed with orotic acid.  Orotic acid is a uricosuric (promotes uric acid excretion) [15].
  • Zinc oxide is the rock known as zincite.  It is used as a pigment for white paint and as part of quick-drying cement [15].
  • Zinc phosphate is the rock known as hopeite.  It is used in dental cements [15].
  • Zinc picolinate is a zinc rock processed with picolinic acid.  Picolinic acid is used in herbicides [17].
  • Zinc sulfate can be a rock processed with sulfuric acid.  It is used as a corrosive in calico-printing and to preserve wood [15].

There is a relatively easy way to tell if minerals are industrial chemicals.  Whenever there are two-words on a label describing a mineral, it is a logical to conclude that the substance is an industrial mineral product and not 100% foodThe exception is chromium GTF (the GTF stands for glucose tolerance factor) which is food if it is from nutritional yeast [18].

Chelated Minerals

Chelated minerals are generally crushed industrial rocks that are processed with one or more acids.

Probably the biggest difference in minerals now compared to 1947 is that some companies have decided to industrially produce versions of minerals attached to peptides.  Essentially they take a rock or industrial mineral salt, chemically alter it, and attempt to attach it to the mineral.  This results in a mineral that is different from normal mineral salts, but does not turn the substance into a food.  Examples of this include the various mineral ascorbates, picolinates, aspartates, glycinates, and chelates.  It needs to be understood that since there is not a universally accepted definition of the term ‘chelate’, when this term is used on a label, one generally does not know if the chelate is amino-acid based or some type of industrial acid.

While it is true that humans can, and do, utilize minerals from USP mineral salts or chelated minerals, this is not as safe (or even normally as effective) as consuming them from foods (or in the case of real food supplements, food concentrates).

Non-Food Attachments, Including Some “Chelates,” Are Not Desirable

Is it wise to consume non-food minerals?

Dr. Bernard Jensen, an early 20th century advocate of food-based nutrition, once wrote, “When we take out from foods some certain salt, we are likely to alter the chemicals in those foods.  When extracted from food, that certain chemical salt is extracted, may even become a poison.  Potash by itself is a poison, whether it comes from a food or from the drugstore.  This is also the case with phosphorus.  You thereby overtax your system, and your functions must work harder, in order to throw off those inorganic salts or poisons introduced… The chemical elements that build our body must be in biochemical, life-producing form.  They must come to us as food, magnetically, electrically alive, grown from the dust of the earth… When we are lacking any element at all, we are lacking more than one element.  There is no one who ever lacked just one element.  We don’t have a food that contains only one element, such as a carrot entirely of calcium or sprouts totally made of silicon” [22].

It should be noted that the addition of “citric acid and picolinic acid do not appear to enhance zinc absorption” [23].  Chromium picolinate is a human-made substance, created by Gary Evans [24]; it is not a natural food.  Picolinic acid is used in herbicides [17]; furthermore “picolinic acid is an excretory or waste product.  It is not metabolized by or useful to the body” [25].  Scientists report, “some research groups recently suggested that chromium (III) picolinate produces significantly more oxidative stress and potential DNA damage than other chromium supplements” [26].

Concerns are being raised from various sources about the implications of intentional ingestion of inorganic substances in supplements by human beings [22,25,26].  These substances are not natural for humans to consume and a long period of consumption may cause some type of toxic accumulation [22,25,26].   Yet, many people supposedly interested in natural health are daily consuming various carbonates, gluconates, oxides, picolinates, phosphates, sulfates and other rock components that were not intended to be ingested that way.  Since there are many possible negative implications associated with “the other half” of these non-food minerals [25], people truly interested in their health would be much better off consuming foods that are high in minerals or supplements made from those foods.

Jay Patrick claims to have originally developed procedures to manufacture all seven of the mineral ascorbates [21]; thus it would seem highly inappropriate to call supplements with ascorbate attached minerals ‘food’.

Actually, it does not appear that any of the minerals marketed as ‘chelated’ are food concentrates, though there are foods which contain naturally chelated minerals, but these are normally marketed as food minerals.  Even though there are some theoretical advantages to industrially-produced mineral ‘chelates’ as compared to inorganic mineral salts, these chelates are not natural food.

More on Bioavailability 

It is well known among nutrition researchers that most essential minerals are not well absorbed; for some minerals, absorption is less than 1% [27].  “Bioavailability of orally administered vitamins, minerals, and trace elements is subject to a complex set of influences…In nutrition science the term ‘bioavailability’ encompasses the sum of impacts that may reduce or foster the metabolic utilization of a nutrient” [28].  Research demonstrates that the bioavailability and/or effectiveness of mineral containing foods is greater than that of isolated inorganic mineral salts or mineral chelates [e.g. 28-52].  These studies have concluded that natural food minerals may be better absorbed, utilized, and/or retained than mineral salts.

Furthermore, minerals used in most supplements do not contain protein chaperones or other food factors needed for absorption into the cell.  In 1999, the Nobel Prize for medicine was awarded to Guenter Blobel who discovered that minerals need protein chaperones to be absorbed into cellular receptors. When mineral salts without protein chaperones are consumed, “It is after digestion when other mineral forms {mineral salts} have their mineral cleaved from their carriers. In this situation, these minerals become charged ions, and their absorbability becomes in jeopardy. These charged free minerals are known to block the absorption of one another, or to combine with other dietary factors to form compounds that are unabsorbable” [53].  The body must discard the residual chemicals.

Foods used in supplements that commonly provide significant quantities of essential minerals include dulse, horsetail herb, kelp, nutritional yeast, rice bran, and water thyme.  These types of foods have been shown to contain not only minerals in natural food forms, but also important protein chaperones such as ATX1 and ceruplasmin [54,55].  Industrial mineral salts do not contain the protein chaperones or other food factors needed for proper mineral absorption. Furthermore, some foods also contain factors which reduce the probability of certain minerals to be toxic to the body [32,33,55]; industrial mineral salts and chelates are simply not that complete.

Quantitative and Qualitative Differences

There are quantitative and qualitative differences in food vs. non-food minerals. Table 1 lists some of them by mineral.

Table 1 Quantitative and Qualitative Differences

Food Mineral  Compared to Mineral Salt/Chelate
Calcium Up to 8.79 times more absorbed into the blood [47] and 7 times as effective in raising serum ionic calcium levels [30].
Chromium Up to 25 times more bioavailable [31].
Copper 85% more absorbed [45]; also contains substances that reduce potential toxicity [32,46].
Iron Safer, non-constipating, 77% more absorbed [33, 34, 45].
Magnesium Up to 2.20 times better absorbed [52] and retained [35].
Manganese Better absorbed and retained [45,46] and not as likely to contribute to toxicity as mined forms [36,56].
Molybdenum Up 6.28 times better absorbed into the blood and 16.49 times better retained [45].
Phosphorus Less likely to cause diarrhea or electrolyte disorders [37].
Selenium 17.6 time the antioxidant effect [46], 123.01 times more effective in preventing nonenzymatic protein glycation [17], and  2.26 times better retained [29,38,44].
Vanadium Safer and 50% more effective [39].
Zinc Up to 6.46 times better absorbed [45,46,51], better form [40,41].

Foods, almost by definition, are not toxic, and as mentioned earlier, can have protective factors to prevent certain potential mineral toxicities, such as those sometimes associated with copper, iron, manganese, or other minerals [32,33,55,56].

Information by Individual Mineral

Some differences between food complexed minerals and mineral salts have been documented by published research and are shown by individual mineral below:

Boron “Boron complexes with organic compounds containing hydroxyl groups” [9], which is how it is found in foods. Boron affects macromineral and steriodal hormone metabolism; without sufficient boron bone composition, strength, and structure weaken [9].

Calcium  “The amount of calcium absorbed depends on its interaction with other dietary constituents…The absorbability of calcium is mainly determined by the presence of other food constituents” [56].  This is one of the reasons why isolated calcium mineral salts (such as calcium carbonate) are not absorbed as well as calcium found in natural food complexes [56,57].  “Calcium carbonate, an antacid, counteracts not only the absorption of calcium, but also the absorption of iron” [11] (though its calcium absorption appears to be better with food [58]).  At least one researcher has concluded that commonly used mineral salts such as calcium lactate and calcium gluconate primarily succeed in creating high blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia) instead of alleviating symptoms of low tissue calcium [59].  “Calcium has a structural role in bones and teeth” as well as in some enzymes involved with blood clotting [48]. Calcium can affect mood and blood pressure [57,60].  Clinical reports consistently confirm that dietary/food calciums [5-8] are important in the management of blood pressure.  This does not appear to be the case with isolated calcium salts (the results appear inconsistent [30,61-63]).  One study found that calcium in Food raised serum ionic calcium levels from 1.08 to 1.15 mmoles, but that serum ionic calcium levels were not raised with calcium carbonate [30].  Serum calcium levels affect blood pressure [60,64].  Since low bone mass is somewhat inversely correlated with high levels of diastolic blood pressure [9], this suggests that calcium from Food may be superior when hypertension issues are present. Calcium is important for optimal health as calcium deficiencies can contribute to osteoporosis, muscle cramps (especially in the legs), insomnia, mood/behavioral/nerve problems, hypertension,  kidney stones, and colon cancer [61,65,66].  It appears that overdose of calcium can only occur when taking mineral salt forms of calcium supplement as opposed to food [66].  A human study found that Natural Food Complex calcium is 8.79 times more bioavailable than calcium carbonate (which is the most common form found in supplements) and 2.97 times more than calcium gluconate [47]. This same study found that Food calcium “produced no undesirable side effects and was the most suitable form of calcium for long-term supplementation” [47].

Chromium, GTF  “The biologically active form of chromium, sometimes called glucose tolerance factor or GTF, has been proposed to be a complex of chromium, nicotinic acid, and possibly the amino acids glycine, cysteine, and glutamic acid.  Many attempts have been made to isolate or synthesize the glucose tolerance factor; none have been successful” [67].  Chromium is not naturally found in the body in the commonly supplemented forms such as chromium picolinate or chromium chelate.  “Chromium is generally accepted as an essential nutrient that potentiates insulin action, and thus influences carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism” [67].  Research suggests that there is much less likelihood of toxicity from natural food complex chromium than from forms such as chromium picolinate [26].  Only 1% or less of inorganic chromium is absorbed vs.10-25% of chromium GTF [31].  One small study found that Food  chromium GTF reduced blood glucose levels by 16.8% versus 6.0% for inorganic chromium [48], thus it was 2.80 times more effective. One study found that Food  chromium benefited certain diabetics by improving blood glucose control, lowering serum lipids, and decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease [49]. Chromium GTF only comes from nutritional yeast [58].

Copper  In the human body, in addition to various plasma-bound coppers, “at least one copper peptide complex” has been isolated [60].  Copper is predominantly found in Food nutrients in a copper peptide complex (such as Cu/Zn superoxide-dismutase). Copper is not naturally found in the body in the form of copper gluconate or copper sulfate.  “Anemia, neutropenia, and osteoporosis are observed with copper deficiency”; copper is involved in connective tissue, iron metabolism, the central nervous system, melanin pigment, thermal regulation,  cholesterol metabolism, immune function, and cardiac function [60].  Copper in foods like nutritional yeast contains protective factors that reduce the possibility of toxicity issues [32,46].  A human study found that Food copper was 1.44 times more absorbed into the blood than copper sulfate and 1.43 times more than copper gluconate [45]. Animal studies showed similar results, plus concluded that Food copper was retained in the liver 1.85 times more than copper gluconate and 1.42 times more than copper sulfate [45].

Iodine Most of the iodine in the body exists in the form of iodine-containing amino acids [61].  Iodine is needed by the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones which influence most of the body’s metabolic processes [61].  Kelp is an excellent food source of iodine [61].

Iron  Most researchers acknowledge that organic iron is better absorbed than inorganic iron [71].  The body has different mechanisms for the absorption of iron depending upon its form [72].  Iron in foods is found in an organic form.  Iron is required for growth and hemoglobin formation; inadequate amounts can lead to “weakness, fatigue, pallor, dyspnea on exertion, palpitation, and a sense of being overly tired” [72].  Iron in food is safer, less-constipating (actually it is non-constipating), and better absorbed than non-food forms [33,34].  An animal study found that Food iron was absorbed into the blood 1.01 times more than ferrous sulfate and 1.77 times more than amino acid chelated iron and was retained in the liver 1.21 times more than ferrous sulfate and 1.68 times more than amino acid chelated iron [45,46].

Magnesium  “The percentage of absorption of ingested magnesium is influenced by its dietary concentration and by the presence of inhibiting or promoting dietary components [73].  There are no promoting dietary components in inorganic isolated magnesium salts. “Magnesium is involved in many enzymatic steps in which components of food are metabolized and new products are formed”; it is involved in over 300 such reactions [6].  Clinical deficiency of magnesium can results in “depressed tendon reflexes, muscle fasciculations, tremor, muscle spasm, personality changes, anorexia, nausea, and vomiting” [73].   Magnesium in foods is better absorbed and retained than magnesium from inorganic mineral salts [35].  A human study found that Natural Food Complex magnesium was 2.20 times more absorbed into blood than magnesium oxide and 1.60 times more than amino acid chelated magnesium [52].

Manganese  In the body, absorbed manganese complexes with various peptides [9].  Manganese is predominantly found in foods in a manganese peptide complex (such as Mn superoxide-dismutase).  It is not found in the body in forms like manganese sulfate.  Manganese deficiency can cause “impaired growth, skeletal abnormalities, disturbed or depressed reproductive function, ataxia of the newborn, and defects in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism” [9].  It can also affect skin, hair, nails, and problems with calcium metabolism [9].  Manganese in foods is safer and much less likely to cause any toxicity compared to mined forms [36,56].  ]. An animal study found that Natural Food Complex manganese was absorbed 1.56 times more into the blood and was retained 1.63 times more in the liver than manganese sulfate [45,46].

Molybdenum  Molybdenum…in foods…is readily absorbed” [9].  “Molydenum in {nearly all} nutritional supplements is in the form of either sodium molybdate or ammonium molybdate.  Molybdenum in food is principally in the form of molydenum cofactors” [67]. “Molybdenum functions as an enzyme cofactor”, thus “detoxifies various pyrimidines, purines, pteridines, and related compounds” [9]; it may also affect growth and reproduction [9].  An animal study found that Food molybdenum was absorbed 6.28 times more into the blood and was retained 16.49 times more in the liver than ammonium molybdate and 10.27 times more than molybdenum amino acid chelate [45].

Phosphorus Phosphorus is found in plants [11].  Phosphorus salts can cause diarrhea and other problems [37]—problems that do not happen with phosphorus in foods.  Phosphorus works with calcium to produce strong bones [57].

Potassium  Potassium is found in plants [11].  Potassium is the leading intracellular electrolyte and is necessary for electrolyte balance, stimulating aldersterone for the adrenal glands, and blood pressure regulation [11].  Dr. Bernard Jensen seemed to believe potassium is only safe in its natural food complex form [22].

Selenium   “The predominant form of selenium in animal tissues is selenocysteine” [74].  That is how it is predominantly found in certain foods.  One study found that diets naturally high in selenium (daily consumption as high as 724mcg) produced no signs or symptoms of selenium overexposure while another found that exceedingly high consumption of  selenium salts could induce selenium poisoning [74].  Selenium seems to support thyroid hormone production, function as part of many enzymes, and have antioxidant effects [74].  Larry Clark, Ph.D. and others have found that selenium in yeast appears to reduce  risk of certain cancers [75].  Julian Whitaker, M.D. reports, “The best absorbed form of selenium, and the one used by Dr. Clark’s research, is high-selenium yeast” [75].  A study using 247 mcg/day of high-selenium yeast found that plasma selenium levels were 2-fold higher than baseline values after 3 and 9 months and returned to 136% of baseline after 12 months, whereas there was a 32% increase in blood glutathione levels also seen after 9 months [29].  Food selenium is about twice as well retained as non-food forms [29,38].  Research suggests that Food selenium is 2.26 times more retained in the liver and 1.22 times more absorbed in the blood than sodium selenite [44]. An in vitro study found that Food selenium had 17.6 times the antioxidant effect than did selenomethionine [44]. One study found that Food selenium was 123.01 times more effective than sodium selenite in preventing nonenzymatic glycation in diabetics [50].

Silicon “In animals, silicon is found both free and bound” [9].  Silicon absorption is quite dependent upon the form [9].  Silicon is involved in bone calcification and connective tissue formation [9].  It is also needed for healthy hair and skin [51].  Silicon is found in foods in an organic form.

Trace Minerals  Trace minerals, including “ultra trace minerals” are necessary for the proper functioning of human health [9,51].  There are many in the human body, some of which are known to be essential and others of which their “essentialness” is under investigation.  Sea vegetables and certain yeasts are a good source of trace minerals [11,31,61].

Vanadium  “Vanadate forms compounds with other biological substances” [9].  “Vanadium has been postulated to play a role in the regulation of (NaK)-ATPase, phosphoryl transferase enzymes, adenylate cyclase, and protein kinases; as an enzyme cofactor in the form of vandyl and in hormone, glucose, lipid, and tooth metabolism” [9].  Vanadium in foods is found in an organic form.  Vanadium in food is safer than non-food forms and also appears to be about 50% more effective [39].

Zinc  Most researchers acknowledge that organic zinc is better absorbed than inorganic zinc [71].  Zinc itself is generally found in the human body in ionic form [71,76]; it is often bound with albumin [23,76] or alpha2-macroglobulin [23] or exists as part of one of the many zinc metalloenzymes [23,76].  Zinc is predominantly found in foods as zinc peptide complex (such as that complexed with superoxide dismutase).  Zinc is not naturally found in the body as zinc gluconate, zinc orotate, zinc sulfate, nor zinc picolinate. In humans “zinc deficiency does not exist without deficiency of other nutrients” [76]. Zinc deficiency in humans can cause alopecia, impotence, skin problems, immune deficiencies, night blindness, impaired taste, delayed wound healing, impaired appetite, photophobia, difficulty in dark adaptation, growth retardation, and male infertility [23].  Zinc in yeast-containing foods is better absorbed and is a better form for humans than inorganic forms [40,41].  Studies indicate that Food zinc appears to be 1.72-1.75 times more absorbed in the blood than zinc sulfate (1.71 times more than zinc chelate; 6.46 times more than zinc gluconate; 3.11 times more than zinc orotate) and 1.75-1.87 times more retained in the liver than zinc sulfate (1.45 times more than zinc amino acid chelate; 3.68 times more than zinc gluconate; 1.50 times more than zinc orotate) [45,46,51].

Food and Food Processing

“In the historic struggle for food, humans ate primarily whole foods or so-called natural foods, which underwent little processing…The nutrient content of food usually decreases when it is processed” [77].  “Intensive animal rearing, manipulation of crop production and food processing have altered the qualitative and quantitative balance of nutrients of food consumed by Western society.  This change, to which the physiology and biochemistry of man may not be presently adapted to, is thought to be responsible for the chronic diseases that are rampant in the Industrialized Western Countries” [78].  Some reports suggest that simply taking a synthetic multi-vitamin/mineral formula does not change this [79,80].

Dr. Burr-Madsen has written,

Nutrition ‑ in its most basic sense the process by which the organism finds, consumes,liberates, absorbs, and utilizes the nutrients it must have to live. Although food and therefore nutrients are seemingly plentiful, because of modern use of chemical herbicides and pesticides as well as poor air quality and bad water, the nutrients we buy in the market are very inferior. Human bodies require nutrition found in the form of plants, meat, milk, eggs and water, but all animals get their food directly or indirectly from plants, and all plants get their food from the soil. Therefore mineral deficient soil may be one of the greatest original sources of disease in the world today.

Real soil

We cannot appreciate enough the importance of our relationship with the land, with soil.  This is particularly so in this era of artificial chemicals, artificial foods, and the abundance of artificial materials on which we have come to depend. This system cannot replace real soil and the living food crops it produces. Our dependence on artificial, man­made products interferes with our relationship with the soil and the natural world in general. Because of this Nutritional supplementation is necessary.

Soil condition.
After genetics and weather, the condition of the soil is the most important factor in thenutrient content of any plant food and, indirectly, of animal foods. The soils of the world have suffered, and continue to suffer, at the hands of farming. The present food production system, while correcting some abuses of the past, inflicts on the soil a variety of new and old insults that diminish its nutrient value. Because of intensive farming, poor crop management, erosion, commercial fertilization, the use of pesticides, and other problematic factors, much of the soil in which our crops are now raised has been depleted, particularly of essential minerals.

The Human Food Chain.

The human food chain includes animals, animal products and plants, which depend directly or indirectly on the soil. Plants draw their nutrients and general health from a complex of inorganic and organic factors. Inorganic substances include oxygen and carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, along with iron, calcium, and an array of other minerals. The chief organic factors range from decaying plant material and animal wastes to earthworms and an amazing variety of microscopic organisms including bacteria, fungi, algae, and protozoa (Hall 1976: 134). All of these elements are important to the health and nutrient value of the crop ‑ and of the animals that feed on it.

Healthy soil.

Healthy soil is America’s greatest natural resource. But few realize that the current state of wide spread soil erosion in North America threatens our way of life. It may be hard to believe, but only a few inches of topsoil stand between you, me, and starvation. We cannot appreciate enough the importance of our relationship with the land, with soil. What is popularly called topsoil is the rich, nutrient‑laden cover of the Earth’s crust from which food crops draw their sustenance. Underneath the topsoil there may be clay, shale, or rock ‑ Substances that do not support food crops. It is only in the precious shallow topsoil that plants are seeded, germinated, sprouted, nurtured, and grown. These plants serve as food for animals on the lowest ends of the food chain. Animals that eat these plants supply food to animals on the highest ends of the food chain. Attention is important because topsoil is easily exhausted from lack of care. The best farmers replenish the soil as it is farmed. Unfortunately, this practice has become an exception to the rule, this is particularly so today.

Depleted Soil.

When the soil becomes depleted, the plants often show symptoms of poor nutrition, much like human deficiency diseases. For example, a general yellow or pale green color (chlorosis) indicates a lack of sulfur and nitrogen and a white or pale‑yellow color iron deficiency. Some of these deficiencies are apparent enough to hurt the marketability of the crop. Most, however, are not visible to the shopper’s or even the farmer’s eye, and the crop is shipped to market deficient as it is. The toll that fertilization and pesticides take on the soil is wide‑reaching, ultimately including the kind of soil erosion that is now plaguing the Midwest. The most direct and immediate loss are the mineral and vitamin deficiencies in the soil that are passed up the food chain to humans (it is a domino effect) [81].

Commercial food processing definitely reduces the nutrient content of food [81, 82] and can be dangerous to human health [83].  The refining of whole grains (including wheat, rice, and corn) has resulted in a dramatic reduction of their natural food complex nutrition [11,82]; specifically the milling of wheat to white flour reduces the natural food complex vitamin and mineral content by 40-60% [82].  Food refining appears to reduce trace minerals such as manganese, zinc, and chromium [2] and various macrominerals (such as magnesium) as well [10,56].  The treatment of canned or frozen vegetables with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) can strip much of the zinc from foods [11].  The high incidences of disorders of calcium metabolism [28] suggest that the forms of calcium many are consuming simply do not agree with the body (and sometimes result in calcium loss [11]).

Organically-grown produce appears to contain higher levels of some essential minerals than does conventionally (non-organically) grown produce [84,85] and appears to contain lower levels of toxic heavy metals [86].   Even if modern food practices did not affect nutrition (which they do), all minerals that humans need for optimal health do not exist uniformly in soils. “Soils in many areas of the world are deficient in certain minerals; this can result in low concentrations of major or trace minerals in drinking water, plant crops, and even tissues of farm animals, thus contributing to marginal or deficient dietary intakes of humans [76]. From a geological perspective, a few examples include iodine, molybdenum, cobalt, selenium, and boron [2,70,77].  Although humans need at least twenty minerals (over sixty have been found in the body), most plants can be grown with only the addition of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium compounds [2].  If other minerals necessary for human health are reduced in the soil, the plant can (and will) grow without them.  This means, though, that constantly farming the same ground can result in the reduction of some of the essential minerals we as humans require for optimal health [78].

Ground Up Rocks Pose Risks

Rock minerals are not optimal for human health and post health risks.  Perhaps it should be mentioned that typical multi-vitamin-mineral formulas are dangerous and do not result in optimal health.  A study involving 38,772 women in the USA who took synthetic multi-vitamins with ground up rock minerals found that the women died earlier than those who did not take them [87].  Other studies have concluded that the acid-processed rocks that many take as calcium supplements increase risk of cardiovascular disease and other problems [88]—yet those studies did not find problems with food calcium.

Ground-up rocks are dangerous to ingest.  Yet, 100% food vitamins and minerals are beneficial as well as essential to human health and longevity.

Conclusion

No matter how many industrially produced mineral supplements one takes orally, they will:

1) Never be a truly complete nutrient source.
2) Never replace all the functions of food minerals.
3) Always be unnatural substances to the body.
4) Always strain the body by requiring that it detoxify or somehow dispose of their unnatural structures/chemicals.
5) Never be utilized, absorbed, and retained the same as food nutrients.
6) Not be able to prevent advanced protein glycation end-product formation the same as food nutrients.
7) Never be able to have the antioxidant effects the same as food nutrients.
8) Always be industrial products.
9) Always be composed of petroleum-derivatives, hydrogenated sugars, acids, and/or industrially-processed rocks.
10) Never build optimal health the same as food nutrients.

Industrially processed minerals can have some positive nutritional effects, yet they are not food for humans, but they also pose risks [87-88].

Unlike humans, plants have roots or hyphae which aid in the absorption of minerals.  Plants actually have the ability to decrease the toxicity of compounds by changing their biochemical forms [14].  Plants are naturally intended to ingest rocks; humans are not [1].

The truth is that plants, or supplements only made from plants, are the best form of mineral supplement for humans, yet most people who take nutritional mineral support consume some type of industrially processed rock.

REFERENCES
[1] Cronquist A. Plantae. In Synopsis and Classification of Living Organisms, Vol 1. McGraw-Hill, NY, 1982:57
[2] Schroeder HA. The Trace Elements and Man. Devin-Adair, New Greenwich (CT), 1973
[3] Howell E. Enzyme Nutrition. Avery Publishing, Wayne (NJ), 1985
[4] Milne L, Milne M. The Arena of Life: The Dynamics of Ecology. Natural History Press, Garden City (NJ), 1972
[5] Wallace RA. Biology: The World of Life, 6th ed. Harper Collins, New York, 1992
[6] Dietary guidelines in The Weston A. Price Foundation brochure. Weston A. Price Foundation, Washington, 1999
[7] Gehman JM. From the Office of the President: Pseudo-Group Once Again Misleading the Naturopathic Field. Official Bulletin ANA, January 25, 1948:7-8
[8] Shapes SA, Schlussel YR, Cifuentes M.  Drug-Nutrient Interactions That Affect Mineral Status.  In Handbook of Drug-Nutrient Interactions.  Humana Press, Totowa (NJ), 2004: 301-328
[9] Nielsen F. Ultratrace Minerals. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:269-286
[10] Turnland JR. Copper. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:231-241
[11] Whitney EN, Hamilton EMN. Understanding Nutrition, 4ed. West Publishing, New York, 1987
[12] Beers MH, Berkow R, eds. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, 17th ed. Merck Research Laboratories, Whitehouse Station (NJ), 1999
[13] Thiel RJ. Mineral salts are for plants, food complexed minerals are for humans. ANMA Monitor 1999;3(2):5-10
[14] Huang Y, Chen Y, Tao S. Effect of rhizospheric environment of VA-mycorrhizal plants on forms of Cu, Zn, PB and Cd in polluted soil. Ying Yong Sheng Tai Xye Bao 2000;11(3):431-434
[15] Budvari S, et al eds. The Merck Index, An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals, 12th ed. Merck Research Laboratories, Whitehouse Station (NJ), 1996
[16] Anagisawa KY, Rendon-Angeles JC, Shizawa NI, Ishi SO. Topotaxial replacement of chlorapatite by hydroxy during hydrothermal ion exchange. Am Mineralogist 1999;84:1861-1869
[17] DiTomaso JM. Yellow starthistle: chemical control. Proceedings of the CalEPPC Symposium, 1996, as updated 5/2/02
[18] Vitamin-Mineral Manufacturing Guide Nutrient Empowerment, volume 1. Nutrition Resource, Lakeport (CA), 1986
[19] Hojo Y, Hashimoto I, Miyamoto Y, Kawazoe S, Mizutani T. In vivo toxicity and glutathione, ascorbic acid, and copper level changes induced in mouse liver and kidney by copper (II) gluconate, a nutrient supplement. Yakugaku Zasshi 2000;120(3):311-314
[20] City of Lubbock. www.solidwaste.ci.lubbock.tx.us/hhw/hhw.htm 7/18/02
Cunnane SC. Zinc: Clinical and Biochemical Significance. CRC Press, Boca Raton (FL),1988
[21] Patrick J. What most people don’t know about vitamin C. The Alacer Health Report, Foothill Ranch (CA), 1994
[22] Jensen B.  The Chemistry of Man.  Bernard Jensen, Escondido (CA),1983
[23] King JC, Keen CL. Zinc. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed. Williams & Wilkins, Balt., 1999:223-239
[24] Chromium picolinate, rev. 6/96B.BLI website, July 16, 2002
[25] Implications of the ‘other half’ of a mineral compound. Albion Research Notes 2000;9(3):1-5
[26] Stoecker B.J. Chromium.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10th ed.  Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Phil., 2005: 332-337
[27] Turnland JR. Bioavailability of dietary minerals to humans: the stable isotope approach. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 1991;30(4);387-396
[28] Schumann K, et al. Bioavailability of oral vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals in perspective. Arzneimittelforshcung 1997;47(4):369-380
[29]  El-Bayoumy K, Richie JP Jr, Boyiri T, Komninou D, Prokopczyk B, Trushin N, Kleinman W, Cox J, Pittman B, Colosimo S.  Influence of Selenium-Enriched Yeast Supplementation on Biomarkers of Oxidative Damage and Hormone Status in Healthy Adult Males: A Clinical Pilot Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2002;11:1459-1465
[30] Hamet P, et al. The evaluation of the scientific evidence for a relationship between calcium and hypertension.  J Nutr, 1995;125:311S-400S
[31] Ensminger AH, Ensminger ME, Konlade JE, Robson JRK.  Food & Nutrition Encyclopedia, 2nd ed.  CRC Press, New York, 1993
[32] Avery SV, Howlett NG, Radice S. Copper toxicity towards Saccharomyces cerevisiae: dependence on plasma fatty acid composition. Appl Environ Microbiol 1996;62(11):3960-3966
[33] Wi’snicka R, Krzepiko A, Krawiec Z, Bili’nski T. Protective role of superoxide dismutase in iron toxicity in yeast. Biochem Mol Biol Int 1998;44(3):635-641
[34] Wood R.J., Ronnenberg A.G.  Iron. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10th ed.  Lippincott William & Wilkins, Phil, 2006: 248-270
[35]  Rude R.K., Shils M.E. Magnesium.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10th ed.  Lippincott William & Wilkins, Phil, 2006: 223-247
[36] Buchman A. Manganese.  In Modern Nutrition in Health & Disease, 10th ed. Lippincott William & Wilkins, Phil, 2006:326-331
[37] Beloosesky Y, Grinblat J, Weiss A, Grosman B, Gafter U, Chagnac A.  Electrolyte disorders following oral sodium phosphate administration for bowel cleansing in elderly patients.  Arch Intern Med. 2003;163(7):803-808
[38] Biotechnology in the Feed Industry.  Nottingham Press, UK, 1995: 257-267
[39] Badmaev V, Prakash S, Majeed M.  Vanadium: a review of its potential role in the fight against diabetes.  J Altern Complement Med. 1999;5(3):273-291
[40] Andlid TA, Veide J, Sandberg AS.  Metabolism of extracellular inositol hexaphosphate (phytate) by Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  Int J. Food Microbiology. 2004;97(2):157-169
[41] King JC, Cousins RJ.  Zinc.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10th ed.  Lipponcott Williams & Wilkins, Phil., 2005:271-285
[42] Thiel R, Fowkes S.  Can cognitive deterioration associated with Down syndrome be reduced?  Med Hypo, 2005; 64(3):524-532
[43] Jenkins DJA, Wolever TMS, and Jenkins AL. Diet Factors Affecting Nutrient Absorption and Metabolism. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed. Lea and Febiger, Phil.:583-602, 1994
[44] Vinson, J.A., Jennifer M. Stella, J.M.,  Flanagan, T.J. Selenium yeast is an effective in vitro and in vivo antioxidant and hypolipemic agent in normal hamsters.  Nutritional Research, 1998, Vol 18, No. 4: 735–742
[45] Vinson J, Bose P, Lemoine L, Hsiao KH. Bioavailability studies. In Nutrient Availability: Chemical and Biological Aspects. Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge (UK) 1989:125-127
[46] Vinson JA, Bose P. Comparison of bio-availability of trace elements in inorganic salts, amino acid chelates, and yeast. Mineral Elements 80, Proceedings II, Helsinki, Dec 9-11, 1981
[47] Vinson J, Mazur T, Bose P. Comparisons of different forms of calcium on blood pressure of normotensive males. Nutr Reports Intl, 1987;36(3):497-505
[48] Vinson JA, Hsiao, KH. Comparative effect of various forms of chromium on serum glucose: an assay for biologically active chromium. Nutr Reports Intl,1985;32(1):1-7
[49] Vinson JA, Bose P. The effect of high chromium yeast on the blood glucose control and blood lipids of normal and diabetic human subjects. Nutr Reports Intl, 1984;30(4):911-918
[50] Vinson JA, Howard TB. Inhibition of protein glycation and advanced glycation end products by ascorbic acid and other vitamins and nutrients. Nutr Biochemistry, 1996;7:659-663
[51] Vinson J. Rat zinc bioavailability study. University of Scranton, Scranton (PA)
[52] Vinson J. Bioavailability of magnesium. University of Scranton, Scranton (PA), 1991
[53] Frequently Asked Questions. www.albionlabs.com July 19, 2002
[54] Rouhi AM. Escorting metal ions: protein chaperone protects, guides, copper ions in transit. Chem Eng News 1999;11:34-35
[55] Himelblau E, et al. Identification of a functional homolog of the yeast copper homeostasis gene ATX1 from Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol 1998;117(4):1227-1234
[56] Lapinskas PJ, Lin SJ, Culotta VC. The role of Saccharomyces cerevisiae CCC1 gene in the homeostasis of manganese ions. Mol Microbiol 1996;21(3):519-528
[57] Allen LH, Wood RJ.  Calcium and Phosphorus.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed.  Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:144-163
[58] Heaney RP, Dowell MS, Barger-Lux MJ.  Absorption of calcium as the carbonate and citrate salts, with some observations on  method.  Osteoporosis Int, 1999;9:19-23
[59] Timon S.  Mineral Logic: Understanding the Mineral Transport System.  Advanced Nutrition Research: Ellicottville (NY),1985
[60] Burger S.  Vitamins and Minerals for Health.  Wild Rose College of Natural Healing, Calgary,1988
[61] Orlov SN, Li JM, Tremblay J, Hamet P. Genes of intracellular calcium metabolism and blood pressure control in primary hypertension. Semin Nephrol. 1995 Nov;15(6):569-592
[62] Osborne G, et al.  Evidence for the relationship of calcium to blood pressure.  Nutr Reviews, 1996;54(12):365-381
[63] Yamamoto ME., et al. Lack of blood pressure effect with calcium and magnesium supplementation with adults with high-normal blood pressure results from phase I of the Trials of Hypertension and Prevention (TOHP).  Ann Epidem, 1995;5:96-107
[64] Afghani A, Johnson CA.  Resting blood pressure and bone mineral content are inversely related in overweight and obese Hispanic women.  Am J Hypertens. 2006;19(3):286-292
[65] Knight KB, Keith RE. Effects of oral calcium supplementation via calcium carbonate versus diet on blood pressure and serum calcium in young, normotensive adults.  J Opt Nutr, 1994;3(4):152-158
[66] Weaver CM, Heaney R.  Calcium.  In Modern Nutrition in Health & Disease, 10th ed.  Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Phil., 2006:194-210
[67] Nielson F.  Chromium.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed.  Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:264-268
[68] Hendlor S, Rorvik D, eds.  PDR for Nutritional Supplements, 1st ed.  Medical Economics, Montvale (NJ), 2001
[69] Turnland JR.  Copper.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed.  Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:231-241
[70] Hetzel BS, Clugston GA.  Iodine.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed.  Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1999:253-264
[71] Greene HL and Moran JR.  The Gastrointestinal Tract: Regulation of Nutrient Absorption.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed.  Lea and Febiger, Phil.,1994:549-568
[72] Fairbanks VF.  Iron in Medicine and Nutrition.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed.  Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:185-213
[73] Shils M.  Magnesium.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed.  Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:164-184
[74] Levander OA, Burk RF.  Selenium.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed.  Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:242-263
[75] Whitaker J.  Minerals, part 1: Cut your cancer risk with selenium.  Health & Healing, 1999;9(4):6-8
[76] Cunnane SC.  Zinc: Clinical and Biochemical Significance.  CRC Press, Boca Raton (FL),1988
[77] Bauernfeind JC.  Nutrification of foods.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed.  Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:1579-1592
[78] Ghebremeskel K, Crawford MA.  Nutrition and health in relation to food production and processing.  Nutr Health, 1994;9(4):237-253
[79] Bazzarre TL, Hopkins RG, Wu SM, Murdoch SD.  Chronic disease risk factors in vitamin/mineral 9supplement users and nonusers in a farm population.  J Am Coll Nutr, 1991;10(3):247-257
[80] Sax NI, Lewis RJ.  Hawley’s Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 11th ed.  Van Nostrand Rheinhold, New York,1987
[81] Burr-Madsen A.  Gateways College of Natural Therapies, Module 1.  Gateway College, Shingle Springs (CA), 1996
[82] Erdman JW, Poneros-Schneir AG.  Factors affecting the nutritive value in processed foods. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed.  Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:1569-1578
[83]  Ascherio A and Willett WC.  Health effects of trans fatty acids.  Am J Clin Nutr, 1997;66:1006S-1010S
[84] Hornick SB.  Factors affecting the nutritional quality of crops.  AM J Alternative Ag,1992;7(1-2)
[85] Organic tomatoes, vitamin C, and calcium.  Nutr Week, 1998;28(24):7
[86] Smith BL.  Organic foods vs. supermarket foods: J Applied Nutr,1993;45(1):35-39
[87] Mursu J., et al.  Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older WomenThe Iowa Women’s Health Study. Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(18):1625-1633
[88] Boland MJ, et al. Calcium Supplements and Cardiovascular Risk. Ther Adv in Drug Safe. 2013;4(5):199-210

Some of these studies (or citations) may not conform to peer review standards. Therefore, the results are not conclusive. Professionals can, and often do, come to different conclusions when reviewing scientific data. None of these statements have been reviewed by the FDA. All products distributed by Doctors’ Research, Inc. are nutritional and are not intended for the treatment or prevention of any medical condition.

The Truth About Vitamins in Nutritional Supplements

Abstract: Even though natural health professionals agree that humans should not try to consume petroleum derivatives or hydrogenated sugars, most seem to overlook this fact when vitamin supplementation is involved. This paper explains some of the biochemical reasons that food vitamins are superior for humans. It also explains what substances are commonly used to make vitamins in supplements. Furthermore, it explains some of the advantages of food vitamins over the non-food vitamins that are commonly available.

Introduction

For decades the ‘natural’ health industry has been touting thousands of vitamin supplements. The truth is that most vitamins in supplements are made or processed with petroleum derivatives or hydrogenated sugars [1-5]. Even though they are often called natural, most non-food vitamins are isolated substances which are crystalline in structure [1]. Vitamins naturally in food are not crystalline and never isolated. Vitamins found in any real food are chemically and structurally different from those commonly found in ‘natural vitamin’ formulas. Since they are different, naturopaths should consider non-food vitamins as vitamin analogues (imitations) and not actually vitamins.

The standards of naturopathy agreed to in 1947 (at the Golden Jubilee Congress) included the statements, “Naturopathy does not make use of synthetic or inorganic vitamins…Naturopathy makes use of the healing properties of…natural foods, organic vitamins” [5]. Even back in the 1940s, professionals interested in natural health recognized the value of food, over non-food, vitamins. Also, it should be mentioned that naturopathic definition of organic back then was similar to the official US government definition today–why does this need to be stated? Because one pseudo-naturopath once told this researcher that a particular brand of synthetic vitamins contained “organic vitamins”, because a sales representative had told him so. Sadly, that sales representative either intentionally gave out false information or gave out misleading information–misleading because by its ‘scientific’ definition, the term ‘organic’ can mean that it is a carbon containing substance, hence by that definition all petroleum derivatives (hydro-carbons) are organic. But false, because those type of vitamins are not organic from the true naturopathic, or even the U.S. government’s, perspective.

Officially, according to mainstream science, “Vitamins are organic substances that are essential in small amounts for the health, growth, reproduction, and maintenance of one or more animal species, which must be included in the diet since they cannot be synthesized at all or in sufficient quantity in the body. Each vitamin performs a specific function; hence one cannot replace another. Vitamins originate primarily in plant tissues” [6]. Isolated non-food ‘vitamins’ (often called ‘natural’ or USP or pharmaceutical grade) are not naturally “included in the diet”, do not necessarily “originate primarily in plant tissues”, and cannot fully replace all natural vitamin activities. As a natural health professional, you should be able to read and interpret, even misleading supplement labels. For those who are unsure, hopefully this article will provide sufficient information to determine if vitamin tablets are food or imitations.

What is Your Vitamin Really?

Most vitamins in supplements are petroleum extracts, coal tar derivatives, and chemically processed sugar (plus sometimes industrially processed fish oils), with other acids and industrial chemicals (such as formaldehyde) used to process them [1-5]. Synthetic vitamins were originally developed because they cost less [7]. Assuming the non-food product does not contain fish oils, most synthetic, petroleum-derived, supplements will call their products ‘vegetarian’, not because they are from plants, but because they are not from animals. Most vitamins in vitamin supplements made from food are in foods such as acerola cherries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lemons, limes, nutritional yeast, oranges, and rice bran (some companies also use animal products).

Table 1. Composition of Food and Non-Food Vitamins [1-10]

VitaminFood Nutrient*‘Natural’ Vitamin Analogue & Some Process Chemicals
Vitamin A/BetacaroteneCarrotsMethanol, benzene, petroleum esters; acetylene; refined oils
Vitamin B-1Nutritional yeast, rice bran

Coal tar derivatives, hydrochloric acid; acetonitrole with ammonia

Vitamin B-2Nutritional yeast, rice branSynthetically produced with 2N acetic acid
Vitamin B-3Nutritional yeast, rice branCoal tar derivatives, 3-cyanopyridine; ammonia and acid
Vitamin B-5 Nutritional yeast, rice branCondensing isobutyraldehyde with formaldehyde
Vitamin B-6Nutritional yeast, rice branPetroleum ester & hydrochloric acid with formaldehyde
Vitamin B-8Rice

Phytin hydrolyzed with calcium hydroxide and sulfuric acid

Vitamin B-9Broccoli, rice branProcessed with petroleum derivatives and acids; acetylene
Vitamin B-12Nutritional yeast Cobalamins reacted with cyanide
Vitamin ‘B-x’PABA Nutritional yeastCoal tar oxidized with nitric acid (from ammonia)
Choline Nutritional yeast, rice bran Ethylene and ammonia with HCL or tartaric acid
Vitamin CAcerola cherries, citrus fruitsHydrogenated sugar processed with acetone
Vitamin DNutritional yeast Irradiated animal fat/cattle brains or solvently extracted
Vitamin ERice, vegetable oilsTrimethylhydroquinone with isophytol; refined oils
Vitamin HNutritional yeast, rice branBiosynthetically produced
Vitamin K Cabbage Coal tar derivative; produced with p-allelic-nickel

* Note: Although some companies use liver extracts as a source for vitamins A and/or D, and at least one company has a herring oil product supplying some vitamin E, no company this researcher is aware of whose products are made out of 100% food use animal products in any of their multiple vitamins. Some companies also use brewer’s yeast which is inferior to nutritional yeast in many ways (including the fact that it has not had the cell wall enzymatically processed to reduce possible sensitivities).

Read The Label to See the Chemical Differences!

Although many doctors have been taught that food and non-food vitamins have the same chemical composition, this is simply untrue for most vitamins. As shown in table 2, the chemical forms of food and synthetic nutrients are normally different. Health professionals need to understand that since there is no mandated definition of the term ‘natural’; just seeing that term on a label does not mean that the supplement contains only natural food substances. One of the best ways to tell whether or not a vitamin supplement contains natural vitamins as found in food is to know the chemical differences between food and non-food vitamins (sometimes called USP vitamins). Because they are not normally in the same chemical form as vitamins found in foods, non-food vitamins should be considered by natural health professionals as vitamin analogues (artificial imitations), and not actually as true vitamins for humans.

Table 2. Chemical Form of Food and Non-Food Vitamins [1-10]

Primary Chemical Vitamin Form in Food Vitamin Analogue Chemical Form (Often Called Natural*)
Vitamin A/Betacarotene; retinyl esters; mixed carotenoidsVitamin A acetate; vitamin A palmitate; betacarotene (isolated)
Vitamin B-1; thiamin pyrophosphate (food)Thiamin mononitrate; thiamin hydrochloride; thiamin HCL
Vitamin B-2; riboflavin, multiple forms (food)Riboflavin (isolated); USP vitamin B2
Vitamin B-3; niacinamide (food) Niacin (isolated); niacinamide (isolated)
Vitamin B-5; pantothenate (food)Pantothenic acid; calcium pantothenate; panthenol
Vitamin B-6; 5’0 (beta-D) pyridoxinePyridoxine hydrochloride; pyridoxine HCL
Vitamin B-9; folateFolic acid
Vitamin B-12; methylcobalamin; deoxyadenosylcobalamin Cyanocobalamin; hydroxycobalamin
Choline (food); phosphatidyl choline (food) Choline chloride; choline bitartrate
Vitamin C; ascorbate (food); dehydroascorbate

Ascorbic acid; most mineral ascorbates (i.e. sodium

ascorbate)

Vitamin D; mixed forms, primarily D3 (food) Vitamin D1 (isolated); Vitamin D2 (isolated); Vitamin D3 (isolated) ; Vitamin D4; ergosterol (isolated); cholecalciferol (isolated); lumisterol
Vitamin E; RRR-alpha-tocopherol (food)

Vitamin E acetate; Mixed tocopherols; all-rac-alpha-tocopherol; d-l–alpha-tocopherol; d-alpha-tocopherol (isolated); dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate; all acetate forms

Vitamin H; biotin All non-yeast or non-rice vegetarian biotin forms
Vitamin K; phylloquinone (food)

Vitamin K3; menadione; phytonadione; naphthoquinone; dihydro-vitamin K1

* Note: This list is not complete and new analogues are being developed all the time. Also the term “(isolated)” means that if the word “food” is not near the name of the substance, it is probably an isolate (normally crystalline in structure) and is not the same as the true vitamin found in food.

Read the label of any supplement to see if the product is truly 100% food. If even one USP vitamin analogue is listed, then the entire product is probably not food (normally it will be less than 5% food). Vitamin analogues are cheap (or not so cheap) imitations of vitamins found in foods.

Beware of any supplement label that says that its vitamins are vegetarian and contain no yeast. This researcher is unaware of any frequently used vegetarian non-yeast way to produce vitamin D or many of the B vitamins, therefore, if a label states that the product “contains no yeast” then in pretty much all cases, this demonstrates that the product is synthetic or contains items so isolated that they should not be considered to be food.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae (the primary yeast used in baking and brewing) is beneficial to humans and can help combat various infections [11], including according to the German E monograph Candida albicans. In the text, Medical Mycology John Rippon (Ph.D., Mycology, University of Chicago) wrote, “There are over 500 known species of yeast, all distinctly different. And although the so-called bad yeasts do exist, the controversy in the natural foods industry regarding yeast related to health problems which is causing many health-conscious people to eliminate all yeast products from their diet is ridiculous. It should also be noted, that W. Crook, M.D., perhaps the nation’s best known expert on Candida albicans, wrote, “yeasty foods don’t encourage candida growth…Eating a yeast-containing food does not make candida organisms multiply” [12]. Some people, however, are allergic to the cell-wall of yeast [12] and concerned supplement companies which have nutrient-containing yeast normally have had the cell-wall enzymatically processed to reduce even this unlikely occurrence.

Food Vitamins are Superior to Non-Food Vitamins

Although many mainstream health professionals believe, “The body cannot tell whether a vitamin in the bloodstream came from an organically grown cantaloupe or from a chemist’s laboratory” [13], this belief is quite misleading for several reasons. First it seems to assume that the process of getting the amount of the vitamin into the bloodstream is the same (which is frequently not the case [3-10]). Secondly, scientists understand that particle size is an important factor in nutrient absorption even though particle size is not detected by chemical assessment. Thirdly, scientists also understand that, “The food factors that influence the absorption of nutrients relate not only to the nature of the nutrients themselves, but also their interaction with each other and with the nonabsorbable components of food” [14]. Fourthly, “the physiochemical form of a nutrient is a major factor in bioavailability” (and food and non-food vitamins are not normally in the same form) [15]. Fifthly, most non-food vitamins are crystalline in structure [1].

Published scientific research has concluded, “natural vitamins are nutritionally superior to synthetic ones” [8].

Food vitamins are in the physiochemical forms which the body recognizes, generally are not crystalline in structure, contain food factors that affect bioavailability, and appear to have smaller particle sizes (see illustrations in table 3). This does not mean that non-food vitamins do not have any value (they clearly do), but it is important to understand that natural food complex vitamins have actually been shown to be better than isolated, non-food, vitamins (see table 4).

Look at Electronic Photos to See the Structural Differences

Electronic photos demonstrate that isolated USP vitamins have a crystalline appearance compared to vitamins in foods which have more of a rounded appearance (see table 3).

Table 3. Physical and Structural Differences


Food Vitamin C

Ascorbic Acid

Food Vitamin B1

Thiamine Hydrochloride

Electronic Photographs

Even before these types of pictures were available, the late Dr. Royal Lee knew that food vitamin C was superior to ascorbic acid. “Dr. Lee felt it was not honest to use the name ‘vitamin C’ for ascorbic acid. That term ‘should be reserved for the vitamin C COMPLEX’” [16]. Why then, according to the ingredients listed in a recent catalog, would a supplement company that Dr. Lee originally founded currently include ascorbic acid, inorganic mineral salts, and/or other isolated nutrients in the majority of its products? Dr. Lee, like the late Dr. Bernard Jensen [17], was also opposed to the use of other isolated, synthetic, nutrients [16].

Dr Lee specifically wrote, “In fact, the Food & Drug laws seem to be suspended where synthetic imitations of good foods are concerned, and actually perverted to prosecute makers and sellers of real products…The synthetic product is always a simple chemical substance, while the natural is a complex mixture of related and similar materials…Pure natural Vitamin E was found three times as potent as pure synthetic Vitamin E. Of course the poisonous nature of the synthetic Vitamin D…is well established. WHY DO NOT THE PEOPLE AND MEDICAL MEN KNOW THESE FACTS? Is it because the commercial promoters of cheap imitation food and drug products spend enough money to stop the leaking out of information?” [18].

 Table 4. Comparison of Certain Biological Effects of Food and Non-Food Vitamins

Food VitaminCompared to USP/’Natural’/Non-Food Vitamins
Vitamin AMore complete, as scientists teach that vitamin A is not an isolate [19]
Vitamin BComplex More effective in maintaining good health and liver function [20,21]
Vitamin B-9More utilizable above 266mcg (Recommended Daily Intake is 400mcg) [22]
Vitamin COver 15.6 times antioxidant effect [23]
Vitamin DOver 10 times the antirachitic effect [24]
Vitamin EUp to 4.0 times the free radical scavenging strength [25]
Vitamin HUp to 100 times more biotin effect [1]
Vitamin KSafer for children [26]

The difference is more than quantitative.

Let’s take vitamin C for an example. Even if one were to take 3.2 times as much of the so-called natural, non-food, ascorbic acid than food vitamin C, although the antioxidant effects might be similar in vitro, the ascorbic acid still will not contain DHAA [1], nor will it ever have negative oxidative reductive potential (ORP). An in vitro study performed at this researcher’s lab with a digital ORP meter demonstrated that a citrus food vitamin C has negative ORP, but that ascorbic acid had positive ORP [27].

It takes negative ORP to clean up oxidative damage [28], and since ascorbic acid has positive ORP (as well as positive redox potential [1]), it can never replace food vitamin C no matter what the quantity! Furthermore, foods which are high in vitamin C tend to have high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC, another test which measures the ability of foods and other compounds to subdue oxygen free radicals [23]). A US government study which compared the in vivo effects of a high vitamin C food (containing 80 mg of vitamin C) compared to about 15.6 times as much isolated ascorbic acid (1250 mg) found that the vitamin C-containing food produced the greatest increase in blood antioxidant levels (it is believed that bioflavonoids and other food factors are responsible) [23].

Furthermore, it is even possible isolated ascorbic acid only has in vitro and no in vivoantioxidant effects: “it has not been possible to show conclusively that higher than anti-scorbic intake of {SYNTHETIC} vitamin C has antioxidant clinical benefit” [29]. Why should people take supplemental synthetic ascorbic acid when it is NOT been proven to have antioxidant effects in humans?

“Cross sectional and longitudinal studies show that the occurrence of cardiovascular disease and cancer is inversely related to vitamin C intake…the protective effects seen in these studies are attributable to fruit and vegetable {FOOD} intake…In general, beneficial effects of supplemental {SYNTHETIC} vitamin C have been noted in small studies, while large well controlled studies have failed to show benefit” [29]. The other quantitative is that in humans, “Plasma is completely saturated in doses of 400 mg and higher daily producing a steady-state plasma concentration of 80 mM…Tissues, however, saturate before plasma” [29]. De-emphasizing vitamin C containing foods by attempting to consume higher quantities of isolated ascorbic acid simply will not have the effects on plasma vitamin C levels, ORP, ORAC, or other health aspects that many consumers of isolated ascorbic acid hope it will [3,27,29].

No matter how much isolated ascorbic acid one takes orally

  • It will never saturate plasma and/or tissue vitamin C levels significantly more than can be obtained by consuming sufficient vitamin C containing foods.
  • It will never have negative ORP, thus can never ‘clean-up’ oxidative damage like food vitamin C can.
  • It will never have the free radical fighting capacity of food vitamin C.
  • It will never contain DHAA (the other ‘half’ of vitamin C) or the promoting food factors.
  • It will never have the same effect on health issues, such as aging and cardiovascular disease as high vitamin C foods can.
  • It will not ever be utilized the way food vitamin C is.
  • It will always be a synthetic.

Let’s take vitamin E as another example—the body has a specific liver transport for the type of vitamin E found in food [10]—it does not have this for the synthetic vitamin E forms (nor for the ‘new’ vitamin E analogues that are frequently marketed)—thus no amount of synthetic vitamin E can truly equal food vitamin E—the human body actually tries to rid itself of synthetic vitamin E as quickly as possible [30]. As another example, it should be understood that certain forms of vitamin analogues of B-6 [19], D [10], and biotin [1] have been shown to have almost no vitamin activity.

Fractionated, synthetic, vitamins do not replace all the natural function of food vitamins in the body. This is due to the fact that they are normally chemically and structurally different (they also do not have the naturally occurring food factors which are needed by the body) from vitamins found in foods (or vitamin supplements made up entirely of foods).

Food Vitamins and Non-Food Vitamin Analogues

Vitamin A/Betacarotene: Vitamin A naturally exists in foods, but not as a single compound. Vitamin A primarily exists in the form of retinyl esters, and not retinol and beta carotene is always in the presence of mixed carotenoids with chlorophyll [10]. Vitamin A acetate is from methanol, it is a retinol which is crystalline in structure [1]. Vitamin A palmitate can be fish oil [1] or synthetically derived [2]; but once isolated it bears little resemblance to food and can be crystalline in structure [1,2]. Synthetic betacarotene is “prepared from condensing aldehyde (from acetone) with acetylene” [2]; “not much natural beta-carotene is available due to the high costs of production” [2].

“Beta-carotene has been found to have antioxidant effect in vitro…Whether {ISOLATED} beta-carotene has significant antioxidant effect in vivo is unclear” [32]. Carrots, a food high in betacarotene, do have high antioxidant ability [32,33]. Natural betacarotene, as found in foods, is composed of both all-trans and 9-cis isomers, while synthetic betacarotene is all-trans isomers [34]. Carrots, yellow and green leafy vegetables, and turmeric contain natural betacarotene along with multiple carotenoids. Natural betacarotene was found to significantly decrease serum conjugated diene levels for children exposed to high levels of irradiation, though it is not known if synthetic betacarotene would provide similar benefits [34].

Regarding isolated betacarotene, “The data presented provide convincing evidence of the harmful properties of this compound if given alone to smokers, or to individuals exposed to environmental carcinogens, as a micronutrient supplement” [35]. “The three beta-carotene intervention trials: the Beta Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial (CARET), Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study (ATBC), and Physician’s Health Study (PHS) have all pointed to a lack of effect of synthetic beta-carotene in decreasing cardiovascular disease or cancer risk in well-nourished populations. The potential contribution of beta-carotene supplementation to increased risk of lung cancer in smokers has been raised as a significant concern. The safety of synthetic beta-carotene supplements and the role of isomeric forms of beta-carotene (synthetic all-trans versus “natural” cis-trans isomeric mixtures)… have become topics of debate in the scientific and medical communities” [36]. Now, although the consumption of both synthetic betacarotene and food betacarotene raise serum vitamin A levels about the same, this obscures the fact that synthetic betacarotene tends to mainly increase serums all-trans betacarotene, while food betacarotene increases other forms as well [37].

It is possible that synthetic betacarotene can negatively affect vitamin E’s antioxidant ability as a clinical study found, “These results support earlier findings for the protective effect of a-tocopherol against LDL oxidation, and suggest that beta-carotene participates as a prooxidant in the oxidative degradation of LDL under these conditions. Since high levels of alpha-tocopherol did not mitigate the prooxidative effect of beta-carotene, these result indicate that increased LDL beta-carotene may cancel the protective qualities of alpha-tocopherol” [38]. In a consumer-directed publication, Stephen Sinatra (M.D.) observes, “Research has shown that high doses of synthetic beta-carotene—the kind found in many popular brands—may actually increase your risk for lung cancer. Because at high levels it can become prooxidative—exactly the opposite of what you want…I’ve seen harmful effects (such as serious vision loss) in people who have taken up to 80,000 IU of beta-carotene per day. The bottom line is: Less is more when it comes to beta-carotene. To be safe I recommend between 12,500 and 25,000 IU of beta-carotene per day from food sources such as carrots” [39].

In my opinion, betacarotene in carrots, however, is safer than even Dr. Sinatra suggests (there is about 12,000 i.u. of betacarotene in one raw carrot). The reason for this is because betacarotene in carrots is attached to lipoproteins which appear to aid in preventing toxicity. Isolated USP betacarotene, even if it allegedly comes from “natural” sources, simply does not have the attached lipoproteins or other potentially protective substances as found in foods like carrots.

While isolated synthesized vitamin A and polar bear livers have posed toxicity issues, this is simply not considered to be the case of any other food that is supplying vitamin A/beta-carotene [40,41]. Foods containing vitamin A and/or beta carotene are superior [8].

Vitamin B-1, Thiamin: Vitamin B-1 exists in food in the forms of thiamin pyrophosphate, thiamin monophosphate, and thiamin [10]. The non-food thiamin mononitrate is a coal tar derivative [4], never naturally found in the body [10], and is a crystalline isolate [1] (the same is true for thiamin hydrochloride and other chloride forms). Synthetic forms are often used in “food fortification” (where processing removes the naturally occurring thiamin) as they are cheaper and, in that context more stable. However, they are inferior to naturally occurring thiamin forms [8,42]. “The nutritive value of straight-run white flour…has been found to be inferior to that of wholemeal flour, even when the defects of the former in protein, minerals and {SYNTHETIC} vitamin B1 have been corrected” [42].

Vitamin B-2, Riboflavin: Naturally exists as riboflavin and various co-enzyme forms in food [10]. In non-foods it is most often synthetically made with 2N acetic acid, is a single form isolate, and is crystalline in structure [1]. Some synthetic riboflavin analogues have weak vitaminic activity [43]. Some natural variations, especially in coenzyme forms, occur in plants (including fungal) species [44]. Various studies suggests that food riboflavin are superior to non-food forms [8,41].

Vitamin ‘B-3’, Niacinamide: Primarily exists in foods in forms other than niacin [10]. “Niacin is a generic term…the two coenzymes that are the metabolically active forms of niacin (are)…nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and NAD phosphate (NADP)…Only small amounts of free forms of niacin occur in nature. Most of the niacin in food is present as a component of NAD and NADP…nicotinamide is more soluble in water, alcohol, and ether than nicotinic acid…many analogues of niacin have been synthesized, some of which have antivitamin activity ” [10]. Niacinamide (also called nicotinamide) is considered to have less potential side-effects than niacin [10]; it also does not seem to cause gastrointestinal upset or hepatotoxicity that the synthetic time-released niacin can cause [45]. Processing losses for this vitamin are mainly due to water leaching [46]. Isolated, non-food, niacinamide is normally from 3-cyanopyridine and can form crystals [1]. This non-food ‘niacin’ is synthesized from acetaldehyde through several chemical reactions often involving formalydehyde and ammonia [2,47]. Beef, legumes, cereal grains, yeast, and fish are significant natural food sources of vitamin B3 [45].

Vitamin ‘B-5’, Pantothenate: Naturally exists in foods as pantothenate [10]. “Pantothenate, usually in the form of CoA, performs multiple roles in cellular metabolism, being central to energy-yielding oxidation of glycolytic products and other metabolites through the mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid cycle…Synthesis of fatty-acids and membrane phospholipids, including regulatory sphingolipids requires pantothenate, and synthesis of the amino acids leucine, arginine, and methionine requires a pantothenate requiring step. CoA is required for synthesis of isoprenoid derivatives, such as cholesterol, steroid hormones, dolichol, vitamin A, vitamin D, and heme A” [10]. “It also appears to be involved in the regulation of gene expression and signal transduction…may have antioxidant and radioprotective properties…It has putative anti-inflammatory, wound healing and antiviral activities…may be helpful in the management of some with rheumatoid arthritis…shown to accelerate wound healing” [32]. “Synthetic D-pantothenate…is available as a calcium or sodium salt” [10], and is sold in forms such as sodium D-pantothenate or calcium D-pantothenate or sometime just listed as pantothenic acid [32]. Other synthetic “multivitamin preparations commonly contain its…alcohol derivative, panthenol” [10]. “Dexopanthenol is a synthetic form which is not found naturally” [32]. USP pantothenic acid is made by condensing isobutyraldehyde with formaldehyde [2]. “Pantothenic acid consists of pantoic acid in amide linkage to beta-alanine”, but vitamin B-5 is not found that way in nature [48]. Vitamin B-5 is found in food as pantothenate forms; foods do not naturally contain pantothenic acid [48]. The vegetarian foods which are highest in natural pantothenate are nutritional yeast, brown rice, peanuts, and broccoli [10,32,48]. Specifically, Saccharomyces cerevisiae is one of the best natural sources of food pantothenate [10,32]. Calcium pantothenate is a synthetic enantiomer [10] and is a calcium salt [1] and is crystalline [2].

Vitamin B-6: Plants naturally primarily contain vitamin B6 in forms such as 5’0-(beta-D-glycopyransosyl) and other pyridoxines, not pyridoxal forms [10]. Pyridoxine hydrochloride is not naturally found in the body [10], is a crystalline isolate [1], and is generally made from petroleum and hydrochloric acid and processed with formaldehyde [4]. Pyridoxal-5-phosphate is made by combining phosphorus oxychloride and/or adenosine triphosphate with pyridoxal [1]; it becomes a crystalline isolate [1] and bears almost no resemblance to food vitamin B6. At least one synthetic vitamin B-6 analogue has been found to inhibit natural vitamin B-6 action [49]. A study of healthy elderly individuals found about 1/3 had marginal vitamin B-6 deficiency [32].

Vitamin ‘B-9’, Folate: Folate was once known as vitamin B-9, as well as vitamin M. Initially food folate was given for people with a pregnancy-related anemia in the form of autolyzed yeast; later a synthetic USP isolate was developed [10]. Pteroylglutamic acid (folic acid), the common pharmacological (USP) form of folate is not found significantly as such in the body [10]. “Folic acid is a synthetic folate form” [50]. Folic acid, such as in most supplements, is not found in food, folates are [15]. Insufficient folate can result in fatigue, depression, confusion, anemia, reduced immune function, loss of intestinal villi, and an increase in infections [11]. Folate deficiency is the most important determinant in high homocysteine levels [11], and supplemental folate is effective in reducing homocysteine [51,52]. “The highest concentrations of folate exist in yeast…and brocolli” [10]. Insufficient folate can result in fatigue, depression, confusion, anemia, reduced immune function, loss of intestinal villi, and an increase in infections [11]. “(C)onsumption of more than 266 mcg of synthetic folic acid (PGA) results in absorption of unreduced PGA, which may interfere with folate metabolism for a period of years” [10]. A 2004 paper from the British Medical Journal confirmed what many natural health professional have known all along: since folic acid is unnatural and the body cannot fully convert large amounts of it into usable folate, this artificial substance can be absorbed and may have unknown negative consequences in the human body [22]–folate supplementation obviously should be in food folate forms and not folic acid.

Vitamin B-12: The naturally active forms are methylcobalamin and deoxyadenosylcobalamin and are found in food [10]. Cyanocobalamin is not a naturally active form [10]; it is an isolate which is crystalline in structure [1]. Initially natural food complexvitamin B12 was given for people with pernicious anemia in the form of raw liver, but due to cost considerations a synthetic USP isolate was developed [7]. According to Dr. Victor Herbert (and others) vitamin B-12 when ingested in its human-active form is non-toxic, yet Dr. Herbert (and others) have warned that “the efficacy and safety of the vitamin B12 analogues created by nutrient-nutrient interaction in vitamin-mineral supplements is unknown” [52]. Some synthetic vitamin B12 analogues seem to be antagonistic to vitamin B12 activity in the body [53,54]. Most synthetic B-12 is made through a fermentation process with the addition of cyanide [4].

Vitamin B-x, Vitamin B-8, Vitamin B factors like Choline: PABA was once called vitamin B-x, while inositol was once called vitamin B-8. They and choline are considered to be vitamin B co-factors.

In large doses, PABA is “indicated for Peyronie’s disease, scleroderma, morphea and linear scleroderma” [11]. The non-food version of PABA is made from coal tar [2]. In addition, there is a non-food potassium salt synthetic form, called aminobenzoate potassium [11]. PABA is found in foods such as kidney, liver, molasses, fungal foods, spinach, and whole grains [55].

The non-food version of inositol is made from phytin processed with sulfuric acid [2]. Inositol is a lipotrophic factor, as is also necessary for hair growth. While nutritional yeast is probably the best source of inositol, it is also found in fruits, lecithin, legumes, meats, milk, unrefined molasses, raisins, vegetables, and whole grains [55].

Choline bitartrate and choline chloride, the types most often encountered in allegedly “natural” vitamin supplements, are actually “commercial salts” [11]—they are synthetic forms. Ethylene is involved in the production of one or more of the synthetic forms [2].

Phosphatidyl-choline is the major delivery form of choline, and is naturally found in many foods such as beef liver, egg yolks, and soya [11]. Specially grown nutritional yeast appears to be the best food form for supplements.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C naturally occurs in fruits in two ascorbate forms with bioflavonoids [10]. Non-food, so-called ‘natural’ ascorbic acid is made by fermenting corn sugar into sorbitol, then hydrogenating it until it turns into sorbose, then acetone (commonly referred to as nail polish remover) is added to break the molecular bonds which creates isolated, crystalline, ascorbic acid. It does not contain both vitamin C forms (nor bioflavonoids), thus is too incomplete to properly be called vitamin C [2]. The patented ‘vitamin C’ compounds that are touted as less acidic than ascorbic acid also are not food (it is not possible to get a US patent on naturally occurring vitamins as found in food–anytime a health professional hears that some vitamin is patented, that should set off warning signals that it is not real food). An in vitro study found that food complex vitamin C has negative ORP (oxidative reductive potential) [27], yet the Merck Index shows that so-called ‘natural’ ascorbic acid has positive ORP [1] (negative ORP is much better as it helps ‘clean up’ oxidative damage whereas items with positive ORP do not) [56]. Food complex vitamin C is also 10x less acidic than ascorbic acid.

Some of the many functions that vitamin C is involved in include collagen formation, carnitine biosynthesis, neurotransmitter synthesis, enhancement of iron absorption, immunocompetence, antioxidant defense, possible anticarcenogenic effects, protection of folate and vitamin E from oxidation, and cholesterol catabolism [1].

One study found that food complex vitamin C had 492 micro moles per gram T.E. (Trolox equivalents) of hydrophilic ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) [57]—ORAC is essentially a measurement of the ability to quench free radicals (antioxidant ability)—while blueberries (one of the highest ORAC sources [23]) only had 195 micro moles per gram T.E. [57]—thus food complex vitamin C has 2.52 times the ORAC ability of blueberries. Vitamin C containing food has over 15.6 times the ORAC of isolated ascorbic acid [23] (food complex vitamin C is even higher). Actually, there are doubts that isolated ascorbic acid has any significant antioxidant effects in humans [29]. Food vitamin C is clearly superior for any interested in ORAC.

Although food vitamin C is superior to isolated ascorbic acid [8], at least one mainstream researcher has written, “The bioavailability of vitamin C in food and ‘natural form’ supplements is not significantly different from that of pure synthetic AA” [10] this is simply not true. As “proof” that particular author cites two papers. The first citation is a study that concludes since serum ascorbic acid levels were at similar levels after various vitamin C containing foods and synthetic ascorbic acid were consumed, that the bioavailability is similar [58]. The conclusions reached seem to ignore that fact that it may be possible that DHAA or other food constituents associated with natural vitamin C may have positive effects other than raising serum ascorbate levels. The second citation is a study that probably should not have been cited as it never compared vitamin C as complexed in food versus synthetic ascorbic acid (it compared synthetic ascorbic acid to Ester-C which is a commercial blend of synthetic ascorbic acid and select metabolites as well as to synthetic ascorbic acid mixed with some bioflavonoids) [59]. Hence, those who claim that there is no difference really do not have strong scientific proof for there contrary opinion.

More recent scientific investigations (cited previously. i.e. 8,23,27,57) have demonstrated that food vitamin C is superior to isolated ascorbic acid.

Vitamin D: The history of synthetic vitamin D is a shocking one. “The first vitamin isolated was a photoproduct from the irradiation of the fungal sterol ergosterol. This vitamin was known as D1…vitamin D obtained from irradiation of ergosterol had little antirachitic activity” [60]–in other words, the first synthetic vitamin D did not act the same as natural vitamin D. “At the time of its identification, it was assumed that the vitamin D made in the skin during exposure to sunlight was vitamin D2”, but it was later learned that human skin produced something called vitamin D3 [60]. It was first believed that provitamin D3 was directly converted to vitamin D3, but that was incorrect. The skin actually contains a substance commonly called provitamin D3; after exposure to sunlight previtamin D3 is produced and it begins to isomerize into vitamin D2 in a process which is temperature dependent, with isomerized vitamin D3 being jettisoned from the plasma membrane into extracellular space. Vitamin D2 was used to fortify milk in the US and Canada for about forty years until it was learned that D3 was the substance which had better antirachitic activity, so D3 has been used for the past twenty-five years [60]. But vitamin D has many benefits which are unrelated to rickets: B and T lymphocytes have been shown to have receptors for vitamin D similar to those found in the intestines, vitamin D seems to affect phagocytosis, and may even have some antiproliferation effect for tumor cells [60]. It has not been proven that any single USP isolated form of vitamin D has all the benefits as natural occurring forms of vitamin D. (Also, since the vitamin D was not particularly stable, manufacturers used to put in 1.5 to 2 times as much of synthetic vitamin D as they claimed on the product labels. This led to neonatal problems and hypercalcemia. [60].) One older report found that “natural vitamin D is about 100 times more potent in protecting chickens and children from rickets than…irradiated ergosterol” [61], USP vitamin D2.

New vitamin D analogues are still being developed: some which may have greater affects on calcium utilization [62], some even may be helpful for breast cancer [63]–but these really may be pharmacological, and not naturopathic, applications since these analogues are not food. In view of the historical errors in the supplementation with forms of vitamin D, it is reasonable to conclude that additional benefits of natural source vitamin D may be discovered, further distinguishing it from synthetic isolates.

Vitamin D is not an isolate, it exists as a combination of substances (including vitamin D3), with promoting metabolites [10]. Non-food vitamin analogues D1, D2, D3, and D4 are isolates without the promoting metabolites. USP D1 does not have appreciable antirachitic effects [10], is crystalline, and is made with benzene [1]. USP D2 is considered a synthetic form and is made by bombarding ergosterol with electrons [1] and is “recovered by solvent extraction” [2]. USP D3 and D4 are both made through irradiating animal fat [1,10,31] or through irradiating “the spinal cords and brains of cattle” [2]. Scientists are even developing a ‘new’ form of vitamin D (which is admitted to be an analogue) which is supposed to be helpful for osteoporosis [64]—natural vitamins cannot be invented! The fact that some drugs are chemically similar to vitamin D as found in foods, does not make them true vitamins. Food vitamin D has been reported to have at least 10 times the antirachitic effects than one or more isolated USP forms [65].

Vitamin E: Natural vitamin E “as found in foods is [d]-alpha tocopherol, whereas chemical synthesis produces a mixture of eight epimers” [66] (natural vitamin E has recently been renamed to be called RRR-alpha-tocopherol whereas the synthetic has now been renamed to all-rac-alpha-tocopherol, though supplement labels rarely make this clear; on supplement labels d-alpha-tocopherol is generally ‘natural’, whereas dl-alpha-tocopherol is synthetic [25]). Natural RRR-alpha-tocopherol has 1.7 – 4.0 times the free radical scavenging strength of the other tocopherols, RRR-alpha tocopherol has 3 times the biological activity of the alpha-tocotrienol form, and synthetic vitamin E simply does not have the same biologic activity of natural vitamin E (some synthetic forms have only 2% of the biological activity of RRR-alpha-tocopherol) [25]. The biologic activity of vitamin E is based on its ability to reverse specific vitamin E-deficiency symptoms [25], therefore it is a scientific fact that, overall, synthetic vitamin E has less ability to correct vitamin E deficiencies than food vitamin E. There is an interesting reason for this, which is that the body regulates plasma vitamin E through a specific liver alpha-tocopherol transfer protein, whereas it has no such protein for other vitamin E forms [25]. Or in other words, the liver produces a protein to handle vitamin E found in food, but not for the synthetic forms. The body retains natural vitamin E 2.7 times better than synthetic forms [30].

Even mainstream researchers teach, “Vitamin E is the exception to the paradigm that synthetic and natural vitamins are the equivalent because their molecular structures are identical…Synthetic vitamin E is produced by commercially coupling trimethylhydroquinone (TMHQ) with isophytol. This chemical reaction produces a difficult-to-separate mixture of eight isomers” [67] (vitamin E, of course, is not the only exception–all nutrients are better if they are Food). Isolated natural vitamin E has been found to have twice the bioavailability as synthetic vitamin E [68]. The form of vitamin E found in Foodhas been found to be 2.7 times better retained in the body than a synthetic form [26]—this appears to be because the body attempts to rid itself of synthetic forms as quickly as possible [26]. Food vitamin E, as found in specially grown rice, has been proven to have 12 micro moles per gram T.E. of lipophilic ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) [57]—ORAC is essentially a measurement of the ability to quench free radicals (antioxidant ability). It is interesting to note that so-called “natural” forms (like succinate) do not even work like Food vitamin EEven the PDR notes, “d-Alpha-Tocopherol succinate itself has no antioxidant activity” [32], so why would anyone want that for their vitamin E supplement?

Both chemical form and source of vitamin E may play a role as “chemically synthesized alpha-tocopherol is not identical to the naturally occurring form” [25]. Thus those who claim that a synthetic vitamin, even when it is in the same “chemical form” (it is never in the same actual form due to the presence of food constituents), is as good as one in a natural, food form, are simply overlooking the scientific facts about vitamins.

Vitamin E is necessary for the optimal development and maintenance of the nervous system as well as skeletal muscle [67]. Vitamin E deficiency can lead to certain anemias, nutritional muscular dystrophy, reproductive problems, and hyperlipidemia [66]. Vitamin E has been shown to reduce the risk of various cancers, coronary heart disease, cataract formation, and even air pollution [25,67]. It also is believed it may slow the aging process and decrease exercise-induced oxidative stress [25,67]. Artificial fats seem to increase the need for vitamin E [69]. Vitamin E content is highest in vegetable oils, also relatively high in avocados (4.31 i.u. each) [70] and rice bran [71].

Natural vitamin E as found in foods is [d]-alpha tocopherol (also called RRR-alpha tocopherol) and is never found as an isolate [10]. The so-called ‘natural’ forms are most frequently in supplements as isolates, a way they are never found in nature.

Vitamin ‘H’, Biotin: The only active form found in nature is d-(+) biotin and is usually protein bound [10]. Non-food biotin is normally an isolated, synthesized, crystalline form that is not protein bound [1]. Biotin l-sulfoxide is a lessor used isolated and/or non-food form, involves pimelic acid, is an isolate, and has less than 1% of the vitamin H activity of food biotin [1].

Vitamin K: Vitamin K naturally is found in plants as phylloquinone [10]. Non-food vitamin K3 menadione is now recognized as dangerous and is a synthetic naphthoquinone derivative (naphthalene is a coal tar derivative) [1]. USP K1, though also called phylloquinone, is an isolate normally synthesized with p-allylic-nickel [1]. There is another form of vitamin K inadvertently formed during the hydrogenation of oils called dihydro-vitamin K1 [72]; however since the consumption of hydrogenated oils appears to be dangerous [73], it does not seem that this form would be indicated for most humans. Dark leafy vegetables, as well as cabbage [74], appear to be the primary food source of vitamin K [75].

Types of Available Vitamins

There are really only two types of vitamins sold: food vitamins and non-food vitamins. Food vitamins will normally state something like “100% Food” on the label. Sometimes the label will also state “No USP nutrients” or “No synthetic nutrients”.

Non-food vitamins, however are somewhat less obvious. First of all, no non-food vitamin this researcher has seen says “100% food” on the label and none of them state ‘No USP or synthetic nutrients”—thus if none of these expressions are present, it is normally safe to conclude that the vitamins are not from food. If a label states that the product contains USP vitamins or ‘pharmaceutical grade’ nutrients, then it should be obvious to all naturopathic practitioners that the product is not food. Also, if a multi-vitamin or a B-complex formula states something to the effect that it “contains no yeast” that is basically a guarantee that it contains synthetic nutrients.

However, just because a company uses the term ‘natural’ or ‘all natural’ as a description of its vitamins does not make them, in fact, natural—this is because the US Government has no definition of natural! Also, just because a company may have a reputation for having natural products, this does not mean its vitamins are not synthetic—carefully check the label for proof that the product is truly 100% food.

Some companies seem to confuse the issue by using the term ‘food-based’ on their supplement labels. ‘Food-based’ vitamins are almost always USP vitamins mixed with a small amount of food. This mixing does not change the chemical form of the vitamin, so it is still a vitamin analogue and not a food vitamin (this differs from food, as true food vitamins are not simple mixture).

Some other companies (that do not use the term ‘food-based’) mix foods with the vitamin analogue and seem to imply that the vitamin is a food. For example, if a label states something like Vitamin C (Vitamin C, acerola) then it is also normally a synthetic mixed with a food. If the product were a food, it would normally state that the vitamin C was in food or from acerola and not use the term ‘vitamin C’ twice in a row on the label (many companies mix ascorbic acid with acerola).

Many companies use the term ‘yeast-free’ on their synthetic vitamin labels, apparently implying that yeast should not be used in vitamins. There are a couple of problems with this. The first is that several non-food isolated vitamins are produced by yeast, before they are industrially processed and isolated, thus it is unlikely that any multiple vitamin formula has not been partially made up of yeast, yeast extracts, or yeast by-products [1,2]. The second problem is that nutritional yeast is not the same as brewer’s yeast, which is essentially a waste by-product.

Conclusion

Most vitamins sold are not food–they are synthetically processed petroleum and/or hydrogenated sugar extracts–even if they say “natural” on the label. They are not in the same chemical form or structural form as real vitamins are in foods; thus they are not natural for the human body. True natural food vitamins are superior to synthetic ones [8,16,41]. Food vitamins are functionally superior to non-food vitamins as they tend to be preferentially absorbed and/or retained by the body. Isolated, non-food vitamins, even when not chemically different are only fractionated nutrients.

Studies cited throughout this paper suggest that the bioavailability of food vitamins is better than that of most isolated USP vitamins, that they may have better effects on maintaining aspects of human health beyond traditional vitamin deficiency syndromes, and at least some seem to be preferentially retained by the human body. It is not always clear if these advantages are due to the physiochemical form of the vitamin, with the other food constituents that are naturally found with them, or some combination. Regardless, it seems logical to conclude that for purposes of maintaining normal health, natural vitamins are superior to synthetic ones [8,16,41]. Unlike some synthetic vitamins, no natural vitamin has been found to not perform all of its natural functions.

The truth is that only foods, or supplements composed of 100% foods, can be counted on as not containing non-food vitamin analogues. Natural health advocates are supposed to build health on foods or nutrients contained in foods. That was the standard set for the profession in 1947—that standard—that commitment to real naturopathy should remain for natural health professionals today.

References

[1] Budvari S, et al editors. The Merck Index: An encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals, 12 th ed. Merck Research Laboratories, Whitehouse Station (NJ), 1996

[2] Vitamin-Mineral Manufacturing Guide: Nutrient Empowerment, volume 1. Nutrition Resource, Lakeport (CA), 1986

[3] DeCava JA. The Real Truth About Vitamins and Antioxidants. A Printery, Centerfield (MA), 1997

[4] Hui JH. Encyclopedia of Food Science and Technology. John Wiley, New York, 1992

[5] Gehman JM. From the Office of the President: Pseudo-Group Once Again Misleading the Naturopathic Field. Official Bulletin ANA, January 25, 1948:7-8

[6] Ensminger AH, et al. Food & Nutrition Encyclopedia, 2 nd ed. CRC Press, New York, 1993

[7] Mervyn L. The B Vitamins. Thorsons, Wellingborough ( UK), 1981

[8] Thiel R. Natural vitamins may be superior to synthetic ones. Med Hypo 2000 55(6):461-469

[9] Haynes W. Chemical Trade Names and Commercial Synonyms, 2nd ed. Van Nostrand Co., New York, 1955

[10] Shils M, et al, editors. Modern Nutrition in Health & Disease, 9 th ed. Williams & Wilkins, Balt.,1999

[11] Gruenwald et al editors. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd ed. Medical Economics Company. Montvale (NJ) 2000

[12] Crook W. The Yeast Connection: A Medical Breakthrough, 3 rd ed. Professional Books, Jackson, TN; 1986

[13] Whitney EN, Rolfes S. Understanding Nutrition, 4 th ed. West Publishing, New York, 1987

[14] Jenkins DJA, Wolever TMS, and Jenkins AL. Diet Factors Affecting Nutrient Absorption and Metabolism. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:583-602

[15] Macrae R, Robson RK, Sadler MJ. Encyclopedia of Food Science and Nutrition. Academic Press, New York, 1993

[16] DeCava, J. The Lee Philosophy-Part II. Nutrition News and Views 2003;7(1):1-6

[17] Jensen B. Chemistry of Man. Bernard Jensen, Escondido (CA), 1983

[18] Lee R. How and Why Synthetic Poisons Sold as Imitations of Natural Foods and Drugs? 1948

[19] Ross A.C. Vitamin A and Carotenoids. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10th ed. Lippincott William & Wilkins, Phil, 2005: 351-375

[20] Ha SW. Rabbit study comparing yeast and isolated B vitamins (as described in Murray RP. Natural vs. Synthetic. Mark R. Anderson, 1995:A3). Ann Rev Physiol, 1941;3:259-282

[21] Elvehjem C. Chick study comparing Goldberg diet (as described in Murray RP. Natural vs. Synthetic. Mark R. Anderson, 1995:A4). J Am Diet Assoc, 1940;16(7):654

[22] Lucock M. Is folic acid the ultimate functional food component for disease prevention? BMJ, 2004;328:211-214

[23] Williams D. ORAC values for fruits and vegetables. Alternatives, 1999;7(22):171

[24] Thiel R. Vitamin D, rickets, and mainstream experts. Int J Naturopathy, 2003; 2(1)

[25] Traber MG. Vitamin E. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed. Williams & Wilkins, 1999:347-362

[26] Olson R.E. Vitamin K. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Nutrition, 9th ed. Williams & Wilkins, Balt., 1999: 363-380

[27] Thiel R. ORP Study on Durham-produced Food Vitamin C for Food Research LLC. Doctors’ Research Inc., Arroyo Grande (CA), February 17, 2006

[28] Fowkes SW. Antioxidants & reduction. Smart Life News, 2000;7(9):6-8

[29] Sebastian J, et al. Vitamin C as an antioxidant: evaluation of its role in disease prevention. J Am Coll Nutr, 2003;22(1):18-35

[30] Traber MG, Elsner A, Brigelius-Flohe R. Synthetic as compared with natural vitamin E is preferentially excreted as alpha-CEHC in human urine: studies using deuterated alpha-tocopherol acetates. FESB Letters, 1998;437:145-148

[31] Nakano H, McMahon LG, Gregory JF. Pyridoxine-5’-beta-glucoside exhibits incomplete bioavailability as a source of vitamin B-6 and partially inhibits the utilization of co-ingested pyridoxine in humans. J Nutr,1997;127(8):1508-1513

[32] Hendler S, Rorvik D, editors. PDR for Nutritional Supplements. Medical Economics, Montvale (NJ), 2001

[33] Chu YF, Sun J, Wu X, Liu RH. Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of common vegetables. J Agric Food Chem. 2002;50(23):6910-6916

[34] Ben-Amotz A, et al. Effect of natural beta-carotene supplementation in children exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl accident. Radiat Environ Biophys 1998;37:187-193

[35] Paolini M, Abdel-Rahman SZ, Sapone A, Pedulli GF, Perocco P, Cantelli-Forti G, Legator MS. Beta-carotene: a cancer chemopreventive agent or a co-carcinogen? Mutat Res. 2003;543(3):195-200

[36] Patrick L. Beta-carotene: the controversy continues. Altern Med Rev. 2000;5(6):530-45

[37] Ben Amotz; van het Hof KH, Gartner C, Wiersma A, Tijburg LB, Westrate JA. Comparison of the bioavailability of natural palm oil carotenoid and synthetic beta-carotene in humans. J Agric Food Chem, 1999;47(4):1582-1586

[38] Bowen HT, Omaye ST. Oxidative changes associated with beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol enrichment of human low-density lipoproteins. J Am Coll Nutr. 1998;17(2):171-179

[39] Sinatra S. Consumer Alert: Don’t Touch this Button, 2003:34-35

[40] Stepp W, Kuhnau J. Schroeder J. The vitamins and their clinical applications (as described in Murray RP. Natural vs. Synthetic. Mark R. Anderson, 1995:A2). Ferdinand Enke, Stuttgart, Germany 1936.

[41] Murray RP. Anderson MR. Natural vs. Synthetic. Mark R. Anderson, 1995:A1-2

[42] Chick H. Rat study comparing fortified white flour to wholegrain flour (as described in Murray RP. Natural vs. Synthetic. Mark R. Anderson, 1995:A3). Lancet, 1940;2:511-512

[43] McCormick DB, Riboflavin. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed. William & Wilkins, Balt.,1999:391-399

[44] McCormick DB. Riboflavin. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:366-375

[45] Cervantes-Lauren D, McElvaney NG, Moss J. Niacin. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed. Williams & Wilkins, Balt.,1999:401-411

[46]Williams AW, Erdman JW. Food processing: nutrition, safety, and quality balances. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed. William & Wilkins, Balt.,1999:1813-1821

[47] Hui JH. Encyclopedia of Food Science and Technology. John Wiley, New York, 1992

[48] Shils M, et al, editors. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994

[49] ] Mervyn L. The B Vitamins. Thorsons, Wellingborough ( UK), 1981

[50] Verhoef P. Homocysteine metabolism and risk of myocardial infarction: Relation with vitamin B6, B12, and Folate. Am J Epidemiol 1996;143(9):845-859

[51] Brattstrom L. Vitamins as homocysteine-lowering agents: A mini review. Presentation at The Experimental Biology 1995 AIN Colloquium, April 13, 1995, Atlanta Georgia

[52] Herbert V, Das KC. Folic acid and vitamin B12. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phil.,1994:402-425

[53] Ishida A, Kanefusa H, Fujita H, Toraya T. Microbiological activities of nucleotide loop-modified analogues of vitamin B12. Arch Microbiol,1994;161(4):293-299

[54] Tandler B, Krhenbul S, Brass EP. Unusual mitochondria in the hepatocytes of rats treated with a vitamin B12 analogue. Anat Rec,1991;231(1):1-6

[55] Balch JF, Balch PA. Prescription for a Nutritional Healing, 2 nd ed. Avery Publishing, Garden City Park (NY), 1997

[56] Thiel RJ. The truth about vitamins in supplements. ANMA Monitor, 2003;6(2):6-14

[57] ORAC Test by Brunswick Laboratories, Wareham (MA), February 2006

[58] Mangels AR, et al. The bioavailability to humans of ascorbic acid from oranges, orange juice and cooked broccoli is similar to that of synthetic ascorbic acid. J Nutr, 1993;123(6):1054-1061

[59] Johnson C, Luo B. Comparison of the absorption and excretion of three commercially available sources of vitamin C. J Am Diet Assoc, 1994;94:779-781

[60] Holick MF. Vitamin D. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed. William & Wilkins, Balt.,1999:329-345

[61] Supplee G, Ansbacher S, Bender R, Flinigan G. Reports on prevention of rickets in chickens and children using natural and USP forms of vitamin D (as described in Murray RP. Natural vs. Synthetic. Mark R. Anderson, 1995:A6). J Biol Chem, 1936;1(107)957

[62] Miyamoto K, Murayama E, Ochi K, Watanabe H, Kubodera N. Synthetic studies of vitamin D analogues. XIV. Synthesis and calcium regulating activity of vitamin D3 analogues bearing a hydroxlkoxy group at the 2 beta-position. Chem Pharm Bull, 1993;41(6):1111-1113

[63] Fioravanti L, Miodini P, Cappelletti V, DiFronzo G. Synthetic analogs of vitamin D3 have inhibitory effects on breast cancer cell lines. Anticancer Res, 1998;18:1703-1708

[64] Research Breakthroughs. USA Weekend, November 15-17, 2002

[65] Thiel R. Vitamin D, rickets, and mainstream experts. Int J Naturopathy, 2003; 2(1):15-19

[66] Farrel PM, Robert RJ. Vitamin E. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phil.;1994:326-341

[67] An Overview of Vitamin E Efficacy. VERIS Research Information Service, November 1998

[68] Burton GW, et al. Human plasma and tissue alpha-tocopherol concentrations in response to supplementation with deuterated natural and synthetic vitamin E. Am J Clin Nutr, 1998;67(4):669-684

[69] Schlagheck TG, et al. Olestra’s effect on vitamins D and E in humans can be offset by increasing dietary levels of these vitamins. J Nutr,1997;127(8):1666S-1685S

[70] Avocados rise to the top. Nutr Week, 2001;31(24):7

[71] Rice bran, crude. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18, 2005

[72] Booth SL, Pennington JA, Sadowski JA. Dihydro-vitamin K1: primary food sources and estimated dietary intakes in the American diet. Lipids, 1996;31:715-720

[73] Aschero A, Willett WC. Health affects of trans fatty acids. Am J Clin Nutr, 1997;66:1006S-1010S

[74] Cabbage, raw. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18, 2005

[75] Booth SL, Pennington JA, Sadowski JA. Food sources and dietary intakes of vitamin K-1 (phylloquinone) in the American diet: data from the FDA Total Diet Study. J Am Diet Assoc, 1996;96(2):149-154

Some of these studies (or citations) may not conform to peer review standards. Therefore, the results are not conclusive. Professionals can, and often do, come to different conclusions when reviewing scientific data. None of these statements have been reviewed by the FDA. All products distributed by Doctors’ Research, Inc. are nutritional and are not intended for the treatment or prevention of any medical condition.

GMOs and Health: Any Risk?

What are GMOs? Are there any risks? If so, what are some of those risks?

This article will attempt to answer those and other questions.

What Are GMOs?

GMOs are Genetically-Modified Organisms. Basically scientists change the genetic code of a plant or animal, often by including part of the genetic code of a different species into it.

Here is one definition and comments:

What are GMOs?
GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit. http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/

GMOs (also referred to as genetically-engineered foods) are intended to increase crop yield and tend to support the profitability of a USA-based company called Monsanto (and another company, the Switzerland-based Syngenta).

Monsanto and USA government officials tends to insist that GMOs are safe.

Which Items in the Food Supply Have GMOs?

GMOs are sold in grocery and other food stores.

More and more foods and products are being genetically engineered or contain genetically engineered ingredients. Here are eight of the most common to look out for. If a product contains these ingredients and is not labeled non-GMO Verified or Organic Certified, there’s a good chance  it contains GMOs:

  1. Alfalfa
  2. Canola
  3. Corn
  4. Cotton
  5. Papaya
  6. Soy
  7. Sugar Beets
  8. Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash

ALSO high-risk: animal products (milk, meat, eggs, honey, etc.) because of contamination in feed…

What product ingredients commonly contain genetically engineered crops?

Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Ethanol, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum (http://action.greenamerica.org/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=7626&gclid=CMTz9bigzbcCFWIV7Aod2V0AEw)

The first GMO in the food supply was the “Flavor Savr” tomato in 1994, but it was not a particular commercial success, and left the food supply in 1997. The company that introduced it, Calgene, was later acquired by Monsanto. Genetically modified (GM) items are all around in the USA.

Notice that synthetic vitamin ingredients, such as Ascorbic Acid, which most companies tend to call Vitamin C, are often GMO (probably because they tend to come from GM-corn.

Frankenstein and GMOs

It is not just plants that are affected by the GMO world.

In Canada, they display some “spider goats”:

Two genetically engineered (also called genetically modified or GM, transgenic) goats are now on display at the Canada Agriculture Museum, Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa. The goats were engineered with genetic material from spiders to create spider silk from their milk, for making military grade textiles. (http://foodfreedomgroup.com/2012/04/01/canada-promotes-transgenic-goats-at-ag-museum/ viewed 06/05/13)

Mixing arachnids with goats seems naturally crazy. Health Canada is also considering approving some type of GMO pig so it will have less phosphorus in its feces.

There have also been GMO experiments to put human genes into cows to make a different type of baby formula, sponge genes into potatoes so that the top portion will wilt to alert farmers when they need to irrigate, mixing mouse genes with cows, etc.

GMOs may be able to destroy the natural environment and produce odd type of plants, and possibly people. Notice the following from Harvard and the World Health Organization (WHO):

Modified organisms can, in addition, escape from greenhouses and fields and aquaculture cages into natural, or quasi-natural, ecosystems, and disrupt their biodiversity. 

GM foods may also damage biodiversity, for example, by promoting greater use of certain pesticides associated with GM crops that are particularly toxic to many species, and by introducing exotic genes and organisms into the environment that may disrupt natural plant communities and other ecosystems. (Harvard. Genetically Modified Foods. ©2012 Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College. Published by the Center for Health and the Global Environment. http://chge.med.harvard.edu/topic/genetically-modified-foods viewed 06/05/13)

Gene transfer. Gene transfer from GM foods to cells of the body or to bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract would cause concern if the transferred genetic material adversely affects human health. This would be particularly relevant if antibiotic resistance genes, used in creating GMOs, were to be transferred. …the probability of transfer is low

Outcrossing. The movement of genes from GM plants into conventional crops or related species in the wild (referred to as “outcrossing”), as well as the mixing of crops derived from conventional seeds with those grown using GM crops, may have an indirect effect on food safety and food security. This risk is real, as was shown when traces of a maize type which was only approved for feed use appeared in maize products for human consumption in the United States of America…

Issues of concern include: the capability of the GMO to escape and potentially introduce the engineered genes into wild populations; the persistence of the gene after the GMO has been harvested; the susceptibility of non-target organisms (e.g. insects which are not pests) to the gene product; the stability of the gene; the reduction in the spectrum of other plants including loss of biodiversity; and increased use of chemicals in agriculture. The environmental safety aspects of GM crops vary considerably according to local conditions. (WHO. 20 questions on genetically modified foods. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/ viewed 06/05/13)

Also, GMOs may contaminate the natural environment, produce unnatural plants, cause humans to get genetically affected, and are a risk to food security.

Bees and GMOs

There have been massive drops in the honey bee population. So much so, some have suggested that the food supply of the USA, for example, is at risk (see Nearly One Third of American Bees Died: Is Famine Coming to the USA?).

It is such a concern overseas that the Europeans have banned certain pesticides for three years to see if that may help their population recover. But it is not just Americans and Europeans that have concerns. Russia is very concerned as the following shows:

The shocking minutes relating to President Putin’s meeting this past week with US Secretary of State John Kerry reveal the Russian leaders “extreme outrage” over the Obama regimes continued protection of global seed and plant bio-genetic giants Syngenta and Monsanto in the face of a growing “bee apocalypse” that the Kremlin warns “will most certainly” lead to world war.

According to these minutes, released in the Kremlin today by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation (MNRE), Putin was so incensed over the Obama regimes refusal to discuss this grave matter that he refused for three hours to even meet with Kerry, who had traveled to Moscow on a scheduled diplomatic mission, but then relented so as to not cause an even greater rift between these two nations.

At the center of this dispute between Russia and the US, this MNRE report says, is the “undisputed evidence” that a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically related to nicotine, known as neonicotinoids, are destroying our planets bee population, and which if left unchecked could destroy our world’s ability to grow enough food to feed its population.

So grave has this situation become, the MNRE reports, the full European Commission (EC) this past week instituted a two-year precautionary ban (set to begin on 1 December 2013) on these “bee killing” pesticides following the lead of Switzerland, France, Italy, Russia, Slovenia and Ukraine, all of whom had previously banned these most dangerous of genetically altered organisms from being used on the continent.
http://www.eutimes.net/2013/05/russia-warns-obama-global-war-over-bee-apocalypse-coming-soon/

Bees are needed to pollinate many foods. Losses of bees truly put the human food supply at risk. Syngenta recognizes a problem with bees, but does not seem to believe that its products are part of the problem:

There is a lot of publicity throughout Europe blaming pesticides called neonicotinoids for the decline in honey bees and other pollinators…It is clear that the honey bee, which is vital to farming and food production, is beset by a range of different and complicated health threats. (Plight of the Bees. http://www.syngenta.com/eame/plightofthebees/en/Pages/home.aspx viewed 06/05/13)

The interaction between agriculture and bees is a sensitive one. The balance is very precise, as is the ecology…In the past few years, Europe has experienced a decline in the health of managed honey bees which has resulted in damage to colonies and populations. Many different possible causes have been suggested and promoted. But the overall scientific consensus is that the health decline is caused by many different factors acting together, and principal among them are the parasitic mite Varroa, viruses carried by mites, Nosema ceranae, and the loss of suitable habitats and nutrition. The declines in Europe and the USA are not replicated in other regions. (Plight of the Bees. http://www.syngenta.com/eame/plightofthebees/en/causes/Pages/causes.aspxviewed 06/05/12)

At least Syngenta recognizes that the ecological balance needs to be precise. Yet, adding GMOs into the mix affects the ecological balance.

An Improper Defense of GMOs

Some contend that GMOs are essentially identical to real food, thus are not a threat. Do they have a point?

Notice the following improper defense of GMOs:

June 5, 2103

Perhaps the most difficult thing about being a science journalist is combating and extinguishing malevolent myths, which always seem to spread faster and further than the actual truth. The largest falsehood currently in circulation is that GMOs represent a threat – to our health, to our environment and to our food supply. But nothing could be further from the truth.

GMOs are nutritionally indistinguishable from their non-GMO counterparts…Like agriculture or hunting-and-gathering, GMOs leave an impact on the environment. Some of it is bad, like when farmers overuse the herbicide glyphosate, which in turn may speed the evolution of “superweeds.”…

But the science consistently shows that GMOs pose no threat to our health. Therefore, it would make about as much sense to put a warning label on GMO corn as it would to place a warning label on corn grown in Nebraska. In summary, GMOs really aren’t controversial in the scientific community.  http://www.usnews.com/debate-club/should-consumers-be-worried-about-genetically-modified-food/the-pervasive-myth-that-gmos-pose-a-threat

While GMOs may not be controversial to the parts of the “scientific community” that does not look into it in depth, as well as scientists affiliated with certain corporations and government entities, the reality is that they are controversial and are not “nutritionally indistinguisable” to there non-GMO counterparts.

The fact is that GMO “foods” are not chemically-identical to non-GMO foods. One reason, for example, is that many produced by Monsanto are designed to be resistant to their trademarked herbicide called Round-Up. Round-Up kills most non-GMO plants, but not the ones that Monsanto sells that are “Round-Up” resistant.

Thus, they cannot be nutritionally-identical because they are not chemically-identical.

Everything with GMOs is Not Good

Some cracks in the vulnerability of GMOs have been discovered.

For example, a type of corn humanly engineered to thwart a certain bug now has resistance to what was supposed to kill it:

Monsanto Corn Plant Losing Bug Resistance
Wall Street Journal – Aug 29, 2011

Widely grown corn plants that Monsanto Co. genetically modified to thwart a voracious bug are falling prey to that very pest in a few Iowa fields, the first time a major Midwest scourge has developed resistance to a genetically modified crop.

The discovery raises concerns that the way some farmers are using biotech crops could spawn superbugs.

Iowa State University entomologist Aaron Gassmann’s discovery that western corn rootworms in four northeast Iowa fields have evolved to resist the natural pesticide made by Monsanto’s corn plant…http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904009304576532742267732046.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection

This news item provides further secular proof that my long-held beliefs concerning the risks of genetically-modified foods are getting more current scientific validation. Corn, more properly known as maize, is a very important food crop in the USA.  Furthermore, as Wikipedia reports, 85% of the US maize crop was genetically modified in 2009.  This increased dependance upon genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) for the American food supply is putting the USA at tremendous risk

Superweeds pose GM-resistant challenge for farmers

BBC – Sept 18, 2012
US farmers are facing a growing challenge from weeds resistant to chemical sprays, and enduring millions of dollars in losses as a result. The so-called “superweeds” have arisen because of the success of genetically modified crops, which now account for the vast majority of US corn, soya and cotton.
Genetically engineered (GE) crops are often discussed as the way to feed the world’s growing populations and to mitigate the affects of climate change. But the spreading of those same genetically engineered traits to weeds is now well documented. Invasive plants become “super weeds” and insects develop resistance to the trait, making them even tougher to fight than they were before the use of GE crops.

How Genetically Modified Corn Is Creating Super Worms

There’s “mounting evidence” that Monsanto Co. (MON) corn that’s genetically modified to control insects is losing its effectiveness in the Midwest, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.

Monsanto’s worst resistance problem is with crops engineered to tolerate its Roundup herbicide. “Superweeds” that Roundup no longer kills have invaded as many as 20 million acres (8.1 million hectares) of corn and soybeans, according to a Dow study. As many as 28 million acres of cotton, soybean and corn may host Roundup-resistant weeds by 2015, according to Basel, Switzerland-based Syngenta.

Corn fields in four states — Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska — were overrun by rootworm last year, prompting the EPA to say in a November memo that Monsanto’s bug-killing corn may be losing its effectiveness. The agency also said at the time that Monsanto’s program for monitoring suspected cases of resistance was “inadequate.”http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-04/-mounting-evidence-of-bug-resistant-corn-seen-by-epa.html

I have been warning about GMOs for some time. Back in 1999, I started to get published for my positions against genetically-modified foods (Thiel R.  Labeling of genetically modified foods should be a fundamental consumer right.  HealthKeepers, 2000; 2 (3):16-19; Thiel R. ANMA’s official position on genetically-modified foods.  ANMA Monitor, 1999;3(4)5-8). 

GMOs Present Health Risks

Are GMOs safe. Notice the following:

Are GMOs safe?
Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale. Increasingly, Americans are taking matters into their own hands and choosing to opt out of the GMO experiment…

In the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food. Click here for a current list of GMO risk crops.

http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/

Some have claimed that rats fed GMO corn developed tumors and organ damage:

Rats fed a lifetime diet of Monsanto’s genetically engineered corn or exposed to the company’s popular Roundup herbicide developed tumors and suffered severe organ damage, according to a French study…The study links varying levels of both the Roundup herbicide and the transgenes in Monsanto’s patented NK603 corn to mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage.

The rats were either fed the NK603 corn alone, corn treated with agricultural levels of Roundup, or given water treated with Roundup at low levels commonly found in contaminated drinking water and used in agriculture in the United States. In each group, there were two to three more deaths among female rats compared to control groups, and the rats on the Monsanto diet tended to die more quickly. (Ludwig M. French Study Finds Tumors and Organ Damage in Rats Fed Monsanto Corn. September 19, 2012. http://truth-out.org/news/item/11639-french-study-finds-tumors-and-organ-damage-in-rats-fed-monsanto-corn viewed 06/05/13)

While some have dismissed the above study, the reality is that it is giving humans an indication that GMOs do present health risks. Notice also:

A delegation of politicians and community activists gathered on August 7 in La Leonesa, a small farm town in Argentina, to hear Dr. Andres Carrasco speak about a study linking a popular herbicide to birth defects in Argentina’s agricultural areas.

But the presentation never happened. A mob of about 100 people attacked the delegation before they could reach the local school where the talk was to be held…Carrasco is a lead embryologist at the University of Buenos Aires Medical School and the Argentinean national research council. His study, first released in 2009 and published in the United States this past summer, shows that glyphosate-based herbicides like Monsanto’s popular Roundup formula caused deformations in chicken embryos that resembled the kind of birth defects being reported in areas like La Leonesa, where big agribusinesses depend on glyphosate to treat genetically engineered crops.

The deformations resulted from much lower doses of herbicide than those commonly found on crops, according to the study.

Biotech chemical giant Monsanto patented glyphosate under the trade name Roundup in the 1970’s. (Ludwig M. War Over Monsanto Gets Ugly. November 9, 2010. http://archive.truthout.org/war-over-genetically-modified-crops-gets-ugly-birth-defects-superweeds-and-science-intimidation64915 viewed 06/05/13)

Notice also the following:

“Is Genetically Modified Food Killing Us?” Alex Daley asks in today’s Daily Reckoning. “Probably not,” he confidently responds to his own question. But the worldwide scientific community is slightly less confident. The long-term effects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are simply unknowable…

No, the problem with GMOs is not that they might kill us; the problem is that we have no idea how they might kill us. We have no idea if they might harm us quickly, or slowly…or not at all.

More importantly, we have no idea if — down the road — they might catastrophically alter the genetic traits of various organisms — in particular, the human organism. Therefore, the entire GMO experiment promises feast or famine…literally. (Eric Fry)

The new wheat is in early-stage field trials (i.e., it’s been planted to grow somewhere, but has not yet been tested for human consumption), part of a multi-year process on its way to potential approval and not unlike the rigorous process many drugs go through. The researchers conducting this trial are using RNAi to turn down the production of glycogen. They are targeting the production of the wheat branching enzyme which, if suppressed, would result in a much lower starch level for the wheat. The result would be a grain with a lower glycemic index — i.e., healthier wheat.

This is a noble goal. However, Professors Heinemann and Carman warn, there’s a risk that the gene-silencing done to these plants might make its way into humans and wreak havoc on our bodies. In their press conference and subsequent papers, they describe the possibility that the siRNA molecules — which are pretty hardy little chemicals and not easily gotten rid of — could wind up interacting with our RNA.

If their theories prove true, the results might be as bad as mimicking glycogen storage disease IV, a super-rare genetic disorder which almost always leads to early childhood death…the wheat might cause very severe adverse reactions in humans. (Alex Daley) (Daily Reckoning. November 28, 2012)

Here is a report from Harvard:

The decrease in glutelin levels in rice, for example, was associated with an unintended increase in levels of compounds called prolamines, which can affect the nutritional quality of rice and increase its potential to induce an allergic response. (Harvard. Genetically Modified Foods. ©2012 Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College. Published by the Center for Health and the Global Environment. http://chge.med.harvard.edu/topic/genetically-modified-foods viewed 06/05/13)

The fact is that GMOs are not natural foods and pose a lot of health risks. Despite what various science and health professionals wish to imply, the plain truth is much about nutrition is simply not known. What is known is that humans survived on non-GMO foods for millenia. GMOs simply have not been tested enough to insure that they will not cause problems.

Monsanto Has Special Legal Protection

As happens in politics in the USA, a bill that was supposed to do one thing, had an attachment to do something not related to the intent of the bill:

Critics slam Obama for “protecting” Monsanto

There’s no love lost between Washington and the American public, it seems, five days after Congress for the first time in years managed to handle a budget-related issue without reaching the brink of crisis.

Protesters have descended on Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House this week, enraged at a potentially health-hazardous provision they allege lawmakers inserted surreptitiously into a continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year. The bill sailed through the Capitol on Friday; President Obama signed it into law on Tuesday.

Opponents have termed the language in question the “Monsanto Protection Act,” a nod to the major agricultural biotech corporation and other like firms geared at producing genetically modified organisms (GMO) and genetically engineered (GE) seeds and crops. The provision protects genetically modified seeds from litigation suits over health risks posed by the crops’ consumption.   http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57576835/critics-slam-obama-for-protecting-monsanto/

Obama signs ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ written by Monsanto-sponsored senator

United States President Barack Obama has signed a bill into law that was written in part by the very billion-dollar corporation that will benefit directly from the legislation.

On Tuesday, Pres. Obama inked his name to H.R. 933, a continuing resolution spending bill approved in Congress days earlier. Buried 78 pages within the bill exists a provision that grossly protects biotech corporations such as the California-based Monsanto Company from litigation.

With the president’s signature, agriculture giants that deal with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically engineered (GE) seeds are given the go-ahead to continue to plant and sell man-made crops, even as questions remain largely unanswered about the health risks these types of products pose to consumers.  http://rt.com/usa/monsanto-bill-blunt-agriculture-006/

Overseas, this is not making the USA popular.

Around the world, thousands marched against the Missouri-headquartered multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation called Monsanto:

May 26, 2013…

Organizers said “March Against Monsanto” protests were held in 52 countries and 436 cities, including Los Angeles where demonstrators waved signs that read “Real Food 4 Real People” and “Label GMOs, It’s Our Right to Know.”

Genetically modified plants are grown from seeds that are engineered to resist insecticides and herbicides, add nutritional benefits or otherwise improve crop yields and increase the global food supply. Most corn, soybean and cotton crops grown in the United States today have been genetically modified. But critics say genetically modified organisms can lead to serious health conditions and harm the environment. The use of GMOs has been a growing issue of contention in recent years, with health advocates pushing for mandatory labeling of genetically modified products…

Protesters in Buenos Aires and other cities in Argentina, where Monsanto’s genetically modified soy and grains now command nearly 100% of the market, and the company’s Roundup-Ready chemicals are sprayed throughout the year on fields where cows once grazed. They carried signs saying “Monsanto-Get out of Latin America”

In Portland, thousands of protesters took to Oregon streets. Police estimate about 6,000 protesters took part in Portland’s peaceful march, and about 300 attended the rally in Bend. Other marches were scheduled in Baker City, Coos Bay, Eugene, Grants Pass, Medford, Portland, Prineville and Redmond.

Across the country in Orlando, about 800 people gathered with signs, pamphlets and speeches in front of City Hall. Maryann Wilson of Clermont, Fla., said she learned about Monsanto and genetically modified food by watching documentaries on YouTube.

“Scientists are saying that because they create their own seeds, they are harming the bees,” Wilson told the Orlando Sentinel. “That is about as personal as it gets for me.”  http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/05/25/global-protests-monsanto/2361007/

In order to take full control of the global food chain the world’s largest owner of patents on seeds Monsanto is lobbying, bribing, suing small farmers out of business and altering scientific research, geopolitical analyst F. William Engdahl told RT.

Hundreds of thousands around the world gathered on Saturday in a global move dubbed ‘March Against Monsanto’.

Protesters all across the US joined the march calling for a boycott of Monsanto products, following the Senate’s decision to turn down a bill which requires the labeling of GM food.

RT: What’s wrong with GM food?

William Engdahl: The fundamental problem with GM food that it’s genetically and biologically unstable. There’s no genetic modification known to science and this I have from some of top scientists in the world on this question that’s stable – it’s always mutating. And No.2, all the GM products that are in the human and animal food chain over the last 20 years are modified primarily to do one thing – 80 per cent of all the GM is modified to accept chemicals, the pesticides. Monsanto Roundup being the most prominent of them, which are highly, highly toxic and they’re modified to be resistant to that deadly chemical so that it kills everything inside, except the Monsanto corn or the Monsanto soy beans or what will you. All those chemicals are equally as dangerous to the human food chain as the GMO seeds themselves.  http://rt.com/op-edge/monsato-manipulation-food-chain-799/

There are many, many risks with GMO crops.

As far as bees go, their population keeps dropping (see Nearly One Third of American Bees Died: Is Famine Coming to the USA?).  Furthermore, there are a lot of unanticipated problems from GMOs.  For example, because of the use of GMO corn, the amount of milkweeds have diminished–hence the herbicide intent of GMOs  has negative side effect.  This in turn has diminished the amount of monarch butterflies as they benefit from milkweed.  Additionally, scientists are combining a variety of animal genes as well as creatures like spiders.  This is not going to end well.  As far as nutritional benefits of GMOs, many of those ‘benefits’ are based upon a lot of assumptions that I do not believe hold up well in the real world and will leave at that for now.

While the supposed intent of GMOs is to increase the food supply and provide crops that are resistant to pesticides, the reality is that the GMO thrust is essentially based upon lust for profits. Notice also the following:

GMOs didn’t come to dominate our agricultural system simply because they’re awesome, and they’re not struggling for acceptance because the public is fearful and/or misinformed. Corporations made billions on GMOs and all we got was ethanol and an unsustainable diet. (Laskawy T. Frankenfoods: Good for Big Business, bad for the rest of us. May 2013 http://grist.org/food/frankenfoods-good-for-big-business-bad-for-the-rest-of-us/ viewed 06/05/13)

The production of GMO crops places massive amounts of the food supply at risk for destruction.  While in nature, there is variety of crops, with GMO-crops there is a uniformity that is unnatural.  This uniformity puts the entire crop at risk as if one plant succumbs to a pesticide, the entire crop is susceptible as well–this can lead to famines. 

While multiple thousands have protested in the USA and internationally, the GMO industry pushes forward.

GMOs Have “Unexpected” Results

Many things associated with GMOs are unknown, and most of what has gone wrong so far was “unexpected” by Monsanto and the government.

In the last few years, however, there have been unsettling “incidents”: a shipment of organic corn from Texas was rejected by France (GMO foods are banned in Europe, Japan, Brazil, and other nations) because it contained the altered genes, apparently the result of pollen drifting from farms growing altered corn onto the fields of the organic farmers; a load of GMO corn not approved for human consumption ended up unannounced in Taco Bell’s corn products; scientists found that Monarch butterflies were sickened and dying from exposure in the Midwest to GMO grain; Mexico, which does not allow GMO corn it its country, has found native varieties deep in the country’s interior to be tainted by Monsanto’s corn pollen, which had drifted hundreds of miles, much farther and in a much quicker time than the industry and our government thought possible. (Hightower J. Frankenfood Corporate bioengineers tinker merrily and dangerously with the DNA of food bioengineers tinker merrily and dangerously with the DNA of food. Utne, June 2004. http://www.utne.com/2004-06-01/frankenfood.aspx#axzz2VMR0LulS viewed 06/05/13)

Although ‘experts’ have claimed that there is no GMO wheat in the food supply, the USA government now has reason to doubt that (note bolding below is from me):

WASHINGTON — A strain of genetically engineered wheat never approved for sale or consumption by authorities was found sprouting on a farm in Oregon, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Wednesday.

The wheat was developed years ago by biotechnology company Monsanto Co. but never put into use because of worldwide opposition to genetically engineered wheat…

Roughly half of the U.S. wheat crop is exported and most of the crop is used in making food such as breads, pastries, cookies and noodles. USDA officials said the Food and Drug Administration determined years ago there is no health risk to humans from the strain, though.

“Hopefully, our trading partners will be very understanding,” Michael Scuse, the acting U.S. deputy agriculture secretary, said at a briefing with reporters.

Scuse said trading partners and major customers for U.S. wheat had been informed of the discovery over the past day.

Genetically modified crops cannot be grown legally in the United States unless the government approves them after a review to ensure they pose no threat to the environment or to people.

Monsanto entered four strains of glyphosate-resistant wheat for U.S. approval in the 1990s but there was no final decision by regulators because the company decided there was no market.

The genetically modified wheat sprouted this spring on an Oregon farm, in a field that grew winter wheat in 2012.

When the farmer sprayed the so-called “volunteer” plants with a glyphosate herbicide, some of them unexpectedly survived. Samples were then sent to Oregon State University and to USDA for analysis…

Scuse and Michael Firko, who oversees USDA’s biotechnology approval process, said USDA was investigating how the strain appeared on the farm when no seeds should have been available for several years.

“I think it will have a significant impact,” said Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association, which battled to keep genetically modified wheat out of the marketplace years ago.

The U.S. Senate last week rejected by a wide margin a measure to allow states to order labeling of food made with genetically engineered, or GE, crops. Cummins said the discovery of the rogue plants in Oregon would accelerate efforts to require GE food labels. (US Finds Unapproved Genetically Modified Wheat in Oregon. Reuters. May 29, 2013. http://www.voanews.com/content/us-unapproved-genetically-modified-wheat-oregon/1670962.html viewed 05/29/13)

There are many, many risks with GMO crops.  Notice that this crop allegedly occurred because “some of them unexpectedly survived.”

No matter what the USA government or other officials claim, there is no humanly possible way to guarantee that genetically-modified organisms ” no threat to the environment or to people.”

The fact that this GMO strain of wheat survived when presumably USA government and/or Monsanto scientists did not think that it could is further proof (there have been other “unexpected” incidents as well).

Some of the results are affecting the USA economically:

It has already begun: Japan has just cancelled a large contract to purchase U.S. wheat. “We will refrain from buying western white and feed wheat effective today,” Toru Hisadome, a Japanese farm ministry official in charge of wheat trading, told Reuters…Now we’re already seeing the result: the ditching of U.S. wheat by world nations that want nothing to do with GMOs.

Monsanto is a ticking time bomb for U.S. agriculture

This proves, without any question, that Monsanto’s genetic experiments which “escaped” into commercial wheat fields are now going to devastate U.S. wheat farmers. Expect the floor to drop out on wheat prices, and watch for a huge backlash against the USDA by U.S. farmers who stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars on this.

As the USDA has now admitted, Monsanto’s GMO experiments from 1998 – 2005 were held in open wheat fields. The genetically engineered wheat escaped and found its way into commercial wheat fields in Oregon (and possibly 15 other states), causing self-replicating genetic pollution that now taints the entire U.S. wheat industry.

“Asian consumers are keenly sensitive to gene-altered food, with few countries allowing imports of such cereals for human consumption,” writes Reuters. It continues:

Asia imports more than 40 million tonnes of wheat annually, almost a third of the global trade of 140-150 million tonnes. The bulk of the region’s supplies come from the United States, the world’s biggest exporter, and Australia, the No. 2 supplier.  Another incredible Monsanto achievement: the genetic contamination of the U.S. wheat supply

Nice job, Monsanto. You’ve managed to spew your genetic pollution across the fields of innocent U.S. farmers who are now going to lose huge sums of money due to the reject of U.S. wheat by all the other world nations that refuse to feed their populations GMO…

Genetically modified wheat is only the beginning. Monsanto has no doubt unleashed genetic pollution across many other crops as well. We’re now living in an age where Monsanto is essentially ejaculating its patented seed across all the farms of America, then claiming to “own” the contaminated crops. (Adams M. Monsanto is a Ticking Time Bomb for U.S. Agriculture: Japan halts Imports of U.S. Wheat after USDA’s Finding of Genetic Pollution from GMOs. Natural News, June 2, 2013.  http://www.globalresearch.ca/monsanto-is-a-ticking-time-bomb-for-u-s-agriculture-japan-halts-imports-of-u-s-wheat-after-usdas-finding-of-genetic-pollution-from-gmos/5337283 viewed 06/02/13).

There are many risks of GMOs. And what may happen to the USA because of them will also be considered as “unexpected” by most government officials.

Are GMOs Putting the USA at Risk for Famine?

Notice also:

Now it appears that GMO crop failures are growing. Do we face the risk of famine as well?

In 2009 the South African Corn Crop Failure was linked to GMO seeds(1). “On January 17 [2010], internationally recognized plant pathologist Dr. Don Huber, wrote a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack warning of the discovery of a new pathogen and a possible link between Roundup Ready® (GMO) corn and soybeans and severe reproductive problems in livestock as well as widespread crop failure.”(2)This past March, scientists with the Natural Society called for immediate action to stop the GMO crop failure threat(3).

The USDA did nothing…

The Biotech system, that provides through “user fees” most of the FDA and USDA budget, can never be questioned.

Could it be, though, that GMO cloned monoculture itself is to blame? Are these chimeric species failing when they face stressed conditions?…

GMOs literally invade natural species and infect them with “alien” DNA. We need to rid the planet of these dangerous species that could lead to famine if not checked. (Bert G. Famine in America. July 11, 2012. http://drrimatruthreports.com/gmo-corn-crops-failing-in-the-usa-famine-to-follow/ viewed 06/05/13)

As the above suggests, the reality is that hunger is not just something that will affect children and poor outside the USA.

Concluding Comments

GMOs are not real food. Humans are supposed to eat real foods.

The increasing reliance on genetically-engineered “foods” is putting the USA’s food supply at risk.

The consumption of synthetic vitamins is one way that many in the USA consume GMOs.

Do you avoid GMOs? Something to think about.

Folic Acid is Hazardous to Your Health

Folic acid gets a lot of press coverage.  There are many reports that folic acid should be taken by pregnant women and may prevent birth defects.  Folic acid has also been claimed to help prevent cardio- and cerebral-vascular diseases.  Yet few reports have mentioned that folic acid is unnatural, folic acid is synthetic, and that the body cannot properly convert much folic acid into a usable folate form.  Furthermore, concerns about folic acid feeding cancer are now a real concern in the 21st Century—too much folic acid may kill you.

“Folic acid is a synthetic folate form” [1] and was not developed until the 20th Century [2].  Folic acid is chemically known as pteroylglutamic acid (PGA) and is a crystalline substance (no food vitamins are naturally crystalline in structure) [2,3].  Folate, once also known as vitamin B9, exists in foods, yet crystalline folic acid does not [1-4].  Folates also differ from folic acid “in the extent of the reduction state of the pteroyl group, the nature of the substituents on the pteridine ring and the number of glutamyl residues attached to the pteroyl group” [1].

An Irish study found that the body has trouble converting more than 266 mcg of folic acid per day [2]. “(C)onsumption of more than 266 mcg of synthetic folic acid (PGA) results in absorption of unreduced PGA, which may interfere with folate metabolism for a period of years” [2].  A 2004 paper from the British Medical Journal confirmed what many natural health professional have known all along: since folic acid is unnatural and the body cannot fully convert large amounts of it into usable folate, this artificial substance can be absorbed and may have unknown negative consequences in the human body [4].  One of the biggest scientific concerns about folic acid is that even in amounts close to official daily recommendations, some of it is absorbed in unreduced form into the bloodstream with potentially dangerous results [2,4].  Also, “(i)n vitro studies do show that PGA derivatives act to inhibit certain enzymes, including those associated with nucleotide biosynthesis” [4].  In spite of this, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has required that uncooked cereal grains and flour products be fortified with folic acid [1].

A JAMA study recently concluded that “studies have suggested that folate intake decreases risk of cardiovascular diseases. However…[f]olic acid supplementation has not been shown to reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases” [5].  This is because studies using folate (the natural form) show it works, yet folic acid (the synthetic form) does not.  Food folate is clearly superior.

Since food folate is natural and is absorbed through a different pathway than folic acid [2], long-term consumption of folate does not result in an accumulation of a foreign substance in the body, but instead has many benefits. 

Initially, food folate was given for people with a pregnancy-related anemia in the form of autolyzed yeast; later the synthetic form, folic acid, was developed [2].  Folic acid, as it exists in most supplements, is not found in foods, folates are [2].  USDA reports show that broccoli and alfalfa sprouts contain food folate [6,7] and they are considered to be the best food supplement source by some.  Furthermore, “folates are ubiquitous in nature, being present in nearly all natural foods…50 to 95% of folate in food may be destroyed by protracted cooking or other processing” [2].  Yeast, dark green leafy vegetables, and oranges have the highest folate content [1,2].

Folate is an important nutrient for healthy blood; the absence of any of it can trigger various forms of anemia (especially pernicious anemia) [2,8].  Subclinical deficiencies of folate may impair cognitive function [9].  Folate deficiency is the most important determinant in high homocysteine levels [9], and supplemental folate is effective in reducing homocysteine [10,11].  (Homocysteine is highly implicated in vascular diseases such as cardiovascular and other vascular disorders.)  “The major forms of folates found in food are methylTHF and formylTHF” [12]. 

While insufficient folate can result in fatigue, depression, confusion, anemia, reduced immune function, loss of intestinal villi, and an increase in infections [1,2,8], it is not totally clear what dangers long-term consumption of folic acid will cause [2,4].  Certain scientists believe that excessive consumption of folic acid may actually interfere with folate metabolism [2]—this could be expected to worsen conditions that would have otherwise benefited from real food folate.  Furthermore, “(v)ery large amounts of folic acid in its pharmacological oxidized (PGA) form may be noxious to the nervous system…and have provoked seizures in patients otherwise under control on anticonvulsant therapy” [2].

Excessive Folic Acid is Becoming a Health Concern

A 2010 report states, “”The more we learn about folic acid, the more it’s clear that giving it to everyone has very real risks,” says folic acid researcher David Smith, PhD, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Oxford in England…The risk experts worry about most: colon cancer. Last year, health officials in Chile reported that hospitalization rates for colon cancer among men and women age 45 and older more than doubled in their country since fortification was introduced in 2000. In 2007, Joel Mason, MD, director of the Vitamins and Carcinogenesis Laboratory at the Tufts University School of Medicine, described a study of the United States and Canada suggesting that rates of colon cancer rose — following years of steady decline — in the late 1990s (around the time our food was being fortified)” [13].

The same report also states, “Other research links high doses to lung and prostate cancers. In one study conducted in Norway, which doesn’t fortify foods, supplementation with 800 mcg of folic acid (plus B12 and B6) daily for more than 3 years raised the risk of developing lung cancer by 21 percent. Another, in which men took either folic acid or a placebo, showed those consuming 1,000 mcg of folic acid daily had more than twice the risk of prostate cancer. And a new worry recently came to light when scientists discovered the liver has limited ability to metabolize folic acid into folate — which means any excess continues circulating in the bloodstream. “Unlike folate, folic acid isn’t found in nature, so we don’t know the effect of the excess,” says Smith. Indeed, many scientists have grown increasingly concerned about mounting research — including a study published last winter in the Journal of the American Medical Association — suggesting that all the extra folic acid might increase your odds of developing cancer” [13].

Even foods “fortified” with folic acid may cause serious neurological problems in patients deficient in vitamin B12 [12].  Furthermore, “no folic acid dose can be considered as truly safe in the presence of untreated cobalamin deficiency” [12].

Laura Bell correctly reported, “We all need the natural folate found in leafy greens, orange juice, and other foods, and diets high in these foods are perfectly healthy; many researchers, though, believe that folic acid may be both friend and foe. When cells in the body are healthy, folate helps shepherd along the normal replication of DNA. But when cells are malignant or in danger of becoming so — and as many as half of adults older than 60 could already have precancerous colon polyps, while most middle-aged men have precancerous cells in their prostates — animal studies suggest excess folate in the form of folic acid may act like gas on the fire… lowering your intake to 400 mcg won’t hurt — and might help save your life” [13].

It is clear that since folic acid is unnatural, is synthetic, is chemically different, is structurally different, and is not absorbed in the same pathways as folate, long-term folic acid consumption may be hazardous to human health.  Folate in foods is what is safe and is the preferred form of folate for human consumption. Excessive folic acid may make cancer worse. And unlike folic acid, humans have been safely consuming food folate for thousands of years. 

I have been warning people against folic acid for many years [3,14].  Now it is becoming clearer and clearer that those warnings should have been heeded by more people.  Everyone should be concerned about taking synthetic/isolated USP vitamins like those containing folic acid.

References
[1] Hendler SS, Rorvik D, eds.  PDR for Nutritional Supplements.  Medical Economics, Montvale (NJ), 2001
[2] Shils ME, Olson JA, Shike M.  Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed.  Williams & Wilkins, Balt., 1999
[3] Thiel R.  Natural vitamins may be superior to synthetic ones.  Med Hypo, 2000;55(6):461-469
[4] Lucock M.  Is folic acid the ultimate functional food component for disease prevention?  BMJ, 2004;328:211-214
[5] Bazzano LA, Reynolds K, Holder KN, He J.  Effect of folic acid supplementation on risk of cardiovascular diseases: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.  JAMA. 2006;296(22):2720-2726
[6] Broccoli, raw. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18 (2005)
[7] Alfalfa seeds, sprouted raw.  USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 16-1, 2004
[8] Whitney EN, Hamilton EMN.  Understanding Nutrition, 4th ed.  West Publishing, NY, 1987
[9] Gonzalez-Gross M, Marcos A, Pietrzik K.  Nutrition and cognitive impairment in the elderly.  Br J Nutr 2001;86:313-321
[10] Verhoef P.  Homocysteine metabolism and risk of myocardial infarction: Relation with vitamin B6, B12, and Folate.  Am J Epidemiol 1996;143(9):845-859
[11] Brattstrom L.  Vitamins as homocysteine-lowering agents: A mini review.  Presentation at The Experimental Biology 1995 AIN Colloquium, April 13, 1995, Atlanta Georgia
[12] Carmel R.  Folic Acid.  In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10th ed.  Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, 2006:470-481
[13] Bell L. Is your breakfast giving you cancer? Research links too much folic acid to certain cancers.  Prevention. March. 29, 2010.  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35874922/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition// 
[14] Thiel R. Is Folic Acid Hazardous to Your Health?  The Original Internist, 2004;11(2):39-40

Above article is expected to be published as Thiel R.  Is Folic Acid is Hazardous to Your Health.  What About Food Folate?  The Original Internist, June 2010.
Some of these studies (or citations) may not conform to peer review standards, therefore, the results are not conclusive.  Professionals can, and often do, come to different conclusions when reviewing scientific data.  None of these statements have been reviewed by the FDA. 

Doctors’ Research, Inc.  ”Nutrition from food, what a concept!”
1248 E. Grand Avenue, Suite A, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420 WEB: www.doctorsresearch.com   FAX: 1-805-489-0334

Call 1-805-489-7185

For folate supplementation try Vitamin B6, B12 & Folate; Vitamin-Mineral; and Vitamin-Mineral Shake.   

Some of these studies (or citations) may not conform to peer review standards. Therefore, the results are not conclusive. Professionals can, and often do, come to different conclusions when reviewing scientific data. None of these statements have been reviewed by the FDA. All products distributed by Doctors’ Research, Inc. are nutritional and are not intended for the treatment or prevention of any medical condition