Doctor James on Health and Wellness

Common sense answers to your most burning health questions

Synthetic Vitamins vs. Whole Food Supplements

Posted by doctorjames on February 21, 2008

Many people come into our office taking a whole ray of “stuff.” They sometimes don’t even really know why they are taking it. Maybe their neighbor is taking it, or another family member, so they begin to take it. In fact, they are taking it in such huge doses that their energy has actually increased! Sounds good…right??? I will get to that, but first lets separate fact from fiction…

Synthetic vitamins are man made. They are concentrated chemical ingredients. You heard it, chemical ingredients. Most companies get their “vitamins” or chemicals (what I like to call them) from a left over process of some other companies manufacturing process. Essentially, they are buying the byproduct of what would have went to waste, but the company found a buyer for it, instead of having to pay for it to go to the dump! This happens with flouride that is found in our tap water…it is a waste product that they would have to pay dearly to get rid of…instead, municipalities started buying it up from these companies even though it is in the wrong form for us to receive any benefit from it!

The whole Flouride concept was introduced because of some people in Texas having better teeth. They studied the land and found it was high in certain things, and one of them being Flouride! So, what happens, we jump to conclusions and begin putting it in everything. The problem is we are not using it in the form that it was found in when it was in the ground. They are two different compounds! Why we do this…I don’t know, but it does cause serious problems in those sensitive to it.

Getting back to synthetic, man made, or isolated vitamins that are supposedly supposed to be so good for us. When man thinks he is smart enough to reproduce nature, we always run into problems. This is why we can overdose on Vitamin A in its synthetic form. It actually becomes poisonous. The reason synthetic vitamins become toxic is because they are not “alive” so to speak. They are not composed of everything they should be. If it were found in nature, it wouldn’t be just ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). It would be Vitamin C. This vitamin is jam packed full of minerals, enzymes, and co-factors that make it what it is. You see, man has figured out yet another way to fool us. Strip vitamin C of all its parts and it no longer works like it is supposed to! Take a watch for example…if you take out parts of the watch that are essential for its function, the watch won’t work…even though you put the most expensive battery you could find in it! It doesn’t have function and that is what is important…so quit buying the vitamins that don’t function! Would you really buy a watch that looks nice but doesn’t keep time?

I am sure you have all met the person that starts taking this or that and says their energy has already increased! And you think, WOW!!! Maybe I should try it. You try it, maybe you get energy, maybe you don’t, but here is the big slap in the face…sooner or later it wears off!!! Now, what are you to do with those vitamins you paid for a six month supply for and spent hundreds of dollars on? This is the crux of synthetic vitamins. They are all about quantity because companies can market that. As Americans, we love numbers and we buy things because of numbers! We always buy the one that has the most “stuff” in it. And that isn’t even enough. Instead of taking 2 like it recommends, we take 4, 6, or 8 a day! Most all of us are guilty of this! Wouldn’t you agree?

Here is what you have to understand. RDA’s are only their as a guide to determine what we need only to prevent a condition. Take the RDA for vitamin C for example. It is the number it is because that is the number that prevents scurvy! In fact, when scurvy was rampant they found they could treat this with a very minimal amount of lime zest or juice…not even the whole lime! I guarantee you there is not much milligrams or grams of vitamin C in a lime or an orange for that matter. You see, when it is in whole form it is about quality, not quantity! It has everything in that lime to make it function…like the watch…it actually can do something with a minimal amount. In fact, some of the hormones in our body are used on one part per million or billion…a infinitely small amount! So, do we really need to worry about milligrams of this or that? If you are worried, they have marketed correctly to you! I am here to tell you that these synthetic “vitamins” are not health producing. They actually cause what is known as a rebound effect. They go into the body and act like a vacuum because they don’t have everything they need to perform their function. So, when ascorbic acid goes in, it needs to rob and steal other parts from your body to make it function again. When you keep putting this into your body, eventually you deplete it of necessary minerals, enzymes and co-factors and you feel worse than when you started on the vitamins!

Now, don’t you think that the RDA number is flawed and means absolutely nothing in our world. Sure, for kids in third world countries, it means everything, but living in the world of plenty, it means absolutely nothing for us. They are based on minimal amounts to not get this or that.

Whole food vitamins are different. They are actually food bound up into a pill form. They do not have much for quantity in them, but they do have the most important part…THE FUNCTION! They are composed of everything they need to function in the body. They build the body up instead of vacuuming it or depleting it. People on whole food vitamins just get more and more healthy without a rebound effect! Take carrot root for example, which is in most of the supplements I carry, it is composed of over 200 nutrients! That is more than what is usually printed on the side of any vitamin container, but they don’t take time to print everyone of these chemicals that make up carrot root on the side of the container. On top of that, they discover new molecules in carrot root all the time that they didn’t know existed before. This will continue to happen because we are not intelligent enough to find everything yet. We have barely scratched the surface!

My point is that in whole food form, supplements contain millions if not billions of molecules that go a long way to improve our health. This is by far better than some multi-vitamin at some store that has 40 man made chemicals in it! What would you rather have, a product with 40 highly potent chemicals, or a product with millions and billions of “stuff” in it…known and unknown…??? I would choose the latter.

We will never know all the molecules in a fruit, vegetable, leaf, plant, bark, stem, root, etc. The important thing to understand is that we don’t need to know! We know they are good for us and that is all that matters! You read the hype everyday…blueberries are good for this, spinach is good for this, yogurt is good for this, acai is good for this, walnuts are good for this…YES…I AGREE, but we shouldn’t use food like a prescription drug. We should just be eating it because it is good for us…and an abundant amount of it. You can get all kinds of fruits and vegetables in everyday by making a smoothie or juicing.  This will go along way to improve your health without worrying if I need this or that to treat this or that. Chances are it contains what your body needs because it is in whole food form! You can get a great smoothie maker at www.vitamix.com and a great juicer at www.mercola.com by typing in juicer in the search box. In fact, I make a smoothie at least once a day…for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

The moral of the story is don’t settle for any vitamin unless it is in its whole form. A vitamin is a synthetically derived chemical whereas a supplement is a whole food nutrient. Two very different things. Don’t ever confuse vitamin with supplement. An easy rule of thumb to remember is that a vitamin will deplete you whereas a supplement will build you up because the supplement is composed of the whole molecule, not just bits and pieces. By the way, antioxidants are found in every fruit and vegetable, so if you are worried about getting those, as long as you are making a smoothie or juicing, I can guarantee you are getting loads and loads of antioxidants.

What needs to really happen is a lifestyle change where we begin to eat whole foods again! Good old raw, whole foods. I am sure some of you remember gardening as youngsters and eating pea pods, carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes straight from the garden only pausing to wipe them off with your shirt! This is what we need to get back to. The truth is once the diet is undercontrol, most of us don’t even need a whole food supplement! It is good to take on for maintenance, but isn’t really necessary. This is where I want to take all of you! Let the food be the way to health! As Thomas Edison once said, “The Doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” He knew it way back then! Why did we go away from this?

I will leave you with that to ponder till next time…and know you know the truth about synthetic vitamins vs. whole food supplements! And all of you know…knowledge is power!

Your health and wellness advocate,

Dr. James R. Haakenson

P.S. Remember all of your friends and family members can read any of these emails on my blog site at doctorjames.wordpress.com. We are here to help you expose the sick care system of today.

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7 Responses to “Synthetic Vitamins vs. Whole Food Supplements”

  1. Luis Mac said

    Whole foods are the way to go with your health. What do you think about supplements for people who may periodically not have time in their day to prepare whole foods for a time. Can sites like http://www.nutritionaltree.com be use to determine the best synthetic supplements.

    Thanks for all the valuable information above.

    Luis

  2. Luis,

    First off, thanks for reading and I am glad you found this helpful. I have never been to the website you ask about until you told me about it! It is a very nice website and they have done their research. It looks like they have a really good guide and a way of steering people towards or away from certain products…something we all need…the truth!

    But in regards to you question regarding whole foods, you don’t need to ever take a synthetic vitamin unless you have a medical condition where it is prescribed. There are many companies out there that make whole food supplements…one in particular that I really like can be found at http://www.gardenoflife.com. At our office we use whole food supplements from a company called Standard Process…you can find their website at http://www.standardprocess.com. These supplements can only be bought and sold by a licensed medical professional. In my opinion, and in my clinical experience, there is nothing that works better than their products. Time and time again they prove themselves.

    So, the moral of the story is get yourself on a good whole food supplement and stay away from the synthetic stuff! If you need help, email me back and I would be glad to help you out. My email is thedoctorjames@gmail.com

    Your health and wellness advocate,

    Dr. James

  3. belle romback said

    I was taking vitamins from Dr. Weil before coming to you. They are very expensive. Now I am only taking what you give me.

  4. vincent said

    all can say is i needed this kind of stuff form my thesis. i needed badly significant and relevant information for my nursing thesis

  5. After reading this article, I just feel that I need more info. Could you suggest some more resources ?

  6. sandrar said

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  7. Thanks so much for this article – it is all very true. I have worked for MegaFood – a wonderful whole food supplement company – for the last 8 years. One of the most common questions i get asked by customers is, ‘why is the potency so low?” This is especially true with minerals such as Calcium and Magnesium, in part because of the huge fear of bone density loss – maybe you could address this in one of your future blogs? Women generally take large supplemental doses of calcium – especially in America – and yet we have a super high percentage of osteoporosis. There’s nothing better than fresh, colorful whole food – and yes – the vitamix is a must!!

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