Raise your hand if you’ve ever bought a vitamin or supplement because Dr. Oz recommended it? Or have you ever been having lunch with a friend and she makes a vitamin recommendation and you order it immediately off Amazon from your phone without even knowing what’s in it? You’re not alone.
These days, our culture is getting more and more into the natural side of things. Few people would take one of those diet pills that raided that market in the early 2000s but many people would take a vitamin that is said will help them lose weight.
I’m a supplement fan, there are many amazing products that can provide what nature simply cannot. I have spent years getting my supplement list for cleansers perfected and I completely stand by the fact that a cleanse with supplements is better than a cleanse without. The right supplements can enhance a clean lifestyle, support your overall system in a way that food cannot, and put you at your highest level of health.
The problem is that these days, we take everything and we don’t question it because they are “natural”. Clients come to me with lists of 40 vitamins they take for different areas of their health. Not only is that a lot to keep track of, it’s a crazy waste of time and money!
We should get as much of our vitamins and minerals as possible through food sources. Most vitamins on the market today are called natural but are really synthetic. While their technical makeup is the same as the natural forms the way the body metabolizes them is much different. Some, the body even categorizes as toxins.
Here are a few examples of synthetic vs. natural vitamins:
Natural: In food, Vitamin A is beta-carotene. The body converts what it needs into Vitamin A and discards the rest. Vitamin A can be toxic and this process keeps the body from overloading.
Synthetic: Synthetic vitamin A is retinyl palmitate or retinyl acetate. This synthetic is made from combining fish or palm oil with beta-ionone. Beta-ionone is created using citrus, acetone, and calcium oxide.
Natural: B12 is created by micro-organisms like the bactera in our soil and intestines as well as in algae and seaweed.
Synthetic: Cobalt and cyanide are fermented to make cyanocobalamin. You read that right: cyanide.
Natural: In nature, you can find this vitamin in lots of foods such as citrus, bell peppers, berries, and other fruits and veggies. It works with other healthy natural nutrients to make sure it’s absorbed in proper amounts.
Synthetic: Ascorbic acid is an isolated vitamin from genetically modified corn sugar that is hydrogenated and processed with acetone.
Natural: Some foods, like mushrooms, are now being exposed to sunlight so that they can produce Vitamin D when consumed. But the best way to get your daily dose of Vitamin D is to spent 20 minutes in the sun without sunscreen.
Synthetic: To mimic the natural production we find in our skin, scientists irradiate animal fat to stimulate vitamin D synthesis.
As you can tell, these “natural” products you may be using are not so natural at all. And there is almost always a more natural way to get your vitamin dosage: directly from food.
If you are going to buy vitamins or supplements, be wary of the following:
- Avoid supplements that use words ending in -ide, acid, or that use the “dl” before the name. These are the most synthetic, toxic versions of supplements.
- Use products that come from whole food sources such as a multivitamin with holy basil, guava, fruits and veggies.
- Check the ingredients. If it doesn’t look right to you, it’s probably not. Educate yourself and take control of what you’re putting into your body.
- Other ingredients to avoid: magnesium stearate, stearic acid, monosodium glutamate (MSG), carnuba wax, titanium oxide (a carcinogen).
Don’t know where to start? I approve the following whole-foods mulivitamins:
Always remember that education is key, asking questions is important and the best answer at the end of the day, is to flood your body with nutrient-dense foods which is always the best, most natural way to get vitamins and minerals in your system.