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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Whole Food or Synthetic Supplement ~ Which is Better?

Whole Food or Synthetic Supplement ~ Which is Better?

Most people think all vitamins and supplements are natural, but the reality is that the majority of the supplements on the market are made in a laboratory with man-made chemicals. Just like pharmaceutical drugs are manufactured in a lab, even if vitamins and supplements are labeled “natural,” they are often made synthetically. If most supplements are synthetic, the real question is: which is better – whole food or synthetic supplements?
To determine if whole food or synthetic supplements are better, let’s first define each…
Synthetic Supplements_freedigitalphotos.net-voraorn

What are Synthetic Supplements?
Synthetic supplements are isolated man-made chemical compounds. Chemicals are manipulated in an effort to duplicate the molecular structure of isolated nutrients.
Some synthetic supplements start from materials like petroleum, coal tar or acetylene gas. Other chemicals like hydrochloric acid are also added during the process. Even nature-identified synthetic supplements are still synthetic (man-made).
The only reason synthetic supplements are used more frequently than whole food supplements is because it is less expensive than using whole foods, not because it is healthier.
What are Whole Food Supplements?
Whole food supplements are made from real foods that are harvested and cleaned. The nutrients are then extracted from the whole food. There are other types of natural supplements, but they are not all created equal. Here are the different types of natural supplements:
  • Nature sourced supplements come from vegetable, animal or mineral sources initially, but they are highly processed and refined.
  • Food cultured supplements involve a culturing process in which the nutrients are grown in yeast or algae, making them very bioavailable. Yeast and algae contain the nutrients that they are fed in a whole food complex. Oftentimes, however, food cultured supplements are combined with synthetic vitamins in order to increase their potency.
  • Food based supplements are not grown into a whole food like they are in food cultured supplements. These supplements are made from enzymatically reacting synthetic and natural vitamins together with extracts that contain vegetable proteins. Whole food sources are not typically used in these types of supplements because of low nutrient potency.
  • Whole food supplements are the only truly natural supplements available because they are not combined with synthetic ingredients and they are not processed and refined in ways that destroy the nutrients.
Whole Food Supplements are better than Synthetic

When comparing whole food or synthetic supplements, there is no doubt that whole food supplements are superior. Here are some of the most important benefits of whole food supplements:
Whole Food or Synthetic Supplements_freedigitalphotos.net-lemonade

  • Whole food supplements contain whole foods such as herbs, fruits and vegetables instead of isolated man-made compounds like you find in synthetic supplements. Synthetic vitamins never contain the rest of the whole food complex, and without that whole food complex, whole nutrition cannot be obtained.
  • Whole foods contain a complex of nutritional compounds that work harmoniously with the body, while the isolated compounds that are found in synthetic supplements can cause biochemical imbalances.
  • Since whole food supplements are made with concentrated real foods, they produce nutrients that can work synergistically to provide whole food nutrition for the body. That’s what the body was meant to consume. Whole food nutrients allow the body to heal and care for itself.
  • The body can easily recognize and absorb whole food complexes. Synthetic supplements are chemical isolates that are foreign to the body.
  • Whole foods are alive. Isolated vitamins are not. It’s the difference between a whole live plant verses part of a fake plant.
  • Whole food supplements are gentle on the body, and since they are made with real foods, they rarely require you to take them with food to avoid nausea.
Why Isolated Nutrients are not as Effective as Whole Complex Supplements

When we consume supplements that contain isolated nutrients, our bodies must use components within our body tissues to make the nutrient into a complex nutrient. Many times, the other components aren’t present in the body, which means the supplement you took will simply be eliminated through urine. That elimination process can be taxing on the liver and kidneys when high doses of synthetic supplements are taken, not to mention it is a waste of money.

Synthetic supplements are scientists’ attempt at duplicating what nature has already perfected. And they just don’t stack up. They differ in two ways:
  1. The molecular polarity of the substance is different, making it more of a mirror image of the natural molecule. The problem is that the body continues to look for the shape of the real molecule, making the man-made version more of a burden on the body than anything else.
  2. Truly natural supplements are complexes, while synthetic nutrients are not. The body is designed to use food in its whole form and when the entire complex is not there, the remainder of the complex must be borrowed from the tissues in the body. They may have the same chemical constituents, but they will not have the same optical activity (shape). Our bodies only accept certain shapes, and by introducing concentrated amounts of synthetic shapes, it can’t always be absorbed properly. This means you could be spending a lot of money on synthetic supplements that your body isn’t even absorbing.
How do you know if your supplement contains whole foods?

Here are some tips to help you shop for whole food vitamins and supplements:

  1. Look for actual foods in the ingredients, like herbs, fruits and vegetables. If a product contains vitamin C, for example, and it is a whole food product, it will list what whole food plant the vitamin C is coming from. 
  2. Synthetic isolates are indicated as chemical names that will likely be unrecognizable to you. Whole food ingredients are typically pronounceable and recognizable.
  3. It is important to keep in mind that for a supplement to be labeled “natural,” it only has to contain 10% of plant-based ingredients. That means that the other 90% can be synthetic. To find a natural supplement, look for “naturally occurring food sources” on the packaging or follow tips #1 and #2 in this section.
When considering whether you should take whole food or synthetic supplements, there is really no competition. Stick with something your body can recognize and absorb. Stick with what nature intended. Stick with whole food complexes that benefit your whole health and wellness instead of isolated compounds that may do more harm than good.

Healthy Supplements
*  This information is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner.
Photo Credits:
1st Image: freedigitalphotos.net, voraorn
2nd image: freedigitalphotos.net, lemonade