Have you heard people laugh about Americans having the most expensive urine in the world?
That's because the vitamins most Americans take are synthetic, and 90 percent of synthetic vitamins pass through the body unabsorbed.
A synthetic vitamin or mineral is a laboratory simulation of a simple version of the real thing. In the plant, the vitamin/mineral lives with many other vitamins, minerals and nutrients - the "cofactors" the body needs to absorb and use it.
If the cofactors are missing, as they are in synthetic vitamins, the body steals them from its organs, bones, muscles and other tissue. That's why taking synthetic vitamins/minerals over time can be harmful to your health. They deplete the body of other nutrients. For example, taking synthetic calcium regularly depletes the body of magnesium.
Multivitamins - blends of synthetic vitamins and minerals - don't remedy this problem. The concentrations of the vitamins and minerals in the formulas are rarely those found naturally in the plant. And many of their cofactors are missing. Some haven't even been discovered yet!
Synthetic vitamins are super-processed. They are usually manufactured at high temperatures and contain artificial or toxic ingredients, such as dyes, preservatives, coal tars, sugars, starch, and other additives. Kind of like paint or plastics.
Why would a manufacturer of health products do this? Aren't they in business to help us improve our health?
Well, marketing concerns often overtake nutritional goals. Extending shelf life, making products look or taste better, meeting machine requirements, and lowering manufacturing costs, usually take precedence over nutritional value. The resulting supplements become pretty useless to us. Some experts say that they might even be dangerous over time.
#1. Study using synthetic beta carotene and Vitamin E halted. (reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, 1994) 29,000 male smokers were given synthetic beta carotene and synthetic Vitamin E. The study was stopped when rates of lung cancer, heart attacks and death increased.
#2. Birth defects increased for women on synthetic supplements (reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, 1995) 22,000 pregnant women were given synthetic Vitamin A. The study was halted because birth defects increased 400%.
#3. Men get thickened arteries on synthetic supplements (reported in Reuters Health, March, 2000). Men who took 500 mg of synthetic Vitamin C daily over 18 months showed signs of thickening of the arteries.
Dr. Zoltan P. Rona, M.D., says that while a healthy person will not drop dead immediately after ingesting synthetic supplements, "the long-term consequences of continuous, daily intakes are potentially dangerous." Reactions include fatigue, memory loss, depression, insomnia and potential liver disorders.
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