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Why Whole Food?

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In short, it is the difference between something that is living and something that is dead.  On vitamin labels, the word “natural” has no specific definition, other than it exists as a substance. 

A whole food vitamin means vitamins as they are found in food, un-tampered with in any way that could change the molecular structure, their biological or biochemical combination, or their actions.  

Vitamins in this natural state always exist as living complexes, with specific synergistic cofactors, enzymes, coenzymes, phytonutrients, and organic mineral activators, and never as isolated single factors.  A vitamin needs all its synergists to function.  Furthermore, there are over 300 such synergists, most of which have not been studied, but are nevertheless very important. 

Many of the whole food vitamins that we use in the clinic are from organic food sources, which are preferred because they are more nutrient dense and contain no pesticide residues, than non organic food and crops.  

synthetic supplement, on the other hand, means that a chemist has attempted to reconstruct the exact structure of the crystalline molecule by chemically combining molecules from other sources.  These sources are not living foods, but dead chemicals. 

For example, vitamin B1 is made from a cold-tar derivative and D-alpha tocopherol (so-called vitamin E) is a byproduct in the materials used by the Eastman Kodak company to make film.  However, it is not legally necessary to give the source from which the synthetic “vitamin” is derived.  Synthetic vitamins should more accurately be called drugs. 

Whole food natural supplements never come in high doses.  This is best illustrated by looking at vitamin C and vitamin E diagrams.  In a naturally occurring vitamin C complex, the ascorbic acid portion comprises only about 5% of the whole complex, and is merely the antioxidant covering around the C molecule.  Similarly, alpha tocopherol only comprises a small percentage of the vitamin E complex.  What adds to the confusion is that, legally in America, the only portion of the vitamin C complex that is allowed to be called vitamin C, is the ascorbic acid portion.  The only part of the vitamin E complex that is to be called vitamin E, is the alpha tocopherol piece, too. 

The myth of “high dose equals high potency” 

As consumers, we have been thoroughly fooled about vitamins.  We’ve been hoodwinked into believing that large quantities of dead chemicals are more nutritionally potent than smaller amounts of high quality living compounds

Relatively small amounts of whole food natural vitamins, with all their naturally occurring synergists, are far more potent than high doses of synthetic imitation “vitamins”.  Living systems are very complex and specific in their need for building materials.  They are constantly breaking down cells, organs, and tissues, and rebuilding and repairing them.  For these processes, the body must have a continuous supple of high quality material. 

If you build a house with cheap imitation construction materials, your house will fall quickly into disrepair.  The same is true for the physical body.  A body has a very precise design, which is so incredible intricate and complex, that even with all the scientific and medical research so far, we’ve only scratched the surface of understanding it.  Many conventional and nonconventional healthcare practitioners think there is no difference between natural and synthetic vitamins, or between natural collated minerals and inorganic minerals.  This is incorrect, and has led to enormous confusion in the nutrition field. 

My nutritional work did not always use whole food nutrition.  In fact, for the first two years of my practice I had many synthetic vitamins, for which I would get short term results with. By a case of trial and error, trying the many different supplement companies, and researching throughout different companies in the world for products I could rely on, that had whole foods and organic sources has led me to use the companies that I utilize today. 

Some examples of natural versus synthetic, from the hundreds that are in the scientific literature, are listed below.

April 14, 1994, New England Journal of Medicine –

Study on 29,000 male smokers which were given synthetic beta carotene (vitamin A), and synthetic vitamin E, to evaluate the protective effect of these “vitamins”.  After 10 years, the men taking the synthetic beta carotine had an 18% higher rate of lung cancer, more heart attacks, and an 8% higher overall death rate.  Those taking synthetic vitamin E had more strokes.  Food sources of these same nutrients, such as nuts, fruits, and vegetables consistently demonstrate protection against cancer, heart disease, and stroke.  

 November 23, 1995, New England Journal of Medicine –

22,748 pregnant women were given synthetic vitamin A.  After four years, the study was halted because of a 240% increase in birth defects in babies of women taking 100,000 iUs daily of vitamin A, and a 400% increase of birth defects in babies of women taking 20,000 iUs a day.  Women eating natural food sources of vitamin A, such as butter and vegetables, showed no increase in birth defects. 

As reported in Ruder’s Health on March 3, 2000 –

A study on men who took 500mgs of synthetic vitamin C daily.  It was found that over an 18-month period, these men had a 250% increase in the intermedial lining (the inner lining) of the carotid artery in the neck.  This thickening is an accurate measurement for the progression of arthrosclerosis (the sclerosing of the inner lining of blood vessels) this demonstrated synthetic vitamin C induced arthrosclerosis, even at a 500mg dose.  

We know whole food vitamin C protects and repairs the inner lining of blood vessels, and is preventative against arthrosclerosis. 

You cannot repair and rebuild a living body with dead chemicals. 

Below is a schematic representation of the whole food vitamin C and vitamin E molecules ( taken from Lang functional endocrinology, pg. 11)

Note: Ascorbic acid, which forms the antioxidant coating of the C molecule ( above ) is only one small part of the Vitamin C molecule. This was originally identified as the organic nutrient of the vitamin and listed as such by the FDA. Henceforth, to this day anything labelled ascorbic acid can pass for ‘Vitamin C’. This is gold dust to all the chemical companies like DuPont et al who manufacture ascorbic acid cheaply from corn oil.. and sell it to uninformed consumers as 1000mg tablets of Vitamin C !! My point, ascorbic acid IS NOT vit C. Ascorbic acid is an anti oxidant; it does not posess the enzymes, co-enzymes, trace elements, activators and unknown factors that enable our bodies to reap the full potential benefits of whole food based Complex.

The above schematic is The Vitamin E Complex. Note that d-alpha tocopherol is just ONE part of the molecule. Similar to vitamin C and ascorbic acid, this part of the E complex is often synthesized and sold as Vit E by itself….without ant of the other synergists, ( including Selenium!!).