Not all vitamins are the same, no matter what the supplement companies tell you. When you hear vitamin, you most likely think of the words “natural” and “healthy”. But did you know there are synthetic versions, lab created vitamins as well? In fact, they make up over 90% of all vitamin supplements consumed today. It’s not much of a surprise either, considering that synthetic supplements are more profitable, faster to produce and have a longer shelf life. But synthetic vitamin supplements can’t be that bad, can they?
Vitamins – Synthetic vs Organic
Synthetic vitamins are imitations of real vitamins, seeking to mimic what the organic, plant-based vitamin will do in the body. While synthetic vitamins might be molecularly identical to organic vitamins, naturally occurring vitamins in plants are accompanied by certain cofactors, and other vitamins and minerals that aid the body in absorption and metabolism (1). You will never find in nature a plant that only contains Vitamin C, rather it will contain a myriad of other important substances that act synergistically to be of most use to the body and provide the body what it needs. Here in lies one main problem with many synthetic vitamins, they lack the unique cofactors, enzymes and other vitamins and minerals that the body needs in order to metabolize and use the vitamin; thus often storing the synthetic vitamin throughout the body which can lead to toxicity (1).
Synthetic vitamins can deprive the body of other substances. During metabolism, the body will attempt to tap into its own stores of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that the synthetic vitamin is missing (1). While this is an amazing ability, it can eventually lead to deficiencies in those areas and other complications. We can liken a synthetic vitamin to gasoline, a very important liquid to run an automobile. If you only continue to put gasoline into your car, but never replace the oil and other important fluids, the car will only be able to operate for so long before it stops. When you ingest vitamins and minerals in their whole-food form, you not only are putting gasoline into the car, but also topping off the oil, the transmission fluid, the brake fluid, etc.
Synthetic vitamins can also compromise immunity. In some instances, the body sees the synthetic supplement as foreign and treat it just like other foreign invaders – by launching a leukocyte attack. Thus, consuming large doses of synthetic supplements can actually distract the immune system’s forces away from other more life threatening intruders such as bacteria and viruses.
What are synthetic vitamins made from?
Synthetic Vitamin A – Retinyl palmitate or retinyl acetate. This synthetic is made from combining fish or palm oil with beta-ionone (2)
Synthetic Vitamin B1 – Thiamine mononitrate or thiamine hydrochloride is made from coal tar, ammonia, acetone, and hydrochloric acid (2)
Synthetic Vitamin B2 – Synthetic riboflavin is made with acetic acid and nitrogen or using genetically modified bacteria and fermentation (2)
Synthetic Vitamin B3 – Nicotinic acid is created using coal tar, ammonia, acids, 3-cyanopyridine, and formaldehyde (2)
Synthetic Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic acid involves isobutyraldehyde and formaldehyde to form a calcium or sodium salt (2)
Synthetic Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine hydrochloride comes from petroleum ester, hydrochloric acid, and formaldehyde (2)
Synthetic Vitamin B9 – Folic acid from petroleum derivatives, acids, and acetylene (2)
Synthetic Vitamin B12 – Cobalt and cyanide are fermented to make cyanocobalamin (2)
Synthetic Choline – Choline chloride or choline bitartrate is made using ethylene, ammonia, and hydrochloric acid or tartaric acid (2)
Synthetic Vitamin C – Ascorbic acid is an isolated vitamin from genetically modified corn sugar that is hydrogenated and processed with acetone (2)
Synthetic Vitamin D – obtained from irradiated animal fat (2)
Synthetic Vitamin E – The synthetic dl-alpha tocopherol is created using refined oils, trimethylhydroquinone, and isophytol (2)
Synthetic Vitamin K – Menadione, comes from coal tar derivatives and genetically modified and hydrogenated soybean oil, and uses hydrochloric acid and nickel (2)
Currently, there is a new movement away from synthetic vitamins to plant-based vitamins and minerals and there seems to be good reason to do so. But one last cautionary note: Be careful with vitamins labeled as natural. Labeling laws allow the phrase “natural” to be assigned to anything so long as it contains at least 10% naturally occurring materials. That means up to 90% can be various other synthetic substances and chemicals.
Of course, we believe the best thing to do is to eat a plant-based diet, full of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. This beats any vitamin supplement, be it plant-based or synthetic. Some circumstances make it necessary to take vitamin supplements; just choose wisely.
(1) – Clement, B.R. (2009) Supplements exposed: The truth they don’t want you to know about vitamins, minerals, and their effects on your health. United States: New Page Books.
(2) – https://sunwarrior.com/healthhub/natural-vs-synthetic-vitamins
The human body possesses an incredible ability to heal itself. Naturopathy encourages individuals’ inherent self-healing process by identifying and removing obstacles to healing and recovery, and by facilitating and augmenting the natural healing process. You might also hear the title holistic health practitioner today, which falls under the naturopathic field, but is not a licensed naturopathic doctor (ND).
A holistic health practitioner strives to identify and remove the true cause of illness, rather than only addressing a patient’s symptoms. The body possesses a certain vitality, an energy field that has it’s own frequency. If the energy flow is blocked or the body’s frequency is lowered, this offers an environment conducive to disease and illness. It is the body’s lowered resistance, not the bacteria, nor the virus, that has caused a specific illness.
Each person is as unique on the inside as they are on the outside. Healing techniques then are not a one size fits all, with each individual responding slightly differently to a healing treatment than the next. One person’s medicine truly can be another person’s poison.
Naturopaths are first teachers, seeking to educate the patient and encourage self-responsibility for health. They concentrate on the whole person, looking at physical, emotional, genetic, spiritual, mental, social and environmental factors.
Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash
Candida is a yeast found naturally on the skin, in the mouth, in the GI tract and in the vagina. As candida is a fungi, it needs a host in order to survive. Usually candida and the host live in a symbiotic relationship, with balanced amount of friendly bacteria and the yeast. Instead of simply getting a free ride, candida may actually do some good for us, as some believe the yeast may actually produce some B and K vitamins. Too much candida though, is however a problem. Candida can eventually eat through the intestinal wall and invade the blood stream, releasing toxins as they continue to metabolize their food. The skin will try and dispose of these toxins leading to skin conditions, such as hives, rashes, and psoriasis.
Causes of Candidiasis
Candidiasis, the overgrowth of candida yeast, can be the result of many different things, but most common is the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics do a great job at killing unwanted bacteria in our bodies, but they also eliminate much of the good bacteria. Yeast is not a bacteria, thus candida is not affected by antibiotics, rather it happily multiplies and starts taking over the now vacated places once belonging to bacteria. I’m not denying that there may be emergencies where antibiotics are needed, but they are prescribed way too much by today’s doctors. Honestly, if your doctor prescribes antibiotics for a cold or soar throat, you should fire him, especially since the cold is a viral infection not bacterial! If you must take antibiotics, please make sure to include either a probiotic supplement or lots of probiotic containing foods in your diet like organic sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, or kefir.
Another cause of candidiasis in women are birth control pills. They influence hormones and lead to an estrogen dominant environment, which, along with other side effects, does contribute to candida overgrowth.
Diet can also be influential in the development and reversal of candidiasis. Because candida lives off of sugar, a diet high in sugar and processed carbs – the typical North American diet – is quite simply giving the candida an open invitation to overrun the body. Any effort to restore balance between candida and friendly flora must also concentrate on diet any order to be effective. Removing absolutely all sugar, be it processed or natural sugar, and processed foods is critical.
Stress strongly influences candida growth. A healthy immune system will have no problem controlling candida, while a depressed immune system will struggle. Anything that inhibits the immune system, such as illness or disease can influence an overgrowth of candida. Possibly, the number one immune depressant plaguing many today is stress. Stress causes the body to release cortisol, a hormone that actually depresses your immune system while simultaneously increasing blood sugar levels. Prolonged stress is quite literally providing the candida all the food it wants in an environment that supports excess growth.
Photo cred: http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com/candida-and-inflammation
Latin Name: Capsicum Annuum
Cayenne pepper is one of our favorite herbs! Many cultures simply use the herb in cooking, but cayenne pepper is a medicinal superfood that can aid in healing just about any ailment.
Cayenne pepper is particularly high in vitamin A, but also contains vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, choline, along with the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Wow.
Below are cayenne pepper’s top 9 medicinal properties (in our humble opinion).
Ever been told that spicy foods irritate the stomach lining? Actually, the opposite is true. Hot spices like chiles and cayenne contain the active substance known as capsaicin, which, “does not stimulate but inhibits acid secretion, stimulates alkali, mucus secretions and particularly gastric mucosal blood flow which help in prevention and healing of ulcers.” (1) So, cayenne has the ability to sooth upset stomach and sore throats, heal ulcers, and alleviate diarrhea. If you have stomach ulcers, the best thing you could do is take a capsule of cayenne pepper just before each meal. Trust me 🙂
2. Fights against the Cold and Flu
Cayenne pepper helps break up and move congested mucus, and with the elimination of mucus, cold and flu symptoms diminish. Cayenne pepper also aids the body in detoxifying and eliminating the build up of toxins that accumulate in the body.
4. Improves blood circulation
Cayenne pepper improves the circulatory system by widening the capillaries and regulating blood sugar. On a cold day, take a capsule or two of cayenne pepper with a glass of water and feel the warmth travel throughout the body.
5. Equalizes blood pressure.
If someone gets a serious cut, put some cayenne on the wound and have the person ingest a few capsules of cayenne. Very soon the blood pressure will equalize in the body, allowing the blood to cot. Due to its blood pressure equalizing properties, cayenne pepper also promotes heart health and balances the body’s LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
6. Digestive Aid
Cayenne is a well-known digestive aid. It starts by stimulating the production of saliva, an important part of proper digestion. Cayenne pepper also stimulates the digestive tract, the production of enzymes and gastric juices. Cayenne pepper is believed to aid in intestinal peristalsis, enhancing both assimilation and elimination.
7. Boosts metabolism
Cayenne pepper has shown the ability to suppress hunger and regulate glucose levels in the blood. It also aids in lowering LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels and aids the body in burning excess fats
8. Topical poultice
Cayenne has been used to treat snake bites, various sores and wounds. Mixed with wintergreen/peppermint oil in an coconut oil/beeswax base, you have yourself one of the best natural sore muscle ointments!
9. Anti-Bacterial Properties
Cayenne has been used traditionally to protect food from bacteria contamination and is an excellent preservative. Try adding a little cayenne to some of your favorite dishes!
Photo by Jonathan Niederhoffer on Unsplash