Nature vs. Synthetic: Is there really a Difference?
We are avid proponents of whole food vitamins (“supplements”). The purpose for taking supplements in the first place, is to supply the nutrients that are missing from our diets. If we’re not consuming the nutrients necessary for the various biological activities in the body, then those activities get compromised. Eventually, this results in the myriad of symptoms expressed on a daily basis.
The nutrients in our food supply are drastically reduced from what it was even 50 years ago. Our topsoil has eroded to alarmingly low levels, and our commercial produce is replanted in the same soil year after year with only 3 nutrients returned to the soil (NPK – nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium). Rarely is the soil composted, returning the diverse nutrients back to the soil to be taken up by the plants we eventually consume.
Couple that with the fact that we’re processing our foods to death, taking what little nutrients are in there after poor farming practices, time from farm to factory, etc., then killing it (in particular, the enzymes) so that we have shelf life and convenience. Because so much of our foods are so nutrient-devoid, we throw artificial vitamins into the packaged stuff, pretending to be adding something of value back to the food.
This is where vitamins come in. Because we realize the value of the diverse nutrients needed for the operation of our bodies, and we realize we are coming up short, we find, out of pure concern for our welfare, the necessity of taking pills that give us concentrated nutrients.
It only makes sense then, that those nutrients should come from foods.
However, that is rarely the case today. Most vitamins are synthetically produced; faux vitamins masquerading as being good for you. Unfortunately, the majority are just pure junk.
In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, 3 distinguished men noted the effects of the modern commercialized foods on human health. They sought ways to counteract them. Dr. Royal Lee, a dentist, in 1929 formulated the first vitamin, “Catalyn”. It was a concentrate of the most nutrient-dense plants he could find at the time. He was concerned about the micro-nutrients as well as the more well known macro (larger) nutrients. He understood that vitamins were always found in a complex, and never as single isolates, that the soil was the key to healthy nutrient-rich plants, and that proper care (for example, avoiding excess heat), was essential in developing a product that would replace the nutrients being robbed from our food supply. The laboratory vitamins later developed invariably were missing the vital co-factors that were necessary for the vitamin to work properly in the body. His concern was the quality and the expanse of the nutrients, not mega-doses of a single element (or fraction) of the vitamin complex.
Another physician, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, ran a “sanitarium” (hospital) which employed the use of the natural remedies of the day. Also seeing the nutrient privation developing in this new processed food industry, he took the nutrients stripped from wheat and concentrated them into flakes and fed them to his patients. He was amazed at how quickly they recovered from a diversity of ailments. He began having his patients eat these wheat flakes every morning for breakfast, beginning the whole breakfast cereal movement. His brother, who developed the cereal business, found that corn was more palatable, and marketed “corn flakes” instead. Eventually, the company was sold and the vision of Dr. Kellogg lost in the process.
Rev. Sylvester Graham in the 1800’s was also concerned about nutritional depletion, essentially doing the same thing with graham crackers as Dr. Kellogg did with wheat flakes. The original graham crackers were dry, rough and barely palatable. He would later add a little white flour to soften it, and took the whole concept to a bit eccentric level. But the essence of feeding a sick body the nutrients that were missing was a passion of his. Eventually, more white flour, white sugar and less wheat bran was added to it, an idea that he would have been abhorred to have seen. Today, it is more of a convenience cookie – certainly not the health food he created!
The whole food vitamin concept is that of taking the nutrients missing from our diet, concentrating them and putting them in a form we can easily take and absorb. Standard Process, the company whose whole food supplements we primarily advocate, takes plants, herbs or animal organs (such as liver), juices them, and through a low temperature vacuum extraction process, removes the water, then compresses the concentrate into tablets. What you get is food, concentrated to therapeutic potencies, pure and simple. The nutrients needed for bodily function are provided in a form most consumers prefer – a pill.
For more information about whole food supplements, you can visit the Standard Process website at www.standardprocess.com.