This week the British press is all about a recent study done by the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) which states up to 25% of UK children are Vitamin D deficient and the lack of awareness about this deficiency and the ‘plethora’ of diseases it is linked to therefore fueling a rise in preventable illnesses among children.

Professor Mitch Blair, the college’s Officer for Health Promotion, notes that intervention is needed due to the paucity of sunlight in Britain and because eating foods rich in Vitamin D, such as oily fish, eggs and mushrooms, only provides 10% of an individuals’ ideal intake. Vitamin D deficiency, which has also been linked to diabetes and tuberculosis, is expected to affect one in two white Britons, 90% of those in ethnic minority communities, and a 25% of all children.

“The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommends supplements for pregnant or breastfeeding women and their children from six months to four years. The Chief Medical Officer recommends supplements for children up to the age of five and, the government’s Healthy Start programme provides vitamins free for people on income support, ” Blair writes in an article published on BBC.com. “But we believe more needs to be done.” They plan to fortify food with cheap synthetic Vitamin D.

Unfortunately, not all vitamins are not created equal.

The human body has evolved for millions of years to digest foods found in nature. A healthy, organic diet should provide a good amount of nutrients that the body needs, but supplements can help ensure that we are getting a healthy dose of specific vitamins.  The problem is that many vitamin and mineral supplements are manufactured synthetically with chemicals and do not come straight from their natural sources. Most synthetically produced vitamins and supplements are chemical compounds that cannot be found in nature hence the human body does not recognize these ingredients which can result in unanticipated reactions. The body knows the difference between real and fake and it always prefers real. The natural form comes in packages with other vitamins, enzymes and minerals that control the way the body recognizes, metabolizes and uses them to make what it needs.

Here’s the bad, the worse, and the ugly about synthetic vitamins:

What is a “Synthetic” Vitamin?
What people are not aware of is all vitamins are not created equal, and most are actually synthetic. Synthetic vitamins are made to mimic the way natural vitamins act in our bodies. Natural vitamins are derived directly from plant material containing the vitamin, not produced in a test tube.

A synthetic vitamin can stimulate a cell’s metabolism, but it cannot upgrade or replace the cells components with superior, better quality elements. The result? A degraded cell. Nature always packages vitamins in groups, which work together for better absorption. For this reason, the body responds to an isolated vitamin in the same way it responds to a toxin.

A good example of “junk” nutritional supplements is synthetic B vitamins. Most people do not know that most B vitamins are made from petrochemicals! For your best health, take a whole-nutrient B vitamin and avoid synthetics. Synthetics or “isolated” vitamins will be listed on the label as follows: Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (niacin) and, Vitamin B5 (calcium pantothenate).

What is wrong with isolated vitamins?
Many synthetic vitamins lack the transporters and co-factors associated with naturally occurring vitamins because they have been “isolated.” The Organic Consumers Association, emphasizes that isolated vitamins cannot be used or recognized by the body in the same way as the natural version.

A good example is Vitamin E: The synthetic version of Vitamin E is often referred to as the dl-form. The dl-form is a combination of the d-form (which, by the way, is the naturally occurring form) and the l-form. The problem is that the body doesn’t actually use the l-form, we excrete it! Which means no benefit, just extra work for the liver!
When isolated vitamins can’t be used by the body, they are either stored until you obtain or create the nutrients required to use them effectively or are excreted. Synthetic vitamins are also devoid of necessary trace minerals and must use the body’s own mineral reserves, which may lead to dangerous mineral deficiencies.

Are certain synthetic ingredients worse than others?
Yes. Some vitamins are water soluble, so they flush out of the body quite easily. Other vitamins are fat-soluble. The fat-soluble vitamins include Vitamins A, D, E and K. Because they are fat-soluble (in lipids), these vitamins tend to build-up in the body’s fat tissues, fat deposits, and liver. This storage capability makes the fat-soluble vitamins potentially toxic when consuming high-dose synthetic versions of these vitamins, rather than food-based vitamins that the body knows how to metabolize. Care should be exercised when taking the fat-soluble vitamins, and it is recommended that you avoid the synthetic forms of these vitamins whenever possible. Fat-soluble vitamins are found naturally in butter, fish oils, nuts, and green leafy vegetables.

Did You Know?
More than 95% of all the vitamin supplements sold today fall in to the synthetic category. It is based on this firm belief that I have created the Targetage® line of products, which includes a full array of natural vitamins and quality antioxidants. Natural vitamins remain the best way to go!