Thursday, 10 February 2011

Are Supplements "Natural" Better

Following is an extract from Men's Health Magazine - November 1997 page 58

Is "natural" better?

Nah. In most cases your body cannot tell the difference between a vitamin or mineral from food and one from a test tube. "Essentially you get the same chemical structure," says Dr Leon Ellenbogen, who works in nutritional sciences at Whitehall-Robins.

There is a common misconception that "natural" vitamins and minerals that are extracted from plants in their pure form  are superior to "synthetic" is a misleading distinction. FIRST, it is not possible to extract pure vitamins from plants without considerable chemical processing. SECOND, some vitamin and antioxidant compounds can be efficiently synthesized in factories to produce that are identical in chemical to those found in nature that are pure and fully safe.

What's more, supplements labelled "natural" are not necessarily safer, according to Hendrich. "Some of those "natural' sources have higher levels of contaminants, such as lead, compared to the more carefully refined ingredients used in the manufacturing process", she says.

Sure it is important to avoid hazardous chemicals or controversial formulation techniques. Sure it is best to use all the natural ingredients. However, no one can really claim to market all natural products when they have to process them into tablets or liquids in  mass production. Even the "all natural" products are encapsulated, pressed, freeze-dried, or processed in some other high tech manner.