Whole Food Supplements or Synthetics?

August 2010, Warren Matthews

Summary

Question: from Leslie

Are your supplements considered "whole food vitamins" or do you use synthetics in your supplements?

Question: from Leslie

Are your supplements considered "whole food vitamins" or do you use synthetics in your supplements? My chiropractor is advocating for a brand called "Standard Process" and I am trying to understand the distinction and where your supplements fall within the "whole food" definition?

I have used your products for over a year and have been most satisfied. Any additional information will be helpful to me in making an informed decision on which brand to use.

Answer: from Warren

Hi Leslie,

This ‘whole food vitamins’ and ‘synthetic’ and ‘natural’ is an interesting area with a lot of confusion.

For many ingredients in supplements there is no confusion, such as fish oil, or herbal extracts as it is obvious that these ingredients come from fish or plants. Where the problem arises is when ingredients are included that come from other sources and can be produced in different ways.

For example, certain vitamins can either be produced from a petroleum product or, by fermentation, or bio-technology. There is no doubt that a vitamin or ingredients derived from a petroleum base is synthetic. However, it could also be argued that a vitamin produced by fermentation is also synthetic…but, in general it is considered to be natural as they are effectively grown, albeit in a laboratory.

But, this is not how the ingredient is produced in nature, so one could argue that it is not natural. However, there is no alternative to producing a ‘natural’ vitamin this way, or for that matter many other ingredients such as CoQ10 or amino acids. To take the vitamin out of a plant is economically unviable and would be a waste of a valuable food resource.

Most quality manufacturers use ingredients that are produced by fermentation if they are not available naturally from plants, such as herbal extracts. It would seem that ‘Standard Process’ also do this. We certainly do. In other words we do not use anything that is synthetic and has been derived from a non food source or has not been grown by a fermentation process.

Hope this clarifies the situation.

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