So you’re following your daily vitamin regimen and you feel you’re doing something beneficial for your health. Well, you’re certainly on the right track in your recognition of the need to supplement your dietary intake of nutrients. Virtually everyone reading this article should be doing so. Due primarily to modern agricultural techniques carried out by large agribusiness concerns which provide most of our nation’s food supply, our food has only a fraction of the nutrient density it had just fifty years ago. The alarming fact is that foods – fruits, vegetables and grains – now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of certain needed nutrients, are starving us of nutrition no matter how much we eat. And the meat we eat feeds on a diet that is nutritionally depleted as well, causing it to provide less nutrition than it once did. In the United States and throughout the world, much of the inventory of arable topsoil has been lost due to erosion, overuse of inorganic nitrogen fertilizers, and other farming practices that leave the soil depleted. The depletion of soil nutrients and soil microorganisms in turn contributes to further soil erosion and the loss of arable topsoil. Early picking is another modern farming technique that adversely impacts the nutrition of the food that reaches the store shelves. Plants synthesize a number of nutrients from the soil and also develop nutrients as they grow. But because food is shipped over such long distances, many crops are harvested before they are ripe. Early picking aims to prevent over-ripened produce from arriving at our nation’s grocery stores. As produce is shipped over long distances it continues to ripen and develop color. However, it does not continue to synthesize nutrients from the soil. Government data from both America and the United Kingdom have shown that the concentration of a range of essential nutrients in the food supply has declined in the last few decades, with double digit percentage declines of iron, zinc, calcium, selenium and other essential nutrients across a wide range of common foods. The decreased nutritional density of our food supply is one of a number of culprits behind the current state of obesity in the United States. One of the reasons Americans overeat is because we are starved for nutrients. Our bodies crave nutrients, and we must consume many more calories today than we did a few decades ago to obtain those nutrients. If you’re supplementing your dietary intake of nutrients, you’re absolutely correct in your recognition of this need as a very important aspect of maintaining good health. But chances are the supplements you’re taking aren’t doing you the good they promise. Here are some facts about conventional nutritional supplements that should give all of us pause: Be Aware of the Ingredients in Conventional Supplements (Especially Additives) As of this writing there are 8 supplement makers in America that produce about 80% of all the supplements in the United States, and they are all owned by the drug companies. These supplements are pre-made by private label manufacturers. They're simply packaged differently and are sold under separate labels at different price points even though they're the exact same pill. These supplements are typically made using a number of potentially harmful ingredients as fillers, binders and flowing agents in the manufacturing process. Capsules are produced by encapsulating machines which have tubes through which the ingredients flow at incredibly high speeds. In order to ensure the capsule manufacturing operation is working at maximum efficiency so the supplements are produced at a low cost, each of the multitude of machines utilized in a manufacturing operation produce capsules at a rate of tens of thousands per hour. If the tubes get clogged the machines have to be stopped for cleaning, which drives up the manufacturer’s costs substantially. To prevent this from happening, flowing agents are used to help the ingredients flow through the machinery. Two of the most common of these agents are magnesium stearate (or stearic acid) and talcum powder (or talc). Magnesium stearate, whose use is most prevalent in the production of conventional supplements, is a hydrogenated oil that research has shown suppresses your T-cells, which are a crucial component of your immune system. Magnesium stearate also stimulates your gut to form a biofilm, which acts as an effective barrier to the absorption of not only that particular vitamin, but to the nutrients you’d normally get from food sources as well: According to the Cancer Prevention Coalition, talc is closely related to the potent carcinogen asbestos, and talc particles have been shown to cause tumors in the ovaries and lungs of cancer victims: Almost All Supplements on the Market Today are Man-Made Isolated Synthetics About 95% of supplements sold today are man-made synthetics. There are some who believe these isolated synthetics, which are generally made with the use of magnesium stearate or talc, are actually worse for you than taking no supplements at all. The study of biochemistry teaches us that vitamins do not exist as single compounds that act on their own. Vitamins are made up of several compounds including enzymes, co-enzymes, factors and co-factors that must work together to produce their intended biological effects. If you’re taking a man-made synthetic that contains only part of the vitamin complex, your body must gather all of the other components of the full complex from your body’s other tissues in order to make use of it. In the likely event your body doesn’t have adequate reserves of the other components, the portion of the complex in your synthetic supplement will not provide the health benefits that are derived from the full complex. Let’s look at vitamin C as an example. Most vitamin C supplements found in pharmacies, grocery stores, and vitamin shops contain only ascorbic acid or a compound called ascorbate, which is a less acidic form of ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is NOT vitamin C, and represents only the outer ring that serves as a protective shell for the entire vitamin C complex. Real vitamin C obtained from food contains the following components: · Rutin · Bioflavinoids (vitamin P) · Factor K · Factor J · Factor P · Tyrosinase · Ascorbinogen · Ascorbic Acid When you take only ascorbic acid found in your synthetic vitamin C supplement, as previously stated, in order for the supplement to provide the biological effects of natural vitamin C, your body must gather all of the other components of the full vitamin C complex from your body's other tissues. The chances you have adequate reserves of the other components but not enough ascorbic acid is highly unlikely. Like vitamin C, almost all other vitamins offer their full health benefits when they are in the presence of a number of enzymes, co-enzymes, factors, co-factors, and even minerals. The reason vitamin makers choose to produce isolated synthetic supplements rather than whole food nutritional supplements is because the production costs are significantly lower, which makes the profit margin significantly higher. Is Something Sinister At Work Here? As mentioned before, magnesium stearate suppresses your T-cells and interferes with nutritional absorption, and talc is a known toxin. It goes without saying a compromised immune system coupled with nutritional deficiencies, or the repeated long-term consumption of a small amount of a carcinogenic mineral might lead to illness. It is well worth remembering, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the companies that sell these additive-containing synthetic supplements are the very same companies who are in the business of selling you pharmaceutical drugs should illness befall you! And that certainly would be a clever strategy wouldn’t it? - selling a product whose use all but guarantees the need for other of the company’s products. At a minimum pharmaceutical companies who sell nutritional supplements, and again, this is most supplements on the market, have an inherent conflict of interest. After all, if their supplements helped to keep you healthy, that would cut into the sales of their main product. It’s been reported that pharmaceutical companies’ average cost to bring one new drug to market is around $1 billion. Obviously they must sell an awful lot of drugs to make a return on their enormous investment. And at close to 1/3 of a trillion dollars per year in drug sales in the U.S. alone (that’s right, trillion with a T!), they are doing just that. It was my personal experience that ignited a passion for this issue. I’d like to share with you one of the many amazing benefits I’ve experienced after resolving nutritional deficiencies through the use of natural whole food supplements. I think you’ll find it instructive. Before I continue, it’s important to point out that the best and most healthful supplements are not going to be found on the shelves of your grocery store, pharmacy or vitamin shop. They’re generally going to be sold through such channels as direct marketing, on-line retailers or naturopathic physicians. The reason for this is the cost of producing whole food supplements made from ingredients that are natural and truly healthful, and made using the best manufacturing practices is higher than that of the products found on the store shelves. Therefore, in order to maintain price competitiveness, formulators and manufacturers of supplements who are concerned with producing a quality, beneficial product have to distribute those products in the most economical way. Additionally, they have to forgo the kind of advertising done by most supplement makers who, again, are owned by the drug companies and are backed by their deep pockets. As the truth begins to get out, this will change as consumers will undoubtedly begin to stop using conventional supplements in favor of healthful, quality, natural ones (Now I can assure you as the word on this starts to get out, the drug companies will respond by obscuring their association with the supplement side of the business. It’s important to exercise diligence when selecting a supplement). That said, several years ago I developed severe allergies. I went to see an allergist who after conducting the “pin *****” test gave me the diagnosis ‘you’re allergic to everything’. Now this was obviously meant to be an amusing colorful exaggeration, but most of what he tested for, I had an allergic reaction to. So this allergist did what allopathic doctors do. He prescribed not one, but two medications - pills and a nasal spray. Well, the pills threw my equilibrium off and put me in a terrible brain fog, and the nasal spray gave me nose bleeds. I was miserable taking this stuff. Fortunately, a few months into taking the meds, I began to develop an interest in and began exploring natural approaches to health, which was quite a departure for me. Having gained some insight into the causes of illness, which I believe can generally be placed into 4 broad categories: 1) nutritional deficiencies, 2) accumulation of toxins in the body, 3) cellular level disturbances due to electromagnetic radiation, and 4) emotional imbalances, the first of these concerns I set out to address was to resolve any nutritional deficiencies I might have. I had taken conventional nutritional supplements in the past, but thankfully I had begun seeing a naturopathic doctor who explained why taking conventional supplements is not a good idea and who recommended natural whole food supplements. I began with taking a whole food multivitamin along with trace minerals. Within 3 months of taking these two supplements my allergies were completely resolved. I threw out what was left of the medication I was taking, and I haven’t taken any medication, prescription or non-prescription, since - not even so much as an aspirin, and this has been several years now. Now obviously I’m not making any medical claims here. But I, along with friends and family who I have introduced to whole food supplements, have experienced really great results. And being aware that the mainstream media who receives billions of dollars in advertising revenue from the pharmaceutical industry is not likely to take up this effort, it has become my mission to share this information as widely as possible. I believe sharing this information is not just a benefit to individuals, but will also ultimately assist in our nation’s efforts to get a handle on ever increasing health care costs. Please share this information with everyone you care about. Wishing you good health and good fortune, Patrick Delaney Founder – African-American Wellness Initiative Publisher – BlackHealthWeb.com P.S., for anyone who wants to know, the multivitamin and trace mineral supplements I mentioned are formulated and produced by Universal Formulas. They’re called Quintessence and Tracite, and can be found at NutrientsOfNature.com. I have since added vitamin D3 to my regimen. I have found the health benefits of maintaining my blood serum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the 50-80 ng/mL range year-round (a range by the way, which is achieved naturally under the condition of adequate year-round sun exposure) to be wonderfully beneficial.