What Vitamin C Supplement Makers Won’t Tell You


Did you know that some supplements may contain food concentrates such as blueberry, broccoli, or spinach, in very small amounts so the label can read “Natural?”

Or that most companies don’t produce supplements made from whole foods but by synthetic means?

From Phillip Maffetone DC, The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing (Emphasis added)

Food sources of naturally occurring vitamin C have biological effects, acting as antioxidants and protecting DNA from oxygen damage— something that occurs in endurance athletes often during training and especially when anaerobic. The dose of vitamin C contained in a high-quality meal of vegetables and fruits may be 100 mg or less. However, the synthetic counterpart (ascorbic acid and the various similar forms), found in almost all dietary supplements, may function differently. High doses of synthetic vitamin C, typically 500 to 1,000 mg tablets, can perform as an antioxidant but can also transform to a deadly pro-oxidant— which can cause excess free-radical activity and inflammation.

Vitamins C [is] often sold under the “natural” label— as are most others, including all the synthetic vitamins. In nature these vitamins occur with other chemical components including a wide variety of phytonutrients. In addition, synthetic supplements have lower bioavailability. Synthetic vitamin C, for example, is not as biologically available and the body gets rid of it more quickly, in comparison to vitamin C in real foods. Studies have shown that vitamin C from food is 35 percent better absorbed, and excreted more slowly, than synthetic vitamin C.

There are also other potential side effects associated with HSAIDS (“High-Dose Synthetic and Isolated Dietary Supplements.”), including the following:

  • Popular doses of vitamin C supplements can be toxic when they react with the iron in the body or iron in dietary supplements. This is because of the powerful free radicals produced by iron.
  • Consuming popular doses of iron can result in excess ferritin (the body’s storage form of iron), which has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease and liver stress. High iron intake can also produce damaging excess free radicals and intestinal distress.
  • Common preparations of copper, zinc, or selenium supplements can be toxic and can even cause disease.
  • Popular doses of vitamin K and B6 can be toxic.
  • Consuming popular high doses of vitamin A can result in bone loss and increase the risk of hip fractures in the elderly.
  • Consuming popular doses of beta-carotene has been shown to increase lung cancer risk.

Other important considerations:

  • None of the nutrients that can cause harm in the body from dietary supplements are harmful when consumed in real food.
  • Taking a dietary supplement can promote a false sense of security that you’re getting all the nutrients needed for optimal endurance and health.
  • While researchers have found for decades that consumption of vegetables and fruits significantly decrease the risk of many diseases, most studies have concluded that dietary supplements containing the same vitamins and minerals do not.
  • The International Olympic Committee states that up to one in four dietary supplements can produce a positive test for banned substances.

Supplement Hype

Within the dietary supplement industry, the biggest players— those that manufacture the synthetic vitamins and raw materials used to make HSAIDS— are the pharmaceutical companies themselves. The natural foods companies that make real food dietary supplements are generally small and not as welcomed into the natural foods market yet. However, the image that “natural” dietary supplements are prevalent, and the marketing of supplements as “real food” is widespread. But most of these claims are untrue when you read the fine print or know how products are actually made. Because of the wholesome image of “natural foods,” some supplements may contain food concentrates such as blueberry, broccoli, or spinach. However, these plant materials are not only added in minuscule amounts, they also are often made from foods cooked at very high temperatures. The reason for their inclusion, as market researchers tell us, is that it looks good on the label; an ad can even say the product contains real food, or some other claim about being made from fruits and vegetables. But a careful look at the label shows that the vitamins in these products are usually synthetic, were added separately, and are not from those “real” foods. Discerning and uncovering these hidden tricks is often not easy for the average consumer. Another gimmick commonly used in the supplement industry is the use of yeast that’s been fed synthetic vitamins. The technique is simple: feed a nutrient to living yeast, then dry the yeast and add it to a dietary supplement as a source of nutrients. In the case of minerals it may be a useful technique, and claims of “natural” can be made honestly since all minerals— from calcium and magnesium to manganese and zinc— exist on earth in a natural form (most carried to this planet from the sun during the earth’s creation). But feeding a synthetic vitamin made by a drug company to yeast, adding the yeast to a supplement and then calling it “natural” and “real-food” is grossly misleading and deceptive.




Is your doctor consistent with the findings of this survey?

First of all I’m not against doctors. I use two doctors to help me obtain my maximum health. What I have found to be true when I’m helping one of my customers make nutrition and other lifestyle changes and I recommend that their doctor monitor their progress, is how often the doctor is “always down on what they are not up on” and effectively never consider the three simple keys to better health. Doctors love to treat the symptoms and seem to many times overlook the cause.

According to Joel Fuhrman, M.D. in his book, Eat to Live,

“Drs. Randall S. Stafford and David Blumenthal, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, reviewed the records of more than 30,000 office visits to 1,521 U. S. physicians of various specialties and found that doctors measured patients’ blood pressure during 50 percent of the visits. However, doctors tested their patients’  cholesterol level only 4.6 percent of the time. Physicians offered patients advise on how to lose weight in 5.8 percent of the visits, and suggestions on how smokers could quit 3 percent of the time. On average, doctors gave patients advice on dietary and other changes that can help lower cholesterol on 4.3 percent of the visits, and advice on exercise in 11.5 percent of the visits. when records were reviewed in those who had cardiovascular disease, the typical (almost worthless) dietary counseling and exercise was usually never even mentioned.(1)”

Your body is complex but health can be really simple. Your body just needs three things to achieve maximum health;

  1. Consume the 90 key nutrients (60 minerals and 30 vitamins, amino and fatty acids) DAILY,
  2. Live an ACTIVE lifestyle, and
  3. Get proper REST.

The next time you visit your doctor and he/she wants to prescribe a drug to treat a SYMPTOM, please ask them how nutrition, exercise and rest may work better overtime to get rid of the CAUSE and permanently overcome the illness.

(1) Stafford, R. S. and D. Blumenthal, 1998. Specialty difference in cardiovascular disease prevention practices. J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. 32 (5): 1238-43.

Dietary Guidelines 2010: Where Less is More

New guidelines are to eat more nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables, less sodium, solid fats and added sugars.

by Susie Rockway, Ph.D.

The world of nutrition has been waiting anxiously for the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to finally be released—that happened today. This document comes out every five years as a joint effort with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is based on the findings from the Advisory Committee made up of nutrition and health experts who analyze the latest research findings on diet and health.

The ultimate purpose of these guidelines is to educate Americans by giving more practical information so they can improve eating habits and increase physical activity to ultimately improve the health of all Americans ages two and older.
What’s really new in these dietary guidelines (112 pages) is a focus on reducing obesity with recommendations to eat less—by consuming smaller portions of food and beverages. This advice make sense in this world now dominated by the prevalence of overweight and obese individuals. Nutrient-dense foods and fewer calories are key. It’s a message that Isagenix has been stating for eight years.

In a nutshell, here’s what the Guidelines are saying:

  1. Watch calories to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  2. More calories from nutrition-rich foods, fewer calories from SoFAS (solid fats, added sugars) and refined grains.
  3. Eat a nutrient-dense breakfast. Who doesn’t already know that our IsaLean Shakes are the easiest way to get high-biologically available (easy to digest and absorb) nutrient-dense meal in two easy scoops? The high protein adds satiety so you eat less at the next meal; whey is a protein source with naturally higher in branched-chain amino acids to keep protein synthesis stimulated. The shakes also have the vitamins and minerals you need; plus, it has the healthy polyunsaturated fats that are recommended along with dietary fiber, too.

More and Less

The Guidelines can be further summarized by what we need more and less of in our diets:

More: Eat more seafood, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy (IsaLean Shake fits in here), healthy oils, whole grains and dietary fiber (SlimCakes fits in here)! According to the guidelines, the nutrients that are low in our diets include: calcium, vitamin D, B-12 and potassium; however, we know that when people diet they risk having insufficient amounts of other nutrients too (you can get what you need with Essentials for Men/Women). Also, to really fight obesity and overweight, we simply have to increase our activity! Recommended physical activity: any is better than none, but try to get 150 minutes (2.5 hours) a week of moderate intense exercise—if you do vigorous intensity exercising, then 1.25 hours per week is all you need for substantial health benefits. This is doable!

Eat less sodium (mainly from processed foods), saturated and trans fats, fast food, added sugars and refined grains. Watch out for the calories in beverages. American adults are consuming 400 calories a day in their beverages—mostly form soda and energy/sports drinks (use 35-calorie Want More Energy? instead). Five hundred extra calories a day will lead to a pound of fat in one week if energy expenditure isn’t accounted for. The easiest way to reduce sodium and fat is to not eat fast food and don’t drink calories. Consume more home-prepared, fresh foods and drink water, milk or beverages that don’t contain lots of sugar. If you are following an Isagenix program, you will be easily reducing sodium, sugars and solid fats. Throw in a serving of FiberPro and SlimCakes along with your shake and you will have just eaten almost half of the total recommended dietary fiber needs!

Dr. Rockway 

The Dietary Guidelines comes at a time where the public needs direction and guidance on how to eat better and how to get moving to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Where the overall message hasn’t changed much in the last 15 years, the clearer message and detailed easy-to-read tables are, in fact, a huge improvement to previous Guidelines. Look to Isagenix as a way to help you meet them, exceed them, and gain more out of life with better health.

Dr. Rockway is Isagenix’s Director of Research and Science and has more than 25 years of experience in teaching, academic research and directing research in the dietary supplement industry. After receiving a B.S. in Biology at San Diego State University, she went to University of Arizona for her M.S. in Agricultural and Nutritional Biochemistry, and then her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences.

Herbs; Healing the Natural Way

According to Dr. Stan Gardner, MD (http://www.stangardnermd.com/):

We use herbs in our food–imagine how bland our food would be without ginger, chives, garlic. For centuries, herbs were used to alleviate pain and help the body recover from many ailments. It wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that herbs were tossed aside and pharmaceuticals took their place. Laboratory chemistry could identify the active ingredient, a slight chemical change could be instituted so that it could be patented and sold without competition.

One-third of the pharmaceuticals of today have their origin in herbal medicine. Now, it seems easier to pick up a pill rather than use an herb, even if it more dangerous and less effective.

There are different qualities and forms of the herbs, so those who are returning back to basics, back to herbs, need to be aware. Herbs grown and packaged in some places may have toxic metals that have entered into the herb in the processing time.

The Doctors Book of Food Remedies
Selene Yeager and the Editors of Prevention Health Books

Dr. Gardner’s comments: Pharmaceuticals kill more than 100,000 people a year in the US alone, making it the 4th leading cause of death. It is time to take personal responsibility for our own health. Vitamins and herbs and good food and right thoughts will go a long way toward personal ownership of our body.

Nutritional supplements; Up or down!

According to Wikipedia, “A dietary supplement, also known as food supplement or nutritional supplement, is a preparation intended to supplement the diet and provide nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, that may be missing or may not be consumed in sufficient quantity in a person’s diet. Some countries define dietary supplements as foods, while in others they are defined as drugs or natural health products. [emphasis added]”

There needs to be a slight modification to Wikipedia’s definition. The phrase, “may be missing” needs to be changed to “are missing.” Because these needed vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids are missing in proper quantities from our nutritionally depleted foods a person “can’t” consume enough food in sufficient quantity to obtain them.

Thus you have the supplement industry trying to fix the problem created by the chemical industry.

Have you ever taken some form of supplement? Perhaps you remember your mother telling you to take your daily vitamin. Or maybe you went to a health professional who recommended a specific supplement like vitamin C or E.

Did you blindly just pick whatever was on the shelf without reading the label? Don’t lie, we’ve all done it.

Did you know that many supplement brands have little or no due diligence on their products? The LA Times in 2002 ran an article on their test of 24 off-the-shelf supplements. They had them tested at a lab and determine that only 2 had what they claimed were in them. In fact, one of the vendors was selling the Acai Berry and it was not in the supplement at all.

Not all supplements are created equal. Many of their ingredients are inorganic as opposed to organic. Why is this important? Inorganic,  including lab created synthetic ingredients, are not water soluble and will not break down in the body to be absorbed and used. Only organic ingredients are water soluble. It has been reported by many that a vitamin pill they took passed right through them and ended up in their stool. This is a sign of inorganic insoluble ingredients. It’s a big waste of money as well.

According to ConsumerLab.com, who randomly tests some dietary supplements and makes the results available to subscribers, has reported that 25% of the supplements it tests have problems, and for multivitamins about half had problems. In fact on their web site today is a link stating, “Lead and/or Cadmium Contamination Found in 25% of “Greens” Powders Selected for Testing.” That’s scary but it is a reality.

So what is the answer?

Good question.

Because our food supply is nutritionally bankrupt a person is forced to either ingest the 90 needed daily nutrients or go without. It is my opinion and that of many others that our national health crisis is in part caused because our food supply is so bankrupt. You may have heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” I totally believe this is true.

Where does a person receive the needed nutrients if they can’t get them from food or doesn’t trust supplement companies?

First let me say there are foods that are not bankrupt. There are farmers and vendors that produce organic nutritionally dense food. Also, many are turning to growing their own fruits and vegetables.

Second, if you can’t get your nutrients from food, which is the best place to receive them from, you’ll have to get them from supplement vendors. Be careful and ask lots of questions because there are bad vendors and good vendors.

Education is the key. I’m just alerting you to what’s out there. Good eating!

Michael Lantz
Isagenix® Nutritional Consultant
Exercise and fitness geek
Six time finisher of the Ironman® Triathlon, the World’s toughest endurance event

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