Most people have NO IDEA about the difference between a CHEMICAL ISOLATE and a WHOLE FOOD
CONCENTRATE, or just a WHOLE FOOD, and they do not know that supplements you buy over the
counter are DRUGS not FOOD!
I think few people have explained this better than Judith DeCava, who wrote a whole book about it
(The Real Truth About Vitamins and Antioxidants). Here is an excerpt from her book:
“A vitamin is a complex mechanism – a working process – of biological “wheels within wheels” of
functional, interrelated, interdependent components. A vitamin consists of, not only the organic
nutrient(s) identified as the vitamin but also enzymes, coenzymes antioxidants, and trace element
activators. (…) A vitamin supplement, then, can not simply be an individual chemical or several
chemicals. Supplements MUST be food concentrates, intact, integrated, with their vitamin complexes
incorporated, so as to retain their functional and nutritional integrity. They must contain ALL the
factors indigenous to food that make up the vitamin’s organic unity and entirety.”
When you go to your local drugstore and see isles upon isles filled with vitamins, you might think
that those are the real thing. Alas, they are not. Have you tried reading the ingredients?
So what is the difference between the chemical isolates and the whole food supplements?
can be chemically synthetized
are in chemically “pure” form (without all the associated components)
high concentration (never found in nature)
separated form the enzymes (therefore no biological activity)
need to be “re-assembled” in the body (so the body needs to provide the missing parts)
can be easily overdosed as they come in chemically high doses
are often not recognized by the body (so they just get excreted instead of assimilated)
WHOLE FOOD SUPPLEMENTS:
come in complexes of nutrients as found in nature
they are colloidal (gelatin like solution)
they are proteins in nature and exist as enzymes/coenzymes (so they are heat sensitive)
contain trace mineral activators (needed in order to absorb them)
come with all the elements needed for their function
the same vitamin complex can serve different function depending on its (animal/plant) origin
living things can be produced ONLY from living things never from inert matter
A look at the way the supplement is made and the INGREDIENTS always helps to shed some light on
the truth. Lets look at Vitamin C. By law the only part of the vitamin we are allowed to call Vitamin
C is Ascorbic Acid. (Ascorbic acid is actually just the antioxidant wrapper of the whole vitamin
How is Ascorbic Acid made ??
here is a simpler overview of the process
The base ingredient is CORN SYRUP.
Steps 1 thru 9 (Starch Hydrolysis): Corn starch is broken down into simple sugar (D-Glucose) by the
action of heat and enzymes.
Step 10 (Hydrogenation): D-Glucose is converted into D-Sorbitol.
Step 11 (Fermentation): D-Sorbitol is converted into L-Sorbose.
Step 12 (Acetonation): (Acetone!!)! L-Sorbose is combined with an acid at low temperatures.
Step 13 (Oxidation): The product is then oxidized with a catalyst, acidified, washed and dried
forming L-Gluconic Acid.
Step 14 (Hydrolysis): L-Gluconic Acid is treated with hydrochloric acid forming crude ascorbic acid.
Step 15 (Recrystallization): The crude ascorbic acid is filtered, purified and milled into a fine
Does anything in nature resembles this processes?
Let’s now look at the ingredients of a whole food supplement…
Here is Standard Process Cataplex C:
Proprietary Blend: 595 mg Veal bone PMG™ extract, bovine adrenal, dried buckwheat (leaf) juice,
buckwheat (seed), nutritional yeast, dried alfalfa (whole plant) juice, alfalfa flour, mushroom,
magnesium citrate, bovine bone, defatted wheat (germ), calcium acid phosphate, echinacea (root),
carrot (root), veal bone, soybean lecithin, mixed tocopherols (soy), and rice (bran). Other Ingredients
Calcium lactate, honey, acerola (berry), camu camu (berry), manioc (root), calcium stearate, and
Is there anything you do not recognize as food?
To learn more about how the supplements are made you can go to the SP website:
Potency is another issue:
Judith De Cava explains: “Since potency really refers to effectiveness quality rather than quantity –
the TRUE high potency vitamins are whole complexes, those intact with their natural synergists as
found in unrefined food. If an emaciated person could not gain weight eating three meals a day,
would it make sense to increase the number of meals to ten, or to look at the quality of the food?”
What happens when we start taking synthetic vitamins?
As you can well see in the picture above the vitamin complex, as it comes in nature, is made up of
enzymes, co-enzymes, anti-oxidants (like alpha-tocopherol) and trace mineral activators. When we
ingest a high potency isolate, especially in the presence of a nutritional deficiency, (and most people
nowadays have deficiencies due to the poor quality of our food) the body rushes to grab the missing
pieces of the puzzle form its own resources. Those enzymes and minerals are still needed to process
the large quantity of isolate that entered your blood stream, so to maintain the balance and make
use of it, the body needs to supply the missing components taking them out of it’s own tissues,
organs and bones. That is why after the initial rush of good results, vitamins usually stop working,
and if you would dig a bit deeper, you will find that they actually exacerbated the problem you were
trying to solve in the first place!
Whole Food Vitamins
Next time you are buying a bottle of “Vitamin C” over the counter, try to read the ingredients and
see if you can tell what kind of supplement you have in your hand.
Hopefully this will give you a better idea about the difference between real whole food supplements
and chemical isolates, and enable you to make better informed decisions about what supplements
If you want to know more I recommend reading this great article: