The Milligram Myth by Taryn
Comparing isolated vitamin nutrient measures with whole-food nutrients
you are a health-conscious consumer, you are probably interested in
supplementing your diet with essential vitamins known to optimize
health. But with all the different brands of supplements available,
how do you choose the right one? You might be tempted, as so many
people are, to select the one that delivers the highest quantity or
milligram amount of individual vitamins. If a little bit is good, more
must be better, right?
Most nutritional supplements do not contain the same
forms of vitamins found in food. Rather, they feature synthesized or
isolated vitamins in a chemical form. Ascorbic acid, for example,
which is more commonly known as vitamin C, is typically synthesized
from high fructose corn syrup. The isolated molecule that results does
not share the same properties of the vitamin C you would get from
eating an orange. Whole food sources of vitamin C are delivered as
part of a food complex containing synergistic cofactors like
bioflavonoids, which serve to increase potency of the nutrient in the
body. As a result, a small amount of a vitamin in whole food form is
many times more effective than a large dose of an isolated vitamin.
Aside from the growing number of studies showing
that isolated nutrients are less potent than whole food forms, when
the body receives nutrients from food, they are usually delivered in
small doses throughout the day. Sustained nutrient release is ideal
not only for absorption, but for utilization, as there is a limit to
how much of a nutrient the body can use at any given time.
So, does all this mean you should forgo your daily
multivitamin and other supplemental nutrients? Absolutely not. Look
for a multivitamin that delivers vitamins and minerals the way nature
intended…in food form and food potencies. If you’re seeking optimal
nutrition, then you might want to try organic whole food probiotic
vitamins and minerals, not mega-doses of chemical isolates.
Taryn Forrelli, N.D., is a graduate of Southwest
College of Naturopathic Medicine, a premier accredited four-year
medical institution that specializes in providing the most advanced
understanding of integrative medicine. As a naturopathic physician,
Dr. Forrelli offers insight into the marvels of human biological
function and the natural healing power of herbs, nutrition and
Click on the following links for more information on
the benefits of whole food vitamins & supplements.