selenite and selenate are classified as dangerous and toxic to
the environment. They can be carcinogenic and genotoxic, and may
contribute to reproductive and developmental problems in animals
and humans. Nonetheless, they are the primary forms of the mineral
sold on the mass market today.
vitamins actually contain chemicals that the EPA has banned from
public drinking water at levels above 50 parts per billion. That's
the equivalent of a tablespoon of water in an Olympic-size swimming
to Green Med Info:
[T]his is not the first time in American history that such a hoax
has been perpetuated on the public. The FDA-approved use of fluoride
in our drinking water and the use of radioactive cobalt-60 culled
from nuclear reactors for the IRRADIATION OF conventional food
illustrates how industrial waste products with known toxicity
are eventually converted into commodities or technologies 'beneficial
to health.' Whereas initially these substances have very high
disposal costs for the industries that excrete them into our environment,
the liability is converted through the right combination
of lobbying, miseducation and "checkbook science" back
into a commodity".
Med Info August 4, 2011
something is touted as being "natural" or "healthy" doesn't automatically
make it true, and such is the case with some multi-vitamins. You
really need to check the label and know what's what, because there
can be a vast difference between a synthetic or synthesized vitamin
or mineral and the real thing. Some products may also contain
additives and fillers that can cause problems in large doses.
latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), more than 50 percent of the US population takes some form
of nutritional supplement each day, and approximately 40 percent
of US adults take a daily multi-vitamin. But despite the
fact that the U.S.
spends close to $27 billion on supplements each year, the
rates of most chronic diseases remain unchanged, while others
are still on the rise.
supplements are so good for us, why aren't we getting healthier?
Part of the
reason could be that many people mistakenly believe that a vitamin
is a vitamin, and one form of a mineral is equal to any other,
failing to understand the inherent differences between synthetic
chemicals and whole food nutrients. Many also mistakenly use supplements
as a way to avoid having to change their dietary habits. But the
proof is in the pudding, as they say, because if you eat a diet
consisting primarily of processed junk food, and take cheap synthetic
vitamins and minerals, you're not likely to see a major
change in your health status...
It has always
been my belief that supplements should be used in addition
to, NOT in place of, a sound diet. You simply cannot
cover your nutritional- or lifestyle "sins" by taking a handful
Supplements have Become More Popular
is an essential trace mineral found primarily in plant foods,
and is known to have powerful antioxidant activity. Past studies
have shown it can play a beneficial role in:
and macular degeneration
sores and shingles
content in whole plant foods depend on the level of the nutrient
in the soil, and, unfortunately, many farming areas around the
world are becoming increasingly selenium depleted. Most of the
selenium is also lost when the food is processed or refined, so
unless you consume lots of whole organic produce, you may be at
risk of selenium deficiency.
It is because
of these facts that supplements containing selenium have increased
in popularity in the United States, to the extent that close to
25 percent of Americans over 40 take a selenium supplement or
multivitamin that includes selenium. However, supplementing with
sodium selenite and selenate may do more harm than good...
in the featured article, sodium selenite and selenate are two
potentially problematic ingredients found in many multi-vitamins.
a database for pesticide chemicals, both sodium selenite and
sodium selenate are classified as "Highly Toxic," based on oral
administration trials using rabbits and rats. And according
to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the highest allowable
level of selenium in public drinking water is 50 parts per billion,
which is equivalent to 50 micrograms, dry weight.
exposure to selenium, sodium selenite, sodium selenate, or selenium
dioxide may cause paleness, coated tongue, stomach disorders,
nervousness, metallic taste and a garlic odor of the breath.
Damage to the liver and spleen in animals has also been observed,
to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
to the 1986 edition of the Handbook
of the Toxicology of Metals, daily intake of about one milligram
of selenium as selenite can be toxic.
- In one
study, sodium selenite was found to induce substantial DNA
damage in human fibroblasts.
- More recent
research also indicates that too
much selenium may contribute to the onset of diabetes.
important to realize that these potentially toxic chemicals are
some of the primary forms of selenium sold as dietary supplements
on the market today. As discussed in the featured article, such
inorganic minerals cannot replace biologically active
selenium that is found in foods like brazil nuts, mustard seeds,
and fresh produce grown in selenium-rich soil is infinitely different
from the biologically inert forms being put in some multivitamins.
In fact, i.e., sodium selenite/selenate can cause cancer, whereas
the selenium found within food, or laboratory chelated forms like
selenomethionine have all been shown to prevent and combat cancer.
principle that explains this difference is that when you isolate
a nutrient or vitamin out of the food complex within which it
is naturally found, and where it is inseparably bound to thousands
of known and unknown food factors (e.g., enzymes, protein chaperones,
glyconutrients, etc.) it is no longer as beneficial to life. This
is especially true in the case of vertebrate mammals who are equipped
to get their minerals from the plants they ingest or through the
biotransformation of inorganic minerals to organic ones by microflora
in their gastrointestinal tracts.
reason that sodium selenite/selenate are preferred by some vitamin
manufacturers over safer, more beneficial forms like chelated
or yeast-grown selenium is because it is more profitable to use
raw materials of lower quality."
Ingredients Found in Many Multi-Vitamins
In the U.S.,
many supplement makers add so-called 'flowing agents' into their
capsules. Two common additives are:
of these will cause any major harm in small doses. But they do
add up over time, and magnesium stearate can cause a biofilm to
be created in your intestine, which will prevent the absorption
of nutrients. The only purpose of it in the supplement is
to help the raw materials become more slippery and easily flow
through the machines that create the supplements.
stearate is not a supplemental source of magnesium but rather
a form of stearic acid. It's essentially chalk, and previous
research has shown that it suppresses your natural killer
cells, which are a key component of your immune system. Unfortunately,
this chalk filler stimulates your gut to form a biofilm – a sort
of sludge lining – that acts as an effective barrier to the absorption
of not only that particular vitamin but all the nutrients you'd
normally get from food sources as well. This is a major reason
for focusing on nutritional foods rather than taking handfuls
of vitamins each day.
once I became aware of this issue, I was able to get my personal
brand multi-vitamins reformulated, so they do not contain magnesium
stearate any longer. Titanium dioxide is another absolutely unnecessary
color agent you don't want to see in your supplements, as it has
to cause autoimmune disorders.
with Synthetic Vitamins
health experts agree on one thing: No matter which foods you eat,
whole foods are far better for you than refined foods.
So why do some people believe the rules of nutrition would suddenly
change when it comes to vitamins and other nutritional supplements?
supplements are what their name suggests: Supplements made from
concentrated whole foods. The vitamins found within these supplements
are not isolated or synthetic. Rather they are highly complex
structures that combine a variety of enzymes, coenzymes, antioxidants,
trace elements, activators and many other unknown or undiscovered
factors that work together synergistically, to enable
this vitamin complex to do its job in your body.
nutrients, on the other hand, are not natural, in that they are
never found by themselves in nature. When you take these isolated
nutrients regularly, especially at the ultra-high doses found
in formulas today, it's more like taking a drug... At best, they
will not benefit you as much as high quality food and food-based
supplements. And at worst, they may cause problems.
not produce any nutrient in an isolated form. The nutrients in
foods are blended together in a specific way and work best in
that format. For an isolated nutrient to work properly in the
body, it needs all the other parts that are naturally present
in the food too. If the parts are not all there from the start,
they are taken from your body's stored supply. This is why isolated
nutrients often work for awhile, then seem to stop working.
body's store of the extra nutrients is used up, the isolated nutrient
you're taking just doesn't work as well anymore. Worse yet, a
deficiency in these extra nutrients can be created in your body.
show your body treats these isolated and synthetic nutrients like
xenobiotics (foreign substances). This is why your urine will
oftentimes turn some shade of glow-in-the-dark yellow when you
take certain synthetic vitamins, as your body simply flushes these
foreign substances out.
How to Identify
High Quality Multi-Vitamin Supplements
I do believe
that dietary supplements including vitamins and minerals
can help compensate for some of the damage your body incurs
through modern living. However, it's not wise to use supplements
to justify a poor diet. In my experience no amount of supplements
will ever be able to substitute for healthy
times when supplements can be quite useful, and I believe that
some supplements, such as a high quality animal-based omega-3
supplement, for example, are essential for nearly everyone. This
is because the main source of animal based omega-3 fats in your
diet comes from fish – most of which is now so grossly polluted
with heavy metals, PCBs and other environmental toxins I can no
longer recommend eating fish for optimal omega 3 levels. Another
supplement that many people need is vitamin D3, unless you can
get sufficient amounts of safe sun exposure year-round,
or use a safe tanning bed.
useful supplement is probiotics,
which influence the activity of hundreds of your genes, helping
them to express in a positive, disease-fighting manner. You can
get these healthy bacteria from eating fermented foods, and if
you eat them enough you will keep your digestive tract well supplied
with good bacteria, but there may still be times when a probiotic
supplement is necessary, such as when you stray from your healthy
diet and consume excess grains or sugar; if you have to take antibiotics;
or when traveling to foreign countries for example.
other instances when supplements may be useful as well, such as
in the case of CoQ10
if you're taking statin drugs, but their effectiveness depends
largely on the quality of the supplement itself.
You may also
want to take one or more food-based supplements to ensure you
are getting an adequate variety of nutrients. However,
I strongly recommend you make whole food supplements your first
choice, and steer clear of synthetic vitamins. How do you
tell whether or not a supplement you're looking at is a good choice?
make sure it has the following characteristics:
- It is
as close as possible to its natural (whole food) form.
- Use independent
third party labs that check the raw materials for contaminants
and correct dosage.
industry standards for quality assurance including ISO 9001,
ISO 17025 and NSF Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) certifications.
- The utmost
care has been taken in all phases of its production, from growing
its ingredients, to manufacturing, testing for potency and quality
- It works!
I always try to select from companies that have a long track
record of providing high quality products that produce good
If you are
interested in optimizing your health your BEST solution is to
choose the highest quality foods possible, and eat a wide variety
of whole organic foods. You can use my free
nutrition plan and work your way up to the advanced
have addressed your diet and are looking for further improvement,
odds are you would likely benefit from some supplements, like
an animal-based omega-3 supplement and a probiotic, for example.
There are many others you could consider depending on your specific
circumstances, but just about everyone would benefit from these
to do your homework first and use only those that come from a
reputable manufacturer using whole-food, natural ingredients that
are free from additives, and have gone through a vigorous quality