Sources and Forms
and minerals come in many different forms.
Some are derived from foods, such as vitamin
E when extracted from vegetable oil and vitamins
A and D when extracted from fish oil. Others
are made in laboratories—they may then
be labeled "natural" because they
are made from "natural" precursors.
Some are combined with dried foods and herbs
and called "food vitamins."
number of forms of synthetic vitamins A and
D are used in supplements. All should be strictly
avoided-even small amounts of the synthetic
forms may be toxic. In fact, the toxicity
of these synthetic forms has contributed to
the media frenzy about the alleged dangers
of vitamins A and D. The media and the medical
establishment do not distinguish between the
synthetic forms and natural vitamins A and
D as found in or derived from animal fats.
Decades ago, researchers definitively established
the benefits and safety of large doses of
natural vitamins A and D. Traditional diets
are rich in these nutrients, typically containing
upwards of ten times the RDA amounts the government
now tells us are adequate. There has never
been any indication of anything but benefit
from these natural forms of vitamins A and
D, including for pregnant women. In fact,
these nutrients are particularly important
for pregnant women, and foods rich in vitamins
A and D were emphasized for pregnant women
in virtually all of the traditional cultures
studied by Weston Price.
warnings against Vitamin A usually include
mention of Arctic explorers who diedfrom vitamin A
overdose because they consumed polar bear
livers. Actually, the early explorers did
not die from vitamin A overdose but from cadmium
poisoning. They experienced exfoliative dermatitis
and hair loss. In 1988, a team of Swedish
scientists discovered that polar bear and
seal livers tend to accumulate the metal cadmium.
The symptoms for cadmium poisoning are exfoliative
dermatitis and hair loss. But don't expect
to hear about this on the evening news. Rather,
expect continuing stories about the
dangers of vitamins A and D.
liver oil is a wonderful supplemental source
of natural vitamins A and D. Note, it is important to balance fermented cod liver oil, butter oil and vitamin K2. See my recommended doses of these oils
E, Soy-free Mixed Tocopherols,
180 capsules $49.95
E is another nutrient for which it is
very important to select the proper form.
Synthetic vitamin E is labeled, "d, l-
alpha." This mixture of the "d"
and "l" forms is biochemically different
from naturally derived vitamin E, which consists
of and is labeled "d-alpha." Like
synthetic vitamins A and D, synthetic vitamin
E has detrimental effects. It is incompletely
metabolized and may even disrupt the metabolism
of natural vitamin E in the liver. The most
beneficial natural vitamin E products come
as mixtures of the alpha, beta, gamma, and
delta tocopherol fractions. I use and recommend
a product called "Unique
E," made by the A.C. Grace Company,
whose only product is this superior vitamin
summarize, the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D
and E) should always come from natural sources.
As for the water soluble vitamins, there are
natural sources that can provide small amounts
for general use-acerola powder for vitamin
C, for example, and low-temperature dried
yeast flakes grown on an appropriate medium
for B complex. However, for larger therapeutic
doses it is necessary to use synthetic vitamins.
How these water-soluble vitamins are formulated
makes a big difference in how they are absorbed
all of the vitamin C in supplements is made
in a laboratory, despite labeling that implies
otherwise. For example, the label might say,
"ascorbic acid from sago palm."
Dextrose, a form of sugar that contains no
vitamin C at all, is extracted from sago palm
and used as the base molecular material for
a complex laboratory process that synthesizes
vitamin C. Or the label might say "vitamin
C derived from the finest natural sources."
True, but the vitamin C was synthesized. It
might also say "with rose hips and acerola,"
which are then used as the base material for
the tablet or capsule. But a tablet of rose
hips or acerola can contain only about forty
milligrams of truly natural vitamin C; the
rest is synthesized.
experiments met the most rigorous scientific
standards. His outstanding credentials earned
him the support of prominent physicians. Alvin
Foord, M.D., Professor of Pathology at the
University of Southern California and pathologist
at the Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena,
co-supervised with Pottenger all pathological
and chemical findings of the study. One particular
question that modern science has largely ignored
was addressed: What is the nutritive value
of heat-labile elements-nutrients destroyed
by heat and available only in raw foods?
significant in regard to the form of vitamin
C is the buffering process, which complexes
a mineral (typically either calcium, magnesium,
or potassium) with ascorbic acid. Buffered
vitamin C is gentler on the stomach than
regular vitamin C, which because of its acidity
often causes gas, bloating, and upset stomach.
Buffered C offers superior absorption as well.
often proclaim "natural" B vitamins,
derived from yeast. But companies manufacturing
yeast add laboratory-synthesized B vitamins
to the food fed to the yeast during its growth,
and then fortify the yeast further with additional
B vitamins once it has grown. This allows
the production of yeast of any B-vitamin potency
desired, which is then used to formulate vitamin
pills labeled "B vitamins derived from
yeast." I generally recommend taking
B vitamins as part of our multi vitamin-mineral-antioxidant,
Doc's Best. For therapeutic doses of specific
B vitamins, I recommend our B-Optimal and Thorne Research products.
in supplements are found in many different
forms. Minerals occur in foods as part of
molecules in which the mineral exists as a
complex with other substances. Minerals in
supplements are also found as complexes, and
the substances with which they are complexed
effect the degree to which the minerals are
absorbed and utilized. Some mineral supplements
are actually extracted from foods (for example,
calcium hydroxyapatite), while others are
complexed in the laboratory (for example,
amino acid complexes of calcium) or found
in nature (for example, calcium carbonate).
is the most commonly taken mineral supplement,
and calcium supplements come in scores of
different forms. But only one is actually
a food extract and that is calcium
hydroxyapatite. This is the form of calcium
that naturally occurs in bone. Low temperature
processing techniques are used to extract
microcrystalline hydroxyapatite concentrate
(MCHC) from raw bone-the best products utilize
MCHC from free-range, pesticide-free New Zealand
cattle. MCHC is a complex crystalline compound
composed of calcium (about 24%), phosphorous,
delicate organic factors (thus the importance
of low temperature processing), protein matrix,
and the full spectrum of minerals that naturally
comprise healthy bone. Look for a calcium
supplement in which the only source of calcium
is MCHC. Many supplements say "MCHC"
or "calcium hydroxyapatite" on the
label, but when you read the ingredients carefully
you discover that a secondary source of calcium,
typically dicalcium phosphate-an inexpensive,
poorly absorbed form of calcium-contributes
an unstated percentage of the calcium to the
calcium formulas include magnesium; well-absorbed
forms include magnesium aspartate, magnesium
glycinate and magnesium oxide. Many other
minerals may be complexed as aspartates or
picolinates, which generally provide excellent