Many companies today falsely label their supplements “natural” for one reason: because the word sells. But don’t get confused. The ingredients in vitamin pills are about as natural as a plastic bag. Manufacturers play around this issue with statements like:”natural grown”, “natural source”, “food grown” etc. but to tell you the truth, most pill ingredients are synthetic.That means,they use natural materials and treat them with various chemical procedures, so that their resemblance to natural materials is gone.
For example, most vitamin C is made from corn.First the corn is chemically converted to sugar (d-ribose). Then the sugar is chemically converted to pure, ascorbic acid. There is not a molecule of corn left in it. The chemical processing makes it synthetic, not the raw materials it came from.
Let’s look at “natural rose hip’ and “acerola” vitamin C. The best rose hip and acerola powders contain only a few milligrams of vitamin C per gram.A 1000mg pill of natural rose hip vitamin C would be about the seize of a baseball. All these so-called “natural” pills are predominantly synthetic ascorbic acid, with a pinch of the natural powder thrown in for marketing.
Then there are those companies who claim that their pills are made of superior vitamins. Let’s get this one straight too. Almost all the vitamin raw materials in America come from a few large companies. Hoffman La Roche makes most of the vitamin C and many of the B-vitamins. Henkel makes most of the vitamin E. Almost all pill manufacturers buy their bulk powders from the same sources that are available to everyone.
Elemental Minerals. Most consumers don’t know that chemical forms of minerals are not elemental forms. For example, a 1200 mg pill calcium gluconate is only 9% elemental.That means, it contans only 108 mg of calcium. To get the RDA for calcium, you would have to swallow eleven of these pills every day.
The same is true for every mineral.Calcium citrate is only 21% calcium and chromium picolinate contains only 12.5% chromium. Magnesium aspartate is only 11% magnesium. Some forms contain only 1-2% of the mineral element.Manufacturers are supposed to state the elemental amounts on the label, but many do not.
Chemical Forms. Supplement pills only have to be true to label by law. That means, if the bottle says the pill contains 300 mg of magnesium, that is all that is required. But many chemical forms of nutrients are hardly bioavailable at all. They pass right through your intestines without ever being absorbed.
Magnesium supplied as magnesium oxide for example, is only one-tenth as bioavailable as magnesium aspartate. But the aspartate form is more expensive than the oxide and takes up more room in the pill.Manufacturers save money by using the magnesium oxide. They can also fit more magnesium into a given size pill by using the oxide, and therefore can put a bigger number for magnesium on the label. Consumers like big numbers.
Some manufacturers fudge bioavailability by claiming particular absorption rates, such as 60%, for their multi-nutrient supplements. All such claims are false, because different nutrients and different forms of the same nutrient are all absorbed at different rates. An average absorption rate is advertising nonsense.
For example, of a 100 mcg vitamin B12 tablet, only about 3% is absorbed, whereas calcium acetate is 32% absorbed. To say the average absorption rate is 17.5% for the two combined, tell you nothing about either.
This will give you an idea what you can expect when you look to buy supplements. Many supplement contents are not true to the label,there are only a few companies on the market you can trust.