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Thread: How can vitamin supplements treat deficiencies when those are not real vitamins?

  1. #1 How can vitamin supplements treat deficiencies when those are not real vitamins? 
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    One of the deadliest and most common mistakes that people make regarding their health is believing that they can get vitamins from pills. Vitamins are naturally present in foods. If any other source is involved, like an injection or a pill, then the received item is not a vitamin but an imitation created in a lab. Still, those with vitamin defiencies are often told to use these imitations to bring their levels back to normal. Why is this? Even if the supplement is designed to be chemically similar to the actual vitamin, surely our bodies know the difference.


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  3. #2  
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    surely our bodies know the difference.
    Our bodies just process the chemicals within our foods and that we generate ourselves by metabolism. There is no difference, absolutely none, between the vitamin C in fresh fruit and vegetables and the exact same chemical manufactured in a laboratory.

    There is a bit of a difference in the overall nutritional values of whole foods containing a good balance of other nutrient chemicals that might mean certain vitamins or minerals are better absorbed than they might be when isolated in tablet form. The classic pairing here would be iron and vitamin C - but well formulated supplements can get around this difficulty anyway.

    It is certainly better to get all your nutrients from a good diet than from eating rubbish and swallowing a handful of tablets to 'compensate' for the lack of nutrients. But there is no chemical difference in the vitamins and minerals themselves.


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  4. #3  
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    Theresa, you might be surprised to know how much "food" in the US is "created in a lab". For example the production path of most 100% fruit juice begins with fruit harvests separated into component compounds and mixtures - which don't go bad for months of unrefrigerated vat storage - and ends with each company blending these chemicals according to their patented recipes.

    That's weird, but such processed foods do contain all the nutrition they claim.



    The problem with supplemented vitamins is that our bodies don't know the difference. Omnivores like humans normally develop associations between what we've eaten, and which metabolic needs were satiated. For examples many people learn (metabolically) that tomatoes satiate a vitamin B deficiency, steak satiates an iron deficiency, and so forth. Omnivores innately learn this "in the gut", and thereby develop a dynamic catalog of food cravings to meet fluctuating needs. A modern diet of perfectly balanced vitamin-fortified meals, plus nutrient supplements, precludes an omnivore's discovery of nutritional properties, because the omnivore never keenly experiences a need being satiated. The omnivore's innate faculty to develop cravings shifts to superficial qualities like flavour, mouth feel, and even the visual beauty of prepared foods.

    You can baffle a person's innate nutritional learning with an iron tablet shaped like Big Bird, coloured yellow, and sweetened with corn syrup; or with a nutritionally balanced sandwich of fresh ingredients. I know that sounds blasphemous. But to me, the popular sentiment that we should suppress cravings sounds just as wrong.

    So I share your distrust of vitamin supplements, Theresa, but for a different reason.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    surely our bodies know the difference.
    Our bodies just process the chemicals within our foods and that we generate ourselves by metabolism. There is no difference, absolutely none, between the vitamin C in fresh fruit and vegetables and the exact same chemical manufactured in a laboratory.

    There is a bit of a difference in the overall nutritional values of whole foods containing a good balance of other nutrient chemicals that might mean certain vitamins or minerals are better absorbed than they might be when isolated in tablet form. The classic pairing here would be iron and vitamin C - but well formulated supplements can get around this difficulty anyway.

    It is certainly better to get all your nutrients from a good diet than from eating rubbish and swallowing a handful of tablets to 'compensate' for the lack of nutrients. But there is no chemical difference in the vitamins and minerals themselves.
    I totally agree.
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