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Where do the nutrients come from?
Look at the ingredients on the food label. Do you recognize any of them? Just like any other food label, the nutrients are listed in a particular order and some manufacturers put the source next to the nutrient. In a quality, wholesome product, you will recognize and be able to pronounce most of the ingredients on the label.
Two Basic Types of Nutritional Supplements
Brand A (whole food supplement)
Whey (milk) protein powder, flax meal powder, brown rice protein powder, calcium citrate, magnesium citrate, buckwheat juice powder, Brussels sprouts (whole plant), kale, choline bitartrate, inositol, barley grass, alfalfa juice powder, soybean lecithin powder, grape (seed) extract (includes Masquelier's® OPC-85; 98% total phenolic compounds; 65% proanthocyanidins), carrot powder, and red wine extract (95% total phenols).
Brand B (isolate-based supplement)
Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Oxide, Potassium Chloride, Cellulose, Ascorbic Acid, dl-alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, Acacia, Croscarmellose Sodium, Zinc Oxide, Dicalcium Phosphate, Stearic Acid, Dextrin, Titanium Dioxide, Niacinamide, Silicon Dioxide, Hypromellose, Gelatin, Soy Extract, Magnesium Stearate, Calcium Silicate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Polyethylene Glycol, Corn Starch, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Mannitol, Cupric Oxide, Resin, Lecithin, Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Acetate, Chromium Chloride, Folic Acid, Dextrose, Beta Carotene, FD&C Red #40 Lake, FD&C Blue #2 Lake, Sodium Selenate, Biotin, Phytonadione, Cyanocobalamin, Ergocalciferol.
In Brand A, vitamins and nutrients are derived mainly from recognizable food sources. In Brand B, the vitamins and nutrients are man-made chemical isolates not recognized as food sources.
What is the importance of whole food ingredients?
Only whole food ingredients can provide you with all the nutrients contained within the food, rather than just isolated components. For example, in brand B (right) the sixth ingredient is dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate. This is not a food ingredient. It is an isolated component of the vitamin E complex. If you were to take a supplement with just dl-alpha tocopheryl, you would be missing at least five other important nutrients as well as hundreds of other nutrients that occur within the whole vitamin E complex. These nutrients are only available by consuming natural, whole food forms of vitamin E, such as wheat germ oil, pea vine, green leafy vegetables, nuts, sunflower seeds.
To be effective, don't I need to get at least 100% of the daily value?
We often think that more is better. However, when choosing supplements, quality is far more important than quantity. A small amount of a vitamin in whole food form is far more effective in the human body than a large dose of an isolated vitamin. This is because the isolated form is just a fraction of the whole and is missing important nutrients that the body needs. Taking more of the isolated form will not make up for its deficiencies.
The only supplements that contain the entire whole food complex are whole food supplements.
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