Lasagna for Potluck

By: Tom Cameron, DVM

Vitamins are essential for good health. They naturally come from foods, however, vitamins can also be made in a laboratory – these are man-made or synthetic. There is a significant difference between the two.

In foods, vitamins are part of a complicated mix of ingredients (called a complex). This complex includes vitamins, minerals, enzymes, coenzymes, proteins, and other important ingredients. These ingredients work closely with each other, and are many times more active than any one ingredient by itself. This complexity  is what makes vitamins from foods so valuable.

Synthetic vitamins have some of the structural components of the natural vitamin complex, but don’t have the full package of complementary ingredients. For example, Alpha-tocopherol is the synthetic form of vitamin E, a well-known antioxidant.  Vitamin E from foods contains 3 additional tocopherol forms, each one with distinct benefits and activities.  Research has shown that the body handles synthetic vitamins very differently than vitamins from foods.  Once eaten, these ‘incomplete vitamins’ can be a drain on the body.

Imagine I am invited to your house for a Potluck Dinner, and I have agreed to bring lasagna. When I arrive, my shopping bag contains only uncooked noodles. While noodles are a major ingredient in lasagna, they don’t make the whole dish.  In order to make this dish for the party, I first must raid your cupboards for canned tomatoes and spices.  The next stop is your refrigerator for hamburger, Italian sausage, cheese. Then we dig into your cupboards for bowls and baking pans. Finally, I need your oven to cook the ingredients. Only then will there be real lasagna to serve your guests.

Did I bring lasagna? No, I did not. Were noodles an important part of lasagna? Yes, they were. But the noodles were not a complete product.

By bringing only noodles, I consumed your groceries, used your kitchen, and made a mess to clean up.  What if I repeated this trick once a week? Your house would suffer a ‘net loss’ every time I came.

This same process happens in the body when synthetic vitamins are fed. Synthetic vitamins are not the same as vitamins from foods.  Research has shown that synthetic vitamins are incomplete, unlike vitamins from foods, and the body processes them differently. Long-term studies have shown that synthetic vitamins did not provide health benefits as they were expected to. The message here is that it is best to get vitamins from quality foods.

The vitamins in Nature’s Logic foods are always from foods, never from a laboratory.