Whole food supplements are growing in popularity as women and men alike look now for this claim on the packaging of their usual supplements. Seems like a good idea instead of consuming synthetic vitamins and minerals, why not consume them in their natural and raw form right?.
The problem with supplements made of entirely whole foods is that once a supplement has been manufactured to have a shelf life of 1-2 years, the whole food component is lost and the consumer is left with a shell of what that blueberry or kale leaf once was and will not give you the full amount of nutrients that your body needs.
It sounds nice, instead of eating a kale salad, I can just pop a pill and get the same effects. Unfortunately, its far from what really happens once the whole foods are made into powder or pill form. Food is meant to be consumed in its raw and natural form, unaltered and untethered. So whole food was designed as a marketing ploy and a hook technique to draw the consumer in and well.... it has worked.
Modern day framing practices strip our soil of essential nutrients making a lot of the food that we consume nutrient deficient. In addition a tomato from china has a much lower nutrient content than a tomato from France. Just based on the difference between these two countries and their failing practices. So if your whole food vitamins are made from Chinese "organic" produce could be that you are missing out on a lot.
When you see the whole food label, you automatically assume its better than a synethesized vitamin, but that's not necessarily true. Lets look at an example in medicine. Insulin vs bovine (derived from cows) insulin. Cow is the more natural of the two, it is found in nature and is not made in a lab. It also was used first and therefore been in circulation longer. Insulin on the other hand is synthesized in a lab, yet is synthesized so perfectly that your body does not recognize lab made insulin as different from the insulin you make in your body.
The chemical make up of bovine insulin is C254H377N65O75s6 where as lab made insulin is C256H387N65O79S6. So you are thinking to yourself, big deal? What difference do 2 carbon molecules, 10 hydrogen and 4 oxygen make? And if you are a chemist, you know the answer is a big difference. Look at the difference between H2O (water) and H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide). With bovine insulin patients are more likely to have a reaction than to synthetic insulin. Furthermore, absorption time is always longer for animal insulin than lab made insulin, again acting like a foreign substance vs how normal human insulin behaves. So this is an excellent example of how the synthetic is actually superior to the natural.
This is a very similar case with supplements. Whole food supplements may not act as naturally in the body, may not absorb as well and most importantly, because they are found in very small amounts in each food, they are not nearly as potent. Now when we are talking about synthesized supplements, please know that we are not talking about the synthetic form of supplements. There is a huge difference there. The nutrients we are speaking of are the best of both worlds! They originate from a food source and then constructed to contain all the necessary compounds, in the ideal form the body recognizes and can absorb and thrive on. We call these truly therapeutic nutrients. Because of this process, not only are they the most bio available and absorbable, they are also extremely potent and give your body what you need in the form and the amount you need it.
Lets take an example of B12. In order to support the natural methylation process, the nervous and optimize energy levels, we find we need about 75 mcgs, though a bit more is even better. We use the most natural and therapeutic form of B12 (methylcobalamin) and are able to put 100 mcg in our prenatal to give you what you need. A typical whole food supplement will contain anywhere from 5-7 mcg (only 1/20th of what you would ideally need to support prenatal and postnatal health). Please also note that these are VERY different than the synthetic synthesized B12 found in many low quality vitamins which comes in the form of cyanocobalamin, this one is manufactured in a synthetic way and does not at all match the form that the body utilizes B12 (which is in the methylcobalamin form). You can learn more about this in our B12 blog.
As practitioners, we are always evaluating and testing our patients to make sure their vitamin and mineral levels in their blood correspond to the supplements they take and that is how we make sure the supplements are actually working.
We use the best of both words. The vitamins and minerals in our prenatals and postnatals are the highest most bioavailable forms of the nutrients so your body can instantly absorb and utilize and you get the amount that you actually need. Additionally we also include a real whole food blend to top off the formula with a few extra goodies.