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Tags vitamins , synthetic

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Old 13th June 2005, 05:42 PM   #1
CBL4
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Synthetic Vitamins

I met someone who claimed that synthetic vitamins are different from "natural" vitamins. My first reaction was BS. My second reaction was that it was possible that vitamins made in different would have different impurities but I very much doubt these impurities would have a positive or negative effect. So I returned to my BS stance.

She claimed that it had been shown that synthetic vitamin A causes birth defects but natural vitamin A does not. I found the following link:
http://cerhr.niehs.nih.gov/genpub/to...in_a-ccae.html
which says:
Quote:
Recently, birth defects have been observed in children born to mothers taking synthetic vitamin A drugs
If you read this quickly it seems to say that synthetic vitamin A causes birth defect but, when read careful and entirely, it says that Accutane, which is a synthetic drug derived from vitamin A, causes birth defects. There is nothing here that distinguishes between natural and synthetic vitamins which only makes sense because a molecule is a molecule no matter how the atoms got together.

Quote:
The California Environmental Protection Agency (CAL/EPA) has identified retinol or retinyl esters (types of pre-formed vitamin A) as developmental toxins when administered at doses greater than 10,000 International Units (IU). The Food and Drug Administration has established a daily recommended allowance (RDA) of 5,000 IU for vitamin A. Because vitamin A is required to ensure reproductive health, it has been recommended that pregnant woman maintain their intake around 8,000 IU and that vitamin A be taken in the form of beta-carotene, which is not considered toxic. Women can take vitamin A in many forms. Pre-formed vitamin A (retinol or retinyl esters) is found in liver, vitamin tablets, and fortified cereals. Beta-carotene is found in fruits and vegetables and is converted to vitamin A in the body.
This implies that vitamin A is safer if produced within the body from beta-carotene rather than ingested as the vitamin A. This sound strange but it is still different from saying that it is the "naturalness" of beta-carotene that makes it safer.

Does anyone have a link that intelligently talks about this for vitamin A or other vitamins?

CBL
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Old 13th June 2005, 06:39 PM   #2
Eos of the Eons
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Quote:
The Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR) web site is your resource for the latest information about potentially hazardous effects of chemicals on human reproduction and development.

Okayyyy. Who are these people and who or what made them "experts"?
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Old 13th June 2005, 06:45 PM   #3
Gwyn ap Nudd
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Vitamins A and D, both of which are fat-soluble and are not as easily washed out of the body as the water-soluble vitamins, do have rather narrow windows between the minimum effective daily dosage and the maximum safe daily dosage. Fortunately, given the right conditions and chemical precursors, the body can synthesize these vitamins on its own and properly regulate the amount. This is why Beta-Carotene is a better source of Vitamin A than processed Vitamin A pills or even liver, and why sunshine is better than Vitamin D pills, egg yolks, or cod-liver oil.

As far as "natural" vs "synthetic" in general, I agree with your assessment that while they have different impurities, unless those impurities are themselves toxic, there is little or no difference in where you get the nutrients.
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Old 13th June 2005, 06:45 PM   #4
Chris Haynes
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There are toxitity levels of Vitamin A, even from natural sources:
http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/cc/vita.html

Also too much is not good for bone health:
http://www.osteo.org/newfile.asp?doc...TML+Fact+Sheet

This one actually mentions the polar bear liver:
http://www.anyvitamins.com/vitamin-a-info.htm

This one also mentions that there can be too much:
http://nutrition.tufts.edu/magazine/...vitamina4.html

I remember long long time ago going to a dinner meeting where the speaker was a real nutritionist (the university researcher kind, not the health food type). She had a presentation that showed how supplements were not always good, including photos of babies deformed when the mother took too many vitamins (not good dinner material).

Then as another side of getting all the beta-carotine you want is the story of the Orange Man:
http://oracknows.blogspot.com/2005/04/orange-man.html

Anyway, vitamins are chemicals. They are really the same whether synthetic or not. It is just harder to overdose when you get them from real food (since the above mentioned dinner meeting 20 *cough*cough* years ago, I have not taken any vitamin pills, though my husband still does). More stuff:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=NU00198

By the way... most of the links obtained through www.medlineplus.gov
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Old 13th June 2005, 06:58 PM   #5
Eos of the Eons
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Thanks HCN. I just read "Orange Man". I'm proud to be on the same anti-quackery ring, the likes of the blogger being so much more high calibre than I could ever be.

Great Links!
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Old 14th June 2005, 07:15 AM   #6
CurtC
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Quote:
Anyway, vitamins are chemicals. They are really the same whether synthetic or not.
When I had heard this long ago, I thought that possibly natural vitamins could be a particular enantiomer, while synthetic vitamins would likely have both left- and right-configurations present.

I have no idea whether this is true for vitamin A, but in organic (carbon-based) molecules, where four different things are attached to one of the carbons, there can be two possible configurations, mirror images of each other. My understanding is that natural processes often produce one configuration or the other, and depend on that configuration for the molecule to do what it needs to do. Synthetic processes generally produce both in equal numbers.

Again, I have no idea whether this pertains to vitamins, but it is possible that synthetic chemicals can be different from natural even though they have the same chemical formula.
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Old 14th June 2005, 10:59 AM   #7
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HCN, I hate you!

There I was, winding up a few loose ends in preparation to go home and see my wonderful family, when I stupidly thought: "I know.... I'll just check what's been happening today on the forums"

It's now 2 hours later, and I have spent the whole time engrossed in Orac's blog. I have probably missed my tea and my wife will be at the door with a rolling pin in her hand.

If I don't post here for a while you will all know why, and I would appreciate some get-well cards or PMs.
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Old 14th June 2005, 11:21 AM   #8
Chris Haynes
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Quote:
Originally posted by Deetee
HCN, I hate you!

....
Who? Me???

Get well soon.

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Old 14th June 2005, 02:34 PM   #9
CBL4
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Thank you everyone for your input.

It is interesting to see how scientific studies can be misrepresented or misunderstood. I am not sure if her misunderstanding comes from the Accutane studies or the beta-carotene conversion.

I probably will not see the woman for a few weeks. She is the owner of a fry house in my town. Unfortunately, my fry eating and beer drinking are limited due to kids.

Thanks,

CBL
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