Vitamins: Facts, Fiction and Politics, Part 1

By Dr. Scott Priebe


1. Natural Vitamins – Characteristics to Remember


Pamphlet “Natural Vitamins, Characteristics to Remember”, Published by V. E. Irons, Inc.


1. Natural Vitamins must not be segregated, separated or isolated. The most that can be done to increase their potency without disturbing their natural balance is to evaporate the moisture and remove the fiber so as to conserve space and temporarily render the vitamins inactive by removing the moisture. They can be kept by drying as we dry fruits, beans, corn, etc.


2. Natural food vitamins are never highly concentrated. Nature is interested in balance not potency. This means that to get higher than normal potency natural vitamins must be consumed in quantity. Synthetic and crystalline vitamins lend themselves to high potency concentrations in a few small pills. Naturals must be used in quantity as you would food.


3. Natural vitamins build nutritionally – synthetics medically.


4. Natural vitamins build slowly but exceedingly well as nature always does – synthetics give a quick spasmodic spurt that may not be lasting.


2. How to Read Labels When Comparing Natural vs Synthetic Vitamins


Pamphlet “Natural Vitamins, Characteristics to Remember”, Published by V. E. Irons, Inc.


Probably never in history has so much money been spent on the advertising and the purchasing of any merchandise with so little knowledge of the product itself on the part of either the seller or the buyer as has been spent on vitamins. Over $1,000,000,000 is now being spent annually and neither the purchasers nor those in the long chain of jobbers, wholesalers, retailers, over the counter dispensers, or direct to consumer salesmen know the difference between a synthetic, a crystalline or a truly natural vitamin. They know nothing of how they are made, their characteristics, their attributes, their sources, their advantages or disadvantages, nor how to tell one from the other by reading the label.



As far as our literature is concerned natural means vitamins as found in natural foods untampered with in any way that might change their molecule – their biological or biochemical combinations, or their action – this usually means that only the fiber and moisture are removed. All labels of truly natural food concentrates should indicate the exact food source from which the vitamin is obtained.



Means it had a natural food as its original source but was treated with various high-powered chemicals, solvents, heat and distillations to reduce it down to one specific pure crystalline vitamin or amino acid and hence is no longer natural. It no longer has its synergists, that is, its enzymes, co-enzymes, minerals, mineral activators, and co-vitamin helpers. It has been reduced to a pure simple crystalline powder with one definite simple chemical structure. In this form it is but one single phase of the complete vitamin complex. Legally a crystalline can be called natural because it was isolated from a natural product. But it is not natural as herein described.



Means that in the laboratory the scientist has reconstructed the exact structure of the crystalline molecule by “putting together” or chemically combining the same molecules from other known sources. Chemically, therefore, there is no difference between the synthetic and the crystalline. As a vitamin there is no difference between the two. The crystalline may have a slight advantage in that it is difficult to reduce any natural product to an absolutely pure state and any impurities would be “synergists” hence give a little added value to the crystalline over the synthetic. On the label for either synthetic or crystalline only the chemical name of the single vitamin is usually given. Legally it is not necessary to give the source from which the synthetic chemical is derived.



Inorganic: The minerals as found in soils, rocks and chemicals. Some are obtainable in pure crystal powder while others are unstable alone so are available only as a salt i.e. combined with something else. Organic: These are minerals that have been organized by photosynthesis from the action of sun, soil, air and water into plant life and indirectly into animal tissue.


3. Dr. Royal Lee: The Truth About Vitamins


Lectures of Dr. Royal Lee, Vol. 1, Selene River Press Inc., 1998, pp. 157-159


Quoting Dr. Royal Lee, “The Truth About Vitamins”, Lecture to physicians at the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1953


“Organic” vitamins. This term was invented by those who wanted to get around the true meaning of natural by using synthetic vitamins and deceptively calling them “organic”. The chemist calls everything organic which is derived from coal or which in other words has carbon in its molecular structure.


In the case of natural vitamins, we find them in organic combination with each other, as well as with minerals, which are equally necessary for their physiological action, including trace minerals, which are of great importance due to their catalytic action in association with vitamins. Then there are the enzymes and coenzymes, upon whose presence the proper utilization and effect of vitamins also depends. All of these associated factors are not present in synthetic and crystalline vitamin preparations, whose effectiveness is thereby reduced, as compared with a natural source of vitamins, which are usually provided in an organic complex containing these other vital factors and compounds.


When the so-called “high potency” synthetic crystalline vitamins are taken into the system, they must be put into proper combination before they can properly function nutritionally. Meanwhile, most of the synthetic crystalline components being, water-soluble, are lost through the kidneys, as is well known, and fail to be of any value. The body does not excrete natural vitamin complexes, only crystalline. [If the body does not know the difference between artificial vitamins and natural vitamin complexes, why are the artificial vitamins recovered in the urine?]


Just as the chemist cannot create life, neither can he create a complex vitamin: the life element in foods and nutrition. This is a mystery the chemist has never solved and probably never will, and the synthetic vitamins he creates on the basis of chemical formulae bear as much resemblance to the real thing as a robot does to a living man, lacking an elusive quality that chemistry cannot supply.


Nature produces plant-compound-complexes with known and unknown complements that function synergistically, which in the animal produce a “vitamin effect”.


4. Reversed Mirror Images (Optical Inversion)


Dr. Royal Lee’s insight on Mirror Images


Royal Lee, D.D.S., “How and Why Synthetic Poisons are Being Sold as Imitations of Natural Foods and Drugs”, Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, Dec. 1948


Let us first get to the bottom of this question of how synthetic products differ from natural.


There are two ways in which a difference may exist:

A) The synthetic product may not be the same thing, but something that resembles the natural product.


B) The synthetic product is always a simple chemical substance, while the natural is a complex mixture of related and similar materials.


The first situation, where the synthetic material is not the same thing, is common. Take lactic acid, originally made from sour milk, now made synthetically in large quantities.


The sour milk lactic acid consisted entirely of molecules that were of a right-handed character (d-).


The synthetic is a mixture of equal parts of right-handed molecules (dextro-lactic acid ie: d-) and left-handed molecules (laevo-lactic acid ie: l-). Such mixtures are known as racemic compounds (r-).


Few people know that dextro-lactic acid is a food and laevo-lactic acid is a poison. (One is converted into sugar in digestion, the other is a waste product.) Lactic acid once was found useful as a source of carbohydrate as a milk modifier for babies, and began to get into use in special cases where sugars were not well tolerated. In Halifax, some time ago, a number of babies died from the administration of lactic acid in milk, and here was a case where the synthetic product was inadvertently used in place of the natural, because of inadequate labeling precautions. (Young, E.G. and R.P. Smith, “Lactic Acid: A Corrosive Poison”, JAMA 125: 1179-1181, 1944)


The doctors who recommended its use probably did not even know that there was a difference between the synthetic and natural lactic acid, although the drug catalog of Eli Lilly and Company of 1938, page 195, offers some information on the subject.


-This article will continue in part 2

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