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Why You Don't Want to Rely on Fortified Foods

January 16, 2010 | 86,406 views
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Vitamin D has major health benefits. The best source of vitamin D is from the sun, but you also see many foods fortified with Vitamin D. Unfortunately, milk and other foods fortified with vitamin D often contain a synthetic form called ergocalciferol, or vitamin D2.

This synthetic form isn't as potent and doesn't last as long in your body. In fact, synthetic vitamin D becomes toxic in your body at far lower levels. Too much synthetic vitamin D2 may be linked to health problems. A number of studies link synthetic vitamin D2 to irritation of the lining of blood vessels.

In fortified milk, you may not know even how much you are getting. When Dr. Michael Holick and his colleagues at the Boston University School of Medicine tested samples of milk, they found 8 out of 10 samples contained either 20 percent less or 20 percent more vitamin D than the amount the label advertised -- and some of the milk tested contained no vitamin D at all.

In the video above, Dr. Levy gives an enlightening demonstration for why eating enriched foods isn't your best option.

It should be clear by now that fortified processed foods will never be equal to fresh whole foods. Similarly, synthetic vitamin supplements cannot compare to whole food supplements that contain naturally occurring vitamins in their unadulterated form.

With all the focus on getting enough of certain essential nutrients, many have been fooled into thinking they can supplement their way to good health, using fortified foods and vitamin supplements as an easy way out of having to make significant dietary changes.

More often than not, this simply will not lead to the healthy results you're looking for.

Whole Food Nutrients Vs. Synthetic, Fortified Foods

Most people who read this newsletter are probably familiar with the idea that whole foods are FAR better for you than refined, processed foods.

Although there are differing viewpoints on what kind of foods you should or should not be eating, as well as the ideal ratio of these foods, nearly everyone from all corners of the diet and nutrition world seem to agree on one thing: No matter which foods you choose and in what ratios you eat them, whole foods are better for you than refined foods.

The same goes for supplemental vitamins, whether they're in pill form or added to an enriched food product.

Just like processed foods, most commercial vitamins are synthetic vitamins that have been robbed of all of the extra accessory micronutrients that they naturally come with. In turn, like refined foods, they can create numerous problems and imbalances in your body if taken at high levels for long periods of time.

They can also act more like drugs in your body. At the very least, they won't be as beneficial as high quality food and food-based supplements are.

Fortified foods are essentially processed foods containing synthetic vitamins and minerals. There's nothing natural about them. And as the video above shows, certain additives cannot even be considered suitable for human consumption at all!

Who in their right mind would voluntarily consider feeding their child a pinch of iron filings for breakfast each morning?

I'd venture to guess that if you did, and someone found out about it, you'd have children's social services knocking on your door questioning the safety of your household.

And yet, many children and adults end up consuming metal shavings every day, courtesy of their fortified breakfast cereal.

The Best Sources of Iron

Rather than eating cereal enriched with toxic iron filings, your best bet is to make sure you're eating enough whole foods that are rich in bioavailable iron.

Good sources include:

  • Grass-fed red meats, such as beef, pork, lamb and veal

  • Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, asparagus, broccoli, collard greens, kale, parley, cabbage, chard, watercress and Brussel sprouts

  • Wild-caught salmon

  • Most kinds of dried beans, including lima beans, kidney beans, pinto beans and black eye beans

  • Nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and hazelnuts

If you need to use a supplemental form of iron please avoid ferrous sulfate, which can be highly toxic. The safest form of iron that I know of is Feosol Carbonyl Iron, which is available at Costco or Target. There has never been a case of iron toxicity from accidental overdose of this type of iron. This is in stark contrast to all other iron supplements, which regularly kill children every year from accidental overdoses.

Keep in mind that although iron is found in many foods, some people do not absorb it well. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, while caffeine can hinder iron absorption. Again, you'll want to get your vitamin C from natural food sources rather than a supplement.

Why Eating Vitamin D Fortified Foods Won't Do You Much Good

As described in the article above, vitamin D fortified foods will not give you the vitamin D you need, for two reasons:

  1. Most foods are fortified with synthetic vitamin D

  2. Fortified foods may contain either more or less than stated on the label, so you don't know how much you're actually getting

In addition, although vitamin D2—the synthetic form of vitamin D—is less potent than the natural vitamin D3, it becomes toxic in your body at far lower levels than the natural form.

As with most nutrients and compounds, it is always best to get them from their natural sources, and vitamin D is no exception.

Interestingly, the only vitamin not found in breast milk is vitamin D. To me that's a giant clue that we were NOT designed to swallow vitamin D. Newborn infants, just like you, were designed to produce it by exposing their skin to natural sunlight.

Without question, the best way to get the right amount of vitamin D is to spend some time in the sun. The problem arises during the wintertime, when, depending on where you live, of course, sunshine is too scarce.

One alternative is to use a safe tanning bed that is shielded from harmful emissions, or by using a high-quality vitamin D supplement.

What You Need to Know About Vitamin D Supplements

The vitamin D that's added to milk is the synthetic and highly inferior vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Only vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), the type of vitamin D found naturally in foods such as eggs, organ meats, animal fat, and cod liver oil is appropriate for supplementation.

Studies have concluded that vitamin D2 should no longer be regarded as a nutrient appropriate for supplementation or fortification of foods, yet no changes have been made within the food industry and it continues to be used!

The term 'buyer beware' definitely applies to fortified foods...

Perhaps the most important aspect of vitamin D supplementation is the need for regular testing.

Do not embark on a supplementation program without first checking your vitamin D levels, and getting tested regularly to make sure you're within a healthy range. Whereas you cannot overdose on vitamin D from the sun, you definitely run that risk when you're taking supplements.

For more information about this important topic, please review the articles listed below.

How Vitamin D Performance Testing Can Help Optimize Your Health

A robust and growing body of research clearly shows that vitamin D is absolutely critical for good health and disease prevention. Vitamin D affects your DNA through vitamin D receptors (VDRs), which bind to specific locations of the human genome. Scientists have identified nearly 3,000 genes that are influenced by vitamin D levels, and vitamin D receptors have been found throughout the human body.

Is it any wonder then that no matter what disease or condition is investigated, vitamin D appears to play a crucial role? This is why I am so excited about the D*Action Project by GrassrootsHealth. Dr. Heaney is the Research Director of GrassrootsHealth and is part of the design of the D*action Project as well as analysis of the research findings. GrassrootsHealth shows how you can take action today on known science with a consensus of experts without waiting for institutional lethargy. It has shown how by combining the science of measurement (of vitamin D levels) with the personal choice of taking action and, the value of education about individual measures that one can truly be in charge of their own health.

In order to spread this health movement to more communities, the project needs your involvement. This was an ongoing campaign during the month of February, and will become an annual event.

To participate, simply purchase the D*Action Measurement Kit and follow the registration instructions included. (Please note that 100 percent of the proceeds from the kits go to fund the research project. I do not charge a single dime as a distributor of the test kits.)

As a participant, you agree to test your vitamin D levels twice a year during a five-year study, and share your health status to demonstrate the public health impact of this nutrient. There is a $65 fee every six months for your sponsorship of this research project, which includes a test kit to be used at home, and electronic reports on your ongoing progress. You will get a follow up email every six months reminding you "it's time for your next test and health survey."

Vitamin D Kit
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What Are GMOs?

From April 19th through April 25th we launch GMO Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to providing you with information on GMOs and labeling initiatives.

GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I've stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.

Help Support GMO Labeling

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.

Public opinion around the biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We're fighting back. That's why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically "lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.

The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.

Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

Together, Let's Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve

Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption. That's why I'm proud to announce I will be matching donations up to $250,000 this week.

Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.

Donate Today!

[+] Sources and References

Thank you! Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations.

Food Democracy Now
Mercury Free Dentistry
Fluoride Action Network
National Vaccine Information Center
Institute for Responsible Technology
Organic Consumers Association
Center for Nutrtion Advocacy
Cornucopia Institute
Vitamin D Council
GrassrootsHealth - Vitamin D*action
Alliance for Natural Health USA
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation
The Rabies Challenge Fund
Cropped Catis Mexico