The UK multivitamin industry is worth a half billion pounds a year. Just under half of Brits report taking vitamins and minerals daily, and that number has been rising over the past few years. Lots of these people are turning to supplements in an attempt to make up for poor eating habits.
Kate Quilton of Food Unwrapped, which airs on Channel 4 in the UK, headed to our shores to visit IVC Industries, a vitamin producer in New Jersey, where she discovered that most of the ingredients in vitamins are actually synthetic.
International Vitamin Corporation (IVC) Product Development Head Nick Bennett told her that the ingredients in their vitamins are synthesized using fermentation in order to produce such large quantities, and the process is far from appetizing.
"Bacteria will be fed glucose syrup, and they will convert that into a whole variety of different vitamins and we extract the individual ones out that we want,” he said.
Glucose syrup? Does that set off any alarm bells? With nearly 90 percent of the corn grown in our nation being genetically modified, the thought of using glucose syrup -- which is usually made with this same GM corn -- in something that is supposed to boost our health is completely absurd.
It doesn’t stop there. Many cheap vitamins you find at places like WalMart contain ingredients like maltodextrin, another ingredient that is typically derived from GM corn. Meanwhile, many Vitamin C pills are made using genetically modified Vitamin C.
Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, found a disturbing amount of lead and other toxins when investigating supplements for his book, Food Forensics. This is why it’s vital to buy vitamins from trusted sources. What is the point of following a healthy, organic diet if you’re just going to introduce toxic ingredients into your body when you take vitamins?
For the show, Quilton also headed to Houston, where she spoke to Dr. Scott Smith, the head of NASA’s Nutritional Biochemistry lab. Surprisingly, he said that he does not give astronauts food supplements in their diets as their food contains all the vitamins they need.
Interestingly, there is one vitamin that astronauts are provided with: Vitamin D. While you and I can simply head outside for a few minutes to get all the Vitamin D our bodies need from the sun, astronauts don’t have that option, and Vitamin D is considered so essential that they need to supplement.
If you’re concerned that you’re not getting enough of the vitamins you need from your diet, the best course of action is to simply adapt your diet. Seek out organic foods that are naturally rich in the vitamins your body needs. If that isn’t possible for some reason, you’ll need to do some research to find safe organic vitamins that come from trusted sources, preferably with credible lab results that show they are free from toxins. Don’t let something that is supposed to be a healthy habit make you ill!