The Synthetic Vitamin Milligram Game

Excerpt from “The Vitamin Myth” by Brian Clement

Generally speaking, evaluating the proper milligrams of a synthetic vitamin supplement, as related to the potency of a vitamin, is a confusing and misleading proposition. This is because synthetic vitamins are refined, high potency chemicals, and therefore can be accurately measured in milligrams, just like drugs. Measuring synthetic vitamin compounds in milligrams has nothing to do with real vitamin activity or nutrition. The vitamin activity and real potency of the vitamin is dependent upon its authenticity as a whole, naturally-occurring vitamin, not its synthetic chemical fractionated potency or weight.  For example, it is often suggested to digest, or take intravenously, 1000’s of milligrams of vitamin C, E or A.  This action is not only alarming to your immune system, but sends your body into a state of confusion.

A noxious bio-chemical chain reaction may begin with the body working to eleminate these toxins with none of the false nutrients entering the system as a natural food.  When someone experiences dangerous side effects from synthetic vitamin consumption it is usually because synthetics cannot be utilized or metabolized, so they build up in the body as toxins and are eliminated as best as possible. 

On the contrary, complete food sources of vitamin C, E or A have normally lower milligram levels than those offered in “high potency” synthetic vitamin ingredients, yet the body can easily absorb and use them as real, whole complexed vitamins from food.  When someone is concenred about the safety of vitamins, they are generally concerned about the dangers of overdosing on synthetic vitamins.  Many people have experienced the dangers of toxic “vitaminosis” when indulging in mega dosese of synthetic vitamins.  

Some synthetic vitamins are made from coal tar.  This base material, typically a crystalline yellow coal tar derived from fossil fuel sources, is not only used as a base to make some synthetic vitamins, but also as a host for other synthetic compounds including colorings, paints and many other chemical materials used as ingredients such as toxic preservatives or harmful food excipients.  Coal tar is widely used in both the food and cosmetic industries and is a known carcinogen.

Taking synthetic vitamins in milligram quantities is related to the RDA’s (Recommended Daily Allowance) or the more modern RDI’s (Recommended Daily Intake), but this still does not actually relate to potency because potency of a vitamin has to do with its effectiveness and assimilation not its weight.  Weight and potency, in this case, are two different things.  Naturally occurring whole complexed vitamins from foods created by nature are more “potent” per milligram than synthetic fractions of those vitamins because it is the whole, real vitamin that the body requires, not a synthetic chemical substitute of a fraction of a vitamin that has been chemically synthesized in a laboratory.  

So, the quantity of vitamin milligrams is not as important as the quality of the vitamin milligrams.  Many vitamins supplement brands play the “milligram game” which is often confusing to the consumer.  The idea of “more is better” works fine for some things, but not for toxic synthetics.  We have to be aware of what is really going on here.  The important first question should be whether or not the vitamin is natural (NOS) and not how many milligrams are available.  If the vitamin product is synthetic then, I believe, it does not matter how many milligrams are offered since every synthetic vitamin milligram offered should be avoided.  You get more nutrition from a lower number of milligrams when the vitamin is a whole naturally occurring complex from real food.

Let’s try to avoid the milligram game and play the naturally occurring game instead.  We can’t win the synthetic milligram game, but we can definitely win and benefit our health while playing the NOS game.