Myths Debunked: Natural Nutrients Are More Effective Than Man-made Nutrients

Myths Debunked: Natural Nutrients Are More Effective Than Man-made Nutrients

These days, it can be awfully difficult to decipher what’s truly “healthy” and what’s harmful. One second, we hear we should all be consuming something daily, and the next second we hear it’s shown to cause health concerns or ailments. The internet does nothing to help the case either, as different claims and theories are constantly being published making it difficult for us to know what to believe. Furthermore, it takes not much more than a camera phone and a YouTube channel and poof, someone claims they are an expert at something (a pet peeve of ours, can you tell?)

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To clear the air on sometimes confusing topics specific to the health and wellness industry, we’ve asked our friend and trusted resource, Dr. Terry Shirvani, to share the truth of the matter in a series called “Myths Debunked”. With over 20 years of experience in the natural products industry, serving as a Naturopathic Physician, product developer and scientific and technical advisor, Dr. Terry has a vast array of knowledge on subjects our community cares about. 

One myth Dr. Terry says he continues to hear is “natural nutrients are better for us than man-made nutrients”. Keep scrolling to read his research-rooted take on the subject, and be sure to leave a comment if you have any lingering questions. 

Things that are natural are healthier and better than things that are synthesized (man-made). 

For the purposes of this article, I’m going to focus on the topic of natural vs. synthesized nutrients. Man-made nutrients have gotten a bad rap over the years, partly due to lack of good consumer education and subsequent misconception, and partly due to aggressive marketing of so-called “whole-food vitamin” brands. By the same token, the word “natural” has become synonymous with “healthy, and inherently good for you”. 

First, notice I said natural vs. synthesized, not synthetic. The terms synthetic and synthesized are often confused and/or conflated. Here’s the distinction between the two: synthesized means man-made, in a laboratory for instance. Synthetic means a form our bodies don’t readily recognize or use, and which may not have biological activity. A good example of this is tocopherols in the Vitamin E family. The d-alpha form (or “configuration”) of tocopherol is the natural (i.e. biologically active) form our bodies can recognize and use. The dl-alpha form of tocopherol is the form that is not natural and lacks vitamin activity. Now back to the topic of natural as healthier than man-made…

Alcohol (meaning ethanol) is a good example of something that is quite natural, created through a natural process (fermentation) but that is not a healthy substance in and of itself. The liver’s job is to break down alcohol so that it can be removed from the body. The products of alcohol breakdown (such as acetaldehyde) can be highly toxic to the liver and can lead to liver dysfunction, fatty liver disease, liver inflammation, and eventually liver failure if alcohol is consumed in excessive amounts. Clearly, all that is natural is not good for us.

When it comes to things that are man-made, there are many substances that are laboratory synthesized (for reasons of efficiency, and sometimes sustainability) that are perfectly healthy, and sometimes extraordinarily good for us. Supplemental minerals are a good example. Most minerals added to food or found in dietary supplements are laboratory made. The fact that they are synthesized is not what impacts their ability to support health, and in some cases profoundly. Again, the form they are in (such as a mineral salt vs. a chelate) is what makes all the difference–in how our bodies actually use them, or not! (More on mineral forms in a later blog post.)

The bottom line is that although something is natural (made by nature), it may not be inherently healthy. And although something is synthesized (man-made in a lab), it’s not necessarily inferior to things made by nature.  

At So Good So You, our priority is to provide probiotic shots that are packed with only the finest ingredients. We use only plant-based, naturally-occurring ingredients as much as possible, and when appropriate, we utilize synthesized (not synthetic) active ingredients like Coffeeberry extract and silica to support the other functional ingredients in the shot. To shop So Good So You shots, visit our store finder here and find a retailer near you.

Interested in reading more about common myths that Dr. Terry has debunked? Check out this blog post on raw versus cooked foods, or this post on probiotic strains. If you have a burning question for Dr. Terry that you’d like to see answered on the blog, let us know in the comments section below. 

So Good So You and its blog materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on the So Good So You blog is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.

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