When we take a vitamin supplement, one of our main concerns or questions should be about bioavailablity. Bioavailability, in simple terms, is the rate at which the nutrients of a vitamin supplement can be absorbed by our bodies. If the supplement is not absorbed then our body’s cells do not benefit from taking the supplement. We actually flush the vitamin supplement down the drain.
While our cells may not be able to determine the difference between sources of molecules coming from vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, our digestive tract can tell the difference between sources. Most of the vitamin supplements in pill form are combined with compounds such as citrates, sulfides, sulfates, chlorides, and so on. These compounds dissolve at different rates and scientists argue as to which of them the body absorbs more easily. Interestingly, the benchmark to which they compare absorption rates of these compounds is to that of a ‘whole food.’ Bottom line is that our digestive tracts knows how to readily digest real food (whole food) and often has difficulty digesting synthetic (man-made) pills.
Whole foods contain hundreds of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are nutrients that come from plants. A supplement made from a whole plant, rather than extracting elements from it, is called a whole food supplement. A whole food supplement is more potent than extracting nutrients from a plant. When we leave a whole food’s nutrients intact, we get potent nutrition from smaller doses. Whole food supplements help our bodies’ immune system fight against heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic illness because the whole food provides the nutrients our bodies need in the battle against these diseases or illnesses.
In addition to being a whole food, we want the vitamin supplement in ionic form. Ionic means that it has the correct ‘charge’ to be readily absorbed by our intestinal tracts. Our intestinal tracts are charged and food particles must have an opposite ionic charge to be quickly absorbed into our bodies. Look for ionic in the description of your next liquid nutritional supplement to achieve maximum absorption rates.
Finally, a note about the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Daily Recommended Allowances for nutrients is based on a 2,000 calorie diet. The FDA has identified only 33 nutrients out of more than 100,000 different types of phytonutrients. How many oranges should you eat to get the FDA daily allowance of vitamin C? How many bananas to meet the potassium requirement? These are trick questions. Whole foods do not have a label indicating the FDA daily allowance because they are whole foods not synthetic vitamins. To put a label that meets the FDA requirement would mean the addition of a synthetic vitamin. And which one of us wants our whole food from the market or our whole food supplement injected with something artificial?