Toxic Effects and Side Effects of Isolated Vitamins
by Victor Shayne
really dig into labels to discern food from isolated chemicals.

It is critical to understand not just individual isolates but how vitamins interact and
interrelate with other biochemicals found alongside one another within whole food
complexes. There are many critically important nutrients, substances, and properties
within foods that are just as important as vitamins. These elements help vitamins
provide their beneficial effects. Without these other food substances vitamins are
used pharmacologically, like drugs.

We cannot subsist on isolated vitamins without the other nutrients provided in
nature's foods.

What are Vitamins?

Vitamins are "biological complexes, bundles of enzymes and trace minerals, biological
wheels within wheels. Vitamins in isolation are no longer vitamins but merely
extracts. Vitamins fail to fully function when derived.

The origins of the isolates began with chemists' synthetic isolation of a single element
uncombined with its biological matrix. The discovery of the vitamin coincided with the
boom in industry, agriculture, and pharmaceutical chemistry. This has been an
ongoing attempt to manufacture a better than natural food by extracting just what
we "need" and leaving the rest behind.

There are many side effects owing to isolated and synthetic vitamins. A more
detailed analysis may be found in my book Man Cannot Live on Vitamins Alone, but
here are a few examples:

Vitamin A: Acute intake of extremely high doses of vitamin A (>200,000mg RE in
adults) can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, and increased cebrospinal pressure.
Symptoms are generally transient. Chronic high intakes (e.g. >10x RDA) can cause
hair loss, bone and muscle pain, headache, liver damage, and increased blood lipid
concentrations. A particular danger in pregnant women is teratogenesis (birth
defects). As vitamin A is fat soluble and can be stored in the liver for long periods of
time, it has a high potential for toxicity.

Vitamin B1 Thiamine: The symptoms of thiamin overdosing are similar to those of
hyperthyroidism: 1. fast pulse; 2. irritability; 3. tremors; 4. weakness. Twenty to
forty milligrams should not be used except in deficiency cases.

Vitamin B3 Niacin: Toxicity will be achieved through large doses of nicotinic acid
given to lower cholesterol may product flushing of the skin, hyperuricemia, and
hepatic abnormalities. These effects are reversed if the drug is reduced in amount or

Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine: Excessive acute or chronic exposure to vitamin B-6 can be
neurotoxic. It appears that in most individuals oral intakes of less than 500 mg/day
can be tolerated. Larger intakes should be avoided. Because individuals may vary in
their susceptibility to toxicity, a physician should monitor intakes in excess of the
Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA).

Vitamin C Ascorbic Acid: High doses of vitamin C may alter cooper metabolism and
lead to deficiency states. In a study published in the April 9 issue of Nature, Dr. Ian
Podman and colleagues from the University of Leicester in England found that vitamin
C intake, at levels greater than 500 mg/day may not be advisable. These
researchers studied 30 healthy individuals who were given doses of 500 mg/day for
a period of 6 weeks. Results showed oxidative damage at the cellular level even after
excess vitamin C was excreted. The authors of this study conclude that high doses of
vitamin C may be doing damage to cells as well.

Back to Common Sense & Science

The human body is not an artificial creation, and therefore should not be fed artificially
created and enhanced substances such as isolated vitamins. You can find whole food
nutrition at
where real foods, grown in nature, balanced by millennia of
evolution, and complex in their structures, are the perfect match for our bodies.
Scientifically speaking, we are designed to consume these foods because they are
natural, whole, balanced, and complex. Nothing can replace food nutrients in their
ability to sustain life without causing unpredictable side effects.

About The Author

Dr Shayne is a foremost authority in the area of whole food nutrition. He has found a
direct connection between health and nutrition and has studied the effects of extracts
and isolates, typically labeled vitamins and minerals. He is Chief Scientific Advisor and
Lead Consultant for
and developer of a full line of whole food nutrition
(NutriPlex Formulas). In addition, Dr Shayne has published over
and is
working on another book at this time.
Vitamins are PARTS of foods, but
they are NOT foods. Foods contain
vitamins, but vitamins NEVER contain
nutrient complexes (synergistic
biochemicals). And, NO vitamin is
really 'natural' once it has been
REMOVED from its original food

Several supplement companies
confuse this issue further by claiming
that their products are "whole foods"
whey they are actually mixtures of
foods and isolates (isolated
component of an extracted nutrient).
This is deceptive and forces one to
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The content on
this website is for educational purposes only.  Please consult with your physician before using natural
remedies and before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise
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