Thursday, April 24, 2014

Synthetic Multivitamins vs. Real Food – How to Read Your Multivitamin Label

“...more than three billion people around the world suffer from malnourishment and yet, ironically, efforts to increase food production have actually produced food that is less nourishing.” - Eating Your Veggies: Not As Good For You? - TIME

Supplementing your diet with added nutrients has become mandatory to not only reach optimum health, but to simply maintain health.


The average vegetable found in today’s supermarket has anywhere from 5% to 40% less minerals than those harvested 50 years ago.

The growing use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, today’s crops are being harvested faster than ever before. Quick, early harvests mean the produce has less time to absorb nutrients either from synthesis or the soil, and minerals like potassium (the "K" in N-P-K fertilizers) often interfere with a plant's ability to take up nutrients. Monoculture farming practice have also led to soil-mineral depletion, which, in turn, affects the nutrient content of crops. - TIME Health & Family Website

Add to that, artificial food ripening, which can lead to potential health hazards and may decrease nutrient content.

“Ethylene is the major ripening agent produced naturally within the fruits which initiates the process of ripening [15]. There are multifarious uses of many ripening agents to release ethylene in order to speed up the ripening process. Chemicals like ethanol, methanol, ethylene glycol, Ethephon, calcium carbide are used to ripen fruits and vegetables artificially [13, 15, 23]. The use of calcium carbide is much widespread in many regions of south Asia including India, Bangladesh, Nepal and so forth for its cheaper market price despite its ban due to its harmful feats [4, 9, 20, 21, 24].” – A Critical Analysis of Artificial Fruit Ripening

For many of us, commercial multivitamin supplements is the answer to the lack of nutrients in our daily diets. For a very long time, I believed this route to be the best way to health and looked for quality multivitamin supplements. You’ll even find endorsements of multivitamin supplements I preferred and used, on this site. Recently, I’ve become enlightened and renewed by transforming information and research in regards to commercialized multivitamins. I no longer support, encourage or promote multivitamin products that are:

  1. Synthetic – Sourced from toxins, inorganic material and genetically modified organisms.
  2. Isolated – Compounds existing alone without co-enzymes, and factors needed to for completeness and effectiveness.
  3. “Sourced from” – Natural vitamins/minerals “sourced from” organic, natural-occurring vegetation (taken out of it’s native environment) and “plant-based” in an non-native environment
  4. Tableted multivitamins with excipients.

The Dance of Minerals, Vitamins and Co-Enzymes

You’ve heard the debates. Studies for and against multivitamins. Many have taken a position on either side. As I mentioned earlier, I was solely pro-multivitamins, after all, there is an obvious, serious lack in nutrients in our overall diets. With so many of us overweight, yet malnourished, the answer seems obvious…supplement with multivitamins and avoid artificial foods.

I did not understand important concepts that would soon change my entire outlook on the multivitamin industry. One…how vitamins and minerals behaved. Two…how and where they are sourced from, and three…high quality nutrition will never come from lab, but from by the provision of nature herself.

Understanding how vitamins and minerals exist naturally was the core of my dramatic 180 degree stance on multivitamins.

Vitamins do not exist as a single component or molecule that act on their own.


Allow me to repeat, there is no such thing as a single component or molecule that makes up most vitamins. True food vitamins exist in groups or clusters that are chemically related. These vitamins are made up of trace minerals, enzymes, co-enzymes, factors, co-factors and anti-oxidants that work together to produce an intended biological function.

Let’s take a popular vitamin found in many commercial multivitamin supplements as an example…the very lovely and essential vitamin C. Often, you will see “vitamin C” listed on your multivitamin label as Ascorbic Acid or Ascorbate. Ascorbic Acid is in fact, not the Vitamin C complex as a whole, but rather the hull that contains the group of chemically related components that make up the entire vitamin c complex. In other words, Ascorbic Acid is much like the egg shell that holds the yolk and whites.


It is NOT vitamin C. Unfortunately, the words ascorbic acid and vitamin C are terms used interchangeably as if the same. You’ll even find the two terms referenced as one in Wikipedia. In comparison, they are not structurally similar, nor is ascorbic acid found isolated in nature. The vitamin C complex, as shown in the graphic above, has P,J & K factors along with Bioflavonoids, Tyrosinase and of course ascorbic acid as an antioxidant…but that is ascorbic acid in natural existence as a part of the team.

Commercial ascorbic acid is produced synthetically in a laboratory in a process that involves refined corn and a fermentation process. The corn used to produced synthetic ascorbic acid is potentially genetically modified, if manufactured in the USA. Over 80 percent of US corn crops are genetically modified. It is a good idea to avoid synthetic ascorbic acid. Why? Ascorbic acid cannot produce vitamin activity outside of it teammates. Our bodies are truly intelligent. They do not recognize synthetic ascorbic acid and may treat it like a toxin. Alternately, they may see that this “egg shell” is missing parts of itself and seek to deplete trace minerals from tissue to complete the package, despite the fact that our bodies cannot manufacture vitamin C complex on it’s own…how intelligent is that?!? That aside, it is a taxing process. If other components cannot be found to complete the package, the “vitamin” goes out the wash and so does the $15.99 you spent on that bottle of chewable vitamin C. Further more, caution needs to be considered if you have allergies associated with corn.

TheDoctorWithin website sums up Ascorbic Acid/Vitamin C marketing deception very nicely with this paragraph:

“The ascorbic acid you buy at the grocery store every few weeks, thinking you are buying Vitamin C, is just a chemical copy of naturally occurring ascorbic acid, which itself is still only a fraction of the actual Vitamin C. Real vitamin C is part of something living, and as such, can impart life. Your synthetic, fractionated chemical ascorbic acid never grew in the ground, never saw the light of day, never was alive or part of anything alive. It’s a chemical, a cornstarch derivative, a sulfuric acid by-product. In your body it’s just another drug.”

Generally speaking, multivitamins often list synthetic (fractionated) vitamins on the label. However, many of us tend to trust the “explanation” in the brackets, which leads me to a vital label-reading tip…beware of bracketed information on ingredient labels. Here’s an example…

Riboflavin (vitamin B-2)………………………………5mg………………………….294% (Children’s multivitamin)

Riboflavin is synthetic and considered a week base. Other synthetic vitamins are listed as follows…

Thiamine (Marketed as Vitamin B1)

Niacin (Marketed as Vitamin B3)

Pantothenic Acid (Marketed as Vitamin B5)

Pyridoxine (Marketed as Vitamin B6)

Biotin (Marketed as Vitamin B7)

Folate (Marketed as Vitamin B9)

Cobalamin or Cyanocobalamin (Marketed as Vitamin B12)

Plant-based & Naturally Derived Vitamins Are Not Much Better Than Synthetic Counterparts

Plant-based vitamins are not much better than their chemically-based counterparts. If any of the synthetic vitamins listed above are on a plant-based label, you’re basically taking synthetic vitamins in a more natural base...and even then, “natural” bases should be closely scrutinized for authenticity. They MAY provide some bio-availability, but just like their counterparts they are isolated, fractionated, born-in-a-lab and more importantly, not a true vitamin complex.

It is vital to comprehend that vitamin complexes are just that…complex. Manufacturers cannot disassemble whole food complexes and reassemble them to their previous state. Once it has been disassembled, it is considered nonfunctional. Additionally, natural, wholesome vitamins  and minerals work together for the greater good, in other words they are synergistic. Just as vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb calcium, copper is essential for TRUE vitamin C activity. Manufacturers simply cannot mimic the native environment in which vitamins, minerals, enzymes, co-enzymes etc. thrive in and produce a fully functional product that would have the same nutritional benefit as an apple. Understanding this, plant sourced, or naturally sourced vitamins make little sense to me. I’m better off buying an apple from the supermarket for true synergistic nutrition. Naturally, that brings us back to the original issue of depleted nutrition in our vegetation. More on that later.





Tips & Clues Your Multivitamin Supplement is Synthetic

  1. Overdose warning. – Your body engages in selective absorption of synergistic, whole food nutrition. Your intelligent body knows what it needs. It selects the missing nutrients from the whole food and allows the rest to pass. The metabolism of chemical vitamins can lead to the imbalance of the body’s chemistry because the body doesn’t recognize synthetic vitamins. Therefore, the amounts of synthetic “vitamins” need to be monitored, like iron, to avoid toxic overdoses.
  2. RDAs (Recommended Daily Allowance) & DVs (Daily Value) – As mentioned, our bodies practice selective absorption of whole food nutrition. There is no way to “measure” or “count” vitamins in food. Synthetic vitamins are manmade, therefore easily measured to meet RDA and DV government-established requirements. Furthermore, whole food nutrition provides a broader spectrum of nutrients than that manufactured in a lab. RDAs are educated, and I use the term loosely, guesses that comprises of a one-size-fits-all scenario. It is important to understand that science has not documented every single vitamin & mineral in existence. I truly believe it is impossible for science to do so! As a matter of fact in 1925, there was only one known B vitamin. By 1975, there were ten. Vitamin B4,as an example, cannot be synthetically produced, so many doctors are unaware of its existence! This is very telling. Does marketing have an impact on “education”??? Something for us to think about.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Label Reading Tips For Product Safety - Tip #3 - The Fragrance Ingredient, A Blanket Statement

Continuing our Labeling Reading Tips For Product Safety Series....

Photo Credit: Chemistry.About.Com

Tip number three, I can honestly say shocked me the most. I've always known the fragrance ingredient was synthetic and should be avoided, but I had no clue that fragrance was in fact a blanket ingredient.

A blanket ingredient made of at least 4000 to 5000 separate chemicals. This important tip should be considered when reading labels. Taking into account WHERE it places on the label (amount), it should be understood that the word "fragrance" contains undisclosed ingredients (chemicals) that may contains substances such as:

Formaldehyde - Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen (causes cancer). Causes allergic, irritant and contact dermatitis, headaches and chronic fatigue. The vapor is extremely irritating to the eyes, nose and throat (mucous membranes).

Parabens - Used as inhibitors of microbial growth and to extend shelf life of products. Widely used even though they are known to be toxic. Have caused many allergic reactions and skin rashes. They are highly toxic. Parabens are also hormone disrupters and have been shown to be reproductive toxin in animal studies. Parabens have been detected in breast cancer tumors and may cause contact dermatitis.

Phthalates - Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break. They are often called plasticizers. Some phthalates are used as solvents (dissolving agents) for other materials. They are used in hundreds of products, such as vinyl flooring, adhesives, detergents, lubricating oils, automotive plastics, plastic clothes (raincoats), and personal-care products (soaps, shampoos, hair sprays, and nail polishes). -  Health risks include; reproductive and human development -

Additionally, symptoms from fragrances, reported to the FDA include headaches, dizziness, allergic rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and skin irritation. Clinical observation proves fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, and irritability.

Fragrances are considered trade secrets and its ingredients do not have to be disclosed. A good rule would be to avoid products that contain fragrances. Do not be fooled by "natural fragrances". This too, is vague. Besides, there is no such thing as a natural fragrance. The only natural scents there are are essential oils extracted from plants such as lavender and roses by example. Products with natural scents should freely list the essential oils used. By extension, the word "flavor" in an ingredient list, is vague and may possibly be a blanket ingredient like fragrance, whether it is defined as "natural" or "artificial".

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Label-Reading Series on TheOliveParent
The Golden Rule
Levels of Organic Certification
Organic Certifications & GMOs
Ingredient Amounts & Hair Detoxing

Stay tuned for the final tip on label reading!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Label-Reading Tips for Product Safety - Tip #2 Ingredient Amounts & Hair Detoxing

When reading labels, it is also important to understand that ingredients are listed in the order of their amounts. If the first ingredient on the list is water, then water is what you're mostly using. Whether this is good or bad depends on how you expect your product serve you.

This important tip gives you an overall understanding of what you're getting more of. For example the ingredients for Morraccanoil, a popular hair treatment that supposedly contains Argan oil, is listed in this exact order:

With this product you're using more Silicone derivatives (Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone) than you are Argan oil. Silicone is a type (liquid) of plasticizer that give the hair the shiny look and silky feel. Silicone ingredients are occlusive, which means it coats the skin, much like a plastic wrap and prevents the skin from performing its natural duties, specifically the functions of releasing sweat & sebum and absorbing. Prolonged exposures to silicone-type ingredients may include irritation, skin eruptions and hair loss.

From how the ingredients are listed, it would be safe to say that the shiny, silky look promised by the product doesn't come from the Argan oil itself, but amount of plasticizers used in the product. I should state I could not find the ingredient list for Morroccanoil treatment on the official site, instead I found it on retailer's shop.

Another tip....never purchase products without full disclosure of its ingredients and never trust a company that isn't willing to disclose the ingredients of their products.

12401-ProtectHairRepairThe ingredients in the Protect Hair Repair by comparison, gives you a healthy dose of Aloe Vera.

certified organic aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice
organic fermented grain extract
certified organic rosa rubiginosa (rosehip) seed oil
sclerotium rolfsii gum
citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) fruit extract
certified organic equisetum arvense (horsetail) extract
certified organic urtica dioica (nettle) extract
certified organic arctium lappa (burdock) extract
certified organic rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract
certified organic salvia officinalis (sage) leaf extract
certified organic citrus dulcis (sweet orange) essential oil
certified organic pelargonium graveolens (geranium) essential oil
certified organic daucus carota (carrot) CO2 extract
santalum spicata (sandalwood) essential oil

My favorite ingredient in this product is the lactic acid from the fermented grain extract, which is a natural protectant. I use this product for myself and family daily and LOVE the natural shine and silkiness it provides. Notice, there is NO water used. You get full use and benefit from the ingredients as stated on the label. No chemical additives, just food grade ingredients!

Stay tuned for the next label-reading tip!

Hair Detox - De-Plasticizing Your Hair

***Miessence is the world's first certified organic skin/body care. Over 40+ products are certified organic to FOOD GRADE standards, pure enough to eat!***

If you're ready to commit to silicone-free products, use Miessence shampoos, which contain 70% Aloe Vera and 100% toxic-free ingredients, to rid your hair and scalp of these occlusive ingredients.  Your hair detox period depends on the amount of silicone in your hair. You may experience knotty and drier hair. The Protect Hair Repair helps detangle hair during the process and the Clarifying Rinse can assist with stripping your hair of chemical residue. You can speed up the detox process by mixing a Miessence Clay Mask and Shampoo to make a paste. Apply and wash several times to strip the hair of chemicals.

Once you've detoxed your hair, the shampoos will lather more than before and you may find you'll need less shampoo and you'll need to wash less often! Purchase your healthy hair kit here.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Label-Reading Tips For Product Safety–Tip #1 #Organic Certifications & #GMOs

file000975761322We’re still working on Tip #1 in our Label-Reading series! In our last post Label-Reading for Product Safety – Levels of Organic Certifications we spoke about the different levels of organic certifications and organic certifying agencies.

With the Golden Rule firmly in place, we’ll look at whether or not a USDA certification means a product is GMO-free.

Many assume that the USDA Organic certification means their product is non-GMO. As a matter of fact, I’ve heard many non-GMO advocates offer the tip that a USDA Organic certification is a way to avoid GMOs. Unfortunately, a USDA Organic certification does not guarantee that the product is, in fact free of genetically altered ingredients.

It’s important to understand how we, and by we, I mean the United States, determines organic certification. Here in the US, organic certification is process based.

To become a certified organic operation, the producer submits an organic system plan to a NOP accredited certifying agent for approval. The producer’s organic system plan includes a description of management practices and physical barriers to prevent contact or contamination of organic crops/ingredients with prohibited substances.  GMOs are prohibited as excluded methods.

To break it down a bit, a organic operation is prohibited from using GMOs as a part of the process/plan, but providing proof that ingredients are GMO free is not apart of that process. In essence, an organic operative’s sole responsibility is to follow the “organic production or handling process” correctly. As a matter of fact, if the certifying agency detects the presence of GMOs, it isn’t considered a violation of the rules, if the process was followed correctly…the manufacturing facility can keep their organic certification status.

NOP Policy states:

Organic producers that implement preventive measures to avoid
contact with GMOs will not have their certification threatened
from the inadvertent presence of the products of excluded
methods (GMOs). Crops grown on certified organic operation
may be sold, labeled and represented as organic, even with the
inadvertent presence of GMOs, provided that all organic
requirements under 7 CFR Part 205 have been followed.

Bit disappointing.

The document is quite an interesting and eye-opening read. I strongly encourage you to read it in its entirety. There are only 20 pages to this document. >>>>>National Organic Program GMOs PDF<<<<<<

Our best bet for a organic, GMO-free product would be be a USDA Organic certification AND a non GMO Project Verified certification for US-based facilities.

Miessence’s food-grade cosmetics bears the Australian Certified Organic logo and certification. The ACO’s standard requires testing for GMOs.

Some basic rules when certifying a processed product:

  • Obtain valid organic certificates for all certified ingredients
  • Non certified ingredients are generally permitted when certified ingredients are not available on the market.
  • Non certified ingredients cannot: be of GMO origin or manufactured using GMO technology, be fumigated or treated with compounds prohibited by organic standard, cannot exceed 10% of other contamination MRL as defined by FSANZ, cannot be irradiated.
  • Onus is [an] operator to obtain and supply ACO with proof non GMO, Irradiation and treatment statements for non organic ingredients.
  • The amount of non organic ingredient(s)  will affect the type of organic claim :
  • 100% certified organic content, label  can state “100% organic” + bud logo
  • 95%-100% certified organic content, label can state “certified organic” + bud logo
  • 70%-95% certified organic content, label can state “made with certified organic ingredients”,  cannot use bud logo but must indicate certification number (ie  ‘ACO  99999P’) (*exception for cosmetics)
  • <70 % certified organic content cannot make any certification claims, can only list ingredients as ‘organic’, cannot include certification number  or bud  logo –

Some of Miessence’s products have the USDA Organic certification, but all of the products have either ACO, food-grade or cosmetic certifications. A guarantee that our products are GMO-free. Our Probiotic Skin Brightener, by example, has both the ACO(food-grade) and USDA Organic certification.

Recently, I announced that I was no longer recommending the KeVita Probiotic Drinks that I promoted a few years ago, due to my discovery of their use of a bio-engineered probiotic strain, Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086. KeVita is a USDA certified organic facility. Hereby stressing the vital need for GMO testing in addition to the US organic certification process.

Stay tuned! We’re moving on to Tip #2 in the next blog!

Author’s Note:

I’ve contacted KeVita in December of 2013, as of today, I’ve yet to receive a response to my concerns.



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Saturday, February 1, 2014

#Label-Reading Tips for Product Safety - Tip #1 Levels of #Organic Certifications

In Label-Reading Tips for Product Safety - The Golden Rule & Tip #1, the first tip was a recognition that
claims are claims. When you allow this and the golden rule of label-reading to formulate your perception, you can safe-guard yourself against deceptive claims.

The only guarantee of a manufacturer's claims is proof. That proof can be found in an independent third-party certification.

Having said that, it's important to consider two things....

(1) Levels of organic certification

(2) Not all certifying agencies are created equal

Products can be certified organic to cosmetic standards, or food grade standards. The food grade standard is the highest level of organic certification a product can receive. It is the most strict and stringent organic standard available.

Organic cosmetic certification allows for some synthetic ingredients, usually green chemistry ingredients (non-toxic synthetics), however, it's important to know that some certifying organizations do allow chemical (toxic) synthetics ingredients, which brings us to the second consideration.

National Organic Program authorizes a list of agencies that certifies (oversees) businesses, products, producers (farms) etc. You'll find them listed on the label of a certified organic product that sports the USDA Organic logo that may look like this; certified by QAI (Quality Assurance International).

Although the NOP "authorizes" certain agencies to bestow organic certification to qualifying manufacturers, some agencies are more lenient than others in allowing synthetic chemicals in cosmetic standards.

The Organic Consumer's Association has a comparison chart of some of the agencies. The USDA NOP & ACO (Australia) provide the strictest standard, prohibiting toxic synthetics in both cosmetic and food standards.

However, three of the most permissive agencies - allowing for chemical preservatives in cosmetics, such as parabens, hydrogenated oils, phenoxyethanol to name a few, are:

EcoCert (Europe/France), NaTrue (Germany/Europe) & Oasis (US/International).

The Organic Consumer's Association grants EcoCert a 0 out of 5 stars for being the most "permissive and misleading standard out there". A word to the wise, when looking to purchase certified organic cosmetics, avoid products certified by EcoCert or at least look over the ingredient list very closely.

Cosmetics that are certified organic to food grade standards are rare, but available through my shop: Miessence's food grade cosmetics are one of the many reasons I became a representative!

Miessence's food grade products are certified by Australian Certified Organic, a NOP authorized agency. Most of Miessence products are food grade. Here are some of them....

  • Skin Essentials - All four skin types
  • Facial Serums
  • Hand Foaming Soap
  • Hand Cream
  • Body Cream
  • Mouthwash
  • Hair Rinse
  • Protect Hair Repair and more!
Miessence products that are certified to cosmetic standards contain no toxic synthetics. 

If you have a favorite product that you use, but suspect that it may not be safe, contact me for a free product review and comparison with Miessence.

Miessence Promotions:
Become a Miessence Representative for just $11 dollars! Join as a Rep with a Fast Start Pack and get a free Vitality Challenge Kit! Only valid in February.

The next in the Label-reading tips series....Organic Certifications and GMOs! Stay tuned.