Wednesday, 10 March 2010 15:26

Vitamins: The Good and the Bad

Written by  Shelley Jaffe
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VitaminsThese days everyone is hunting for a bargain. But when it comes to vitamins, do you really know what you’re getting?

First, cheap vitamins are usually synthetic. Synthetic vitamins are made from coal tar derivatives and are much cheaper to produce than natural vitamins which come from food and other natural sources. There are mixed feelings about whether or not synthetic vitamins are as good as natural, but my personal opinion is that I want my vitamins to come from a food source, not a fuel source which is known to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing).

When a synthetic vitamin is created, its molecular structure is identical to its natural counterpart. This is why there are people who believe that synthetic is fine. However, there are other components called co-factors that are part of nature, but not part of what is created in the lab. One example of these co-factors is bioflavonoids, which are antioxidants that may help prevent degenerative diseases. When you peel an orange, the white part beneath the peel is rich in this component and usually consumed with the vitamin-C-rich flesh of the orange. Our vitamin C is obtained from natural sources and contains natural bioflavonoids, just like you would find in the foods you eat.

This does not mean to say that the high-priced vitamins on the market today are all good. Many of them are overpriced and you are paying for fancy packaging and the cost of marketing. It does mean that you should be wary of cheap prices and make sure to do your research on a brand before you start taking it.

In our store we do the research for you. We make sure we don’t carry synthetic vitamins. There are a number of vitamin companies today owned by Big Pharma and giant commercial conglomerates which are in it for the profits, not to benefit people’s health. We want to make sure that our customers get the highest quality products.  This is why we screen our products so carefully and why you don’t see many brands on our shelves. If it doesn’t meet our standards, we won’t carry it.

Now, I have had some people say we are foolish because we might lose a sale for not being willing to carry what we feel is an inferior product. But if we don’t watch out for our customer’s health and well being, what are we doing in this business anyway?

Shelley Jaffe is the Executive Director of Peter Gillham’s Nutrition Center located at 533 Cleveland Street in Downtown Clearwater. For more information please call 727-462-5770 or visit our website at

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