Metabolites & Isomers

Why is natural nutrition more powerful than the manufactured (i.e. processed) food stuff that comes out of factories? There are many reasons why, and in this post I am going to talk about two key points: isomers and metabolites.

First, let’s get some very basic definitions out of the way:

  • Isomer: a geometric variant of a molecule, i.e. the molecular formula is the same, but the shape is different. For example, imagine a triangle… three sides, three angles, but there are many different types of triangles, just as in the photo above.
  • Metabolite: Think of these as lego blocks.  They are building blocks, something that is used during metabolism – a precursor or component of a nutrient, such as vitamins, hormones, etc.

When you look at something like vitamin E (C29H50O2), there are 8 compounds (or chemical variations); however, there are over a 100 known natural isomers. We can explain how the 8 compounds vary in their mechanisms of action, yet we do not understand the differences in how the 100+ isomers interact with out body.

A synthetic vitamin may have a dozen ‘natural’ isomers at most… perhaps only 1% to 10% of what nature supplies. Far worse is the fact that a synthetic vitamin will have numerous unnatural isomers of the vitamin, and these alien isomers have unknown affects on our bodies. Some take up space and block the useful isomers, others ‘might’ be somewhat effective, and yet others can be dangerous. And of course many simply pass right through our body doing nothing at all.

And vitamin E is a simple example. Vitamin D is far more complex, with hundreds, if not thousands of isomers. When you consume synthetic vitamins, from pills, capsules, liquids, or from processed foods (‘fortified’ milk, etc.), you are putting chemicals in your body that are not yet understood. They might call it vitamin A, D, E, or whatever; however, it has things are are not found anywhere in nature.

We need to get our nutrition from food. In addition to the problem with isomers, there is the even more complex issue of metabolites. Metabolites are not only the things that make up the vitamins themselves, but the things that enable the processes to perform their synthesis, uptake, and more. When you get vitamin D, even from the sun or food, it still needs to go through processes in the body – in the liver and in the kidneys – before it becomes a form that the body can use.

Nutrients do not act in isolation, but rather as complexes that require a huge array of supporting elements. Dr. Royal Lee talks about this in a Selene River Press article:

Natural vitamins—that is, vitamins as they are found in food—are complexes of associated compounds, he explains, which act together synergistically to deliver a nutritive effect to the body. In turn these complexes require minerals, in organic form, to activate them. All these things are found, together, in whole foods.

There is simply no way to synthesize what nature is providing us. We are still very far from understanding how all of this works. But we do know that nature has had it working perfectly for millions of years already.


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