GMOs in Supplements from Big Name Brands
October 6, 2016
Between allergens and additives, there are lots of things that the health-conscious consumer needs to consider. Unfortunately, lots of potentially harmful vitamin supplements tend to slip through unchecked – largely thanks to their “natural” banners.
One of the most surprising, and problematic, aspects of vitamin supplements has to do with their inclusion of Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs. But, how could a GMO get into your vitamins? Why does it matter?
Genetically Modified Vitamins
Typically, vitamins – and other supplements – are extracted from a common crop that is grown for a broader application. Let’s take the most frequently-cited example: corn.
The first thing you need to know is that a vast majority of commercially grown corn in the United States has been genetically modified to make it more productive and easy-to-grow. This corn, then, can be used to make cooking oil, corn syrup, bio-fuel or a host of other products.
Of course, it can also just be eaten. That happens, too.
Surprisingly, though, that corn could also be used as a source of vitamin C – one of the most frequently purchased supplements out there. So, there you have it: GMO-based vitamin C.
And this same principle can be applied to lots of other seemingly beneficial supplements. For example, many supplements contain a substances called phytochemicals – chemicals produced by plants that are also beneficial for humans. These phytochemicals can easily be extracted from plants that have been modified in one way or another.
But why does it matter? After all, it’s just vitamin C or some other lone, isolated chemical. Why does it matter if it came from a modified crop?
Simply put, no one knows. And that’s the issue. These modifications, despite being designed and intended to impact just one aspect of the organism, can often cause multiple mutations. These mutations, in turn, could drastically change the way that that organism affects the human body.
And, most of the time, these organisms make it into common use long before any appropriate long-term research has been conducted.
The most obvious course, then, is to select supplements that are GMO-free and limit your exposure to these substances. Unfortunately, this is pretty challenging.
You would think that you could simply select brands that are marked as “all-natural,” right? This label, though, really doesn’t mean much. Thanks to careful wording and legal loopholes many products that carry this banner still contain GMOs and other decidedly unnatural ingredients.
The safest strategy, then, is to stick with brands that specifically state that they do not use any GMOs in their products.