Good day! We are continuing to discuss our flagship series – Siberian Super Natural Nutrition. Today we’ll take a closer look at Natural Vitamins. These are the first all-natural vitamins offered on the CIS market. Yury, a question immediately comes to mind regarding this: are natural vitamins really better than synthetic ones? How should we treat synthetic vitamins, which now make up almost 99.99% of global sales? When it comes to the question of whether synthetic vitamins are analogous to natural ones, people have always been of divided opinion. There are many arguments in favor of both natural and synthetic vitamins. Nevertheless, I believe that natural vitamins are definitely better than synthetic ones. What’s more, I’m sure that most would agree with me. Imagine, you’re asked the question, “What is the best source of vitamins?” And you’re given various sources of food: oranges, fish, lettuce, radishes and so on. Would you choose foods or capsules? Most people will answer: “Of course, it’s better to get vitamins from food.” And in doing so, they admit that natural vitamins are certainly better and more effective for our body than synthesized ones. Our inner sense rests upon the established view: things created by nature are fundamentally superior to those synthesized by man’s technologies. However, approaching the issue from an economic and urban perspective, we don’t get such a clear-cut answer as we face nuances such as usability and price of product. Needless to say, natural vitamins are much more expensive than synthetic ones, and it actually raises another question: are synthetic vitamins a reasonably-priced compromise for city living? So, I’d like to answer precisely this question. First of all, 99% of vitamins available on the global market are indeed synthetic. Visit any pharmacy or health food store and take a look at any assortment specializing in nutraceuticals, and you’ll see that they offer synthetic vitamins. And it begs the question: how do we deal with this fact of life? The effectiveness of both natural and synthetic ones, when it comes to the majority of vitamins, is roughly the same. If you take synthetic vitamins to prevent a particular deficiency (especially when it comes to such specific conditions when you’re pregnant or a senior), then you can be sure that your body will function properly. The real question resides elsewhere, in nuances well-educated people will notice. In fact, natural vitamins depend on a person’s competence and knowledge: what they know about nutrition and what that term encompasses for them, and what they expect to get from the foods or supplements meant to replace them. And this is all a matter of a person’s awareness of the science. Coming back to the comparison between supplements of natural and synthetic origin: most don’t have important distinctions, but there are some exceptions. For example, take natural versus synthetic beta-carotene. It’s been proven beyond a doubt that synthetic beta-carotene loses its antioxidant activity and frequently exhibits prooxidant activity, unlike natural carotene. This is because natural carotene consists of many parts, including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and other carotenoids. Synthetic beta-carotene is pure beta-carotene, and it behaves differently in the body. I suspect this is also true for other substances, only the difference is not so critical. Let’s examine vitamin C and compare it as a natural vs. synthetic substance. Functionally, they promote an identical effect, but naturally-occurring vitamin C never works alone – actually, it always teams up with flavonoids in the body. Take any food rich in vitamin C, it always contains a huge amount of flavonoids. Lemons, oranges, apples – any source of vitamin C is an even richer source of bioflavonoids (or, as they are also called, vitamin P), and these two always pair up in the human body. In most synthetic multivitamins, we’ll find a lonely vitamin C, lacking the company of vitamin P or other flavonoids. And this is a substantial difference. That means, if we evaluate the effect of vitamin C, comparing natural and synthetic, we won’t see much difference. But considering the whole range of effects it delivers by teaming up with flavonoids, as vitamin C is naturally not a “loner”, we see a huge difference between these two combinations. But again, this is a matter of a person’s awareness about the ins and outs of nutrition. We understand that introducing natural vitamins on the market, we mostly target those know their stuff. Not everyone is ready to buy natural vitamins at a rather steep price, but those who are will certainly appreciate this step. Our Company has been around for 23 years, and we have tried to introduce a natural vitamins line repeatedly. I remember how, in the 90s, we created Vitale; and then, in 2003, “Health Rhythms” – a bestseller, still highly in-demand. Why it wasn’t possible to offer all-natural vitamins before? We’ve previously mentioned that any innovative product from our product range has a vast history behind its development – each is a result of extensive expertise and long relationships with various suppliers. Looking back at the 90s (when we created the first Vitale complex, fortified with naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals), it’s important to bear in mind that there was always a demand for such products. We endeavored to offer something that would satisfy these needs, but back then, the available technologies couldn’t provide it. The product we created did contain natural vitamins and minerals, but in very low quantities. It couldn’t be considered a preventive agent, let alone a corrective one. So we later abandoned this product and tried to update our ideas in “Health Rhythms”, and that’s already more than 15 years old, too. It’s clear that due to the lack of adequate technology, we couldn’t use all vitamins in their natural form, which is why most of them were synthetic. But even at that time, having certain knowledge, we managed to include many naturally-occurring ingredients, such as lycopene, beta-carotene, natural selenium and many others – and these strengthened the vitamin effects to more closely resemble those of natural ones. So, “Health Rhythms” contains synthetic vitamin C, but it is enhanced by the properties of the very bioflavonoids that we’ve mentioned, and they are natural. In this case, we achieved certain compromise and balance, which is why “Health Rhythms” are so loved by our Clients. On the one hand, the doses of all substances and minerals are adequate; but then, some of it is synthetic, and some is natural, so it’s not ideal. It’s adjusted to have proximity to natural effect, so the product is still available in our assortment and it won’t be phased out. However, 20 years have passed, and, naturally, leading manufacturers and developers have been trying to answer the question ever since: how do we extract all-natural vitamins, and to what extent is it even possible? I must say that now we are finally getting very close to fully solving the problem of extracting natural vitamins in adequate dosages. So the question is not so much about how natural substances are obtained now, but their adjusted dosage. Now that this problem is roughly solved, we’re releasing this product. Let’s talk manufacturers and ingredients. What are the most noteworthy ingredients you’d like to highlight in Natural Vitamins? As I see it, each ingredient of this formula deserves attention – all of them are innovative and brand new for the market in the form of natural substances in optimal dosages. Consider vitamin D – everyone knows how important it is. Some time ago it was believed to only be beneficial for the skeletal system, but now everyone knows this is a very versatile vitamin. In fact, it’s not even a vitamin, but a hormone that affects a huge number of processes in our body. Researchers are still discovering more functions of vitamin D, prove its indispensable role in our well-being. In the 70s and 80s, there was only natural vitamin D – causing a paradox to arise. Children received vitamin D as part of fish oil capsules. But in the early 90s, it emerged that unrefined and non-concentrated fish oil contains considerable levels of heavy metals (primarily mercury pollution) because, unfortunately, our ocean is heavily polluted. Besides, it was found that pure fish oil can’t be stored, as it quickly oxidizes and turns from useful to extremely harmful. Following this discovery, the 90s had banned fish oil as a source of natural vitamin D. If we take concentrated fish oil, which is now widely used as a preventative measure to maintain a healthy lifestyle, we’ll see that it does contain vitamin D, but not in its natural form. But how did this happen? Once fish oil is extracted, it undergoes a powerful process where all its impurities (including natural vitamin A, natural vitamin D and so on) are removed. And only after that synthetic vitamin D is added to the concentrate. If we take the fish oil concentrates used by large manufacturers, we should keep in mind that it will only have synthetic vitamin D. So, it turns out that fish oil used to contain natural vitamin D, but after scientific findings deemed it unsafe, companies selling fish oil began to use synthetic instead. And that is how we lost access to the last natural vitamin. How do we solve this problem today? Well, it’s worthy of attention. All scientific discoveries, even the most remarkable ones, come from man observing nature: since all discoveries reside in nature, all it takes is to carefully observe it. This is how researchers found the natural substance ergosterol, which is formed upon fungi contaminating wheat grain. You would think, a scourge of agriculture. This substance is quite harmful to humans, and that’s why wheat infected with ergosterol is subject to disposal. But surprisingly, being exposed to ultraviolet rays, ergosterol begins to synthesize ergocalciferol, that is, vitamin D2 – a natural vitamin. Specialists of the Canadian company Lallemand have learned to control this process. They stimulate the ergosterol synthesis in isolated yeast cultures, then process it with ultraviolet, and so vitamin D2 is generated in response to completely natural processes. This vitamin can be further concentrated to obtain an effective dosage. I believe this to be a remarkable substance, and it is gaining popularity nowadays, being the only alternative to natural vitamin D. Another equally noteworthy and important nutrient is natural vitamin E. It’s widely used in modern vitamin-enriched foods. When it comes to the cosmeceutical industry, vitamin E is one of the most versatile and powerful antioxidants, generally used in its synthetic form – a well-known alpha-tocopherol. It’s known as an extremely strong antioxidant, and rightly so. If you take vitamin E supplements – you’re doing your health a favor. But again, upon comparing natural and synthetic vitamin E, we can observe a significant difference. Alpha-tocopherol is a pure substance consisting of a single molecule of the same name. In nature, vitamin E comes with a number of various modifications: tocopherols and tocotrienols. Tocopherols split at least four ways: alpha-, beta-, gamma-, delta-. And there are even more distinctions with tocotrienols. Its natural form is the sum of all these naturally distinctive components of vitamin E, each having its own “destination point” in the body. That’s why when comparing the effectiveness of synthetic and natural vitamin E, we clearly see a huge difference. As for their antioxidant property, they are approximately the same. In this case, it’s a compromise. If you just take synthetic vitamin E for its antioxidant effect, everything is fine: it’s roughly comparable to the antioxidant properties of natural vitamin E. But bearing in mind that natural vitamin E has a huge number of other functions, such as benefitting the reproductive system and helping cholesterol through the vascular system, it’s clear that it is way more versatile. Therefore, using natural vitamin E, you take advantage of a larger number of its natural functions. Natural Vitamins’ formula contains a concentrate of soybean phospholipids – a carrier of all components found in natural vitamin E – both tocopherols and tocotrienols. From my perspective, there’s one more a genuinely promising ingredient, developed by the Swiss company DSM Nutritional (a giant in the nutraceutical sphere): concentrated acerola extract, a source of vitamin C. These are the fruits of Barbados cherries, which are, in not cherries at all, but tropical berries. Their natural form is extremely rich in vitamin C – just like Siberian black currant. It’s much easier to extract concentrated vitamin C from acerola than from currant. This form of natural vitamin C not only contains pure substance of vitamin C, but also bioflavonoids – and as we’ve already mentioned, they cooperate with vitamin C. Plus, knowing that our complex contains the pure form of powerful bioflavonoids (for example, pure dihydroquercetin derived from Siberian larch), we can be sure that its effect is even more fortified. Let’s also discuss vitamin K: 50 years ago, it was deemed to be a minor vitamin, only involved in the process of blood coagulation. And really, not many people suffer from blood clotting problems. It had always been reviewed by the leftover principle; however, recently it was discovered that vitamin K has plenty of other properties – for instance, it affects the skeletal system. And with high likelihood, it’s just as important for bone health as vitamin D. It also participates in the cardiovascular system functioning properly, so now it’s gained a lot of attention. But synthetic vitamin K is but one component of vitamin K, which is actually known to have many naturally-occurring. And again, the synthetic form narrows the function and the effect. When it comes to a specific target, synthetic vitamin K does just fine but, considering all the properties of the complex vitamin K in nature, then, these two forms are quite incomparable. Our product contains vitamin K produced by an innovative Norwegian company, NattoPharma, through an unusual technology adopted from traditional Japanese cuisine where fermented beans are widely used. It appeared that with the participation of certain bacteria during bean fermentation, natural vitamin K is produced, retaining all the components available in nature. NattoPharma has learned to isolate its pure form – and it’s what we use in our product. In fact, each and every Natural Vitamins component has an amazing story behind its development. As a client, I’m proud that Siberian Wellness collects these pearls from all over the world, bringing them to Russia to produce the best products. For me, this is the best product of the series, it’s at the very edge of innovation right now. Say, Yury, who is the target audience for Natural Vitamins? Well, everyone takes vitamins, need I say more. It’s recommended to take them at least once or twice a year, depending on the season. Given that they’re taken by everyone, the audience is extremely diverse. Some take vitamins because that’s just common routine, while others come to it via a doctor’s prescription. Another demographic takes them for the sake of their pregnancy (all pregnant women take vitamins to eliminate the undesirable risk of vitamin deficiency). Since we face a diverse audience, it’s clear that all these people have different levels of knowledge, interests and expectations from vitamins they take. As such, hoping that everyone will easily switch to this specific product would be naive. We must keep in mind that this product is oriented for well-informed people, those who are passionate about nutrition and balance, trying to provide their body the right ratios of all essential nutrients. Besides, these people understand that concentrating all their efforts, time and money on the search for proper products is impossible when living in a city. Finding a product containing a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals in their natural form is practically unheard of. This is crucial to understand, as here we face several constraints simultaneously. I’m not even talking about financial or time limits. First and foremost, I mean calorie restrictions. To get all the essential vitamins and minerals from food, we would have to raise daily caloric intake up to 3 to 10 thousand calories. For our ancient ancestors, this wasn’t a big deal – they burned more than that. They were able to fully nourish their vitamins and mineral needs due to this huge amount of food. Due to the city pace of life, we were forced to reduce our calorie intake to 1600–1800 calories per day. Even consuming the lowest-calorie foods rich in vitamins and minerals, we still wouldn’t be hitting the recommended amounts. Our product is designed for people who stick to organic nutrition. And here, by the way, lies fertile ground for an excellent analogy. Today, there are a huge number of people around the world who strive to find certified organic food. Seemingly what difference can a greenhouse cucumber and an organic one have? For the regular person, the difference may seem minimal. But for someone who is aware of the cucumber’s biological make-up and its ripening processes, what pesticides or fertilizers may be used, and what impurities a final product may contain, the difference is tremendous. Same goes for nutrients. This is a product for people who can sense the difference. Those who are trying to fundamentally change their diet, lifestyle, and so forth. I’d say that it is designed with a very well-informed audience in mind. In fact, this niche has just begun to take shape. You’ve mentioned a good point: this is the first product formulated with natural vitamins and minerals available on the territory of the former Soviet Union and surrounding countries. It wasn’t that long ago that we got access to technologies able to isolate naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals in adequately high doses. This niche has begun to take shape and, indeed, the early adopters be those are prepared for it, those who have waited for this to become a reality. These people are well aware that vitamins must be taken regularly, as the body experiences change every second and every day. They know to provide their cells with building materials daily. Yes, everyone takes vitamin and mineral supplements, but when taking a closer look at this issue, it turns out that most people do it about once a year. This shows they aren’t ready to realize why nutrients are so important for the body. And if there’s no motivation to take mineral and vitamin supplements at all, the difference between natural and synthetic ones would certainly be lost. They’re not ready to take the leap. Thank you very much! As we can see, science marches on: a large number of innovative ingredients still bide their time, and they will certainly find their place in Siberian Wellness products. Until next time!