Also known as retinyl palmitate and retinol palmitate, vitamin A palmitate is one of the most commonly found of all the synthetic vitamin isolates. Virtually all the homogenized milk that children have drank for decades has been fortified with the additive vitamin A palmitate.
“The Environmental Working Group (EWG) and New York Senator Chuck Schumer have called attention to the fact that high doses of topical retinyl palmitate were shown to accelerate cancer in lab animals …” (Source: Wikipedia)
The first question anyone might ask is why is a synthetic vitamin isolate being put into so many food products, including milk, when it has been shown to accelerate cancer in animals undergoing laboratory tests?
The debate about vitamin A palmitate has been raging in research institutions and university laboratories since it was first synthesized. Because it has been used in advertising for so long as a food and body product enhancer, revealing its downside health risks and adverse side effects would expose many a company to serious legal action and subsequent financial liability.
“In virtually every study on vitamin A toxicity, it is isolated, synthetic supplements that are associated with adverse effects, not foods. Experimental animals and human subjects receive or are taking retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate, or a synthetic retinoic acid derivative. Even small amounts of synthetic forms of vitamin A may be toxic, the actual amount differing with individuals and factors such as liver health. It is the toxicity of synthetic forms of vitamin A that produce the publicity about alleged dangers of vitamin A. Natural food sources of vitamin A are well tolerated at even high doses.”
What are the adverse side effects from ingesting too much synthetic vitamin A?
The following excerpt well explains some of the more serious side effects which can occur from ingesting too much vitamin A palmitate.
“Vitamin A supplements in too-high doses have been linked to birth defects, including malformations of the eyes, lungs, skull, and heart. It is not recommended for pregnant women.
People with certain types of eye diseases should not take supplements containing vitamin A palpitate. These include:
- Stargardt disease (Stargardt macular dystrophy)
- Cone-rod dystrophy
- Best disease
- Retinal diseases caused by gene Abca4 mutations
Vitamin A palpitate supplements can also interfere with certain medications. Discuss its use with your doctor, or pharmacist if you’re currently taking prescription medications, such as those used for psoriasis, or any medication processed through the liver. Certain over-the-counter medications may also be contraindicated, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol).”
Another Example of Harmful Synthetics – Vitamin E
Another great example of where harmful synthetic vitamins are being used in place of wholefood options can be seen with vitamin E. On average, the synthetic source is far less desirable (and cheaper) than the organic (food based) source. If you’re taking the synthetic version of vitamin E, which is a petrochemically derived analogue of natural vitamin E, you could actually be disrupting your endocrine system and sending your body into a perilous state of health.
This is why you might see mainstream news sources such as CNN reporting that vitamin E causes cancer. This is, in fact, the synthetic form.
If you opt to take the natural form of vitamin E, however, you’re going to be reaping benefits ranging from anti-aging effects to combating oxidative stress. See the difference?
So the takeaway here is to recognize that there are synthetic vitamins and vitamins from wholefood sources. Do a little research into the supplement you’re buying and check to see which ones are being used.