Vitamins and Supplements – Read Your Labels

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“I’ve been treating eating disorders (ED’s) and obesity for nearly 25 years and have always had good outcomes. My rate of success improved dramatically, however, when I discovered the critical role that processed food plays in causing as well as in preventing recovery from Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, (a combination of the two) Binge Eating Disorder (BED,) Emotional Eating and Obesity. To this end, I find it of great importance to provide both my patients and readers with relevant nutrition information to aid in their recovery. You can view all my Nutrition, Fitness, and Health articles here.

I recently listened to a podcast that was discussing the drawbacks of prescription-strength vitamins, specifically prenatal vitamins. My first reaction was, this can’t be right. Prenatal vitamins? The vitamins needed at the most critical time for the health of the mother, to say nothing of the health of the unborn child? I never cease to be amazed at what, we as Americans will swallow assuming it to be safe. The claims made by the podcast turned out to be true. I’ve done my own research; this is what I found for one of the more popular prenatal vitamins:

Soy lecithin – According to Dr. Kaayla Daniels, author of “The Whole Soy Story”, ingesting soy can lead to:

  • Digestive distress
  • Malnutrition
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Cognitive decline
  • Reproductive disorders
  • Infertility
  • Birth defects
  • Immune system breakdown
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer

Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil or “trans fats” have been proven to lead to colon cancer, depression, endometriosis, heart disease and infertility.

Gelatin (and soy lecithin) – Both are sources of monosodium glutamate (MSG). MSG is known to cause:

  • Brain damage
  • Endocrine disorders (obesity and reproductive disorders)
  • Behavior disorders
  • Adverse reactions
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Obesity
  • Retinal degeneration
  • Migraine
  • Seizures
  • Cancer
  • Heart irregularities
  • Asthma

Sorbitol – An artificial sweetener that can cause:

  • severe bowel problems
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • weight loss,
  • an increase or decrease in urination
  • vomiting, and seizures (in severe cases)

Glycerin – A petroleum product. Petroleum products are obesogens and affect the endocrine system. Studies show obesogens cause stunted growth in children.

Propylene Glycol – A chemical which is also found in anti-freeze. It is suspected to cause:

  • liver damage
  • kidney damage
  • contact dermatitis
  • inhibited skin cell growth
  • nausea, vomiting
  • depression

FD&C blue No.1 – An artificial color, synthesized from petroleum (kind of like ingesting blue crude oil, yum). Studies show this dye can trigger:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Asthma attacks
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Nervousness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Cancer

Titanium Dioxide – Tiny pieces of titanium, a chemical that has never been tested for safety for human ingestion. Titanium Dioxide has been linked to:

  • Cancer
  • Allergies and immunotoxicity
  • Organ system toxicity

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2011, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible.

Please credit ‘© 2011, Dr J Renae Norton. //’

The Real Essentials – Is Your Shampoo, Toothpaste, and Soap Destroying Your Health? – //
Down with Basics – The 5 Hidden Dangers in Toothpaste – //
EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database – //
Michaels, J. (2011, November 11). Supplements, Target Areas & Libidos. The Jillian Michaels Show Podcast. Podcast retrieved from

2 thoughts on “Vitamins and Supplements – Read Your Labels

  1. Johan Bolhuis, M.D.

    There is more wrong with this supplement. They don’t mention wich sort of magnesium, e.g. Is it magnesiumoxide than it is a laxative. Is it calciumcarbonite you will absorb less, etc. There are also a lot of good things about soy, it is a very good angiogenisis inhibiter. But in pregnancy you don’t want angiogenesis inhibition. The sorbitol will not be much in a tablet and will not be a problem, glycerin can also be made from plants, and gelatin in a tablet will not be much, just binding the stuff. Don’t think that will be a relevant source of MSG. Better ask a naturopathic doctor before you start swallowing supplements. And the best thing to do is start before you will be pregnant, see preconceptional care, in the U.K. There was a beautiful study about preconceptional care done by a group called Foresight.

    1. Dr. J Renae Norton Post author

      Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog!

      That is a really good point about the magnesium. Thanks for mentioning that!

      The average American consumes 1.92 lbs of MSG a year (300 million pounds as a country), much of this comes from trace amounts of MSG. I, personally, try to avoid even “trace” amounts of MSG.

      There are a lot of known issues regarding the consumption of processed, unfermented soy:

      Dr Kaayla Daniel has a great book called The Whole Soy Story. She reports that hundreds of epidemiological, clinical and laboratory studies link soy to:
      Digestive distress
      Thyroid dysfunction
      Cognitive decline
      Reproductive disorders
      Birth defects
      Immune system breakdown
      Heart disease

      There are also many myths about soy The Weston A Price Foundation has a few excellent articles about the dangers of soy:


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