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1. Are the products organic?
Are USANA products organic?
The vegetable seed oils used in OptOmega are cold-pressed and certified organic by
the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Our other nutritional products contain
ingredients that are extracted, isolated, purified and/or synthesized (meaning organic
certification is not applicable).
We are sometimes asked why more of USANA's raw ingredients aren't "certified"
organic. In our view, the primary benefit of using individual ingredients or raw materials
that are "certified" organic is a marketing one. Certified organic ingredients can be very
difficult to obtain (if available at all) and are typically much more expensive.
Also, just because an ingredient or raw material is certified organic does not guarantee
it is of high quality. In our experience, the consistency and quality of many organic
materials has been questionable and not up to our rigorous quality control standards.
Generally, though, the main reason for not using organic ingredients more in our
product line is that at present there is not often a clear advantage to the consumer.
Many people who use organically farmed products do so because they believe they are
either more safe or more nutritious, which may not be universally true for all organic
products and ingredients. Additionally, when it comes to nutritional supplements like
USANA's, "more nutritious" is not a relevant reason because each raw ingredient is
measured and standardized for content. (To use a hypothetical example, imagine that
an organically grown orange contains 85 mg of vitamin C, while a traditionally grown
one only has 50 mg. In a dietary supplement, 85 mg extracted from organic sources
provides no more vitamin C than 85 mg extracted from traditional sources - it is 85 mg
of vitamin C, regardless.)
Another issue some bring up is safety. Again, since the majority of dietary supplement
ingredients are extracted, processed, and purified, this is not a relevant issue for
USANA's nutritionals. Extracts and ingredients where there may be some legitimate
concern about contamination (fish oil, for example) are thoroughly tested in the same
way and to the same degree it would be necessary to test organic alternatives. USANA
conducts many tests (including HPLC, ICP, FTIR and GC) on both raw materials and
finished products to ensure purity and safety. Proper testing and screening procedures
are also followed to assure that raw materials are free of unintentional compounds
(including pesticides, heavy metals, organic contaminants, manufacturing contaminants,
and more).
There may be advantages to eating organic produce and food - especially if it results in
a higher intake of fruits and vegetables - but organically sourced ingredients are not
generally relevant for many of the products produced by USANA.
2. Are USANA products vegan?
Do USANA products contain animal by-products?
USANA makes every effort to avoid ingredients that contain animal by-products.
However, it has not been possible to entirely eliminate such ingredients from some of
the Nutritionals.
The gelatin used for the CoQuinone 30 BiOmega, and Palmetto Plus gelcaps is
derived from beef sources. Currently there is not a reasonable alternative to the gelatin
used in USANA's gelcap products. We are aware of companies using vegetablederived gelcaps, but this technology is not yet sufficient to maintain the standard of
quality and stability USANA requires. At present, the vegetable capsules we have
researched tend to be very brittle, crack easily, and have a poor shelf life. Current
vegetable capsules are also difficult to use in filling machines because of their fragility.
USANA scientists continually research ways to improve product formulation and
manufacturing. If, in the future, vegetable-based capsules achieve better results, we
may consider using them in the USANA product line.
Please note: the gelatin used in our products is certified to be from BSE-free (Bovine
Spongiform Encephalopathy) sources by the manufacturer.
For more detailed information, please refer to the lists below.
Mega Antioxidant: no animal by-products
Chelated Minerals (Multimineral): no animal by-products
Body Rox: no animal by-products
Usanimals: milk calcium
AO Booster: no animal by-products
Proflavanol C100 and Proflavanol C200: no animal by-products
CoQuinone 30 and CoQuinone 100: capsule (bovine only)
Hepasil DTX: no animal by-products
OptOmega: no animal by-products
BiOmega: fish oil, capsule (bovine only)
Active Calcium: no animal by-products
BodyRox Active Calcium Chewable: honey powder
Procosa: no animal by-products
PhytoEstrin: no animal by-products
Palmetto Plus: capsule (bovine)
Visionex and Visionex DS: no animal by-products
Ginkgo-PS: no animal by-products
Pure Rest: no animal by-products
USANA Probiotic: skimmed milk powder
Vitamin D: no animal by-products
Digestive Enzyme: no animal by-products
Diet and Energy
Rev3 and Rev3 Surge Pack: no animal by-products
Nutrimeal*: whey protein (Chocolate Whey, Dutch Chocolate, and Strawberry
Nutrimeals) and sodium caseinate, a milk derivative (all Nutrimeal products)
Fibergy Plus*: no animal by-products
SoyaMax*: no animal by-products
Nutrition Bars*: whey protein and nonfat milk powder (Peanut Butter Crunch
and Chocolate Fusion)
*Please note: While some USANA Foods do not contain dairy ingredients, they may
be processed on equipment that comes into contact with dairy ingredients or byproducts. Please refer to product labels or the official USANA Product Information
Booklet for additional information.
The only ingredients in the Sense products that would be considered animal byproducts are the beeswax in the Intensive Hand Therapy, and glucosamine HCl, which
is ultimately derived from chitin, a compound found in the shells of shellfish. It is highly
processed, however, and once it has been extracted and purified it does not contain
any residual animal ingredients or protein.
Glucosamine HCl is found in the Eye Nourisher, Perfecting Essence, Serum Intensive,
and Night Renewal products.
3. If I’m already eating a wholesome whole foods diet, why do I need
supplements? Can’t I get all my nutrition from my food?
Why do I need nutritional supplements?
For more than 50 years, the general public has been led to believe that RDA nutrient
levels are adequate...
...but adequate for what? Adequate to prevent clinically obvious nutritional deficiencies
like scurvy, beriberi, rickets, and pellagra?
According to the Food and Nutrition Board (under the umbrella of the National Institutes
of Health):
"The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is the average daily dietary intake level
that is sufficient to meet the requirement of nearly all apparently healthy individuals in a
particular life stage and gender group."
The Food and Nutrition Board further defines "requirement" as:
"...the lowest continuing intake level of a nutrient that, for a specified indicator of
adequacy, will maintain a defined level of nutriture in an individual."
Basically, the RDA is - by definition - the lowest level of nutrient intake necessary to
prevent deficiencies. This is clearly important for helping individuals avoid acute
deficiency diseases, but it fails to address the issue of optimal nutrition.
It is wonderful that the RDAs have been so successful in reducing blatant deficient
diseases (including scurvy, pellagra, rickets and beriberi) to their lowest levels in
recorded history. It is also good that products based on RDA amounts help combat
deficiency diseases by providing minimal amounts of important vitamins and minerals.
However, as more and more of the general population is able to meet minimal nutrient
requirements, new questions arise. For example, are RDA levels of vitamins and
minerals enough to help prevent other degenerative diseases? What about providing
protection from oxidative damage?
At USANA, we believe there are more benefits to nutritional supplementation than
merely preventing increasingly rare deficiency diseases.
USANA's products are formulated with the most up-to-date nutritional research in mind,
which may or may not have relevance to the RDAs. Rather than just looking to prevent
total vitamin deficiencies, we are concerned with the vast majority of people who are
"apparently" healthy. Many degenerative diseases and chronic illnesses develop over a
lifetime, striking otherwise healthy individuals when they least expect it. For the millions
of "apparently" healthy individuals in the world, minimal nutrient intakes may not be
adequate to address modern health challenges.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), much of the illness, disability, and
death associated with chronic disease is avoidable through known prevention
measures. Furthermore, recent studies examining the potential economic benefits of
vitamin supplementation have concluded that substantial cost reductions can be
associated with the use of vitamin supplements, based on principles of preventative
One question that commonly arises is, "if I eat a healthy diet, do I still need to take
supplements?" Let it be clearly stated that a healthy diet is a necessary foundation for
any program of optimal nutrition, and there is no substitute for eating well. In this
context, USANA's nutritional supplements are designed to complement a healthy diet,
not replace it. USANA supplements are designed to provide advanced levels of
vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are difficult to obtain from diet alone - levels
that individuals can use every day to promote a lifetime of good health.
USANA researchers are certainly not the only group convinced of the health benefits of
nutritional supplements. In June 2002, the Journal of the American Medical Association
published two articles by health researchers at Harvard University. The articles were
entitled "Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention in Adults". Through their research,
these independent researchers concluded:
"...suboptimal intake of some vitamins, above levels causing classic vitamin deficiency,
is a risk factor for chronic diseases and common in the general population, especially
the elderly. Suboptimal folic acid levels, along with suboptimal levels of vitamins B6 and
B12, are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, neural tube defects, and colon and
breast cancer; low levels of vitamin D contribute to osteopenia and fractures; and low
levels of the antioxidant vitamins (vitamins A, E and C) may increase risk for several
chronic diseases."
The scientific evidence supporting health benefits of nutritional supplements is solid and
growing daily, and more health care professionals than ever before are now siding with
these conclusions.
At USANA, we believe there has never been a better time to put the science of nutrition
to work in promoting your health. Here is another page that discusses the Health
Benefits of Nutritional Supplements, and provides a large list of references ro literature
on the subject.
Bendich A, Mallick R, Leader S. Potential health economic benefits of vitamin
supplementation. West J Med 1997 May; 166(5):306-12. This study used published
relative risk estimates for birth defects, premature birth, and coronary heart disease
associated with vitamin intake to project potential annual cost reductions in U.S.
hospitalization charges. Epidemiological and intervention studies with relative risk
estimates were identified via MEDLINE. Preventable fraction estimates were derived
from data on the percentage of at-risk Americans with daily vitamin intake levels lower
than those associated with disease risk reduction. Hospitalization rates were obtained
from the 1992 National Hospital Discharge Survey. Charge data from the 1993
California Hospital Discharge Survey were adjusted to 1995 national charges using the
medical component of the Consumer Price Index. Based on published risk reductions,
annual hospital charges for birth defects, low-birth-weight premature births, and
coronary heart disease could be reduced by about 40, 60, and 38%, respectively. For
the conditions studied, nearly $20 billion in hospital charges were potentially avoidable
with daily use of folic acid and zinc-containing multivitamins by all women of
childbearing age and daily vitamin E supplementation by those over 50.
Fairfield KM, Fletcher RH. Vitamins for chronic disease prevention in adults: scientific
review. JAMA 2002; 287:3116-3126. CONTEXT: Although vitamin deficiency is
encountered infrequently in developed countries, inadequate intake of several vitamins
is associated with chronic disease. OBJECTIVE: To review the clinically important
vitamins with regard to their biological effects, food sources, deficiency syndromes,
potential for toxicity, and relationship to chronic disease. DATA SOURCES AND
STUDY SELECTION: We searched MEDLINE for English-language articles about
vitamins in relation to chronic diseases and their references published from 1966
through January 11, 2002. DATA EXTRACTION: We reviewed articles jointly for the
most clinically important information, emphasizing randomized trials where available.
DATA SYNTHESIS: Our review of 9 vitamins showed that elderly people, vegans,
alcohol-dependent individuals, and patients with malabsorption are at higher risk of
inadequate intake or absorption of several vitamins. Excessive doses of vitamin A
during early pregnancy and fat-soluble vitamins taken anytime may result in adverse
outcomes. Inadequate folate status is associated with neural tube defect and some
cancers. Folate and vitamins B(6) and B(12) are required for homocysteine metabolism
and are associated with coronary heart disease risk. Vitamin E and lycopene may
decrease the risk of prostate cancer. Vitamin D is associated with decreased
occurrence of fractures when taken with calcium. CONCLUSIONS: Some groups of
patients are at higher risk for vitamin deficiency and suboptimal vitamin status. Many
physicians may be unaware of common food sources of vitamins or unsure which
vitamins they should recommend for their patients. Vitamin excess is possible with
supplementation, particularly for fat-soluble vitamins. Inadequate intake of several
vitamins has been linked to chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, cancer,
and osteoporosis.
Fletcher RH, Fairfield KM. Vitamins for chronic disease prevention in adults: clinical
applications. JAMA 2002; 287:3127-3129. Vitamin deficiency syndromes such as scurvy
and beriberi are uncommon in Western societies. However, suboptimal intake of some
vitamins, above levels causing classic vitamin deficiency, is a risk factor for chronic
diseases and common in the general population, especially the elderly. Suboptimal folic
acid levels, along with suboptimal levels of vitamins B(6) and B(12), are a risk factor for
cardiovascular disease, neural tube defects, and colon and breast cancer; low levels of
vitamin D contribute to osteopenia and fractures; and low levels of the antioxidant
vitamins (vitamins A, E, and C) may increase risk for several chronic diseases. Most
people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins by diet alone. Pending strong
evidence of effectiveness from randomized trials, it appears prudent for all adults to take
vitamin supplements. The evidence base for tailoring the contents of multivitamins to
specific characteristics of patients such as age, sex, and physical activity and for testing
vitamin levels to guide specific supplementation practices is limited. Physicians should
make specific efforts to learn about their patients' use of vitamins to ensure that they are
taking vitamins they should, such as folate supplementation for women in the
childbearing years, and avoiding dangerous practices such as high doses of vitamin A
during pregnancy or massive doses of fat-soluble vitamins at any age.
Kant AK. Consumption of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods by adult Americans:
nutritional and health implications. The third National Health and Nutrition Examination
Survey, 1988-1994. Am J Clin Nutr 2000 Oct; 72(4):929-36. BACKGROUND: Current
dietary guidance recommends limiting the intake of energy-dense, nutrient-poor (EDNP)
foods, but little is known about recent consumption patterns of these foods.
OBJECTIVE: The contribution of EDNP foods to the American diet and the associated
nutritional and health implications were examined. DESIGN: Data from the third
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (n = 15611; age >/=20 y) were used.
EDNP categories included visible fats, nutritive sweeteners and sweetened beverages,
desserts, and snacks. The potential independent associations of EDNP food intake with
intakes of energy, macronutrients, micronutrients, and serum vitamin, lipid, and
carotenoid profiles were examined with linear and logistic regression procedures.
RESULTS: EDNP foods supplied approximately 27% of energy intake; alcohol provided
an additional 4%. The relative odds of consuming foods from all 5 food groups and of
meeting the recommended dietary allowance or daily reference intake for protein and
several micronutrients decreased with increasing EDNP food intake (P: < 0.0001).
Energy intake and percentage of energy from fat were positively related to EDNP
intake. Serum concentrations of vitamins A, E, C, and B-12; folate; several carotenoids;
and HDL cholesterol were inversely related (P: </= 0. 0005) whereas serum
homocysteine concentration was positively related (P: = 0.02) to EDNP food intake.
CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that EDNP foods were consumed at the expense
of nutrient-dense foods, resulting in 1) increased risk of high energy intake, 2) marginal
micronutrient intake, 3) poor compliance with nutrient- and food group-related dietary
guidance, and 4) low serum concentrations of vitamins and carotenoids.
Patterson BH, Harlan LC, Block G, Kahle L. Food choices of whites, blacks, and
Hispanics: data from the 1987 National Health Interview Survey. Nutr Cancer
1995;23(2):105-19. Dietary guidelines posit an association between diet and cancer.
Different cancer mortality rates among whites, blacks, and Hispanics may be related to
differences in diet. Food frequency data from the 1987 National Health Interview Survey
on 20,143 adults were used to estimate the percentage of adults, by gender and
race/ethnicity, who consume some 59 foods six or more times per year, median number
of servings for consumers, and frequency of consumption of skin on poultry and fat on
red meat. On the basis of percent consumption of these foods, women appear to have a
more diverse diet than men. Women eat more fruits and vegetables, less meat, and
fewer high-fat foods and drink fewer alcoholic beverages. Whites eat a more varied diet
than blacks and Hispanics; blacks eat more fried and high-fat food; consumption of
high-fat foods is lowest among Hispanics. Public health messages, especially those
aimed at cancer prevention, should be targeted at increasing the overall consumption of
fruits and vegetables, decreasing consumption of high-fat foods, especially among white
and black men, and increasing consumption of those healthful foods already consumed
by particular race/ethnicity groups.
Starkey LJ, Johnson-Down L, Gray-Donald K. Food habits of Canadians: comparison of
intakes in adults and adolescents to Canada's food guide to healthy eating. Can J Diet
Pract Res 2001 Summer;62(2):61-9. Over 25 years have elapsed since national food
and nutrient intake data became available in Canada. Our goal was to describe present
dietary intakes based on sociodemographic and 24-hour recall dietary interviews with
adults and adolescents from households across the country. Within a multistage,
stratified random sample of 80 enumeration areas, 1,543 randomly selected adults
(aged 18-65) were enrolled in the study; 178 adolescents within the sampled
households also participated. A comparison of food intake with Canada's Food Guide to
Healthy Eating indicated that only males aged 13-34 met the minimum recommended
intake levels for all four food groups. Mean milk products intake was below the minimum
recommended level for all age groups of females and for men aged 35-65 years.
Adolescent girls had low intakes of meat and alternatives. Daily grain product intakes
were below five servings for women aged 50-65, as were vegetable and fruit intakes for
women aged 18-40. Food choices from the "other foods" group contributed over 25% of
energy and fat intake for all age and gender groups. These up-to-date data will be
useful to dietitians, nutrition researchers, industry, and government in their efforts to
promote Canadians' continued progress toward meeting food intake recommendations.
Nicklas TA, Baranowski T, Baranowski JC, Cullen K, Rittenberry L, Olvera N. Family
and child-care provider influences on preschool children's fruit, juice, and vegetable
consumption. Nutr Rev 2001 Jul;59(7):224-35. Children's intakes of fruit, juice, and
vegetables (FJV) do not meet the recommended minimum of five daily servings, placing
them at increased risk for development of cancer and other diseases. Because
children's food preferences and practices are initiated early in life (e.g., 2-5 years of
age), early dietary intervention programs may have immediate nutritional benefit, as well
as reduce chronic disease risk when learned healthful habits and preferences are
carried into adulthood. Families and child-care settings are important social
environments within which food-related behaviors among young children are developed.
FJV preferences, the primary predictor of FJV consumption in children, are influenced
by availability, variety, and repeated exposure. Caregivers (parents and child-care
providers) can influence children's eating practices by controlling availability and
accessibility of foods, meal structure, food modeling, food socialization practices, and
food-related parenting style. Much remains to be learned about how these influences
and practices affect the development of FJV preferences and consumption early in life.
Magarey A, Daniels LA, Smith A. Fruit and vegetable intakes of Australians aged 2-18
years: an evaluation of the 1995 National Nutrition Survey data. Aust NZ J Public Health
2001 Apr;25(2): 155-61. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the fruit and vegetable intakes of 2 to
18-year-old Australians. METHODS: Intake data were collected as part of the National
Nutrition Survey 1995 representing all Australian States and Territories, urban, rural and
remote areas. Dietary intake of 3,007, two to 18-year-olds was assessed using a 24-
hour structured diet recall method. Intake frequency was assessed as the percentage of
participants consuming fruit and vegetables on the surveyed day, and variety was
assessed as the number of sub-groups of fruit and vegetables eaten. Intake levels were
compared with the recommendations of the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, the
1993 Goals and Targets for Australia's Health in 2000 and beyond, and intakes of the
1985 National Dietary Survey. RESULTS: One-quarter of children and adolescents did
not eat fruit on the day of survey and one fifth did not eat vegetables. Adolescents were
less likely to include fruit (65%) than young children (80%) but slightly more adolescents
(85%) included vegetables than young children (77%). Less than 50% of all participants
(<25% of adolescents) had an adequate fruit intake, and only one-third of children and
adolescents met the vegetable intake recommendations. CONCLUSIONS: Fruit and
vegetable intakes of Australian children and adolescents fall well below
recommendations and appear to have declined in the past 10 years. IMPLICATIONS:
Strategic approaches involving a broad range of sectors are urgently needed to create a
supportive environment for consuming recommended levels of a wide variety of fruit and
Kantor LS, Variyam JN, Allshouse JE, Putnam JJ, Lin BH.Choose a variety of grains
daily, especially whole grains: a challenge for consumers. J Nutr 2001 Feb; 131(2S1):473S-86S. The 2000 edition of Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for
Americans is the first to include a specific guideline for grain foods, separate from fruits
and vegetables, and recognize the unique health benefits of whole grains. This paper
describes and evaluates major tools for assessing intakes of total grains and whole
grains, reviews current data on who consumes grain foods and where, and describes
individual- and market-level factors that may influence grain consumption. Aggregate
food supply data show that U.S. consumers have increased their intake of grain foods
from record low levels in the 1970s, but consumption of whole-grain foods remains low.
Data on individual intakes show that consumption of total grains was above the
recommended 6 serving minimum in 1994-1996, but consumption of whole grains was
only one third of the 3 daily servings many nutritionists recommend. Increased intake of
whole-grain foods may be limited by a lack of consumer awareness of the health
benefits of whole grains, difficulty in identifying whole-grain foods in the marketplace,
higher prices for some whole-grain foods, consumer perceptions of inferior taste and
palatability, and lack of familiarity with preparation methods. In July 1999, the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration authorized a health claim that should both make it easier for
consumers to identify and select whole-grain foods and have a positive effect on the
availability of these foods in the marketplace.
Cavadini C, Siega-Riz AM, Popkin BM. US adolescent food intake trends from 1965 to
1996. West J Med 2000 Dec; 173(6):378-83. OBJECTIVE: To examine adolescent food
consumption trends in the United States with important chronic disease implications.
METHODS: Analysis of dietary intake data from 4 nationally representative US
Department of Agriculture surveys of persons aged 11 to 18 years (n = 12,498).
RESULTS: From 1965 to 1996, a considerable shift occurred in the adolescent diet.
Total energy intake decreased, as did the proportion of energy from total fat (39%-32%)
and saturated fat (15%-12%). Concurrent increases occurred in the consumption of
higher-fat potatoes and mixed dishes (pizza and macaroni and cheese). Lower-fat milks
replaced higher-fat milks, but total milk consumption decreased by 36%. This decrease
was accompanied by an increase in the consumption of soft drinks and noncitrus juices.
An increase in high-fat potato consumption led to an increase in vegetable intake, but
the number of servings for fruits and vegetables is still lower than the recommended 5
per day. Iron, folic acid, and calcium intakes continue to be below those recommended
for girls. CONCLUSIONS: These trends, far greater than for US adults, may
compromise the health of the future US population.
Johnson RK. Changing eating and physical activity patterns of US children. Proc Nutr
Soc 2000 May:59(2):295-301. The number of US children who are overweight has more
than doubled over the last decade. This change has broadened the focus of dietary
guidance for children to address nutrient overconsumption and physical activity
patterns. Total fat consumption expressed as a percentage of energy intake has
decreased among US children. However, this decrease is largely the result of increased
total energy intake in the form of carbohydrates and not necessarily due to decreased
fat consumption. The majority of children aged 5-17 years are not meeting
recommendations for Ca intakes. Much of this deficit is attributed to changing beverage
consumption patterns, characterized by declining milk intakes and substantial increases
in soft-drink consumption. On average, US children are not eating the recommended
amounts of fruits and vegetables. US adolescents become less active as they get older,
and one-quarter of all US children watch > or = 4 h television each day, which is
positively associated with increased BMI and skinfold thickness. There is an urgent
need in the USA for effective prevention strategies aimed at helping children grow up
with healthful eating and physical activity habits to achieve optimal health
4. Are USANA products gluten free?
Do USANA products contain gluten?
USANA tablets and capsules do not contain wheat, oats, rye, barley, or gluten.
OptOmega and USANA Probiotic are also formulated without gluten.
The Chocolate Fusion and the Peanut Butter Crunch Nutrition Bars are formulated
without gluten. Fibergy Plus, SoyaMax, and the Chocolate Whey and Vanilla Nutrimeals
are formulated without gluten.
The Dutch Chocolate Nutrimeal Drinks, Strawberry Nutrimeal Drinks, and Oatmeal
Raisin Nutrition Bars do contain gluten.
The Sense products are gluten-free except for the following:
As stated on their labels, both the Revitalizing Shampoo and Nourishing
Conditioner contain wheat proteins, which means these products also contain
The Rice Bran Polisher contains some oat ingredients. While oats do not
inherently contain gluten, they may have been processed on equipment that also
processes wheat, barley, and rye, meaning that a small amount of gluten may be
present in the product.
Natural Whitening Toothpaste
USANA's Natural Whitening Toothpaste does not contain gluten.
5. Are the USANA products natural or synthetic?
Are USANA products natural or synthetic?
The raw ingredients that go into USANA products come from a variety of sources. Some
are derived from plants (our vitamin E, for example, is derived from soy) while others
are produced synthetically. Some are derived from natural sources but have been
further modified by synthetic steps. Others are derived from fermentation processes.
Natural versus synthetic is just one of the criteria that USANA uses to select the raw
ingredients that go into its products. Other factors taken into account are potency,
purity, safety, stability, and reliability of supply. All factors being equal, we will select
naturally derived materials over synthetically derived ones. But often times, all factors
are not equal. We use vitamin and mineral compounds in the chemical form - be it
"natural" or "synthetic" - proven to be effectively absorbed and utilized by the body, and
that are pure and free of any contaminants and are safe.
There is a common misconception that "natural" vitamins and minerals are extracted
from plants in their pure form, making them superior to "synthetic" vitamins and minerals
which are made in a laboratory. This is often a misleading distinction.
First, it is not possible to extract pure vitamins from plants without considerable and
significant processing that may include harsh chemical extraction solvents.
Next, the biological activity of a compound has nothing to do with its source and is more
determined by its chemical structure. In other words, it typically makes little difference
whether the chemical originates from a leafy plant or is synthesized - it is the same
compound, regardless. Some vitamin and antioxidant compounds can be efficiently
synthesized in laboratories to produce products that are identical in chemical form to
those found in nature, and that are extremely pure and equally safe (and often much
less expensive than their "natural" counterparts).
In addition, some synthetic vitamins are preferentially absorbed over compounds
provided by food sources. One good example is folic acid, which is preferentially
absorbed and utilized over natural food folates that must go through several conversion
processes to be utilized as folic acid.