Are There GMOs in Your Supplements?
There’s no shortage of emphasis in healthy communities like Vancouver on eating local, organic and avoiding GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). But what’s all the hype about? Is the non-GMO craze simply another health trend that requires an entire pay check for expensive produce and speciality foods?
If you’re unsure as to whether or not you should be paying attention to the buzz around genetically modified organisms, you’re not alone. What Are GMO's? (And Why Is It Important to Know What They Are?) As previously stated, GMO stands for genetically modified organism and also goes by the names GE (genetically engineered) and GM (genetic modification). A GMO can be an animal, yeast, bacteria, virus or plant that has undergone gene manipulation to undertake changes in their genetic make up at the cellular level. When something is genetically modified, it means that its has been injected with the genes from another species. For example, the genes from an arctic fish may be injected into a tomato to survive extreme cold temperatures while being grown. As you can see, this scientific procedure is designed to alter an organism’s DNA at the cellular level, which serves to create an ideal outcome of a species that doesn’t exist naturally. While it sounds as though GMOs could indeed produce positive results (for example, being pest-resistant, withstanding extreme temperatures and even being fortified with additional vitamins and minerals), the research we have of the impact of GMOs on human health is limited.
Why Should You Avoid GMOs?
From a holistic or natural perspective, genetically modified organisms are viewed as a manipulation of nature. As human beings, we don’t fully understand how these organisms operate. It’s simply unrealistic to assume that we can comprehend all there is to know about the DNA of a tomato or a fish. Yet regardless of our lack of knowledge, we continue to alter various forms of DNA and go against the way nature intended life forms on earth to exist. Since the development of GMOs is a very new process (having surfaced in 1980), the safety of genetically modified organisms on human health is unknown. In fact, the FDA doesn’t even require testing of GMOs, claiming they contain the same substances “found in regular food". Based on the observations that have surfaced since the introduction of GMOs, we have a reason to be concerned. The insects and fish that have been exposed to GMOs are being born with birth defects, while cancer rates have coincidentally risen since GMOs were initially introduced to our food supply. Aside from birth defects and cancer, infertility has become another speculation of the harm GMOs can cause in the body. Furthermore, GMOs were introduced by Monsanto, the mega-corporation that owns an astounding percentage of brands that produce processed foods. Prior to entering the food industry, Monsanto was known for being the creator of Roundup Ready and Agent Orange, two deadly cancer-causing pesticides directly linked to birth defects.
Can GMOs Be Found in Your Supplements?
While GMOs are mostly present in our non-organic produce supply (at present time, organic crops are said to be non-GMO), you’re not exempt from ingesting GMO’s if you choose to only purchase organic food. Sadly, many supplements now contain genetically modified organisms, too. The most common GMO crops that we’re exposed to are those that are in high demand, such as rice, corn, and soy. Since many vitamins and minerals are extracted from food sources such as corn (for example, vitamin C), it’s nearly inevitable that you’ll end up ingesting a GMO when a vitamin in your supplement is derived from corn. Many supplements also contain binders and fillers derived from corn or yeast. Choosing a non-GMO supplement can become even trickier, despite knowing which ingredients to look out for. Any supplement ingredient that has been derived from a “food found in nature” (regardless of being GMO) still allows the formulation to be labelled as “natural”. To avoid ingesting GMOs, be sure to purchase organic produce wherever possible and use caution when choosing your supplements. It’s always a good idea to connect with the manufacturer and confirm your formulation is non-GMO before adding it to your diet.
At Vitasave, we only work with brands we trust who manufacture GMO-free supplements. Our favourite brands of non-GMO vitamins are:
- New Chapter manufactures vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements for men and women in all stages of life. Their most popular formulations include Wholemega Prenatal with healthy fats from wild Alaskan salmon, Prostate 5LX and Holy Basil Force to help reduce inflammation caused by stress.
- Megafood prides their supplements on being “fresh from farm to tablet™” and in the recent years, created their own TV series called “The Transparency Project”. The Transparency Project showcases all aspects of Megafood, including how they’ve kept their commitment to using quality ingredients from family owned non-GMO farms.
- Whole Earth Sea is a division of Natural Factors, a popular supplement known and trusted by holistic health practitioners and naturopathic doctors. Natural Factors only manufacturers supplements from food sources and plants on their own farms that have been certified non-GMO.