Why nutrient-rich, whole-food complexes are important
At MegaFood, we create our vitamins and supplements using real food—500,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetable every year, to be exact! But it’s a lot more complicated than just grinding food up and pressing powder into a tablet. We blend these real foods into what we call “FoodState Nutrients” (you may recognize that term from our bottles’ supplement facts label). These proprietary nutrients are designed to combine food components that work synergistically in the body, just like real food. Got all that?
To clarify the importance of these nutrients, we have to go back a bit…. Buckle up here for a second while we get a little science and history-heavy on you:
The history of FoodState Nutrients can be traced back about 80 years, when Nobel Prize winner Albert Szent-Gyorgi won the prize for Medicine for his discoveries “in the connection with the biological combustion process with special reference to vitamin C and the catalysis of fumaric acid.”1 In other words, he realized that pure vitamin C alone may not be as efficacious without other synergistic compounds in food.
Fast-forward to 2006, when a thought-provoking study explored why intake of vitamin C-rich food increased the immune defense of an organism.* In the study, blood orange juice was compared to a drink containing an identical amount of vitamin C alone and a drink containing sugar. Participants each received all three drinks on separate occasions. After blood samples were collected and exposed to hydrogen peroxide, scientists looked at damage to the DNA of mononuclear blood cells (these cells are thought to be important in immune response). The study found that intake of a single portion of blood orange juice protects the cell’s DNA from oxidative damage, indicating that other phytonutrients beyond vitamin C alone were involved in the protective effect.2 In other words, the power was in the combo.
At MegaFood, we believe that vitamins without their corresponding food components ignore the unique phytonutrient synergy found only in whole food forms. FoodState Nutrients are our one-of-a kind solution to address this problem.
Nutrients are all unique, so they do not have the same properties. That is why we use three main processes to produce our nutrients. Each starts with fresh, whole foods, which are cold milled to “open up” the cells. This process was developed at the University of New Hampshire and results in one of three endpoints:
The WholeStateTM nutrient process is the simplest of all the methods and produces our whole food blends. After the whole food is cold milled, the mixture is added to a tank, finely cut to increase the surface area and solubility of the milled food, which is then concentrated. It is then dried using our very cool refractance window drying technologyTM, which carefully dries the concentrated fruits and vegetable pulp to the exact point of dehydration (no more, no less), while also preserving the nutrients, colors and aromas of the fresh produce.
To incorporate vitamins to our whole food supplements, we use the NutriStateTM vitamin method, which takes the process a step further. After the milling procedure, vitamins and enzymes are added to the whole food mix where the enzymes chop it up. Next, it is fed to the shear pump, which breaks the milled food down to a microscopic level, increases its surface area and solubility, and integrates the mixture. The resulting blend, which is now enriched with vitamins, is slowly dried on the refractance window dryer. Take vitamin C, for example. We take whole oranges (peels and all), cold mill them in our comitrol machine. The milled food, which resembles Italian ice, is added to deoxygenated water and an enzyme. The mixture is then sheared to fully integrate the vitamin C with the orange. The enrichment process takes about two hours and then the vitamin mixture is dried.
Producing mineral supplements involves the most complicated of the three processes—the NutriStateTM mineral method. Unlike vitamins, minerals are inorganic compounds. Essentially, they are building blocks that hold us up structurally, but can be toxic in high amounts.
To create minerals that will be recognized and absorbed by the body, we take live budding yeast and feed it to organic brown rice and a selected mineral in our bioreactor. Minerals can also be toxic to the yeast, so we pay particular attention to integrating them properly. The yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, consumes the rice and the added mineral. Oxygen is supplied causing the organisms to reproduce. We maximize the capacity of the yeast to carry the mineral and end the growing process by increasing the temperature. The yeast is now enriched with a specific mineral and then sheared and dried to perfection by the refractance window dryer.
That’s a lot to digest. Here’s an animated version of the process, great for you visual learners!
In keeping with Szent-Gyorgi’s vision of phytonutrients working synergistically to restore balance and health in the body, FoodState Nutrients deliver concentrated whole food and whole food enriched with vitamins and minerals. And when it comes to supplements, that’s as real as it gets!
- Albert Szent-Gyorgi, Oxidation, energy transfer and vitamins. Nobel Lection, December 11, 1937, 448.
- Serena Guarnieri, et al. orange juice versus vitamin C: effect on hydrogen peroxide-induced DNA damage in mononuclear blood cells. British Journal of Nutrition (2007), 97;639-643.