Friday, July 31, 2009

Anti-Oxidants Infiltrated By Cheap Chinese Ingredients

For many many years, I've been taking L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) as a dietary supplement. Before moving to AZ getting fresh, delicious citrus was somewhat hard to do, and since moving here, I've just been in the habit. Most all living things need Vitamin C (in the current carbon based life form paradigm we have), and yes, taking lots (greater than 500mg/day) of Vitamin C laughably produces acidic & relatively expensive urine, but I have this theory that it also helps to dissolve the calcites that drive painful kidney stones, boosts the immune system, and is not really "bad for you" in any way that I can figure out - if anyone has some factual evidence of why taking large doses of Vitamin C is bad for you, please let me know.

So I ran out of my fat-soluble "Ester-C" this week, and thought about my earlier blog posting (Nov2008) of how China dominates raw material chemical production for industrial food stuffs. I called the toll free number (1-866-417-0739) on the bottle and got a very helpful operator, who was not at all offended by my inquiry about Chinese component ingredients in their product. Given the product number (next to the bar code), the Ester-C operator was able to quickly indexed her database - set up proactively, in case of re-calls, with recent food safety concerns globally, the operator stated. She admitted that the bottle I had just finished, did indeed contain some Chinese sourced ingredients. She re-assured me, that Ester-C does extensive quality testing to standards that are higher than industry and government requirements of all their ingredients, suppliers, and processes. She also stated, that not all of Ester-C's products contain Chinese ingredients, but she would need to have the product number to assure me if another bottle did, or did not.

That comforted me a lil bit, but my stomach is still turning - yeah, and I suck at Poker too, not very good at subduing autonomic & endocrine reactions to inputs that my logical brain knows are only infinitesimally harmful at best. So, in a larger perspective... if a name brand, "premium" supplier of vitamin supplements uses the cheapest of Chinese ingredients, then the generic, store brand products are certainly rife with them as well.

When I find a replacement bottle at a store (Costco had none 2 weeks ago), I will call the toll free number and inquire before buying it. Maybe I'll get lucky. My past trips to China have instilled a firm belief that having a kidney stone would be better than dieing of pancreatic cancer or some other trace contamination induced malady. Until then, it is fresh citrus, as often as possible, organic and local hopefully.


  1. Why bother with the fat-soluble stuff? Just take the normal water-soluble stuff (although with other bio-flavinoids, supposedly they help absorption and use, which I believe). Take a couple grams a day, any extra, as you point out, will be efficiently evacuated. There is zero downside afaik.

  2. Damn, 1000 mg tablets are also Chinese sourced ingredients, just like the 500 mg were! Urgh! The Ester-C customer service lady was patient and helpful with me.

    Why do I care so much? Well, I've been to China, and blown my nose after inhaling the city air (in more than a dozen cities, in every month of the year) and seen the nasty black soot that my nasal mucus membranes were trying desperately to not ingest. Even if the quality certificate says "0.0001" micrograms of lead/gram (as an example) I still know what the environment was like that the stuff was packaged, stored & shipped in before it reached the cleaner US factory where it was manufactured.

    Name brand (with a reputation to lose) will have a higher standard than generics - Dr Desert Flower worked temporarily at a generic pharmaceutical mfg in SC for several months in the quality lab, and yep, their standards were slightly lower.

    Many grams of goodness, will hopefully wash away / compensate / reduce/un-oxidize any trace Sino-contaminants... or so I keep telling myself. Operor haud vulnero - I guess.


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