Toxic Chemicals In Foods, Vitamins, and Supplements – What To Watch Out For…

Health and Natural Healing Tips / Herbal Safety Tips  / Toxic Chemicals In Foods, Vitamins, and Supplements – What To Watch Out For…

Toxic Chemicals In Foods, Vitamins, and Supplements – What To Watch Out For…

You eat healthy foods, take your vitamins, and supplements. And those of us who do are lured into thinking we’re doing what’s best for our bodies. Or, at least we’re trying to. Little do we know what’s lurks within those “healthy” products. But before we talk about what’s in them, there are the nasty materials used for packaging. Because chemicals in food packaging may be more widespread than environmental toxins.

Those bottles, boxes, cans, and plastic packaging materials could contribute as much as  100 times the amount of toxins you’d get from pesticides or other environmental chemicals, according to a 2006 European study published in the journal Food Science and Nutrition. Just about all items commercially produced contain potentially harmful chemicals (and chemicals already outlawed in some countries)! Here are some of the top polluting contenders (but not all of them) that could be hiding in your meals, vitamins and supplements. Don’t be put off by their names which are nearly impossible to pronounce, no less understand. I guess that’s why when you’re reading labels, it seems as if it’s in another language. A very opaque one.


Consuming acrylamides increases kidney cancer risk by 59%. This chemical is formed during cooking and processing of carbohydrates. So avoid all fried, roasted, or grilled snacks such as chips. You won’t find acrylamide in the ingredients list, because it’s not an actual ingredient. It’s formed during processing, so manufacturers do not have to put it on any label. Note: even organic chips contain these acrylamides.

Artificial Colors

These colors are added to food and supplements to make them more appealing. Many of the synthetic coloring are derived from coal tar which is used in paints and roofing. Artificial food colorings have been linked to many severe health issues such as autism, ADHD, birth defects, and cancer.


A bleaching agent used in packaged, processed foods like frozen dinners, pasta and flour mixes used for baked goods, this chemical has been linked to cancer risk and asthma.

Benzoate Preservatives, aka “BHT, BHA, TBHQ.”

These chemicals are used to help keep fats in foods from going rancid. They’ve been linked with serious concerns like increasing cancer risk, disrupting estrogen balance, asthma and hyperactivity. It can also be found hiding in cereal, nut mixes, gum, butter, meat, and dehydrated potatoes.

Bisphenol A (BPA)

Used to harden plastics for water bottles, baby bottles, the lining of canned goods and many other products, BPA is the poster child for food-packaging scares. It leaches into water and food, and is detectable in the urine of 93% of U.S. adults, according to Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) estimates. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) are funding $30 million in new research on its health effects.

Boric Acid

Boric acid is added to many supplements on the market. It can cause headaches, depression, inflammation, DNA damage, and birth defects.

Bromated Vegetable Oil (BVO)

This chemical enhances the bright colors in many bottled beverages like soda, sports drinks, and citrus-flavored drinks. BVO has been linked to increasing cholesterol levels and can cause damage to vital organs including the liver and kidneys.


The Cornucopia Institute, a highly effective food activism group, recently published a warning about carrageenan in foods. Cornucopia says carrageenan is linked to gastrointestinal inflammation, including higher rates of colon cancer, in laboratory animals. Cornucopia urges anyone suffering from irritable bowel syndrome/IBS, spastic colon, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic diarrhea, etc. to consider completely eliminating carrageenan from their diet to determine if carrageenan is a contributing factor.

Fluoride in Green Tea

If you didn’t know it (I didn’t), green tea is famous for being contaminated with high levels of fluoride. A real catch-22, since green tea is phenomenally good for your health. The tea plant that produces green tea just happens to uptake a huge amount of fluoride from the soils. So when there’s fluoride present in those soils, the green tea will have a surprisingly high concentration.

Heavy Metals

Many protein shakes, detox products, supplements, cosmetics and processed foods contain heavy metals such as lead, arsenic fluoride and aluminum. Be extra careful if you’re buying herbs imported from China. They’re known to be contaminated with high levels of these heavy metals. Hexane – Extracted Soy and Rice Proteins Nearly all natural rice and soy proteins are extracted with a chemical called hexane which originates in China. It’s super polluting the environment and a highly explosive chemical.

Hidden MSG / Yeast Extract

Hidden MSG is a huge issue across the natural products industry. Pick up almost any veggie burger, and you’ll find it’s made with yeast extract, a hidden form of MSG (monosodium glutamate).

Hydrogenated Oils

Hydrogenated oils are packed with trans fats and unstable. They increase the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and nerve damage. They’re often used as a filler in many mineral and vitamin supplements or added to health foods.

Inorganic Minerals

Most cheap vitamins on the market are loaded with iron, lead, and barium. So better get your essential organic minerals from plants instead of inorganic minerals made from rocks and seashells.

Invisible GMO Ingredients

Many ingredients found in supplements and food contain traces of GMO. So if you pick up a natural products or supplements, make sure to read the labels and scan for following ingredients: amino acids, aspartame, vitamin C, citric acid, maltodextrin, lactic acid, molasses, monosodium glutamate (MSG), high fructose corn syrup, yeast products, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, sucrose, flavorings, sodium ascorbate, ascorbic acid, and molasses.

Magnesium Stearate and Stearic Acid

Both are used as a lubricant in supplements to avoid the capsules from sticking together. These chemicals have also been linked to many health issues and also lower your immune system.

Sodium Benzoate and BHT

Sodium benzoate is often added to processed foods, soft drinks, and supplements as a preservative. It can damage the structure of DNA and is classified as a carcinogenic.

Stearic Acid and Magnesium Stearate

Both are used as a lubricant in supplements to avoid the capsules from sticking together. These chemicals have also been linked to lower your immune system and many health issues. It’s not too appetizing and actually, pretty disappointing. (At least to one who swears by her nutrients and supplements.) Those in the know say always go for the “organic certified” instead of “natural” products. Because manufacturers and producers can use toxins, chemicals, and other harmful elements however they wish, without any regulation. So the term “natural” means nothing. Things are seldom what they seem. To subscribe to and get the latest articles, simply go to the bottom box of the right column, enter your email address and click on “Follow.”

About the author

Phylis Feiner Johnson

Phylis Feiner Johnson

I’ve been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I’ve also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness, and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion, and sharing.


Herbal Guide Staff

The Complete Guide to Natural Healing believes that food, vitamins, supplements, and alternative medicine can be your best medicine. Our staff will show you the truth about health and wellness, so you can help your family and closest friends get even healthier. You’ll learn exactly what you should do and how to eat to get healthy, exercise to get your leanest, healthiest body and how to take control of your family’s health, using natural remedies as medicine.



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