Thursday, September 14, 2017

Why I don't buy Standard Process and why you should avoid them, too

Standard Process vitamins have been around forever. They reach back far enough to coast through several natural cultures, even old-school hippies. The brand retains a level of authority and a look of quality due to their high cost and due to being primarily available only through the official channels of chiropractor offices and Applied Kinesiology clinics.

Although I'm familiar with the brand name and look, and had a slight impression of them being reputable and expensive, I've never dealt with them directly and subsequently I had no opinion on them.

So imagine my surprise when a friend mentioned their products to me in regards to pregnancy and I went to google to research them. Right away, I caught several red flags, such as the "whole foods" buzzword, a focus on animal glandulars from unpastured and non-organic sources, and soy and glutamic acid in their products.

But, I came to a complete halt when I scrolled past one of their products and noticed a terrible phrase.

"Folic acid."

Surprised, I literally spoke aloud to an empty room, "What?"

Now, I know if you're reading my blog that you know why folic acid is dangerous. It's associated with an increased risk of cancer, particularly colon cancer. And most recently, lung cancer. It's also associated with an increase in death from all causes in studies. Unmethylated (bio unavailable) vitamins are hard for the body to absorb properly, convert properly, and use properly. In some cases, they are bound with harmful materials, too, such as the case with unmethylated B12, called cyanocobalamin. It's b12 bound to a cyanide molecule. Companies like this because this makes it a cheap, easy, stable substance.

(Edited to add a short collection of studies and websites related to the dangers of folic acid and unmethylated vitamins in general.)

We suggest that high folic acid consumption reduces MTHFR protein and activity levels, creating a pseudo-MTHFR deficiency. This deficiency results in hepatocyte degeneration, suggesting a 2-hit mechanism whereby mutant hepatocytes cannot accommodate the lipid disturbances and altered membrane integrity arising from changes in phospholipid/lipid metabolism. These preliminary findings may have clinical implications for individuals consuming high-dose folic acid supplements, particularly those who are MTHFR deficient." (

Dr. Young-In Kim, a physician and researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital, said his lab has shown for the first time that folic acid supplements in doses 2.5 to five times the daily requirement “significantly promotes” the growth of existing pre-cancerous or cancerous cells in the mammary glands of rats.
His research was published today in the online journal PLOS One.
“This is a critically important issue because breast cancer patients and survivors in North America are exposed to high levels of folic acid through folic acid fortification in food and widespread use of vitamin supplements after a cancer diagnosis,” Dr. Kim said. “Cancer patients and survivors in North America have a high prevalence of multivitamin and supplement use, with breast cancer patients and survivors having the highest prevalence.”" (

"Conclusions: FA-supplement use was associated with modestly higher breast-milk total folate. Detectable breast-milk UMFA was nearly ubiquitous, including in women who did not consume an FA supplement. Breast-milk UMFA was proportionally higher than 5-methyl-THF in women who consumed >400 μg FA/d, thereby suggesting that higher doses exceed the physiologic capacity to metabolize FA and result in the preferential uptake of FA in breast milk. Therefore, FA-supplement doses >400 μg may not be warranted, especially in populations for whom FA fortification is mandatory." (

"Men who took high doses of vitamin B6 and B12 supplements had a higher risk of lung cancer, and the association was highest among current smokers, according to a study published Tuesday." (

"A large majority of the mothers in the study reported having taken multivitamins—which would include folic acid and vitamin B12—throughout pregnancy. But the researchers say they don't know exactly why some of the women had such high levels in their blood. It could be that they consumed too many folic acid-fortified foods or took too many supplements. Or, they say, it could be that some women are genetically predisposed to absorbing greater quantities of folate or metabolizing it slower, leading to the excess. Or it could be a combination of the two." (

I know sometimes, extremely rarely, companies have mixed up chemical names for products. Sometimes, they even do this because they have a poor opinion of the scientific literacy of their consumers, so they think they have to use folic acid to entice pregnant women to buy their products. I've seen that two times in my entire decade of activism.

For the most part, companies that use high quality mineral forms such as zinc orotate, or high quality, methylated vitamins such as adenosylb12 will always, always loudly disclose this to their consumers because they know they have a superior product and can market it that way to gain consumer attention.

With a growing awareness of a tough situation as my other friends chimed in about their love for Standard Process, I realized I had to research fully and reserve judgment despite what I already knew from investigating vitamins for years now.

I went to the Standard Process website. They had nothing, so far as I could see, that explained or expanded on their vitamin forms. This was another sure sign that the company was not selling quality product. They also used the term chelated for minerals pretty freely but I did not see mineral forms explained. At this point, my heart was sinking because I absolutely know what that means for a vitamin company and I was going to have to be the unpopular mom with my friends again.

Still not giving up hope, I went to the Standard Process Facebook page. I posted publicly as a visitor on their wall, neutrally asking for the data sheet that explains the vitamins and minerals they use in their product. I copied the post and sent the same question to them as a private message, too.

The next morning, I got on to see that they deleted the public visitor post. I then received a series of messages sending me in circles and finally telling me to talk to my health care professional. The representative for Standard Process refused to discuss in any way the vitamin forms or vitamin names, which is a common response from companies when I request the information because they know their product is inferior and do not want to confirm that in written word that can be shared online. (I've been through this many times, most recently with Garden of Life.)

So, I just wanted to make this blog post right away as an official confirmation that I am not associated with Standard Process. I have never been associated with them in the past. And I most certainly have never recommended them to my family, friends, clients, and general audience. 

Based on the classic techniques of obscuring clear consumer information on their ingredient labels and website, along with the way the representative replied to me, I would never use their products. BUT! That doesn't even matter, because their products contain unmethylated B vitamins and unknown forms of minerals. So no one should be using their products anyways, regardless of epigenetic polymorphisms.

Because remember! Unmethylated B vitamins increase the risk of cancer for ALL populations. People with MTHFR or other methylation issues are not the only ones who need to avoid these cheap, burdensome vitamins.

Please, take your hard earned money and spend it on a company that discloses their ingredients freely and that has entered 2017 with higher quality vitamins and minerals. If you are unsure about what a company uses in their products, ask them. If they can't tell you, return their products for a full refund and stay away from them.

Be a savvy consumer. Pay attention to the way companies obscure lower quality vitamins and to the way they distract you with unregulated buzzwords such as, "Whole Foods Based." It might feel daunting, but I firmly believe that all women can become literate in science and can tear apart an ingredient label to defend their health and the health of their babies. Look twice, google thrice, and stay well.

(The representative read my message, but declined additional response.)