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Ask The Nutritionist


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Do vitamins & health foods that are all "natural" need kosher supervision?
   
The answer is a definite yes.

Most "natural" health foods and vitamin supplements are NOT kosher. The phrases "Made or "Formulated for" indicate that the item is "a private label" & not manufactured by that Company. Usually the private labeler has very limited knowledge in the manufacturing process or the ingredients being used & therefore his information is not to be relied upon.

In vitamins we must be concerned with the raw ingredients, fillers, binders, lubricants, coating agents, flavors and the manufacturing process. Questionable ingredients include stearates (animal origin), lactose (dairy), fish oils, clams, eggs, gelatin (animal/fish derived) etc. There are also starches, alcohol & gluten etc. which are concerns for Passover use. Some may have a dairy & meat derived product in the same item, which is another concern; meat & milk together.

Some Natural sources for vitamins are:
Vitamin A- butter, milk, liver, fish oil, green & yellow fruits & vegetables.
Vitamin B1- Liver, kidney, eggs, pork, brewers yeast, nuts & cereal grain.
Vitamin B2- Organ meats, cheese, milk, eggs, fish & wheat germ.
Vitamin B3- Organ meats, royal jelly, nuts, eggs, milk, grains & kidneys.
Vitamin B6- Meat, fish, nuts, grain products etc.
Vitamin B12- Beef, clams, eggs, fish, milk etc.
Vitamin B15- Rice, beef liver, brewers yeast etc.
Vitamin C- Fruits and vegetables & corn.
Vitamin D- Fish oils (cod liver oil), eggs & milk products.
Vitamin E- Wheat germ, Green vegetables, Vegetable oils, milk products, eggs, liver & meat by products. The carrier or base may have non-kosher ingredients.
Folic Acid- Wheat germ, liver and green vegetables.
Vitamin H- Liver, eggs, vegetables & beans etc.
Vitamin K- Liver, leafy vegetables & green vegetables.

Liquids may contain glycerin, often derived from an animal source, which is non-kosher. Capsules & coated pills may contain gelatin, usually derived from non-kosher animal sources. Acidophilus may have a dairy base & be listed wrongfully as PARVE. Flavors & all inactive ingredients may have questionable ingredients and /or the carrier may have alcohol from non-kosher wine.

Many of the minerals and nutritional supplements may inherently be kosher but the process or equipment may not be kosher. It is very common to use a spray dryer to make the product into a powder form. The spray drier must be kosher sterilized. It is very common to use many non-kosher animal parts such as Taurine (an extract of ox-bile or shark blood) used in all baby formulas. A large Kosher certifier wrongfully lists "TAURINE" as a group 1=not requiring kosher certification. Other animal parts commonly used are the glandular parts, thyroid, pancreas, cartilage & shellfish etc.

In order to properly kosher certify health foods, vitamins, health supplements and especially natural products one must be very astute & knowledgeable in food chemistry. There are some certifiers that do not realize the complexity involved in certifying these types of products. One should be very cautious about the qualifications and standards of the kosher certifier.
 


The following books are some excellent references for questions and idea.


   
   
   
   




 
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