Dr. Stephen Kimberley
Greetings, Q Folks! I really enjoyed seeing so many of you at the Salt Palace in January. We have an amazing company with amazing people, of which you are one! A wise lady there pleaded with me to write more columns and I take her admonitions to heart.
Now, we all know that in the era of social media, the world of information has exploded — and not always in a good way. Unfortunately, rampant misinformation often leads to undue anxiety and fear in those who have not critically looked at the information in proper perspective. One major source of disinformation are companies whose marketing departments key in on a pseudo-scientific "fact" and present it as real information.
Recently a large restaurant chain started a marketing campaign based on supposed evidence that their food is more "natural and wholesome" than the other guys. They spoke about the use of sodium benzoate, a common, naturally occurring chemical that has been used to preserve foods and supplements for well over 70 years, with no reports of toxicity or other issues.
Sodium benzoate is used in tiny, microgram amounts in hemp oil to prevent bacterial contamination and rancidity, which would counteract the many benefits of the cannabinoids it contains. We also use a tiny amount of citric acid (NOT ascorbic acid), to help with preserving. Citric acid is a very common fruit acid present in all citrus fruits, and this also has been used for many, many years with good effect. In fact, such fruit acids have many benefits to the body, helping remove wastes and adjusting the acid-base balance in the body.
The fear apparently is based on the fact that in the body sodium benzoate partially metabolizes to benzoic acid, and the next thought is that it increases benzene levels, which it does not, certainly not at tiny dosages. It has been studied with doses over 1000 times that present in a bottle of hemp oil and found to be non-toxic.
In my experience, fear is more toxic than most chemicals. In our industrial society and natural world, we are exposed to a wide variety of chemicals, natural and synthetic, on a daily basis that are fortunately usually present in small amounts and are eliminated or normally metabolized by the body. To limit the use of a great product on the basis of this fear, as explained above, would be a shame. Bear in mind that each of us has taken in sodium benzoate or benzoic acid on a daily basis pretty much since birth. In fact, the highest levels of benzene were found in carrot juice prepared for infants. This is most likely due to the fact that that outer layer of the carrot is somewhat toxic if juiced in large amounts and should be removed prior to use by simple peeling. Anyway, that gives you some healthy perspective on the issue.
At Q Sciences we are dedicated to your health and well-being. We are always seeking ways to improve and enhance our offerings, and if a more "natural" substance proves as effective as sodium benzoate in preventing oil degradation and contamination, we will jump on it. In the meantime, please be reassured by my assessment and do not fall prey to marketing misinformation that might keep you from taking in the things that make your life better!