Natural vs Synthetic Vitamins

Almost all of the vitamins and supplements sold today are synthetic versions of isolated components of the whole vitamin complex. For example, most products labeled as Vitamin C contain only the synthetically produced ascorbic acid, or other synthetic versions such as calcium ascorbate, magnesium ascorbate or potassium ascorbate. Why is that?

To obtain the extracts from plants or foods needed to produce the whole vitamin C complex is very expensive. But producing the chemically isolated synthetic version is very cheap. Sales of synthetic vitamins can have a profit of up to 3,500% but vitamins that are 100% natural are typically marked up about 35%. That’s a 100-fold difference in profit for the manufacturer! Is it any wonder that almost all of the vitamins and supplements sold today are synthetic?

Be aware that many products labeled “natural” or have the word “Natural” in their name are misleading because they may only contain a small amount of natural ingredients (the majority being synthetic) and they can still label their products as “natural”. Synthetic vitamins (such as synthetic ascorbic acid that is incorrectly labeled and sold as Vitamin C) are not recognized by the body as vitamins because they are not the “whole vitamin complex”.

Almost all vitamin C sold today identifies synthetic ascorbic acid (or other synthetic ascorbates) as the vitamin C ingredient. However, truly natural vitamin C is a complex molecule that contains bioflavonoids and other co-factors that help to absorb the ascorbic acid contained within the molecule.  The whole vitamin C complex contains many components, including rutin, bioflavonoids, Factors K, J & P, tyrosinase, ascorbinogen and ascorbic acid. Isolating only ascorbic acid is like providing only the peel of an orange, but not including the nutrients within the orange.

Due to the composition of our diets, which include many processed foods that have very little nutritional value, we need natural supplements to provide adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals for proper health. However, taking synthetic supplements can be harmful over time, so you should take only 100% natural plant-based or food-based dietary supplements.