Posts Tagged ‘Dietary Supplement Quality Initiative’

What’s Healthier: Natural or Synthetic Vitamins?

Many of today’s vitamin and mineral supplements are made synthetically through chemical processes, rather than derived directly from plants or other materials.

Some manufacturers do make supplements directly from natural sources, and claim that these vitamins are superior in quality to their synthetic cousins.

Are natural vitamins better than synthetic ones?

The distinction between synthetic and natural vitamins can be confusing, according to the Dietary Supplement Quality Initiative (DSQI), which is designed to promote access to affordable, high-quality dietary supplements.

The question comes down to molecular structure.

This article on natural vs. synthetic vitamins states “when the synthetic molecule is identical to the form derived from natural sources, both forms will be indistinguishable from each other in all aspects — including their function and effects in the human body.

In addition, the same natural vitamin derived from different natural sources or raw materials will be the same (provided that no other substances unique to that particular source are included).”

For example, the vitamin C isolated from oranges for the synthetic form is identical to vitamin C derived from other plant sources.

However, vitamin E found in synthetic forms only delivers half the effective dose of naturally derived vitamin E.

The guest blog below is by Allison Dean, a writer dedicated to bringing out the truth behind synthetic vitamins.

Allison also writes about medical malpractice cases.

Read her argument carefully and make your own decision on which vitamins are best.

Which type of vitamin, natural or synthetic, would you now choose?

What’s in Your Vitamins?

Most of us take steps to ensure our health.

We try to eat the right foods and jump on that treadmill when we can; perhaps one of the easiest things many of us think we can do for our health is take multivitamins and other vitamins to supplement our diet.

However, we may not be doing ourselves a favor when we go to the grocery store and pick up our One-A-Day multivitamins.

Recently, people have begun to question whether we really benefit from the vitamins marketed and advertised to us; after all, the majority are synthetic.

It turns out that synthetic vitamins are not the answer to healthy living for two reason: First, your body cannot absorb them the same way as natural vitamins.

Second, studies have shown that synthetic vitamins may actually hurt you if consumed over long periods of time.

Your Body Doesn’t Fully Absorb Synthetic Vitamins

Synthetic vitamins are made in a laboratory from chemical materials.

Although created to supplement the natural vitamins we don’t get from our daily diets, they pale miserably in comparison to supplements born from plants or other natural materials.

As a matter of fact, our bodies can’t even absorb the full amount; synthetic supplements lack co-factors, which are non-protein chemical compounds derived from vitamins that aid your body in the absorption of vitamins.

Because synthetic vitamins lack necessary co-factors, very few vitamins are actually absorbed by the body when synthetic supplements are consumed; and the body simply disposes of the synthetic substances incapable of being absorbed.

According to Heidi Dulay, Ed.D., N.C., a professor at John F. Kennedy University, in “Are You Wasting Your Money on Synthetic Vitamins?”, only 10% of synthetic vitamins are actually absorbed by our bodies.

Synthetic Vitamins My Harm Your Body, Not Help It

In her article, Professor Dulay also restates data found in three synthetic vitamin studies:

#1. Study using synthetic beta carotene and Vitamin E halted.

Some 29,000 male smokers were given synthetic beta carotene and synthetic Vitamin E.

The study was stopped when rates of lung cancer, heart attacks and death increased.

– New England Journal of Medicine, 1994

#2. Birth defects increased for women on synthetic supplements.

Some 22,000 pregnant women were given synthetic Vitamin A.

The study was halted because birth defects increased 400%.

– New England Journal of Medicine, 1995

#3. Men get thickened arteries on synthetic supplements.

Men who took 500 mg of synthetic Vitamin C daily over 18 months showed signs of thickening of the arteries.

– Reuters Health, March, 2000”

So, what this means is that synthetic vitamins, instead of making you healthier, may make sick over time as you consume them.

How to Ensure Your Supplements Will Help You, Not Hurt You

These ingredients are ones you should avoid when deciding on supplements, according to Professor Dulay; if they contain them, then they are synthetic and you should not risk your health or waste your money:

• Artificial colors.

• Preservatives, such as:

o Polysorbate 80;

o Sodium benzoate;

o Sulphur dioxide;

o Sodium nitrite.

• Ingredients that bind or dissolve other ingredients, such as:

o Glucose;

o Sucrose;

o Starch; and/or

o Microcrystalline cellulose.

• Chemical ingredient names that don’t include their plant source.

In looking at the DSQI article again, it agrees that the list of ingredients and their amounts is the most important aspect of comparative analysis:

“If that list is approximately equivalent, then price should be your guide, unless you are given some clear and objective information about why the natural one is better.”