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Differences between Synthetic and whole Vitamins

There are two schools of thought concerning vitamins in synthetic or natural form. Most people would not know the difference between a “real” vitamin and its imitation cousin, the synthetic. The natural-way people argue that vitamins should be taken in their original state and from food sources. Pharmaceuticals counter by saying synthetic vitamins are manufactured, therefore identical to the real thing and is just as effective as its natural form.

Research studies have been done with animals eating the same diet, with one group taking a synthetic vitamins and the other, natural. The group taking natural vitamins resulted in good health, beautiful coat of fur, had more vitality, etc. Conclusion? Draw your own.

Naturalists argue that vitamins from food sources come with a much more complex set of factors, some which may still not be know to the layman or even the experts. Manufactured vitamins are isolated and do no contain this complex foundation. This is the case as researchers continue exploring the therapeutic effects of trace minerals like zinc, copper, molybdenum, and selenium in larger doses. Previously, information has been forthcoming on the top five B vitamins. Now, much attention is focused on the lesser B vitamins, B12 and folic acid for treating severe cases of anemia and lethargy, whereas before, iron deficiency was the usual suspect.

It doesn’t make sense that natural Vitamin C comes in a complex of 24 factors, and a person would only take the synthetic form which contains only ascorbic acid. On the other hand, the family of B vitamins contain 24 factors, including vitamin B2, 3 ,6, Niacin, B12 and folic acid. Where are the other 18 components of the B Vitamin family when presented in synthetic form?

Vitamin E is made of 9 natural tocopherals. Usually people purchase a synthetic form which contains d alpha tocopheral, and maybe beta and gamma. What happened to the other 6 components of Vitamin E? Pharmaceuticals argue that since the only active part of Vitamin E complex is the alpha tocopheral, and the most effective part, why fool around with the other eight? You decide.

Holistic practitioners do admit that synthetic vitamins in very large doses have usage in treating severe and acute conditions where supplementation is needed quickly to work itself into the body. In this case, it would seem synthetic vitamins are more effective. It is difficult to pump a patient full of rose hip Vitamin C and expect it to take effect instantly. So ascorbic acid is used to treat acute poisoning or infection, and this form of Vitamin C acts as a fast-acting drug.

How do people tell the real from the synthetic? As in many food labels, chances are, if it doesn’t sound like a food, and you can’t read or pronounce the word, it’s synthetic. If the label says natural or from natural sources, it should be the real thing. However, beware of some disreputable manufacturers who will label with “natural or organic” where terminology is being used very loosely. Sometimes Vitamin C with Rose hip means 90% Vitamin C and 10% concentrated rose hip. So buyer beware.

Natural Vitamins:

Vitamin A – fish oils, lemon grass
Vitamin Bs – brewers yeast, yeast, rice bran
Vitamin C – rosehips, acerola (cherry), citrus fruits, green pepper
Vitamin D – fish oils, or from the sun
Vitamin E – vegetable oils, wheat germ, d-alpha tocopheral, tocopheryl acetate
Vitamin K – alfalfa
Vitamin P or Bioflavonoids – citrus, rutin, hesperidin, citrin

Synthetic Vitamins:

Vitamin A -acetate or palmitate
Vitamin Bs- any word ending with ” ide, trate, amin”
Vitamin C- ascorbic acid
Vitamin D – calciferol or ergosterol
Vitamin E – alpha tocopheral acetate, dl-alpha tocopheral, tocopheryl acetate