versus synthetic vitamins
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.
natural vitamins better than synthetic ones?
distinction between "synthetic" and "natural" vitamins can be
confusing. A better question is whether the resulting molecular
structure is the same as the corresponding structure found in
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
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).
example, vitamin C found and isolated from oranges is identical
to vitamin C derived from other plant sources, largely because
plants containing vitamin C biosynthesize the substance in the
the other hand, the d- form of vitamin E derived from vegetable
oils and other natural sources is different from the dl- form
(which is often called the synthetic form). The dl- tocopherols
are actually a mixture: the d-form and the l-form (usually a 1:1
mixture). The human body uses only the d- form. The l- form, when
present, does not confer any known health benefit and is normally
excreted by the body. So, in essence, when consuming the dl- form
of vitamin E, you obtain an effective dose of about half
the vitamin E dosage reported on the label.
from this precaution, most synthetically made vitamins and
many other nutrients are either identical to their "wild-type"
counterparts (extracted from natural sources), or easily convert
to the wild-type in the human body. Also, most synthetic vitamins
and nutrients are both cheaper and purer, with less potential
in vitamins and nutrients is extremely hard to quantify. One should
not rely on claims of "better quality" unless some definition
of that term is given, together with some measurement data.
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.
& Paul Wakfer (was Tom Matthews)