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Natural Supplements vs Synthetic

We get vitamins from our daily diet, the sun, or from store bought capsules or liquids.  Vitamins are vital to our health and to the proper functioning of our bodies.

Vitamin deficiencies lead to a range of problems from anorexia to obesity, organ malfunction, confusion, depression and fatigue.

Medicinal herbs can provide natural, safer remedies to dozens of common ailments.

But, do you know if your supplement is natural or synthetic?  Let me break it down for you……

Here’s the difference between natural and synthetic nutrients:

Natural nutrients: These are obtained from whole food sources in the diet.

Synthetic nutrients: Also referred to as isolated nutrients, these are usually made artificially, in an industrial process.

Synthetic nutrients do not include “whole food supplements,” which are made from concentrated, dehydrated whole foods.

The majority of supplements available on the market today are made artificially. These include vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and amino acids, among others.

They can be taken in pill, capsule, tablet, powder or liquid form, and are made to mimic the way natural nutrients act in our bodies.

To figure out if your supplement is synthetic or natural, check the label.  Natural supplements usually list food sources or are labeled as 100% plant or animal-based.

Supplements that list nutrients individually, such as vitamin C, or use chemical names like ascorbic acid, are almost certainly synthetic.

Bottom Line:  Synthetic nutrients are dietary supplements made artificially in a laboratory setting or industrial process. Natural nutrients are those found in whole foods.

Are There Differences Between Natural and Synthetic?

Synthetic nutrients are almost chemically identical to those found in food.

However, the production process of synthetic nutrients is very different to the way plants and animals create them. So,even though they have a similar structure, your body may react differently to synthetic nutrients.

Also, it’s unclear how well synthetic nutrients are absorbed and used in the body. Some may be more easily absorbed as opposed to others.

This is because when you eat real food, you’re not consuming single nutrients, but rather a whole range of vitamins, minerals, co-factors and enzymes that allow for optimal use by the body.

Without these additional compounds, synthetic nutrients are unlikely to be used by the body in the same way as their natural counterparts.

For example, studies show that natural vitamin E is absorbed twice as efficiently as synthetic vitamin E.

BOTTOM LINE: It is unclear how well synthetic nutrients are absorbed and used in the body. Your body will use nutrients best when taken in whole food form, with a wide variety of food compounds.