Do you know what’s in the vitamins you’re buying from the store?
When was the last time you really looked at your vitamin label?
You may find it shocking that many of the vitamins you’re buying, even if they claim to be natural, are at least partially synthetically made.
What Are Synthetic Vitamins?
Synthetic vitamins are essentially vitamins that were made in a lab. They resemble the natural compounds of the vitamins they’re imitating, but they aren’t natural.
While not natural, that doesn’t mean they flat out don’t work.
There are benefits to synthetic vitamins – for one thing, they can often be more cost-effective.
They also work in a pinch when a vitamin isn’t easy to come across naturally. Sometimes there is a shortage of supply in a certain vitamin or nutrient.
The Difference Between Synthetic and Natural Vitamins
In the battle of synthetic vitamins vs. natural vitamins, you’d think that natural would win.
However, it’s common knowledge in the world of vitamins and supplements that even those with “natural” on the label only have to be derived from 10-percent natural ingredients – leaving the other 90-percent to be synthetically produced.
Synthetic vitamins are made pretty much the same way synthetic drugs are made. Testing is done, different compound mixtures are tried, and when something seems to closely match what the pill needs to do, it’s ready. They can sometimes use actual aspects of the vitamin or nutrients – kind of like cloning it.
Natural vitamins are made from natural ingredients, though unless it specifies that it’s 100-perfect natural, it will also combine some of those synthetic ingredients. Natural means it comes from nature – so the natural ingredients would come from plants, minerals, and animals.
The main difference between synthetic and natural vitamins is how they are made. Many synthetic vitamins and supplements work just as well as their natural counterparts (but not necessarily all of them). The thing with synthetic drugs is that you might not know how they’ll affect you in the long run (just like with new prescription medications when they come onto the market).
You also need to compare the synthetic vitamins with themselves – some are created to be identical to natural ingredients, while others are not. Nature-identical synthetic vitamins do the same thing as the actual vitamin – or so studies have shown. One common example of this process is the use of ascorbic acid as vitamin C.
Take a look at the vitamins in your cupboard – it’s likely most of that contain at least some synthetic ingredients. Of course, it may be difficult to figure out which of those ingredients are real and which aren’t (look them up online).
Are They Safe?
Are synthetic vitamins bad for you? The answer you find to this question greatly depends on who you ask.
Your doctor and the USDA may say they’re perfectly fine, which someone working in the organics industry or in health & wellness careers may say they are bad for you.
Who should you believe?
It’s hard to know what is good for you and what is bad for you, which is why it’s wise to do everything in moderation. This is especially important since one of the biggest issues with synthetic vitamins is that they could be causing you to get more vitamins than you need.
There is such a thing as overdosing on vitamins. It may not have the potential to put you in a coma, but it can have adverse side effects on your body (the least of which being diarrhea or some other discomfort).
For this reason, it’s important to avoid overloading on any vitamins (even vitamin C during cold and flu season) and to avoid increased potency vitamins, unless recommended by the doctor.
You get the majority of the vitamins and minerals through normal diet unless you have a limited diet. It’s important to make sure you talk to your doctor about taking vitamins and keep them informed on what you’re taking in case of possible interactions with prescription medications.
Should You Take Synthetic Vitamins?
When it comes to making a choice in how you get your vitamins, the best choice is always to get them right from the source. Eat an orange to get vitamin C. Have some kale in order to get a bunch of vitamins and nutrients.
However, when synthetic is the only option, or cheapest one, don’t be afraid to give it a try for yourself.
If you’re low on iron, calcium, vitamin C, or any other vitamin or mineral, you can take synthetic vitamins, but you’ll get more out of natural vitamins that are 100-percent created from natural ingredients. They offer you more benefits.
However, no supplements and vitamin pills offer as much natural wellness as getting vitamins and minerals directly from the source by eating a healthy and well-rounded diet. Fruits and vegetables are always the best options for vitamins and minerals, but you can get them from fish and other healthy sources (whole grains and beans are great for protein and more).
How to Know If It’s Synthetic
If you want to pay attention to what you’re taking into your body, make sure you’re always reading the labels on your vitamins (and all the packages of the things you plan to put in your body).
Being aware of what you’re putting into your body is the only way to know what you’re actually putting into your body.