Natural Vs. Synthetic Vitamins
How They Are Different and How to Tell Them Apart
Did you know...
- that the vitamins you are now using are very likely synthetic?
- that synthetic vitamins have only one component out of a whole family of micro-nutrients that accompany them in their natural state?
- that only 50% of a synthetic vitamin can be utilized somewhat efficiently?
- that some sensitive people may actually have an adverse reaction to the synthetic vitamins?
- that scientists can chemically reproduce sea water but when you put fish in this synthetic sea water they die?
Is the World Flat? - At one time many respectable people were mislead to believe that the world was flat. This view was based on what were believed to be very good reasons(for example, the oceans never over-fill, the water must be running off the edge...). Today many respectable people insist that synthetic and natural vitamins have identical molecular and chemical structure. Thus, they insist that synthetic vitamins are just as effective as natural vitamins. Is this reason sufficient basis to form a pro-synthetic judgement?
In the laboratory, chemists can duplicate sea water that is chemically identical to natural sea water, but if you put fish in this synthetic water they will die. Obviously, there is a life-supporting difference between natural and synthetic.
Natural or Whole Food Supplements vs. Isolated Chemical Compounds - When we say natural or whole food supplements, we're speaking of products that contain the total complex family of micro-nutrients (known and unknown) just as they are found in nature. These micro-nutrients are indispensable for proper vitamin absorption and maximum utilization. That's the only way you can have optimum nutrition. Synthetic vitamins lack this wonderfully marvelous supporting family.
For example, chromium is a mineral that is not prevalent in the American diet because it is missing from the soil in this country. In it's natural state, chromium is a glucose tolerance factor or GTF and it helps protect us against diabetes. But GTF is not really just one factor. It's a whole family of factors.
Almost all chromium products on the market are from chromium picolinate, which is a single isolated compound that is made in the laboratory. Chromium picolinate does not contain the glucose tolerance factor. And yet, GTF is the main benefit of the natural micro-nutrient chromium. So, it doesn't make sense to take the isolated synthetic chromium. You are not receiving expected health benefits. You might as well be throwing your money away.
Most micro-nutrients are found in families like those in chromium. Another example is beta-carotene. Almost all of the beta-carotene on the market is an isolated synthetic compound made from acetylene gas. It's no wonder that some of the testing done with the synthetic form of beta-carotene has produced mixed results, and in one study on smokers, produced a negative result.
In nature, beta-carotene is part of a family of carotenoids. It is never found alone. For example, carrots and tomatoes have alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, cantozantheen, gamma-carotene, omega-carotene, etc. And although beta-carotene is a great antioxidant, cantozantheen is already known to be an even more effective antioxidant. In other words, by isolating beta-carotene from its entire family of carotenoids the experts have taken away an even more beneficial antioxidant.
The B vitamins are another good example. In 1925, there was only one known B vitamin. By 1975, ten other B family members had been discovered, bringing the total number of B factors to eleven. There's no telling how many more will be discoveed by the year 2025.
If you had taken an isolated synthetic B-1 compound in 1925, you would have missed all the rest of the B family factors, which all work together to counteract stress. But if you had used a whole food supplement like the Neo-Life B-Complex or Liver + C, you would have gotten all the known and unknown B vitamin factors, and that includes everything that won't be discovered until the year 2025!
Like chromium, beta-carotene and B-complex, most nutrients are found in complex groups. Amino acids, vitamin E, trace minerals and vitamin C all come in families. Neo-Life keeps this family integrity intact with the most natural, the most researched, the most proven effective whole food supplements in the industry. So, with Neo-Life, you're not only getting the isolated vitamin, but you're also getting all of the other known and unknown factors, just as nature intended. And, you know it's not nice to try to fool Mother Nature!
Biological Activity Reduced 50% -Proponents of synthetic vitamins might claim natural and synthetic are equally effective; but when it comes to Vitamin E, that natural form is internationally recognized to be more biologically active than the synthetic form. The biological activity is reduced by 50%, even to 70% in synthetic form.
Doubt has also been cast on other synthetic vitamins and their biological activity by Isobel Jennings of Cambridge University. "The synthetic vitamins may be identical with naturally occurring substances or closely related. The close relations, althought useful in many ways, pose some problems in that they may have only a fraction, whether large or small, of the biological activity of the natural products ... Synthetic vitamins may perform some of the functions of their natural counterparts while being useless for others. But what may be more important is the fact that synthetic vitamins, prepared from chemicals instead of nature, are frequently less active biologically than their natural counterparts, thereby reducing any beneficial effect they may have."
Polarized Light, A True Reflection - The difference between synthetic and natural vitamins becomes apparent when viewing their response to a beam of polarized light. The light when passing through a natural vitamin will always bend to the right due to it's molecular rotation. Thus the letter "d" (representing "dextro" which means "right") often appears on labels. However, the same light ray when passing through a synthetic vitamin will split into two parts, one part bending to the right and the other to the left. Because the synthetic vitamin is half "dextro" (right) and half "levo" (left), the letters "dl" often appear on labels at the beginning of the synthetic name.
A synthetic vitamin is like the image in a mirror. It looks like the real thing but doesn't function like the real thing. Half of it will work in the body and the other half won't work as well. Dr. Charles Schneider, Ph.D., professor of Chemistry, University of Cincinnati concluded wisely, "Get the vitamins that say natural. There is a difference. The "dl" (synthetic) will be cheaper, but if you could figure it out per energy unit or per use, the natural one will be cheaper."
Which would you rather have, the food in the mirror ... or the real food?
Safety - Medical findings indicate that synthetic substances may cause reactions in chemically susceptible individuals. Interestingly, the same individuals can tolerate naturally derived vitamins.
When is Natural REALLY Natural? - Did you know that most vitamins on the market claiming to be natural only have to be 10% natural to make this claim! If you decide to spend your hard-earned money on natural, it is critically important you learn to read labels to assure receiving your money's worth.
A product can even be 100% organic and not be natural at all. To be called organic a molecule need only have at least one carbon atom. This definition broadens the range from acceptable food sources of animal and plant tissues to raw materials including coal tar and wood pulp (yum!). Many synthetics are made from coal tar derivatives. That's the same stuff that causes throat cancer for tobacco smokers. Don't you think your body can tell the difference? Surely your cells can make a distinction between food and coal tar, just as a fish knows the difference between natural and synthetic sea water.
Many so-called natural vitamins have synthetics added to increase potency, or to standardize the amount in a capsule or batch. In addition a salt form is added to increase stability of the nutrient (i.e. acetate, bitartrate, chloride, gluconate, hydrochloride, nitrate, succinate). These terms added to the vitamin name help you identify synthetics.
Generally speaking, you can identify natural by reading the label and finding a listed "food" source such as citrus, yeast, fish, vegetable, etc. If a chemical is listed or the source is blank, it is synthetic. (See our How to Read Labels chart.)
The synthetic vitamin dealers would like you to believe that there's no difference between natural and syntheric, because synthetic vitamins are much cheaper to make and mean much more profit for the company. They are not efficiently utilized in the body as natural supplements due to the "dl" factor and the lack of complete families which include all surrounding micro-nutrients. It's your choice!