What is the difference between synthetic and natural vitamins?

synthetic and natural vitamins


We get some of our vitamins from what we eat and drink as well as from supplements.

Vitamin deficiencies can cause many health problems.  Most of us would think that taking a vitamin supplement could only be of benefit.  Vitamin supplements can be detrimental to our health if they interfere with prescription medicines.  They can also be dangerous if consumed in excessive doses.  Another way that vitamins can cause harm is when they are derived synthetically.


What is a synthetic vitamin?

First of all I’ll explain what a natural vitamin is.  Natural vitamins come from the food/plant that they naturally occur in.  Synthetic vitamins are made using chemicals in a lab.


What’s wrong with synthetic vitamins?

I’ll use natural vitamins as a reference point again.  Natural vitamins don’t just occur on their own.  They often come with other vitamins and minerals and substances that help them to be absorbed and used by the body.  Synthetic vitamins don’t come with these things and so may not be able to be used effectively by the body.  Synthetic vitamins may be excreted from the body or stored by the body without being able to be used.


How do I tell if my vitamin is synthetic or natural?

Synthetic vitamins often have a dl at the start of their name eg dl- alpha- tocopherol or they might be listed as the vitamin itself and not the food source eg vitamin C.

It is thought that 90% of vitamins are synthetic.


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