Originally published November 6 2008
Knowing the Difference Between Natural and Synthetic Vitamins Is Vital to Good Health
by Lynn Berry
(NaturalNews) Since the Pan-pharmaceutical scare in Australia a few years back, many small natural vitamin businesses went out of business. A glance on the shelves of the vitamin retailers shows a narrower range of choices. More pharmaceutical companies are selling vitamins.
However many of the better quality vitamins, those with good doses, can often only be purchased via a natural therapist or online. This is according to a study looking for the best quality multi-vitamin on the market. Usana ranked at 74%, 20% more than the next brand, but much more than Herron, a supermarket brand ranked at 2% (1).
The difference in quality is due to dosage amount, synthetic verses natural, and the range of ingredients. Synthetic vitamins are typically cheap, and typically sold in the supermarket. They typically lack the necessary molecular structure of the natural version which goes unrecognized by the body and are unlikely to improve the body's cells.
A number of studies have had the aim of showing the impotency of vitamins -- that vitamins are bad for you, that they have no effect. However the vitamins in question were in the main synthetic vitamins category. This is particularly the case as Mike Adams points out with Vitamin E studies conducted over 20 years. The aim was to discredit the vitamin and they used synthetic Vitamin E to prove it. (See this article that lays out how studies are constructed to convince you of a particular point of view (2).)
Adams points out in this article that the aim of the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) is to warn people about the dangers of synthetic vitamins -- they can harm you or they have no effect. So not only do we have anecdotal evidence about the quality and efficacy of synthetic vitamins but now we have the apparent scientific evidence.
Studies involving Vitamin E have typically used a synthetic chemical which has a different molecular structure to the natural Vitamin E. Adams mentions that this has led to debate over safe dosage levels and about the benefits of taking antioxidants at all (3). At no time was there clarity about what was actually studied -- synthetic or natural. This means that people could have been mislead and scared off from taking the natural Vitamin E.
Organic Consumers (www.organicconsumers.org) warns people against synthetic vitamins particularly; fat-soluble ones as these build up in the fat tissues, fat deposits and the liver. In addition they warn that the base of the synthetics can consist of petrochemical derivatives, nicotine and coal tars (by-products of coal).
Byron Richards points out what to look for when buying vitamins (see (5)) and says that it depends on the vitamin. In Vitamin B what is necessary are co-enzymes. His two part article is well worth reading.
With the price of groceries increasing, you may be considering a change in vitamin brands. First ask yourself whether the product is natural or synthetic. If it is natural, consider the dosage range and amount, and compare.
1. (www.7perth.com.au/view/today-tonight-article...) reporting on a study by MacWilliam, L, MSc FP (2007), NutriSearch Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements, Fourth Edition, Northern Dimensions Publishing
About the authorLynn Berry is passionate about personal development, natural health care, justice and spirituality. She has a website at www.lynn-berry.com.
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