Vitamins: Natural or Synthetic?
Research supports the use of targeted nutritional supplements for a wide range of health benefits.
We always recommend that you meet your daily requirements primarily from the diet. However, due to reduced nutritional content of intensively farmed foods, it can be difficult to achieve this.
The need for evidence:
Every person is unique. However, the National Sleep Foundation guidelines advise that healthy adults should sleep, on average, between seven and nine hours a night.
There must always be an evidence-based reason for supplementing your diet or a specific nutritional deficiency that needs resolving. For instance, folic acid in pregnancy, magnesium for muscle cramps/sports recovery, vitamin C and vitamin D for strengthening the immune system.
What's the difference between natural & synthetic vitamins?
Not all supplements are the same in terms of the way they are sourced, manufactured, tested and packaged. For vitamins and minerals, consumers should always be asking suppliers where the ingredients are sourced from and how they are manufactured
How are synthetic vitamins made?
Synthetic vitamins are usually made artificially from chemicals within a laboratory or factory. They mimic the chemical structure of naturally occurring nutrients. The more complex the structure of the vitamin/mineral the more stages required to synthesise and therefore the greater number of impurities that need to be removed before the final product can be sold as a food supplement. Petrochemical solvents may be required to achieve this, which can have a negative impact on the environment.
How are natural vitamins made?
Natural vitamins are sourced from whole food such as algae, fruit or vegetables. They are dried, concentrated and their nutrients are extracted (generally with water or alcohol) to form a nutritional supplement. In this way, the beneficial compounds remain in their natural form, just as you would find them in your food but at much higher concentrations. Studies have shown that naturally sourced minerals have a higher bioavailability than synthetic alternatives because they are absorbed more efficiently.
What’s the difference between natural and synthetic vitamin C?
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), an essential water-soluble micronutrient, is a good example of the differences between synthetic and naturally sourced. Whilst synthetic and food-derived vitamin C are chemically identical, the food-sourced version is rich in numerous additional nutrients, dietary fibres and phytochemicals which contribute to the health of the gut micro-biome. These synergistic ingredients are not present in chemically produced vitamins.
A research-based approach for supplementation using only food-sourced vitamins and minerals provides advantages for both the health of the body and the environment. When supplements are made only from concentrated, 100% natural ingredients they are better absorbed and able to support the gut micro-biome. The Naked Pharmacy includes organic prebiotics within all its vitamin and mineral formulations.
Kevin Leivers M.R.Pharm.S.