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Food Derived Vitamins vs Synthetic Vitamins

by Sean Martu

Americans are now spending more than $17 billion a year on vitamin supplements for health and disease prevention. But strangely enough, the rates of some forms of chronic disease have not changed, while the rates of others have actually increased. I’ve always wondered why in America we consume the most vitamin & mineral supplements, yet we are still plagued by the very diseases and chronic ailments that the pundits claim will be eliminated or avoided if we use vitamin supplements.

One thing obvious, most supplements aren’t helping very much.

Consuming synthetic vitamins can increase your risk for illnesses like stroke or heart attack. Studies have shown that regularly ingesting synthetic vitamins can increase your chances for a stroke by 30 percent. So it’s important not only to get a high quality vitamins but also food derived vitamins, otherwise in the long term you will pay the price with your health.

Our over consumption or refined and processed foods fortified with synthetic vitamins is western societies achilles heel, no one can argue that the best way to assimilate nature created vitamins and minerals  is from wholesome organic fruits and vegetables.

Even if we consume earth created vitamin supplements, through the isolation and extraction process they’ve been robbed of all the extra nutrients they naturally come with, which is not really healthy.

Just like refined foods, these refined vitamins have been robbed of all of the extra accessory nutrients through the isolation and extraction process. Like refined foods, they can create numerous problems and imbalances in the body if taken at high dosages for long periods of time.

Whole Food Supplements

Whole food supplements are supplements are made from concentrated whole foods. The vitamins found within these supplements are not isolated. They are highly complex structures that combine a variety of enzymes, coenzymes, antioxidants, activators, trace elements, and many other undiscovered factors all working together synergistically within the body.

Nutrients in singularity or isolated from the whole should not be expected to do the same job in the body as the whole complex is designed to do.

Synthetic Vitamins

The human body can’t regulate the absorption of synthetic vitamins. Synthetic vitamins are mostly ineffective in preventing disease. Second, these chemicals may be dangerous to your health as some research has shown them to increase the risk of death. Many studies have shown an increased incidence of cancer and heart disease with the use of synthetic vitamins.

Synthetic and Isolated Nutritional Supplements

Isolated or synthetic nutrients are not natural, in that they are never found by themselves in nature. Taking these isolated nutrients, especially in super high doses found in formulas today, is more like taking a drug. Studies show the body treats these isolated and synthetic nutrients like foreign substances.

Food-based supplements are never treated like this by your body. For example, your urine will never turn fluorescent yellow, no matter how much nuts and grains(a good source of B vitamins) you eat. This sort of rapid excretion only happens with when foreign substances that are being expelled from your body.

How to Identify Synthetic Vitamins

Identifying a natural vitamin from a synthetic one is no easy task. Many vitamin and mineral supplements may contain labels that are too complicated to decipher. Worse, many people may not even know what to look for in a vitamin or mineral supplement.

Some manufacturers of commercial supplements add synthetics to vitamin products, typically to increase the vitamin’s potency, but many synthetics are made from derivatives of coal tar – a known carcinogen found in second-hand cigarette smoke

3 Steps To Identify The Ingredients On A Vitamin Label

Step 1

Look for the words “100 percent natural” on the product’s label. Some labels may contain the words “natural,” but manufacturers can claim “natural” on their nutritional products if at least 10% of the product comes from natural food sources. The Organic Consumers Organization recommends looking for products that contain “100 % plant-based” or “100 % animal-based” on the label.

Step 2

Find the “food source” list on the product’s label. If the label doesn’t contain a list of natural food sources, then the product is synthetic. Look for food sources such as yeast, fish, vegetable, and citrus.

Step 3

Identify whole foods in the ingredient list instead of the particular nutrient. Look for foods on the list of ingredients that contain a certain vitamin, such as “acerola cherry powder,” which contains vitamin C. If you can identify “vitamin C” in the ingredient list, Kim says you can almost guarantee that the vitamin is synthetic.

Common Synthetic Vitamins to Avoid

  • Vitamin A: Acetate and Palmitate ; If source not given
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Thiamine Mononitrate, Thiamine Hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Riboflavin
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Niacin, Nicotinic Acid 
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): Calcium D-Pantothenate, d-Pantothenate, Panthenol
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B9 (Folic acid): Folic Acid Pteroylglutamic Acid
  • Vitamin B12: Cyanocobalamin
  • PABA (Para-aminobenzoic Acid): Aminobenzoic Acid
  • Folic Acid: Pteroylglutamic Acid; if no source is given
  • Choline: Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate
  • Biotin: d-Biotin
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Ascorbic Acid
  • Vitamin D: Irradiated Ergosteral, Calciferol
  • Vitamin E: dl-alpha tocopherol, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate or succinate
  • Vitamin K: Menadione

Food Derived Vitamins

  • Vitamin A:Fish Oils, Lemon Grass
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Yeast, Thiamin
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Yeast Riboflavin
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Yeast, Niacinamide, Nicotinamide
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): Yeast, Rice Bran, Liver, Pantothenic Acid
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Yeast
  • Vitamin B9 (Folic acid): Yeast, Liver, Folate, Pteroylglutamate
  • Vitamin B12: Liver, Micro-organism fermentation, Cobalamin Concentrate
  • PABA (Para-aminobenzoic Acid): Yeast, Para-aminobenzoic Acid
  • Folic Acid: Pteroylglutamic Acid; if no source is given
  • Choline: Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate
  • Biotin: d-Biotin
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Citrus, Rose Hips, Acerola Berries, Camu Camu Berries, Amla Berries
  • Vitamin D: Fish Oils, D3, Cholecalciferol
  • Vitamin E: Vegetable Oil, Wheat Germ, Oild-alpha,  tocopherold-alpha tocopheryl acetated-alpha tocopheryl, succinated-beta Tocopherol, d-delta Tocopherol, d-gamma Tocopherol
  • Vitamin K: Alfalfa


Talk to a pharmacist or nutritionist before purchasing a vitamin or mineral supplement. They can identify a natural or synthetic vitamin supplement that you need. Also, let your pharmacist know if you are allergic to any foods or medications.

Beware of the term “natural”. The use of the word natural has reached an incredible level of abuse.
Today the term has little meaning. A bottle of 100% synthetic vitamin C, for example, may be
labeled “natural.”


Necessary internet disclaimer:  All information and resources found on Nothingsincurable.com are based on the opinions of the author unless otherwise noted. I am not a doctor nor do I have any medical training, all information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider. The author of this site encourages you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition.


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