Natural vs. Synthetic Vitamins – What’s the Big Difference?

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Vitamins are little organic molecules we need, but we can’t make them or at least we have a hard time making them ourselves. We must rely on our food to keep us stocked with these essential nutrients, but our food is getting less and less nutritious. Fields are depleted by overuse. Pesticides limit the action of beneficial microbes in the soil that help plants draw in nutrients. Fertilizers focus on certain key chemicals and don’t take into account all the trace minerals, organic components, or beneficial microbes that go into good nutrition. And genetically modified foods have made their way into our food supply when we don’t know how they may affect us in the long term. produce_in_the_store_is_depleted_of_nutritents_picOn top of these problems, we refine and process our food so it lasts longer, is more convenient, tastes better, and is even made to be more addictive. We strip out and destroy vital nutrients as we process them. Much of the food we find in grocery stores outside the produce section barely resembles what humanity has been eating for thousands of years. There’s no wonder we have so many auto-immune disorders, food allergies, and growing epidemics of obesity. Our bodies don’t know what we’re ingesting, they aren’t finding the nutrients they need, and they’re begging for us to eat more and more so we might manage to give ourselves what we’re missing. We all know we need a steady supply of vitamins and minerals so our bodies can function properly. Scientists, doctors, and food companies agree too, so they create cheap vitamins in labs, fortify our foods and beverages with them, and dump them into multivitamins. The problem is these synthetic vitamins are not what our bodies are looking for either. Almost all multivitamins are from synthetics. The same goes for fortified foods. There’s a good reason for this. Synthetic vitamins are cheaper to make and usually more stable. This means they can last on shelves for months or years, be added to foods in high doses, and create small dense tablets packed with insane amounts of every type of vitamin. These vitamins are allowed to call themselves “natural” even when they are actually synthetic because scientists say the synthetics are virtually identical to the ones found in food.

The way these compounds are made is not remotely similar to the metabolic processes that plants and animals use to create them. The finished product is also usually a compound not exactly the same form as any found in nature. These synthetic vitamins, according to a multitude of studies, are not as bioavailable, absorbable, or usable. These “virtually identical” vitamins are not what we find in natural foods, not recognizable to the body, hard on the kidneys, and can often be treated as toxins. broccoli_contains_natural_vitamin_a_pic


Natural Vitamin A – Vitamin A shows up in food as beta-carotene. The body must convert it into vitamin A to be useful. This sounds less effective, but vitamin A can be toxic in large doses. Beta-carotene allows the body to convert what it needs and discard what it does not as a natural safeguard against damage.

Synthetic Vitamin A – Synthetic vitamin A is retinyl palmitate or retinyl acetate. This synthetic is made from combining fish or palm oil with beta-ionone. Palm oil is leading to deforestation of rainforest and endangerment of orangutans. Beta-ionone is created using citrus, acetone, and calcium oxide.

Natural Vitamin B1 – Thiamin, or vitamin B1, is a water soluble vitamin created by plants and bound to phosphate. Digestion releases the thiamin using specialized enzymes that target phosphate.

Synthetic Vitamin B1 – Thiamine mononitrate or thiamine hydrochloride is made from coal tar, ammonia, acetone, and hydrochloric acid. It is much less absorbable since it isn’t bound to phosphate. It is crystalline in structure, unlike plant-based vitamins. Many synthetic vitamins are crystalline. Crystals in our blood stream cause damage and mineral accumulation where it isn’t needed, like joints.

Natural Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin is easily absorbed, stays in the blood stream for long periods of time, and is readily used by the body in many important enzymes.

Synthetic Vitamin B2 – Synthetic riboflavin is made with acetic acid and nitrogen or using genetically modified bacteria and fermentation. It has been shown to be less absorbable and then quickly removed from the blood stream and expelled in urine like a toxin would be.

Natural Vitamin B3 – Niacinamide or nicotinamide is what we find in food and commonly call niacin. Niacin can have side effects, but these are minimal when coming from plant foods.

Synthetic Vitamin B3 – Nicotinic acid is created using coal tar, ammonia, acids, 3-cyanopyridine, and formaldehyde. It is less absorbable and has more risks of side effects.

Natural Vitamin B5 – Pantothenate is the natural version of this essential B vitamin.

Synthetic Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic acid involves isobutyraldehyde and formaldehyde to form a calcium or sodium salt. The alcohol derivative, panthenol, is sometimes used as it is more stable and lasts longer on store shelves. bananas_contain_natural_vitamin_b6_image

Natural Vitamin B6 – Like B1, pyridoxine is bound with phosphate in plants to make pyridoxal-phosphate. This is the biologically active form. Any other form of B6 must be converted into this phosphate combination before our body can use it.

Synthetic Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine hydrochloride comes from petroleum ester, hydrochloric acid, and formaldehyde. It isn’t readily absorbed or converted and has been shown to actually inhibit the action of natural B6 in the body. It also has side effects not normally found with natural food sources of this vitamin.

Natural Vitamin B7 – Biotin is involved in cell growth, fat production, and metabolism.

Synthetic Vitamin B7 – Synthetic B7 is produced using fumaric acid.

Natural Vitamin B9 – This B vitamin exists in food as folate and is very important in the creation and repair of DNA, thus the vital importance of this vitamin before and during pregnancy.

Synthetic Vitamin B9 – Folic acid doesn’t exist in natural foods, is crystalline, and is not easily absorbed despite the large amounts that are added to vitamins and supplements. It comes from petroleum derivatives, acids, and acetylene.

Natural Vitamin B12 – Cobalamin B12 is only created by micro-organisms like the bacteria that grow in soil and our intestines, as well as some micro-algae and perhaps some seaweed species.

Synthetic Vitamin B12 – Cobalt and cyanide are fermented to make cyanocobalamin. That’s correct. Cyanide. It is in miniscule amounts, but it is still cyanide.

Natural Choline – Choline is often grouped with B vitamins. It is combined with phosphate in nature and is important in cell membranes and keeping fat in check.

Synthetic Choline – Choline chloride or choline bitartrate is made using ethylene, ammonia, and hydrochloric acid or tartaric acid. It is not bound to phosphate. vitamins_c_can_be_found_in_red_berries_pic

Natural Vitamin C – This vitamin is readily available in citrus, red bell peppers, berries, and many more fruits and vegetables. In nature it is combined with flavonoids and phytonutrients that help in its absorption and use.

Synthetic Vitamin C – Ascorbic acid is an isolated vitamin from genetically modified corn sugar that is hydrogenated and processed with acetone. It does not include the flavonoids and phytonutrients that make it work.

Natural Vitamin D – Technically this one isn’t always thought of as a vitamin since we make it ourselves. Mushrooms, yeast, and lichen produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Humans do too. A daily dose of about 20 minutes of sunlight provides all we need. Vitamin D3 is the most effective kind, the same that comes from our own skin and lichen. Mushrooms and yeast often yield D2.

Synthetic Vitamin D – To mimic the natural production we find in our skin, scientists irradiate animal fat to stimulate vitamin D3 synthesis. They usually use lanolin, the waxy secretions from sheep skin that keeps wool dry.

Natural Vitamin E – Vitamin E actually refers to 8 different fat soluble compounds and it acts as an antioxidant that protects fats from oxidation. The most biologically active form is found in grains, seeds, and the oils from grains and seeds.

Synthetic Vitamin E – The synthetic dl-alpha tocopherol is created using refined oils, trimethylhydroquinone, and isophytol. It is not as easily absorbed, doesn’t stay as long in tissues, and is quickly dispelled like a toxin or unknown chemical.

Natural Vitamin K – This vitamin is important to proper blood clotting and some metabolic pathways. It is found in dark leafy greens.

Synthetic Vitamin K – Synthetic vitamin K, menadione, comes from coal tar derivatives and genetically modified and hydrogenated soybean oil, and uses hydrochloric acid and nickel. It is considered highly toxic and damages the immune system. Vitamins should really come from food sources as much as possible. If you want a multivitamin, reach for ones that use whole food sources like holy basil, guava, and other herbs, fruits, and vegetables.

Sunwarrior Raw Vitamins for Her and Raw Vitamins for Him come from whole-food sources. Synthetic vitamins are isolated or simulated nutrients that do not take into account all the countless phytonutrients that come along with them. Nature is not a select few things isolated from the rest. We are only beginning to understand how many of the lesser known compounds in plants react with one another as we eat them, but we do know humanity has been eating whole foods for a very long time. We have evolved to recognize the whole, not just individual chemicals that have been created to approximate an essential vitamin. Avoid supplements that use words ending in -acid, -ide, and sometimes -ate or that use the “dl” before the name. Minerals should be from whole foods as well as often as possible. They are not considered organic materials as they come initially from the earth, but plants incorporate minerals into their systems and combine them with organic compounds. This is how our bodies know them and incorporate them into our systems as well. Minerals are often combined with proteins to form enzymes. Your body is begging you for the vitamins and minerals it knows, loves, and misses terribly.




Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Sunwarrior’s awesome expert writers do not replace doctors and don’t always cite studies, so do your research, as is wise. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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Want to add your voice?

  • Could someone please comment? Do all synthetic supplement manufacturers use these chemicals, because Thorne research said they do not.

  • Hey, I ask Thorne research about the sourcing of there ingredients because it is the one I was taking and they said that none of these chemicals are used. I'm confused.

  • Thanks for the article Charlie, some important questions please:
    1. How can one actually take out vitamins and minerals out of the fruits and veggies and put them in a bottle? What does SunWarrior do to put all that in a capsule? Can you describe the process please?
    2. How can one actually know the exact amount of every single vitamin as written on the product label? I mean, every lemon is slightly different in size, content etc
    3. How does Sun Warrior ensure the vitamins/minerals remain bioavailable and do not oxidize to form new compounds or get ruined in the process? (for example, folic acid from folate etc.)

    Thank so much,

    • In reply to yositsitsu's comment

      We use enzymes and fermentation to help separate or concentrate individual vitamins. We start with fruits, herbs, and superfoods that naturally contain a large amount of the nutrient we want, which helps. The label is an average of several tests. You are correct that the amount will vary from bottle to bottle and even pill to pill. The label indicates the best guess we can give you. We use low heat processes, but oxidization does begin as soon as you begin juicing, fermenting, drying, and powdering. Like any vitamin, these do lose potency over time. Hope that answers your questions.

  • Another note, I have read studies that showed dramatic improvements in Hepatitis patients from massive doses of ascorbic acid.

    I have also personally kicked colds with a large dose of ascorbic acid.

    So I am not sure where you are getting your facts. I am beginning to think that a lot of this article is just made up to sell your own vitamins, in which case you are incredibly unethical and not credible to begin with.

    • In reply to EJ's comment

      Ascorbic acid is one that is actually identical whether it comes from synthetic or nonsynthetic sources. If you read in the article above, I mention only that synthetic vitamin C is lacking the flavonoids and organic compounds that come paired with it in nature. These make vitamin C more effective.

  • I am not doubting the credibility of the fact that natural vitamins are better than synthetics, but what goes into making them is irrelevant.

    Formaldehyde is dangerous, yeah. Coal tar sounds bad, yeah. Ammonia, petroleum products, and cyanide are all terrible for you, yeah. But they are not in the final product. Assuming that is just ridiculous. That is like saying salt is deadly because it comes from sodium and chlorine (which are both incredibly toxic on their own).

    Sure, salt can be bad for you in large amounts, but just because a chemical process involves a certain chemical does not mean that the end product automatically carries the same dangerous properties.

    This post would have been great if not for all of the "this is made with these chemicals, so you are in danger by taking them" stuff. That is just nonsense. If a multi-vitamin is all you can afford, you are not going to die from taking it; on the contrary, you would be MUCH better off taking a multi-vitamin than having a bunch of deficiencies.

    • In reply to EJ's comment

      I actually agree with you for the most part. If you can't afford better, a multivitamin may still be in order. I admit some of the "this is made from that" I used as a bit of a scare tactic to make people look closer at what they put in their bodies. Many of the scary products used evaporate or are destroyed in the process. My main point is that vitamins made by these processes approximate what's found in nature, but do not come as close as those making them would like us to believe. Organic molecules found in real food work to aid the assimilation of the vitamins found alongside them. The shape of vitamins is also important. Synthetics tend not to be identical to their natural counterparts.

  • It seems I was heading in the wrong direction with Vitamin B3. Unless, I am mistaken, it seems that nicotinic acid is the synthetic version as you stated.. why? I mean, why the flush and hot flashes people are having that seems to be getting more of the work done than the niacinamide and inositol hexaniacinate? Which I came across to being actually destructive. Forgive me, I cannot provide the source of that but to hear of someone taking over 3g of what I presume it to be nicotinic acid (according to my hm, straight niacin in its true essences), he moves through life with such an excited presences. So is there a true from of Niacin? The other two forms which from other sources stated that they were synthetic because of the source it was extracted from to its present form of "inositol hexaniacinate" (this is the no flush version I presume which blows up the kidney) and "niacinamide" (which blows up the liver) over time and as you increase its dosages. I am still wrapping my head to which is synthetic and was made with yeast and other destructive compounds to what are actually plant based vitamins and minerals. I am trying to do my due diligence myself as you can see. I went ahead of myself at times but I need to slow down and evaluate it when I can like I am doing now.

  • The main thrust of all this seems to be that vitamins derived directly from whole foods are superior to synthetic (isolate) vitamins. But the need for supplementation is based on the fact that food plants grown today grow in nutrient-depleted soil, worsened by inadequate fertilization and toxic pesticides. So if we take foods grown in that environment, and extract vitamins from them, how are we going to get adequate vitamins?

    Yes, we could be using plants grown “organically,” but we still have the problem of inadequate nutrients in the soil. Or, how do the organic vitamin makers overcome that?

    • In reply to John Rollow's comment

      An interesting point - would love to hear on that from Charlie or another Sunwarrior :)

    • In reply to John Rollow's comment

      An interesting point - would love to hear on that from Charlie or another Sunwarrior :)

    • In reply to yositsitsu's comment

      We start with organically grown fruits, herbs, and superfoods that tend to be naturally richer in one or two specific vitamins. We then use enzymes and fermentation to concentrate the nutrients we want to focus on. When you are concentrating the vitamin C found in a whole basket of amla into one pill, then you need not worry as much about the deficiencies of an individual fruit.

  • Hi, can you give me a link to an article that confirms that synthethic vitamins can cause accumulation of minerals in joints and tendons?

    "Many synthetic vitamins are crystalline. Crystals in our blood stream cause damage and mineral accumulation where it isn’t needed, like joints."

  • I think for better health we can go for health supplements....

  • In a recent publication of the Guardian, it was revealed that "Dietary supplements, such as over-the-counter multivitamins, do “more harm than good” and can increase the risk of developing cancer and heart disease, according to research in the US.
    There is no doubt that obtaining our nutrients from natural food sources is the best option but the number of sources could be cumbersome and not cost effective. Scientists are researching into foods that contain food, vitamins, elements, fatty acids etc. An example of such is Sorghum which unfortunately is being used as animal feed in the USA. Please google Sorghum nutritional fact analysis on the web and you will be amazed at the rich content of this food plant.

  • I am so confused I recently just started to get to healthy habits of of life I am more of a raw vegetables and fruits and making shakes with just water or coconut, try to research to take prenatal because i bought some at Costco, but research and they were synthetic. So went to GNC and got woman's prenatal formula with iron, but i see maybe 2-3 ingredients/vitamins that might be synthetic. Did I get the right choice ?? Or recommend a specific one even. I am not pregnant but plan to prepare my self, I can only research so much because i get skeptical, I'd greatly appreciate Charlie! Thank you.

  • What are the actual names of synthetic B-7 and B-2?


    • Moderator

      In reply to sam barbary's comment

      Some vitamins do not really have different names commonly used to distinguish the synthetic form from the natural forms, Sam. B7 is biotin, and D-biotin is the natural form, but most labels just say biotin. B2 is simply riboflavin, synthetic or not.

  • First of all, the whole 'vitamins from food are better' idea is false and I haven't seen any actual studies quoted in this article that proves otherwise. What matter is the form and isomeric purity. Although natural forms of thiamine, riboflavin and vitamin B6 are phosphate bound, your body needs to remove the phosphate groups in order to absorb them, so the point is moot. Thiamine and vitamin B3 are not chiral and the synthetic form is identical to the natural form. The toxicity of the vitamin B3 that you state is of the niacin form, which is only prescribed for therapeutic purposes (improving the lipid parameters such as LDL etc.), while the form that you get from supplements, nicotinamide, doesn't have its side-effects (such as flushing). Riboflavin and pantothenic acid are chiral, but are produced in the required chiral form, so they are identical to the natural forms. Vitamin B6 is also not chiral. Furthermore, there are benefits from using supplemented forms of certain vitamins than natural ones. For instance vitamin B6 has 3 natural forms, one of which pyridoxamine, which can also be found in certain supplements, inhibits glycation, a process of aging and complication of diabetes. Pyridoxamine can be found in food, but you can only get it as the 100% form of vitamin B6 from supplements. As for vitamin B12, I agree that cyanocobalamin sounds bad, but you usually get way more cyanide from natural sources then from the vitamin (unless you take megadosages) and due to the high affinity of hydroxocobalamin to the cyanide ion, I would expect even this form to convert to the cyanocobalamin one once ingested. Anyway, your body removes the cyanide group, so the forms are biologically identical. Folic acid is twice as bioavailable as that from food, due to the lack of need to deconjugate polyglutamyl as found in dietary folates. There is some speculation that free folic acid might have negative effects, but current studies show that this is quite unlikely. I do agree that it doesn't hurt to get the 5-MTHF if you can find it. While it's considered 200 times more expensive, you need so little of it, that it doesn't really matter for the end consumer (industrially, 1mg doesn't cost more than 0.3 US cents).

    Vitamin D3 from supplements is identical to the one that you body produces and from the studies I've seen, just about everyone should supplement their diet with it (at least in the winter). Furthermore, it is produced through the same process, UV irradiation, that your body uses. What you call natural forms, such as D2, is also produced through irradiation and it might not have the same benefits as the D3 form.

    Then you have vitamin A. Any form of retinol, whether natural (e.g. from animal sources) or synthetic, should be avoided in excess, due to deleterious side effects and teratogenic potential. However, this doesn't apply to carotenoids. Beta-carotene from supplements is produced synthetically and by fermentation. Thing is, the synthetic version is identical to the one from carrots. Carotenoids with vitamin A activity, unlike the other vitamins, typically occurs with other carotenoids. There are studies showing indeed that high doses of beta-carotene from supplements increases the incidence of cancer among smokers, but not that from food. However, this isn't a magic association with food, but that other carotenes have anti-cancer activity. The interesting thing is that the carotenoid likely responsible for this is cryptoxanthin, one of the only 3 pro-vitamins A that exist. Since you don't want to get too much carotenes (to prevent carotenaemia, a harmless pigmentation of the skin due to excessive carotenoids) and the best carotenoid that you could get is cryptoxanthin, you'll likely want this carotenoid only, which can be found as a supplement, derived from fermentation.

    Another nutrient form that is superior from supplements is selenium, but not any selenium. In food, selenium is present mostly as either selenomethionine and selenocysteine. The former has been implicated in increasing the incidence of prostate cancer, while the latter decreasing it. The dominant form found in food however, is the selenomethione one. Supplementing the selenocysteine one, especially if you live in an area with low selenium level in the soil, is definitely recommended. As for choline, the predominant form found in wheat is free form, unbound to phosphate. There are other natural forms, but the form that I would think is superior is still phosphatidylcholine, whether natural (lecithin or purified PC) or synthetic (although you'll be hard pressed to actually find one for sale). Menadione, the synthetic form of vitamin K, is not allowed in supplements, so it doesn't really matter. Synthetic vitamin E is racemic, which is indeed pretty stupid. I avoid anything which contains it. Natural sources, such as wheat germ oil, aren't really much more expensive. If you really want to supplement vitamin E, you'd be much better of with gamma and delta tocotrienols, the better cousins of tocopherols.

    • In reply to Ovi's comment


      Regarding vitamin D: Food/supplements do not provide the same effect. UV radiation stimulates expression of the vitamin D receptor, unlike dietary forms. Thus, UV radiation is necessary for vitamin D activity.

      Regarding vitamin A: You are correct on benefit of mixed carotenoids over isolated beta-carotene, however I would also attribute the superiority of plant-based carotenoids to the alpha-carotene especially, which has a stronger link to longer life expectancy than b-cryptoxanthin. I disagree that cryptoxanthin should be taken by in isolated form. Here you would likely have similar problems as that seen with isolated beta-carotene or canthaxanthin.

      Regarding vitamin E: There is no form of vitamin E that is "better" than another. All the tocotrienols and tocopherols have unique effects. The key is to supplement with a mixture of all 10 different forms of vitamin E, which only comes from plants. NOTE: So called "natural" vitamin E is really just isolated alpha-tocopherol and is not natural at all. There is no vitamin E in nature that contains only alpha-tocopherol.

      The argument over "food-based" vs. "supplements" is silly. Many "foods" are fortified with synthetic vitamins, and are far more unnatural than supplements that are extracted from plants. They key is finding supplements from plant-based sources.

      I just published a comprehensive review on this topic. It provides information you will not find anywhere else:

    • But what's the point of these "reviews" if they are not peer reviewed?

    • Moderator

      Thank you, Eric. Good info here!

    • In reply to Ovi's comment

      I beg to differ with your contention. As do many researchers and PHD's. I would direct you here: (please note the mountain of references given to back up each and every claim). While your wrapping your mind around that information... perhaps take a look at this as well: again plenty of clinical references from accredited established researchers and experts.

      With that said... we don't need to be PHDs or experts to realize that humans don't subsist and cannot on rocks. Perhaps you can explain how humans existed and indeed many had long healthy lives prior to the advent of chemical supplementation? Plenty of cultures to this day live long, healthy lives without ever ingesting a single chemical synthetic mineral or vitamin. Please by all means continue to enrich the chem companies and processed poison peddlers. I will stick with what is natural.

    • Moderator

      In reply to Powhaten's comment

      Thank you, Powhaten.

    • Moderator

      In reply to Ovi's comment

      Sounds to me like you should write an article for us, Ovi.

    • While I won't pretend to understand everything Ovi said above, it does seem to fly in the face that synthetic vitamins are the enemy. I too would like to see him blog here and have a full, balanced view of the playing field.

      On another thought, would I be right in that if I'm juicing organic fruits and veggies on a daily basis, there should be no need for supplements?

    • Moderator

      In reply to Quest's comment

      You are far less likely to need any supplementation, Quest, with your diet revolving around fresh organic whole foods. There still is some concern over soil depletion, but you are most likely getting plenty of all you need with a good variety of fruits and vegetables.

    • You still might need to supplement with vitamin D3 as you won't get enough from food. I would recommend a blood test of 25-OH-D3 to find out what your levels are.

    • In reply to Ovi's comment

      Forgot to mention biotin along with riboflavin and pantothenic acid. It's chiral and identical to the natural form.

  • Charlie,

    Your vitamin mineral rush is an interesting product. I havent seen a vitamin product which claims to be bioavailable and totally non-synthetic. The only thing Im not sure about is Fulvic.. I've had bad experiences with fulvic. The only time I didnt was when I bought an "old world" formula that was fulvic without the minerals. Perhaps my bad experience was because of the poor concentrating methods.. rather than heavy metals which was my thinking initially. But, thanks for offering the Real deal! I have been going across the pond for quality supplements lately, nice to see a good company here at home.

    • Moderator

      In reply to Scott's comment

      Thank you, Scott. I'm a fan of fulvic acid and haven't heard of anyone having a bad experience with it. Fulvic acid can bind with heavy metals, but this is usually a good thing, transforming them into organic compounds the body can ignore and more easily remove. I'm glad you like what we offer.

  • Let’s be real. Who really, actually knows we’re getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals with our whole, natural food intake. If we don’t and can’t know accurately, I’d get those other synthetic vitamins to fill in the gaps, if any.

    • In reply to Hana's comment


      Multivitamin supplements do not fill nutritional gaps, they create them. This is true for 99% of the multivitamin products on the market which are based off of single isolated vitamers.

      When you supplement with 1 single isolated vitamer for each major vitamin group this WORSENS the imbalance in your body. (e.g., alpha-tocopherol for vitamin E -- while you actually need alpha-, beta-, gamma-, delta-tocopherol; and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, delta-tocotrienols -- which only comes from plant foods or plant-extracted vitamin supplements which are extremely RARE.

    • I'm not much for synthetic supplements either. As far as I know, chemists have not been able to replicate associated food factors. AFFs are critical to the particular vitamin or mineral , as they are designed in nature to compliment the vit or min they 'assist'.

      One huge difference between natural & synthetic isn't the chemical diff. The big diff is biological.


    • Moderator

      In reply to Hana's comment

      You may be correct, Hana. It is hard to know for sure, but I think we overcompensate sometimes with synthetics.

  • do you have a catalog?

  • Read this and notice that they are not afraid to back up their information with references.

    • Moderator

      The problems with your link and the references is they rely on synthetics when doing studies on multivitamins. I strongly agree with what they have found. Synthetic vitamins are a waste of time, money, and can definitely do harm, especially in such high doses. Studies on non-synthetic vitamin supplements are lacking. I hope that changes over the next ten years.

    • I'm with Charlie.

      One problem for the synthetic industry is that, as far as I know, synthetic chemists have not been able to duplicate associated food factors, which are formed in nature & are a naturally designed compliment to each individual natural vitamin or mineral. AFFs are very important for the function of the supported vit or min.

      Plus few people seem to realize the biggest diff between natural & synthetic isn't chemical, it's biological.


  • One of the most ludicrous pieces of writing I have ever read! Factually incorrect in statement after statement!

  • Great article, nicely broken down. I just wanted to add further research down and published shows that synthetic vitamins and minerals mostly get destroyed in the acidic environment of the gut and what survives to the small intestines were absorption occurs crystallizes preventing absorption and further causes free-radical damage and uses any vitamins obtained from food to try to neutralize the damage, so taking synthetic forms are just making you sicker than you were before. Much better to take nothing and save your money than have false security taking something that our bodies view as toxic. I take patented supplements that I buy wholesale directly from the manufacturer and have normalized blood pressure and cholesterol as well as pain from fibo and accident injuries to joints and disks from a motorcycle accident and am now medication free.

  • Hi,
    Your labels say raw, non-gmo and no synthetics, however you have methycobalamin as your source of b12. Methycobalamin is a synthetic form of b12. It is not raw in any way. In addition it is made from gmo- bacteria and produced using gmo inputs. I am wondering how you reconcile this with your labels?
    I have tried calling your company about this repeatedly and am just given the run around.

    • In reply to Josh's comment

      You're right Josh. The B12 is synthetic, or technically semi-synthetic. It's actually safe. Now if GMO's are used in making it, that could be a different story. The "raw" claim is stretching the truth a bit too. Just because it's processed under 115 degrees, it's still processed. Raw is a carrot. It's not a bad vitamin though. It's much better than Garden of Life's "raw" vitamin. Or should I say yeast that has been fertilized with synthetic vitamins. They are owned by a hedge fund that are masters of marketing and loopholes. Proctor and Gamble's New Chapter isn't any better. Nature's Plus makes one called Source of Life Gold that is made from organic whole foods similar to sunwarrior. It was actually the first one on the market. They are still family owned. They make their products themselves and have them independently tested. They meet EU, Canadian and American Standards. It's the best I've found. Way to ask questions though man. We've got enough sheep on both sides.

    • In reply to Brad's comment

      It was interesting how you mention synthetic vitamins thrown in with yeast. The Synergy Company seems to do this as well. Below is the link to one of their vitamins. I guess they consider it a natural vitamin. It seems to be hard on my stomach so not so natural.

    • Moderator

      In reply to John's comment

      Yes, many companies consider synthetics natural after processing it with yeast. It is better, but still not the same as the forms you find in whole foods.

  • Is this the right amount of each vitamin you need? Compared to other multi vitamins this falls way short

    • Moderator

      In reply to derrick's comment

      Synthetic vitamins have altered the way we see nutrients. If a multivitamin doesn't offer over 100% of everything, we toss it aside. Most of our vitamins and minerals should be coming from our food and a supplement should be exactly what the name implies, to supplement our diet, not replace it. Synthetics are also much harder for the body to use, so our daily requirements aren't accurate either. Natural, food-based vitamins are usually far more readily absorbed and used, so our requirement goes down. More of a good thing isn't always better either. The insanely high amounts of some vitamins in multivitamins is wasteful and sometimes dangerous.

  • You guys don't even list the specifics or suffixes of the styles on your vitamins in the label for each nutrient. Citrate, bisglycinate, oxide, carbonates... Nothing. Regardless of the source that still has to be listed. I don't even know how that's legal let alone helpful. And at $54? No. #vitaminfail

    • Moderator

      Sorry, Jeffrey, but the natural vitamins found in food are rarely just one type or form, so the suffixes don't apply very well when you aren't using isolated or synthesized vitamins. And I'm not even going to touch on the use a hashtag in a blog comment.

  • Zinc supplements for adults and children?

    • Moderator

      In reply to L Mahan's comment

      You can find these at any health food store, but be careful. You can get too much zinc. I like zinc rich foods like cacao, pumpkin seeds, spinach, nuts, and whole grains.

    • Hi Charlie,

      I really like your simple to understand and detailed information on how the body interacts with our food and it's nutrients.

      I just checked my supplements and found zinc GLUCONATE in my Pharma Nord Bio-selenium with zinc!
      It containers 15 mg each tablet (1 tablet a day) which is 150% of the adviced daily intake.
      Using this supplement till yesterday, what could be an effect of to much (synthetic) zinc?

      P.S. EU standards on the ADI (we call it adviced, but US calls it allowed, could make a big difference I would say)

    • Moderator

      In reply to Klaas's comment

      Thank you, Klaas. Zinc gluconate is actually one of the better forms of this mineral with a lot less side effects than others. Too much zinc can make your immune system suffer. It is one of those nutrients that does great in small amounts and then begins to cause problems in higher amounts. 15 mg is a little more than you need, but not enough to cause any problems unless you are eating plenty of zinc rich foods too. So you are probably okay. I take a break from any supplements for a couple days each week. That may work for you as well.

    • Too much Zinc can be a problem, but one fix for males would be ejaculation. Zinc helps protect the DNA in sperm so if you are a guy and you have too much Zinc then just get to work.

  • Great posts & comments here! Thank you all & Sunwarrior!

  • So should i go to a natural foods store to get my multi-vitamins ?? thank you --- Patty

    • In reply to Patty H's comment

      Just because supplements are in a natural foods store doesn't guarantee or even suggest they are made from quality or natural vitamins, etc. These stores just order what's available. There are very few quality, natural supplements being produced - probably less than 1% of what is produced. There are even fewer supplements for those of us that need them free of gluten, soy, starch, sweeteners, lactose, etc.

    • Carol, I just took my first vitamin today B6 anc C and I have been taking selenium(Life brand) for about 2 months. I bought Swiss brand, and when I read the label it says "No artificial flavors. No preservatives, sweeteners, dairy, corn, soy, gluten, wheat or yeast." Might be of help for you to have a look at a bottle your self to see if this is what you are looking for....:)

    • Moderator

      In reply to Patty H's comment

      Yes or online, Patty. Sunwarrior has a good one and so do many other companies. Just be sure to check the back label and look at the ingredients for whole foods.

  • Good to know...
    Thank you..Timmy

  • While the information within the article is -for the most part - accurate, and the foundational premise sound; its best to get our vitamins and minerals from our food, the point is some what moot. Why? For decades the nutrient levels in our produce and fruits , grains etc, have been in a steep decline. People that don't use supplements generally end up malnourished, UNLESS they are doing a massive amount of regular juicing.The truth is , so called "synthetic " vitamins have gotten much better as research reveals the means to increase their absorbency and retention in the body. Supplement makers don't always adhere to the principles so its best to educate ourselves and buy from those companies offering the most efficacious forms, made form the purist raw materials.

    • In reply to Robert W's comment

      I have been a health nut for 10 years and off supplements for five. You can get all your nutrient needs from organic food very easily and without juicing. If you are going to supplement use whole "super foods" or food sourced supplements and never synthetic pharmaceutical chemicals.

    • Moderator

      In reply to Robert W's comment

      Very good points, Robert. Thank you for sharing them.

  • That's why we take 100% plant based Juice Plus+ capsules and chewables !! Whole food baby!

    • In reply to Tammy's comment

      YES Tammy! I agree. However, for some B 12, 6 etc. may be lacking a great deal or a little. This would depend on a variety of reasons - age, dietary style (Vegetarian, Vegan, etc.) & also health status.

      I am a whole food devotee, wishing any whole food supplementation to be as minimally processed as possible.

      Kyani ia another excellent choice, as it has the Organic Noni Plant. This whole food stimulates the body's natural ability to create Nitic Oxide (something we gradually do less of beginning in our mid twenties). Nitric Oxide enhances oxygen within at a cellular level. Also Kyani provides the highly recommended Vitamin E, in the Tocorienol form rather than Tocopherol. Much more as well. So Kyani is considered a "Nutraceutical", as it has Whole Foods with added NonGMO ingredients.

  • Maravilhosa a apresentação das vitaminas naturais e sintéticas.

  • As a personal trainer/ health & wellness coach i really appreciate how you broke down and compared the "ingredients" in natural verse synthetic vitamins, from A through K, and how these ingredients effect the human body.There are lots of information provided on the internet about the effects of sugar, energy drinks and even GMO products on the human body but it's rare to find reliable information on the matter of synthetic vitamins. I believe knowledge is key and providing helpful information really makes it easier for others to educate themselves on what they should or shouldn't be consuming. Great article.

  • Why did you delete my reply??? It was valid and true. You mistaken in your claims. A true writer will provide references for his claims that way people without sufficient knowledge can look it up themselves.

    • In reply to Jonathan's comment

      Don't worry, Jonathon; we didn't delete your reply. Comments are manually published in the back so we can prevent the hundreds of spam comments from clogging up the articles and making it difficult to find the real comments. We got a little behind this week and hadn't yet published your comment. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the benefits of synthetic vitamins!

  • What matters more then the process to make the vitamins is the chemical structures of the synthetic vitamins. If the end product of the process is the same as natural vitamins, it doesn't matter that they were synthesized outside of a biological system. However, it is true that some vitamins have multiple chiral centers. This is important because sometimes it is difficult to synthesize compounds with chiral centers to be exactly the same as those found in nature. Because we know that many of our enzymes are stereo specific, it is important to select for the synthesized vitamin structure that matches our enzymes. Here is were we face more difficulty. Some chemical processes can select for certain stereo isomers, but it is difficult and can be expensive. So the reason synthesized vitamins CAN be less effective is because they usually have a mixture of all the stereo isomers and only some of the isomers interact with our enzymes. BUT! I am sure that all the children that suffer from night blindness in India are happy to ingest any form of vitamin A they can get. A researcher from Johns Hopkins discovered that children in India were not getting the amount of vitamin A they needed. This was important because vitamin A is converted to retinal which is used in visual processes. Lack of vitamin A was causing night blindness in children from lack of retinal then further progressing into complete blindness due to corneal ulcers. Synthetic vitamin A is easy to administer and transport. So I said all that to say, yes natural vitamins are better, but synthetic vitamins have their place and they are effective. Not to the degree natural vitamins are, but they have their place and the process for developing them has nothing to do with how effective they are if they are purified.

  • Its pretty hard to get these from real food when most of our foods are toxic, re: bad soil, chem trails, pesticides etc.

  • Impressionante!!! Artigo maravilhoso. !!!Vou guardar e fazer uso de informação tão relevante para minha saúde.!!!Como aprendemos com artigos atuais e tão novos mas com uma gama de informação tão grande!!!