CHOOSING SYNTHETIC VITAMINS: PENNY WISE, POUND FOOLISH!
When it comes to synthetic vitamin products, you don't always get what you pay for. In fact, between their poor bioavailability, low absorption, and the fact that they actually deplete the body's reserves of other nutrients (e.g. co-factors) required for assimilation, it is possible that, over time, you are not only NOT getting what you pay for, you may actually be losing some of what you already had. Do yourself a favor, and the next time you are in the market for a multivitamin, skip the synthetic stuff and choose a product that is formulated using whole-food vitamins concentrated from food sources that occur in nature.
The common sense argument against the use of synthetic vitamin isolates
Vitamins are essential nutrients that must be obtained either from the diet or through supplementation because the body cannot synthesize them in the quantities needed for optimal health maintenance. Each vitamin has a specific physiochemical activity in the body; therefore, one vitamin cannot be used to replace the deficiency of another.
Nature does not make synthetic vitamins. Companies do!
According to Ensminger et al (1993), vitamins originate primarily in plant tissues, which is not the case with [USP] synthetic vitamin isolates that are created in a lab and have not been proven to have the same physiochemical activity as natural vitamins. It is worth clarifying that USP vitamins are NOT food even though they are often [mistakenly] referred to and thought of as natural vitamins. USP vitamins, without exception, are standardized chemical isolates unlike natural vitamins that are always present in nature in the form of food-vitamin complexes.
At NutriGold, we believe that fresh, organic foods picked at the peak of freshness and consumed mostly raw are the best sources of essential nutrients. When that is not an option, for whatever reasons, the next best thing is to consume nutrients concentrated from organic food sources. If that too is not an option, then whole-food nutrients (vitamin isolates cultured in yeast / probiotics and available as part of a vitamin-food matrix) are an acceptable alternative.
While some companies (and possibly consumers) may argue that consuming synthetic vitamins isolates is better than not taking a multivitamin at all, we beg to differ. Because synthetic vitamin isolates can cause nutrient depletion and, in some cases, adverse reactions / outcomes, not consuming a multivitamin is actually better than consuming one that is chock-full of synthetic ingredients manufactured using industrial chemicals and solvents.
The common sense argument against consuming synthetic vitamin isolates is quite simply that every one of us would choose, without hesitation, food-sourced vitamins over synthetic vitamins isolates every single time if they were provided with the information on the source of the synthetic vitamins in a multivitamin product.
Putting the common sense argument against synthetic vitamins to the test
We think it is pretty safe to assume that you would choose the food source for every single vitamin listed above. How about if we told you that synthetic vitamins have the same chemical structure as natural vitamins from food? Would that persuade you to reconsider your choices? How about the fact that products with synthetic vitamin isolates are cheaper than vitamins from food sources? Still no? We don't blame you.
Regardless of whether or not their structure is the same as vitamins from food or that they are heck of a lot cheaper, in most cases, than cultured and concentrated vitamins, there is no compelling argument to support the idea that synthetic vitamin isolates are qualitatively the same as vitamins from food. In fact, we think it is illogical, if not downright irresponsible, to claim that synthetic vitamin isolates are utilized in much the same way as natural vitamins from foods given that the chemicals used to synthesize them are known toxins.