9 Surprising Differences of Whole Food Vitamins vs. Synthetic Supplements

7 min read

key takeaways:
  • Synthetic supplements are oil soluble and high quantities can get stored in your fat cells and become poisonous over time. Also, since their production is unregulated companies can produce and market them without following restrictions or health guidelines.
  • There isn’t enough research to support any of the claims behind the efficacy of these products or judge their long-term effects.
  • Whole food vitamins like our Essentials Shake user water soluble natural vitamin extracts from fruits and vegetables. That means your body can absorb what it needs and any excess quantities are safely excreted.

If you’ve found yourself in the supermarket staring at the rows and rows of brightly labelled supplement products -- all labelled “natural” and “better than before” -- with no idea what to do, you’re not alone. But not to worry. Below, we’ll explain what the difference is between whole food vitamins and synthetic supplements and, most importantly, why it matters.

But why does this matter, and what is the difference between whole food vitamins and synthetic supplements?

1. Synthetic supplements are fat-soluble

There’s no denying that vitamins and minerals are important for your health. However, nothing is good when taken in excess. Depending on your age, sex, and medical status, your recommended intake for different nutrients may vary. That's why monitoring your recommended dietary intake is essential when it comes to taking the appropriate quantities of supplements.

Moreover, this is especially true when taking synthetic supplements. Often, companies will pack their tablets with high doses of nutrients, claiming the importance of these higher numbers. However, more isn’t always better. Excessive doses are stored in the body, particularly in the liver, until the body can excrete them. This buildup of toxic chemicals can be dangerous for the body and even cause diseases.

But how is this possible? How can potentially harmful medication be easily available for consumers to purchase and put in their bodies at their will and leisure? Simply put, vitamins are not regulated by the FDA. That means companies can put whatever they want in them and promote them without restrictions.

If you have a deficiency and feel the need to take vitamins, it is up to you to choose the appropriate ones. Web MD provides a comprehensive list of conditions and the nutrients to combat low nutrient levels in our bodies. Additionally, many product-specific studies have been conducted to test the composition, results, and possible side effects of various popular brands.

2. Whole food vitamins are water-soluble

Overdosing is hardly a concern with whole food or organic vitamins because they are water-soluble, which means that excess quantities of chemicals are not stored in the body. Your system simply takes what it needs and discards the rest.

Although, it is important to understand that whole food vitamins may still use some synthetic compounds during formulation.However, since these supplements use fruits and vegetables as their base, they are easier for the body to digest.

They are safer in the sense that you’re not risking toxic chemical buildup. As a result, you do become healthier over time. 

With supplements, the road to better health is through consistency because the body requires certain daily doses of nutrients to run its processes. It does not, however, have the facilities to store these nutrients.

The ultimate goal of any supplement is to work with the body to give it what it needs, when it needs it.

You should only take supplements if you have a deficiency. Once you identify which nutrients your body or diet lacks, you can use powders or organic vitamin formulas to boost your overall nutritional intake.

Did you know?

39%Most of these boosters are synthetic or artificially made with chemicals designed to mimic the benefits of natural nutrients.

3. Many supplements don’t have trace minerals

Like so many things in life, it's important to read the fine print! The supplement industry is a convincing, multi-billion dollar industry, and so it is far too easy (and dangerous) to believe advertisements that promise to fulfill your nutritional needs. Naturally, they’re going to tell you what you want to hear.

The truth is that most synthetic supplements lack essential trace minerals. These include the minerals, enzymes, and other nutrients that help the body break down and absorb the vitamins it consumes. As a result, the money you’re spending on synthetic supplements goes to waste because your body just doesn’t have the tools to absorb them.

Some of the nutrients that should be of attention include magnesium, iron, and folic acid. These are essential components of a stable, usable supplement formula and, without them, you may end up with some serious nutritional deficiencies. Doing some research into the composition of your supplements is one way to avoid this mess. Another is to simply start taking whole food vitamins derived from actual fruits and vegetables that maintain the necessary trace minerals.

Related Post: The Ultimate Guide to Essential Nutrition

4. Synthetic and natural supplements provide the same nutrients, but differently

When your body cannot absorb the high quantities of synthetic supplements, these chemicals build up in your system. Fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K require specific conditions for absorption and, when they are consumed naturally, the body can metabolize and dispose of them accordingly.

While the end goal is the same, there are many different routes to get there, and this is the main difference between synthetic and natural supplements. For example, vitamin A appears naturally in the form of beta-carotene. With organic products, your body only converts the required quantities into vitamin A. On the other hand, synthetic supplements are made of retinyl palmitate or retinyl acetate, a pre-formed fat-soluble version of vitamin A that is stored in the fatty tissues.

5. Natural vitamins work with enzymes

This is a common theme with plant-based vitamins. The forms of nutrients that exist in nature are not forms that your body can use or consume, which is okay, because your digestive system has the tools to deal with this conversion. 

For example, vitamin B in its organic form has strong bonds with phosphate. However, during the digestive process, your gut releases enzymes that target this phosphate, breaking it down and freeing the vitamin B. Synthetic supplements attempt to fast track this process but simulate the end result. 

The goal is to make a cheap and stable formula that can spend months on a shelf and still fulfill the nutritional requirements. Synthetic vitamin B, for instance, is not bound to phosphorus. Instead, it appears in the crystalline form of thiamine mononitrate. Monitoring dosage for synthetic supplements is extremely important because large quantities of crystals in the bloodstream can cause renal or liver failure.

6. Ingredients in synthetic supplements are potentially harmful

Organic or whole food vitamins are abundant in fruits and vegetables. These are distilled forms of the natural ingredients that you consume on a daily basis, so it is safe to assume they use safe ingredients. Vitamin B3 or niacin can occasionally have side effects, but these are minimal when it comes to plant-based foods.

On the other hand, vitamin B12, when artificially created, uses a fermented mixture of cobalt and cyanide (you read correctly -- cyanide). It’s a tiny amount, and the vitamin form is safe for consumption, but this is just one example of how you really don’t know what goes into your synthetic supplements.

Another example for animal-sourced supplements is BCAA, or keratin. This rich component is obtained from duck feathers and pig’s fur that have been chemically treated. It’s crucial to understand that just because a product boasts “natural” ingredients doesn’t mean that it isn’t synthetically produced.

When you have the option, always pick plant-based multivitamins and supplements. They are safer to consume and generally cost the same as their animal based counterparts.

You can get the same vitamin B12 naturally, sourced from bacteria in soil, intestinal microorganisms, and seaweed. Similarly, synthetic Vitamin K or Menadione uses hydrochloric acid in the manufacturing process. These toxic chemicals are also broken down in the production process. It all comes down to how much trust you have in your supplier.

7. Synthetic supplement production is not eco-friendly

Furthermore, the body does not even require vitamin A in large doses. That is why it is naturally found in the form of beta-carotene in foods like carrots, spinach, mangoes, and apricot. Many whole food vitamin suppliers use organic or natural sources and are ethically conscious. While it may vary on a case by case basis, it is important to note the impact your purchases have on the earth.

8. Artificial vitamins isolate nutrients

If you have a certain type of deficiency and decide to take supplements to improve your health, you also need to look into how that vitamin works. What other ingredients does your body need to absorb and process it? How can you get the maximum benefit out of this supplement? All too often, and incorrectly, you end up consuming multiple pills to cover all your bases.

9. Whole food vitamins target problems in sets

Whole food vitamins do not target isolated nutritional needs, and therefore you won’t find a formula specifically labeled vitamin C or a pill for vitamin B. Instead, they will focus on a specific overall effect and will contain any number of vitamins and minerals that help improve your standard of health and fitness. As a result, one product is all you need to cover your body's needs.

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Wrapping It All Up

Not only is it better for your health, the method it is using to give you these essential nutrients is 100 percent safe, as these are natural extracts and not artificially constructed products like many competitors. Choose wisely and reap the health benefits!


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Disclaimer: The LYFE Fuel blog is for informational purposes only. The information does not serve as a replacement for professional medical advice or treatment. We kindly ask you not to ignore professional medical advice because of any information you’ve read on https://lyfefuel.com/. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult a physician or appropriate health care expert.