Vitamins are essential to the body's survival and we get most of our vitamins from food. However, supplementing a diet with vitamin capsules can help to make up for any deficiencies in food intake. Some of these capsules are synthetic vitamins and others are natural vitamins.
Natural vitamins are composed of isolated food elements that include essential vitamins. The source, for instance, of Vitamin C in a natural vitamin might come from acerola cherry powder, which in turn comes from acerola cherries, a fruit that contains high levels of Vitamin C. In addition to Vitamin C, acerola cherry powder contains other vitamins such as rutin, bioflavonoids and tyrosinase.
Synthetic vitamins on the other hand, are composed strictly of the vitamins themselves. These vitamins are not derived from foods, but rather, are composed by scientists in a laboratory by mimicking the molecular structure of vitamins found in food.
The major difference between synthetic and natural vitamins is the accompanying vitamins and minerals that are found in natural vitamins but not in synthetic vitamins. Synthetic vitamins also tend to be much less expensive because they can be mass-produced without the need for harvesting the fruits or vegetables that serve as the origin of natural vitamins.
Dr. Ben Kim, the author of a natural health blog, reports that natural vitamins are a better diet supplement because the extra vitamins and minerals they contain help the body to use the vitamins you are seeking. For instance, if your body needs rutin or bioflavonoids to break down and use Vitamin C, it will get those nutrients from acerola cherry powder. But with a synthetic source of Vitamin C, the body will pull from reservoirs of these nutrients in the body. If the body does not possess enough of these other nutrients, the body will simply dispose of the excess Vitamin C. The counter argument is that as long as you have a healthful diet, you should possess enough of these auxiliary vitamins and minerals for synthetic vitamins to work equally as well.
How To Tell
Most vitamin supplements for sale at pharmacies or grocery stores are composed of synthetic vitamins, however natural food stores and web health outlets do sell natural vitamins. It's easy to tell the difference just by looking at the bottle. The list of ingredients should appear on the label. For Vitamin C tablets, for instance, if the ingredient list says "Vitamin C," it's a synthetic vitamin. If the ingredient list says, "acerola cherry powder" or some other food source, then it's a natural vitamin.