So you’ve already started making good choices and have begun thinking about which vitamin is better. Or you are just realizing you need to make some changes but find the plethora of products on the market very confusing.
Well, fret not! I’ve got you covered. And it is vital to be sure to take natural and not synthetic vitamins.
Here is the simple check: natural vitamins come from whole foods. Synthetic vitamins have been linked to creating diseases and should be avoided.
My favorite sources for high quality vitamins that will help create vibrant health is organic, healthy, high quality foods. It really is that simple. However, there are times when supplementation is important. Especially if there is a significant imbalance. Also, generally our current food is depleted of nutrition already, even when it is organic, and we still may need to find high quality supplementation.
Why Does It Matter
In general, you want to look for a supplement that is raw and from a whole, organic food source. We are not plants and cannot readily use “rock” minerals. We are organic creatures and also cannot use synthetic vitamins.
Interestingly, blood levels checked by allopaths will often show an increase even from a synthetic vitamin. However, naturopaths have found these levels do not actually mean bioavailable and usable by the body of our clients.
These synthetic vitamins are a big deal because the chemical compounds they contain were never meant for human consumption. In fact, they do not even occur in nature. We are meant to eat food from the earth not from the lab.
Think of usability of a nutrient in the body as being a key looking for a lock it can fit properly. Interestingly, in nature, these keys also have a spin. For our analogy, we will imagine it being the key only being able to turn one way. Binding sites on our cells are the lock. They have specific shape and spin requirements for the key to fit in and allow the nutrient to pass into the cell to be utilized by the body. Unnatural vitamins (and minerals) may be almost the right shape or the wrong spin, thus they are not exactly what is needed to allow that nutrient to enter the cell. This means this nutrient isn’t able to be used by the body. While many forms (like synthetic vitamin E) will just be excreted from the body, others can block cell receptor sites and lead to more health issues.
In fact, another simple thing to remember is that the “dl” form of any vitamin is synthetic.
Further, some synthetic vitamins become toxic quickly in the body. Consider vitamin A which can cause hair loss and even liver damage. However, food sources are rarely able to produce these high levels to induce toxicity.
Let’s consider some of the most common vitamins.
Natural forms: mixed carotenoids, beta-carotene
Synthetic forms: Retinyl Palmitate
Food sources: liver, carrots, chicken, organic raw butter and cheese, kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, butternut squash, fatty wild-caught fish
Synergistic relations: zinc, magnesium, healthy fats, vitamin D
Vitamin B1 – Thiamine
Natural forms: Thiamin Diphosphate, Cocarboxylase (Thiamin Pyrophosphate)
Precursor forms: Benfotiamine
Synthetic forms: Thiamine Mononitrate, Thiamine Hydrochloride
Food sources: nutritional yeast, seaweeds, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, black beans, lentils, navy beans, white beans, asparagus
Synergistic relations: magnesium
Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin
Natural forms: Riboflavin 5’-phosphate, Flavin mononucleotide (FMN)
Synthetic forms: Riboflavin
Food sources: beef liver, yogurt, grass-fed beef, mushrooms, pastured eggs, spinach, beet greens, broccoli
Synergistic relations: calcium
Vitamin B3 – Niacin
Natural forms: Niacinamide, Nicotinamide Diphosphate/Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD), Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Phosphate (NADP+), Nicotinamide Diphosphate Hydrate/Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Hydrid (NADH)
Precursor forms: Inositol Nicotinate, Inositol Hexaniacinate, lnositol Hexanicotinate
Synthetic forms: Niacin, Nicotinic Acid
Food sources: turkey, chicken, peanuts, mushrooms, liver, tuna, green peas, grass-fed beef
Synergistic relations: zinc
Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid
Natural forms: D-Pantothenic Acid, Pantethine, 4′-Phosphopantetheine
Precursor forms: Dexpanthenol, D-Panthenol
Synthetic forms: Pantothenic Acid, Pantothenate, Calcium-D-Pantothenate
Food sources: chicken liver, sunflower seeds, avocados, mushrooms, lentils, salmon, sun-dried tomatoes, eggs, cauliflower
Synergistic relations: copper
Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine
Natural forms: Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate/P-5-P
Synthetic forms: Pyridoxine, Pyridoxine HCl
Food sources: chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, tuna, chicken liver, carrots, spinach, sweet potato, green peas, avocado, chickpeas
Synergistic relations: magnesium
Vitamin B7 / Vitamin H – Biotin
Natural forms: D-Biotin
Synthetic forms: Biotin
Food sources: organ meats, barley, eggs, royal jelly, peanuts, brewer’s yeast, mushrooms, raspberries, avocado
Vitamin B9 – Folic Acid
Natural forms: Folate, 5-formyltetrahydrofolate, 5-methyltetrahydrofolate/5-MTHF, L-Methylfolate Calcium
Synthetic forms: Folic Acid, Pteroylmonoglutamic Acid
Food sources: dark leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, citrus fruits, beans, avocado, okra, celery, carrots, beets, squash
Synergistic relations: vitamin b12, vitamin b6
Vitamin B12 – Cobalamin
Natural forms: Methylcobalamin, Adenosylcobalamin
Precursor forms: Hydroxocobalamin
Synthetic forms: Cyanocobalamin
Food sources: fish, chicken, turkey, beef, eggs, liver, organ meats, clams, sardines
Synergistic relations: vitamin b9
Natural forms: mineral ascorbate, l-ascorbic acid
Precursor forms: Benfotiamine
Synthetic forms: Ascorbic Acid, d-ascorbic acid
Food sources: rose hips, oranges, peppers, watermelon, kiwi, broccoli, cabbage, green leafy vegetables, berries
Synergistic relations: copper, iron, selenium, vitamin E
Natural forms: vitamin D3, Cholecalciferol
Precursor forms: Sunlight on exposed skin. This is the BEST way to get bioavailable vitamin D and is required for any oral forms to work.
Synthetic forms: vitamin D2, Irradiated Ergosteral, Calciferol, Ergocalciferol
Food sources: grass-fed beef, grass-fed butter, cod liver oil, salmon, herring, sardine, oysters, egg yolks, mushrooms
Synergistic relations: calcium, magnesium, selenium, vitamin K2
Natural forms: d-tocopherols (or other “d” forms) contains all 4 tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta)
Synthetic forms: dl-alpha tocopherol, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate or succinate
Food sources: wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, hazel nuts, avocado, broccoli, mango, spinach
Synergistic relations: selenium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C
Natural forms: menaquinone, phylloquinone (vitamin K1 found in plants)
Synthetic forms: Menadione, K3
Food sources: natto, eggs, miso, lamb, duck, beef liver, chicken liver
Synergistic relations: calcium, vitamin D
Again, remember food sources are always best. However, if you need supplementation, look for a supplement made from whole foods with none of the known synthetic forms.
As always, if you have any other opinions or questions, comment below or schedule your appointment today!