Are You Wasting Your Money on Synthetic Vitamins? By Heidi Dulay, Ed.D., N.C.
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Why would makers of health products let this happen? Maybe they got carried away with concerns about shelf life, the look and taste of products, machine requirements, and manufacturing costs.  Whatever the reasons, it appears that synthetic vitamins are mostly useless and might even be risky.

How to tell if your vitamins are synthetic

1. Look at the names of the vitamins and minerals in the “Ingredients” listing on the label of the bottle.  (You may need a magnifying glass J.)   A vitamin or mineral is synthetic if only its chemical and/or popular name appears, with no plant source.  See the sidebar for an example of such names.

2. Synthetic supplements also often contain weird ingredients, including:

• Additives :  Glucose, sucrose, starch, microcrystalline cellulose etc. for binding or dissolving ingredients, or for texture and taste.

• Artificial colors, like FD&C Blue #2 Lake, or FD&C Red 40

• Preservatives: sorbates (eg, Polysorbate 80), benzoates (eg, sodium benzoate), nitrites (eg, sodium nitrite), sulphites (eg, sulphur dioxide)                          

The weird ingredients are underlined in the example in the sidebar. As required by the FDA, ingredients are listed in order of quantity – largest first.

From the label of a popular synthetic multivitamin seen on TV

Ingredients: Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Phosphate, Magnesium Oxide, Potassium Chloride, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Gelatin, Starch, DL-tocopheryl acetate (Vitamin E), Crospovidone, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Niacinamide, Zinc Oxide, Calcium Pantothenate, Glucose, Silicon Dioxide, Titanium Dioxide, Manganese Sulfate, Magnesium Stearate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamiin B6), Sucrose, Cupric Oxide, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Beta Carotene, Triethyl Citrate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Lactose, Polysorbate 80, Chromium Chloride, Borates, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenate, Biotin, Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12), Sodium Metavanadate, Nickelous Sulfate, Phytonadione (Vitamin K), FD & C Blue #2 Lake, FD & C Red 40 Lake, FD & C Yellow 6 Lake. (“Weird” ingredients highlighted in red.)


Your vitamins are not synthetic if they are listed with their whole food source.   

For example, “Vitamin C (from camucamu fruit)” indicates that you’re getting the Vitamin C, along with the other nutrients it lives with in the whole fruit. Not just the isolated vitamin C made in a lab. Or “Vitamin A (100% as beta carotene from Dunaliella)” - that means the seaweed Dunaliella is the source of Vitamin A in this supplement.  Most of the ingredients in a whole food supplement are listed using the names of the actual fruit or vegetable, like “blueberry” or “broccoli”.



Are You Wasting Your Money on Synthetic Vitamins?
By Heidi Dulay, Ed.D., N.C.
Page 2/3 | Prev | Next