Synthetic Vitamins – The Truth!
From Cod Liver oil and Omega 3 capsules to multivitamin’s and those 1000% (rda) water soluble Vitamin C tablets… I’m sure we’ve all bought them without really being sure why. Yet the one thing we did know was that they were good for us, right? Unfortunately no, since most of us end up unknowingly buying synthetic vitamins we’ve been doing ourselves more harm than good!
Me personally, I’ve brought a load in my time, especially as I worked in Boots for years. I’d generally take one the following day after purchasing because, well I’m excited to have an instant burst of “said nutrient” and then when it doesn’t manifest that tends to be it. They get shoved to the back of the cupboard and replaced with whatever new “miracle pills” tickle my fancy whilst walking around the shop floor at work.
I used to give my daughter vitamin drops when she was a baby because, well that’s what we are encouraged to do isn’t it. Admittedly I didn’t really look into the ingredients in any of them, I just wanted to get some that I thought looked legit so I could give my baby the best start in life. Well she had them until she was about a year old then I just stopped buying them. H has always had a good diet so I felt like she was getting enough of the nutrients that her body needs from her meals. However, she recently had her 2 and a half year check and I was told by the health worker that kids of her age don’t necessarily need a multivitamin but a vitamin D supplement should be considered.
I’m sure you’ve seen on the news lately that we should all be consuming a large dose of Vitamin D daily. If not you can read about the NHS’s guidelines regarding vitamin D for adults and children here. This means that some people will have to take supplements to ensure that they are getting a healthy serving of the sunshine vitamin each day. We aren’t graced with much sunshine in England so I thought they must be onto something here. On a personal note, I’ve had multiple blood tests over the years because I suffer from extreme fatigue pretty much all the time and all they’ve ever said is take a vitamin D supplement that will help. Therefore, this led me on a hunt to find some vitamins for both H and myself. This time, the new me wasn’t going to make a purchase without reading the ingredients first…
Little did I know that according to Dr. Edward from Global Healing Centre, more than 95% of all vitamin supplements sold today fall into the synthetic category!
What are synthetic vitamins?
Synthetic vitamins are the over the counter vitamins that you’d get from a supermarket. The problem with them is that they are manufactured synthetically with chemicals and don’t come straight from their natural sources. Where natural vitamins are derived directly from plants containing the vitamin. Their synthetic counterparts are produced in test tubes and are designed to simply mimic the way natural vitamins act in our bodies.
“But the vitamins I buy from supermarkets say ‘natural’ on them”.
Many vitamin producers want you to believe that you’re getting a natural product because it seems more wholesome to do so. Unfortunately, vitamins can be labelled as natural if they contain as little as 10% of the natural form of the vitamin. So your “natural” vitamin could be made up of 90% synthetically produced chemicals, and its legal! Ludicrous right. These synthetic chemicals are not recognisable to the body since they differ greatly to those naturally found in food. The results are compounds less absorbable or usable by the body which can be hard on the kidneys and are often treated as toxins.
In order to help us to identify the real from the fake, The Organic Consumers Association compiled a list of common synthetic vitamins to avoid as well as a list of other toxic ingredients found in supplements. You can check that out here. To play it safe I tend to avoid supermarket supplements all together and instead get wholefood supplements online. I’ll let you know more about that later on in this post.
Dangers of synthetic vitamins
So I bet you’re thinking, what’s the deal with of these vitamins I’ve been popping since who knows when. Well according to Dr. Philip Maffetone, consuming these synthetic chemicals is much more dangerous than once thought. Where natural supplements successfully prevent and treat diseases the same cannot be said for their synthetic counterparts. Some of the chemicals have even been shown to increase the risk of death in rare circumstances.
Occasionally there has been media stories reporting that vitamins are dangerous but these studies are only ever based around synthetic vitamins. Anything we consume which is not made by nature is seen by the body as a toxin and may trigger a defensive biological reaction. The effect that these vitamins have on the human body has led to some studies being ceased early. Here’s just two of many examples available online.
- A study published in 1995 by the New England Journal of Medicine revealed some shocking evidence based on synthetic Vitamin A. 22,000 pregnant women were given the supplement. The study was stopped because birth defects increased by 400%.
- More recently in 2008 a study was conducted on Vitamin C tablets. It showed that adults taking the synthetic version had serious side effects. Taking 1,000mg of Vitamin C daily, significantly impaired their energy systems. Hampered their endurance capacity specifically by weakening the mitochondria of the cell which burns fat and sugar. It also had serious adverse effects on the antioxidant system which is a key immune regulator. People who take Vitamin C often take 1,000mg or more. Children may be more vulnerable to these side effects. P.s. You can often tell if it is a synthetic Vitamin C tablet because of the high dosage. It’s near enough impossible to get more than 100-150mg of Vitamin C from food into a tablet or capsule!
So the alternative I promised you earlier…
Wholefood vitamins provide your cells with the extra nutrients they need and do not cause deficiencies in the body the way synthetic vitamins do. They’re organically grown, nutrient dense and processed at low temperatures. Wholefood supplements only contain the naturally occurring nutrients that are found in the original plants. Well this must come at a cost right? Sure, Effective, well-processed supplements cost more to manufacture than synthetic vitamins which explains (but doesn’t excuse in my opinion) why companies chose to go down that route. Subsequently the cost effects consumers too, but not as much as you might think.
My Wholefood supplement recommendations
I take a wholefood Vitamin D3 supplement from Cytoplan. All of their vitamins are suitable for vegans and vegetarians too! You get a 2-month supply for around £7. So really there isn’t much difference in price to the supermarket ones and much better for your health. You can check them out here.
I haven’t been able to find a wholefood Vitamin D3 tablet for H, well not one without any nasties in it. You have to be aware that some wholefood supplements do still contain ingredients that aren’t as natural as they appear. However, Cytoplan do a good wholesome and free from multivitamin for kids in the form of a juicy gummy bear. They will set you back around £23 but for a 3-month supply. In the grand scheme of things, for the well-being of your little one I guess I’ts not that unreasonably priced. You can check those out here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Do you already take wholefood supplements? Or thinking of trying them? Do you know where does great supplements for kids? I’d love to know, please do comment below.
Until next week folks!
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