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How Do I Make Sure My Supplements are Real Food and Not Synthetic?

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There are basically two types of supplements on the market today—those which are made of food, and those which are made of non-food products. Those which are produced synthetically are chemically and structurally a very different product from those produced from food. The synthetic version is also more highly concentrated than the natural, which means that they come in a dose higher than found in nature and so cannot be as easily assimilated by the body. The synthetic vitamins are less costly to create, so manufacturers are always looking for ways to cut corners and yet keep the consumer thinking that he is getting the real thing.

There are several “tell-tale” signs that a supplement is synthetic. “USP” is a label that looks important but indicates a synthetic product. “Natural” doesn’t mean that the vitamin is not synthetically created. The U.S. government does not actually have a formal definition of “natural,” so that term can be used in many ways. Other manufacturers use the term “food based” on their labels. That term typically means that they are using synthetic vitamins with a small amount of food mixed in. Sometimes the term “vegetarian” is used to sound healthy. All that term indicates, though, is that no meat products were used, not that real food products were. “Nature Identical” products may claim to be the same form as found in nature, but they are still synthetically produced, although perhaps to more exacting standards.

Here are some tips to help when choosing a supplement:

  • Look for one of these terms on the label: 100% Food, 100% Plant Based, 100% Animal Based, No USP Nutrients, No Synthetic Nutrients.
  • Find the “food source” list on the product’s label. Unless actual foods are listed, the supplement is synthetic.
  • Foods you are likely to see on the label include acerola cherries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lemons, limes, nutritional yeast, oranges, rice bran, or animal products.
  • If a label says “Vitamin C” rather than “acerola cherries,” the vitamin C is synthetic. Some may list “Vitamin C, acerola.” This usually indicates that they have mixed a synthetic and whole food vitamin C together.
  • On the label, look for salt forms. These end in the letters “ate” or “ide.” (acetate, bitartrate, chloride, gluconate, hydrochloride, nitrate, succinate.) These are all synthetic.
  • If the letters “dl” come before an ingredient name, it is an indication that the supplement is synthetic.

If you have any questions about your supplements, we would love to hear from you and would be glad to help you in any way that we can.

To read more about natural vs. synthetic vitamins, see also:  http://maronewellness.com/uncategorized/natural-vs-synthetic-supplements-is-there-a-difference/

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.
Image courtesy of Morguefile.com
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