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Are you aware of all of the synthetic vitamins that not only exist, but that we consume on a regular basis? It can be shocking!
Organic vitamins occur as a molecule naturally in the whole food, making it difficult to extract from natural resources. Synthetic vitamins are produced through isolating certain molecules. When the molecule is isolated, it acts like a drug in the body.
Let’s take a look at some common synthetic vitamins in places you may have never expected.
- Synthetic Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): Not a complete vitamin. Synthetic vitamin C only contains the antioxidant wrapper, and none of the the rest of the vitamin C complex- consisting of bioflavonoids, rutin and other factors that help do its job. As well, synthetic ascorbic acid is used as a food preservative.
- Synthetic Folate (vitamin B9): Also known as folic acid. Synthetic folic acid is 1.7 times more powerful than the naturally-occurring form. Due to common deficiencies in our diets, the government has mandated that bread products, flour, corn grits, cornmeal, farina, rice, macaroni and noodles be fortified with 140 micrograms of folic acid per 100 grams of grain. This increase actually makes it very easy to get too much folic acid if people are eating lots of grains.
- Synthetic Vitamin A: Can cause liver disease and birth defects. Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant shouldn’t take supplemental vitamin A. Most dairy, coconut milk and almond milk that you buy in the store has synthetic vitamin A added to it.
- Synthetic Vitamin D (vitamin D2): The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says synthetic vitamin D is to “not be regarded as a nutrient suitable for supplementation or fortification.” As well, it can be found in most supplements and is added to milks (including most coconut and almond milks).
- Synthetic Niacin (vitamin B3): Not toxic when eaten in natural foods. Yet, the synthetic form can cause toxicity. The side effect is known as the “Niacin Flush”.
- Synthetic Vitamin E: Where the naturally occurring form has 8 compounds all working together, the synthetic version of vitamin E focuses on just one compound: alpha-tocopherol. A study has also shown synthetic vitamin E increases the risk of prostate cancer by 17%.
Forms of these synthetic vitamins, and more, can be found in most processed foods. As well, the next time you reach for those vitamins at the grocery store, be aware that majority of those supplements are synthetic.
Nature has a way of balancing nutrients in our food, and ultimately knows best. Maybe it’s time we listen?
Learn more about how isolated molecules make up synthetic vitamins.
*Original blog written by Rita Wilhelm; April 29, 2015
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