Vitamins are complex molecules that are essential to health, growth, reproduction and maintenance. They must be included in the diet since they (or their precursors) cannot be synthesized, yet are still vital to one’s health. Each vitamin performs a specific function and each one needs to be present in adequate amounts in our bodies.
Synthetic vitamins have long been used by food manufacturers as a way to replenish the nutrients lost during processing fruits, vegetables and grains. The unfortunate side-effect of killing food-borne pathogens is that the raw ingredients are depleted of their vitamins. But did you know that many synthetic vitamins are made from petroleum extracts or coal tar derivatives, and are chemically processed with acids and industrial chemicals (such as formaldehyde)? While inexpensive to produce, synthetic vitamins are inferior to vitamins occurring in their natural food-state. Read the label of any supplement to see if the product is truly made from real food. (Even products that say things like ‘natural vitamins’, may not be).
Due to these differences, many professionals feel that vitamins created
from non-food sources should be considered imitations.
Also, since vitamins from food have been shown to have better bioavailability characteristics than their synthetic counterparts, you can rest assured that you are truly getting all of the benefits of the nutrients when they are in their natural food state. Synthetic vitamins are not as easily processed or absorbed by the body and therefore much of what you pay for in a multivitamin just passes through your body without any benefit whatsoever. In addition, nutrition coming from actual vegetables has the added feature of being packed with bioflavonoids, enzymes and other co-factors that work in concert to nourish you – synthetic vitamins miss all of this good stuff!
The truth is that only real food, and fruits and vegetables in particular, can be counted on to ensure proper nutrition.