Natural Vitamins are there, but they are not available as separate entities in nature. They are found as food vitamin complexes, called co-factors. These may be enzymes, co-enzymes, essential fatty acids, other Vitamins, and minerals, and phytonutrients.
For instance, Phytonadione is a natural form of Vitamin K. Found abundantly in plants, it contributes the chief dietary source of Vitamin K. A small amount of Vitamin K2 (menaquinones) is manufactured in the human digestive tract by bacteria!
The effects of both natural and synthetic Vitamins are similar but studies claim the synthetic version to be 70 percent less active, than the natural vitamin. Due to this, high doses of synthetic Vitamins and supplements are advised and consumed. Ironically, (for example) 25 mg of naturally occurring Vitamin C provides better nutrition than a 1000 mg pill of synthetic Vitamin C.
Vitamin C supplements contain synthetic forms of ascorbic acid and ascorbate. Natural Vitamin C is found along with many co-factors including bioflavonoids, tyrosinase, copper, and many more factors that still need to be researched. Tyrosinase is a copper enzyme that helps make hemoglobin and prevents anemia. The synthetic version does not contain any of these nutrients and is thus less effective than natural Vitamin C.
Why natural is better
Natural Vitamins are very effective because
- They are present along with cofactors that increase their efficiency in providing the nutrients to the body when consumed as a vitamin complex; synthetic Vitamins are isolated nutrients that fail to perform as effectively as their natural counterpart
- Natural Vitamins normally do not cause adverse reactions or allergies, unlike synthetic Vitamins which may deplete the body’s reserves of other nutrients
- Sunshine is a natural and most effective source of Vitamin C. A large section of people is Vitamin D deficient and spending about 20 minutes a day, twice a week exposed to sunshine gets you a sufficient amount of Vitamin D for keeping you healthy. 20,000 IU of Vitamin D is made by full-body exposure to sunlight for 30 minutes! Besides this, mushrooms that grow in sunlight and some fatty fish are excellent sources of natural vitamin D
Related: Benefits of Homemade baby food
Obtaining natural Vitamin extracts
They can be obtained by extracting concentrated nutrients from plants. Without using intense heat, pressure and by not adding chemicals for color, flavor, and sweetness, natural Vitamins are obtained free of harmful solvents. Synthetic Vitamins are prepared in the laboratory using chemical processes in which flavor, color, and coatings are added for easy and convenient consumption.
Natural Vitamins sold over the counter are more expensive than synthetic Vitamins. If you are particularly shopping for natural Vitamins, look for the ingredients on the label of the Vitamin container. The natural Vitamin B label will list yeast as the component. On the other hand, if a label lists acetate or palmitate then you can be sure it is synthetic Vitamin A.
A healthy way to consume Vitamins
Though it is inevitable in many instances to take Vitamin supplementation, most healthy people can derive maximum benefits of natural Vitamins from fruits, vegetables, poultry, and marine life that are easily available. Here are some indicators.
|Natural Vitamin||Food source|
|Vitamin A (as beta-carotene)||Carrot, pumpkin, barley, apricot, mango, orange, peas, eggs, broccoli, radish (Vitamin A is destroyed by cooking)|
|Vitamin B1 (as thiamine)||Soybeans, nuts, whole grains, and legumes|
|Vitamin B2 (as riboflavin)||Broccoli, spinach, asparagus, milk|
|Vitamin B3 (as niacin)||Spinach and other greens, tomato, tuna, and shrimp|
|Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine)||Nuts, whole grains, legumes, the yolk of eggs, chicken|
|Vitamin B12 (as cobalamins)||Salmon and sardines|
|Vitamin C (in the form of L-ascorbic acid)||Pineapple, strawberries, lemon, Indian gooseberry, and citrus fruits. Though most foods are deprived of Vitamin C on cooking the gooseberry retains it|
|Vitamin D (as cholecalciferol)||egg yolk, fish|
|Vitamin E (as tocopherols and tocotrienols)||Shrimp, cod, greens, wheat germ, and soya bean|
|Vitamin K (as Phytonadione)||Cabbage spinach cauliflower|
There are natural Vitamins and synthetic Vitamins. Natural Vitamins are filled with nature’s bounty and when absorbed provide maximum health benefits. Synthetic Vitamins, on the other hand, though providing nutrition are seen to be 70% less biologically active than their natural counterparts. Natural Vitamins extracted from plant sources and sold over the counter are more expensive than synthetic Vitamins. It makes sense to eat a well-balanced diet that includes good sources of naturally occurring Vitamins.