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Synthetic Vitamins Vs Natural Vitamins : Differences Worth Knowing

Vitamins are very much important for our health and for proper body functioning. Maybe we get them from our regular diet, from sunshine or from capsules or liquids brought from chemist stores. A deficiency in vitamin can cause a wide range of problems like anorexia, obesity, organ malfunction, fatigue and depression. It is important to know the differences between the synthetic vitamins and natural vitamins. Hope this would be a beneficial read for you.

Synthetic Vitamins Vs Natural Vitamins: Differences Worth Knowing!

A number of vitamins you find on the pharmacy shelves these days are prepared synthetically via chemical processes, rather than derived from plants or other materials directly; although some manufacturers still produce natural vitamins and such manufacturers claim that these natural vitamins are superior to synthetic vitamins.

The synthetic vitamins are almost chemically identical to those found naturally in food. However, the production of synthetic vitamins are different to the way animals and plants produce them. That is why, despite having a similar structure, our body may react differently to the synthetic vitamins.

Now, let us look at some of the differences between synthetic vitamins and natural vitamins.

Synthetic Vitamins Vs Natural Vitamins: Basic Differences

Synthetic vitamins are the vitamins that are manufactured synthetically using chemicals and do not come straight from their natural sources. These synthetic vitamins lack the transporters and co-factors that are associated with naturally occurring vitamins, as they have been “isolated”. These synthetic vitamins are devoid of necessary trace minerals and must use the body’s own mineral reserves, which may be dangerous and cause mineral deficiency. However, natural vitamins are directly derived from plant material containing the vitamin and are not produced in a test tube. It can also be defined as, “A concentrated nutrient that is derived from a quality natural source.” The idea behind this is maximum retention of natural material, no artificial colors, sweeteners or any preservatives should be used. A natural source of vitamin contains co-factors that come with the nutrient in nature. In natural vitamins, no artificial chemicals are added and they are prepared from high quality raw ingredients.

Synthetic Vitamins Vs Natural Vitamins: Differences Based On How They Are Absorbed In The Body

Synthetic vitamins are not that easily absorbed by the bodies of every individual. However, natural vitamins can be absorbed in a well manner. It is in fact unclear how well these synthetic nutrients are absorbed and used in the body. Though some synthetic vitamins may be easily absorbed, not others. This is because when you are eating real natural food that are rich in natural vitamins, you are not just consuming single nutrients, but rather a whole range of vitamins, minerals, co-factors and enzymes, that all together allow for optimal use by your body. For instance, studies show that natural vitamin E is absorbed twice as efficiently as synthetic vitamin E.

Synthetic Vitamins Vs Natural Vitamins: Differences Based On Efficiency

As per natural health authorities, synthetic vitamins are useless and ineffective. But natural vitamins are effective and pretty beneficial for health. However, some orthodox doctors and some nutritionists claim that synthetic vitamins are just as effective as the natural vitamins.

Synthetic Vitamins Vs Natural Vitamins: Based On The Safety

Synthetic vitamins contain chemical compounds that are not meant for human consumption and they do not occur in nature. Evolution has dictated that we can consume food that we can gather from the Earth, and not the food we create in a laboratory. So, it can be said that synthetic vitamins are not that safe enough as the natural ones are.

The synthetic version of vitamin E is often referred as the DL-form. DL-form of Vitamin E or any other fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin-A, D, E and K are not absolutely safe. These synthetic forms of fat soluble vitamins are especially dangerous, as they can build up in your fatty tissues and can cause toxicity. The reason that synthetic vitamins are more dangerous is because you get a high concentrated serving of the vitamin, rather than the amount that you would get from a natural food-based form of the vitamins.

You can look for foods like fish oils, butter, nuts and green leafy vegetables to get natural form of fat soluble vitamins.


Now we know some of the differences between the synthetic vitamins and natural vitamins. So, you must be looking to get natural vitamins for you. However, in case you are purchasing synthetic vitamins, do note that you must avoid some of the common synthetic vitamins and they are Vitamin A or Retinyl Palmitate, Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin, Panthotenic acid or Calcium D-Panthothenate, Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine, Vitamin B12 or Cyanocobalamin, Choline, Folic acid, Vitamin C or ascorbic acid, Vitamin D or Irradiated ergosterol, calciferol, Vitamin E or DL-alpha tocopherol, DL-alpha tocopherol acetate, etc.

It is best to consult your nutritionist to know the best foods which are rich in natural vitamins that you require and the types of synthetic vitamins that you can take.


  1. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (1997). Natural Vitamin E: Bioavailability, Bioactivity, and Toxicity. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/76/4/703/4677512
  2. Harvard Health Publishing. (2018). Vitamin E: The Balancing Act of Adequate Amounts. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/vitamin-e-a-balancing-act-of-adequate-amounts
  3. Healthline. (2021). Natural vs. Synthetic Vitamins: What’s the Difference? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/synthetic-vs-natural-vitamins
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 17, 2023

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