Let’s talk about Vitamins!

What are they?
Vitamins are organic substances that are essential in small amounts for the health, growth, reproduction, and maintenance of one or more animal species (1)

Why are they necessary??
Vitamins must be included in the diet since they cannot be synthesized at all or in sufficient quantity in the body (1)

Are they natural?!?
Not necessarily. Vitamins naturally originate in plant tissues.  These days, however, many vitamins are synthesized, standardized chemical isolates. (2)

Are natural vitamins better than synthesized ones?
The United States Pharmacopoeia would say that synthetic vitamins are just as good as natural vitamins.  However, synthetic vitamins have not been proven to safely and fully replace all vitamin activities.  This may be due to the fact that synthesized vitamins are isolated, while natural vitamins are always present in the form of food vitamin-complexes. (3)

How do I know if I’m eating natural or synthetic vitamins?
If you’re eating a plant, then you’re eating natural vitamins.  If you’re eating a pill, then you need to read the label!

 

Natural Vitamin Name    vs.    Synthetic Vitamin Name
Vitamin A………………………………..Acetate
Vitamin B1…………….Thiamin Hydrochloride
Vitamin B5………………..Pantothenic Acid
Vitamin B6………………………..Pyridoxine
Vitamin B9…………………Folic Acid
Vitamin B12……………………Cyanocobolamin
Vitamin C……………..Ascorbic Acid
Vitamin D……………………..Isovitamin D3
Vitamin E……………………….Mixed Tocopherols
Vitamin K……………………K3 or menadione

References:

  1. Ensminger, A.H., Ensminger, M.E., Konlade, J.E. and Robson, J.R.K. Food & Nutrition Encyclopedia, 2nd ed. CRC Press, New York, 1993.
  2. The United States Pharmacopeial Convention.  USAN and USP Dictionary of Drug Names. Mack Printing, Easton (PA), 1986.
  3. Thiel, Robert J. Combining Old and New Naturopathy for the 21st Century. Warsaw, IN.: Whitman, 2000. Print.

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