MYTH: Natural Vitamins are better for the body than synthetic vitamins.
TRUTH: Not necessarily. In some cases the synthetic vitamin molecule is bio-identical to the same molecule found in nature.
Confusion arises because “natural” and “synthetic” are not opposites. The true opposite of “natural” is “artificial”. Synthesis is the process by which new compounds are produced by combining simpler substances, and this can happen either in the body or in a laboratory. Synthetic vitamins can be either natural or artificial.
All synthetic vitamins A, D and E are artificial. Their molecular structures differ slightly from the same vitamins found in nature. All documented cases of toxicity from overdosing on vitamin A appear to have been from consuming artificial vitamin A. There are no documented cases of harm from consuming artificial vitamin E; however, this form of the vitamin is less efficiently utilized by the body than is natural vitamin E.
Synthetic vitamin C and all synthetic B-vitamins, however, are natural. The laboratory produces these molecules by combining simple substances found in nature.
Most mammals produce ascorbate (vitamin C) in their livers, on demand. In these animals’ bodies, the enzyme, L-gulonolactone oxidase, converts glucose (blood sugar) into ascorbate. In the laboratory, L-gulonolactone oxidase converts glucose into the same ascorbate molecule.