Clearing the Vitamin Confusion - What's Natural, What's Not

Posted by on 8/7/2012 to News

There’s a lot of confusion—and misinformation—about what’s natural and what’s not when it comes to nutritional supplements. So we’re going to try to clear some of the confusion and misunderstandings.

What’s natural and what’s synthetic when it comes to vitamin supplements?

Many people envision vitamins being squeezed from foods and then put into tablets, capsules, and beverages. While picturesque, this is not the case. Various technologies are used to extract or produce vitamins. These technologies help ensure consistency and safety in the products HAVVN provides. Some vitamins can be described as “natural-source” or “nature-like,” whereas some synthetic vitamins (e.g., synthetic vitamin E) are derived from petroleum byproducts. HAVVN uses “natural sources” for vitamin fortification in our products.

For example, nearly all of the vitamin C used in supplements is produced from corn sugar. This is similar to how the vast majority of animals make their own vitamin C; they convert blood sugar to the vitamin in their liver or kidneys. The difference is that vitamin suppliers use technology to make vitamin C from corn sugar on a much larger scale. As another example, B vitamins are produced through a process called bacterial synthesis. Basically, vats of harmless bacteria are grown to make the B vitamins. This process is comparable to how bacteria in the intestines of people make small amounts of some B vitamins, such as B3.[i] Again, the difference is one of scale.

Some people believe that making vitamin C from corn sugar or B vitamins from bacteria is synthetic or unnatural. We believe these processes have strong similarities to how these vitamins are produced in nature.