Synthetic is pathetic. O.K., I stole that from this great website –, which has nothing to do with this article, but the rhyme is very applicable to what I am talking about this week. My point is if you are taking synthetic isolate vitamins, which are the most commonly used vitamins, you are not only not feeding your body, you are depleting it of valuable, life enhancing nutrients!



Your body recognizes whole food and knows how to utilize it. Your body identifies the synthetic isolates as a foreign substance so it gets rid of most of what you ingest (which is why you need to take those unreasonably high doses) and what little stays, scavenges your body for the co-factors that act as catalysts that it needs to perform its job. So you might feel better for a while, but then you will end up even more vitamin depleted in the long run. The synthetic isolate might relieve or lessen a symptom without really alleviating what is going on with your body, but a synthetic certainly can’t feed your body, like a whole food supplement can. Feeding the body what it is missing with whole food supplements is what will help the body be able to correct its imbalance.



Think about it, if we get (or at least used to get) vitamins and minerals from food, why would you take a synthetic item made from coal tar to replace what you aren’t getting??? Wouldn’t you take a whole food supplement to replace what you aren’t getting from food? Coal tar isn’t food, last time I checked, but it’s certainly what many B Vitamins are made out of.



Pioneers of nutrition in this country didn’t believe in, or use synthetic isolates to support the body. One pioneer, Dr. Royal Lee, believed that when nutrients remain intact and are not split from their natural associated synergists–known and unknown–bioactivity is markedly enhanced over isolated nutrients. Following this philosophy, even a small amount of a whole food concentrate will offer enhanced nutritional support, compared to an isolated or fractionated vitamin. Therefore, one should examine the source of nutrients rather than looking at the quantities of individual nutrients on product labels.



So if you think your supplements from Walmart, Costco or even Whole Foods and the absolute worst of all, MY PERSONAL FAVORITE – the multi-level marketing friend (who has been “trained” by the company) aren’t synthetic imitations of life creating all sorts of deficiencies, then read on and think again!



The following is from From an article by Robert Thiel, Ph.D., Naturopath:

“Table 1. Composition of Food and Non-Food Vitamins [1-10]

Vitamin Food Nutrient* ‘Natural’ Vitamin Analogue & Some Process Chemicals
Vitamin A/Betacarotene Carrots Methanol, benzene, petroleum esters; acetylene; refined oils
Vitamin B-1 Nutritional yeast, rice bran Coal tar derivatives, hydrochloric acid; acetonitrole with ammonia
Vitamin B-2 Nutritional yeast, rice bran Synthetically produced with 2N acetic acid
Vitamin B-3 Nutritional yeast, rice bran Coal tar derivatives, 3-cyanopyridine; ammonia and acid
Vitamin B-5 Nutritional yeast, rice bran Condensing isobutyraldehyde with formaldehyde
Vitamin B-6 Nutritional yeast, rice bran Petroleum ester & hydrochloric acid with formaldehyde
Vitamin B-8 Rice Phytin hydrolyzed with calcium hydroxide and sulfuric acid
Vitamin B-9 Broccoli, rice bran Processed with petroleum derivatives and acids; acetylene
Vitamin B-12 Nutritional yeast Cobalamins reacted with cyanide
Vitamin ‘B-x’ PABA Nutritional yeast Coal tar oxidized with nitric acid (from ammonia)
Choline Nutritional yeast, rice bran Ethylene and ammonia with HCL or tartaric acid
Vitamin C Acerola cherries, citrus fruits Hydrogenated sugar processed with acetone
Vitamin D Nutritional yeast Irradiated animal fat/cattle brains or solvently extracted
Vitamin E Rice, vegetable oils Trimethylhydroquinone with isophytol; refined oils
Vitamin H Nutritional yeast, rice bran Biosynthetically produced
Vitamin K Cabbage Coal tar derivative; produced with p-allelic-nickel

Table 2. Chemical Form of Food and Non-Food Vitamins [1-10]

Primary Chemical Vitamin Form in Food Vitamin Analogue Chemical Form (Often Called Natural*)
Vitamin A/Betacarotene; retinyl esters; mixed carotenoids Vitamin A acetate; vitamin A palmitate; betacarotene (isolated)
Vitamin B-1; thiamin pyrophosphate (food) Thiamin mononitrate; thiamin hydrochloride; thiamin HCL
Vitamin B-2; riboflavin, multiple forms (food) Riboflavin (isolated); USP vitamin B2
Vitamin B-3; niacinamide (food) Niacin (isolated); niacinamide (isolated)
Vitamin B-5; pantothenate (food) Pantothenic acid; calcium pantothenate; panthenol
Vitamin B-6; 5’0 (beta-D) pyridoxine Pyridoxine hydrochloride; pyridoxine HCL
Vitamin B-9; folate Folic acid
Vitamin B-12; methylcobalamin; deoxyadenosylcobalamin Cyanocobalamin; hydroxycobalamin
Choline (food); phosphatidyl choline (food) Choline chloride; choline bitartrate
Vitamin C; ascorbate (food); dehydroascorbate Ascorbic acid; most mineral ascorbates (i.e. sodiumascorbate)
Vitamin D; mixed forms, primarily D3 (food) Vitamin D1 (isolated); Vitamin D2 (isolated); Vitamin D3 (isolated) ; Vitamin D4; ergosterol (isolated); cholecalciferol (isolated); lumisterol
Vitamin E; RRR-alpha-tocopherol (food) Vitamin E acetate; Mixed tocopherols; all-rac-alpha-tocopherol; d-l–alpha-tocopherol; d-alpha-tocopherol (isolated); dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate; all acetate forms
Vitamin H; biotin All non-yeast or non-rice vegetarian biotin forms
Vitamin K; phylloquinone (food) Vitamin K3; menadione; phytonadione; naphthoquinone; dihydro-vitamin K1

* Note: This list is not complete and new analogues are being developed all the time. Also the term “(isolated)” means that if the word “food” is not near the name of the substance, it is probably an isolate (normally crystalline in structure) and is not the same as the true vitamin found in food.

Read the label of any supplement to see if the product is truly 100% food. If even one USP vitamin analogue is listed, then the entire product is probably not food (normally it will be less than 5% food). Vitamin analogues are cheap (or not so cheap) imitations of vitamins found in foods.

Beware of any supplement label that says that its vitamins are vegetarian and contain no yeast. This researcher is unaware of any frequently used vegetarian non-yeast way to produce vitamin D or many of the B vitamins, therefore, if a label states that the product “contains no yeast” then in pretty much all cases, this demonstrates that the product is synthetic or contains items so isolated that they should not be considered to be food.

Dr. Theil goes on to to give this example:

No matter how much isolated ascorbic acid one takes orally

  • It will never saturate plasma and/or tissue vitamin C levels significantly more than can be obtained by consuming sufficient vitamin C containing foods.
  • It will never have negative ORP, thus can never ‘clean-up’ oxidative damage like food vitamin C can.
  • It will never have the free radical fighting capacity of food vitamin C.
  • It will never contain DHAA (the other ‘half’ of vitamin C) or the promoting food factors.
  • It will never have the same effect on health issues, such as aging and cardiovascular disease as high vitamin C foods can.
  • It will not ever be utilized the way food vitamin C is.
  • It will always be a synthetic.”


So what are you doing to yourself? You are achieving the opposite of your goals and your good intentions!

So like My Sister Says, “Synthetics is Pathetic”!!!!


[1] Budvari S, et al editors. The Merck Index: An encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals, 12 th ed. Merck Research Laboratories, Whitehouse Station (NJ), 1996
[2] Vitamin-Mineral Manufacturing Guide: Nutrient Empowerment, volume 1. Nutrition Resource, Lakeport (CA), 1986
[3] DeCava JA. The Real Truth About Vitamins and Antioxidants. A Printery, Centerfield (MA), 1997
[4] Hui JH. Encyclopedia of Food Science and Technology. John Wiley, New York, 1992
[5] Gehman JM. From the Office of the President: Pseudo-Group Once Again Misleading the Naturopathic Field. Official Bulletin ANA, January 25, 1948:7-8
[6] Ensminger AH, et al. Food & Nutrition Encyclopedia, 2 nd ed. CRC Press, New York, 1993
[7] Mervyn L. The B Vitamins. Thorsons, Wellingborough ( UK), 1981
[8] Thiel R. Natural vitamins may be superior to synthetic ones. Med Hypo 2000 55(6):461-469
[9] Haynes W. Chemical Trade Names and Commercial Synonyms, 2nd ed. Van Nostrand Co., New York, 1955
[10] Shils M, et al, editors. Modern Nutrition in Health & Disease, 9 th ed. Williams & Wilkins, Balt.,1999

These recommendations are for the reduction of stress only. They are not intended as treatment or prescription for any disease, or as a substitute for regular medical care.