Synthetic vs Natural Supplements: what you need to know

This is a guest post by Lee Holmes, Holistic Health Coach and author of best-selling books Supercharged FoodEat Yourself Beautiful and Supercharged for Kids. natural-vs-synthetic

research study conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that only 5.5% of Australian adults had an adequate daily intake of fruit and vegetables. This is a problem especially for young adults as only 3.4% of persons aged 25-34 years were meeting the government’s dietary guidelines.

These figures are worrying when we know that people who do not follow a balanced diet, including eating sufficient fruit and vegetables, are at greater risk of developing long-term health conditions including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

We all know what’s good for us: more exercise, less stress and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and plenty of water.  Our bodies thrive when given proper nutrition, especially one that focuses on vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins and minerals play a vital role in the human body and are required for virtually every bodily function that occurs. The problem, however, is that most vitamin supplements are made from synthetic isolates created in a laboratory and often contain additives, fillers and artificial colors.

That’s why it’s important for us to know the difference between natural supplements made from whole foods and synthetic supplements.

Synthetic vitamins are manufactured to mimic the way natural vitamins act in our bodies whereas natural vitamins are derived directly from plant material containing the vitamin source, offering the full nutritional benefit of natural whole foods.

As humans we need to include a range of macro and micro nutrients in our diet and the most natural way to achieve this is by consuming whole foods with their vitamins and minerals intact.  Vitamins and minerals act as cofactors in our bodies, they’re like a missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle that is essential for our enzymes to work. Enzymes coordinate the thousands of chemical reactions that happen in our cells every day, and having the right type and amount of vitamins and minerals help to make the process of in our cells to function optimally.

Vitamin C is vital for functioning of your immune system, growth and repair of tissues and healthy bones.  It is not uncommon to use it as a quick immune boosting injection leading into winter, but as a Holistic Nutritionist I recommend that my clients consume Vitamin C daily through fruit intake or supplementation as it is a very good detoxifying agent in the body.

Many of the vitamin C capsules available in market nowadays are made from synthetic ascorbic acid which is created in a lab but one the best ways to increase your vitamin C quota naturally is to look for a whole food vitamin created from fruits that are super high in Vitamin C such as camu and acerola cherry.

Vitamin D is another vitamin which acts as the keeper of calcium levels in our blood and our bones.   Calcium helps the nervous system to function properly, and to ensure healthy strong bones.  Vitamin D enters the nucleus of a cell, binding and switching our cells on to produce proteins that increase calcium in our blood, and we achieve this via our Vitamin D rich natural whole foods sources.  If you’re not getting enough Vitamin D through whole foods sources, your body will source it from your bones.

whole-foods-vitamins

When sourcing the most natural vitamins as supplements it’s imperative to choose 100% vegan supplements, from natural vegetable extracts and containing no animal products, gluten or lactose.  Unlike synthetic vitamins, natural vitamins not only offer health benefits but also the full nutritional benefit from consuming natural whole foods.

As the awareness around the importance of eating real whole foods is rising in Australia and other parts of the world, it’s important to not only focus on the food we eat but also everything else we ingest: water, personal care products and supplements.

Together with a healthy diet, pure, filtered water, chemical-free beauty products and natural supplements made from real foods are the key to reach optimal health, naturally.


Great article, but … even the most natural, plant-sourced supplements cannot compete with whole-food based nutraceuticals like Juice Plus+.

They have “supplement facts” labels, Juice Plus+ has a “nutrition facts” label, because it is food. None of them – to my knowledge – have any research, whereas Juice Plus+ has been clinically studied with research published in more than 30 reputable journals!