How do you know if your vitamins are real or fake? You might read the label over and over again but not understand a word.
Some supplements contain cheap fillers which could be dangerous if you have a food allergy. Others contain none of the ingredients they should provide.
In fact, a lot of vitamins are synthetic which means they don’t come from real natural sources. So, they are created to mimic the way natural vitamins affect our bodies.
Also, they lack essential trace minerals, so they have to use our own mineral reserves, thus increasing the risk of severe mineral deficiencies. They can even contain chemicals which are not meant for human consumption.
But, how to make a difference between real and fake vitamin supplements?
Here are few things to pay attention to when reading the product label, according to the Global Healing Center.
1. “100 Percent Natural”
Your supplements can contain 10% of the natural source of the vitamin and still be labeled as “natural.”
Therefore, look for the words “100 percent animal-based” or “100 percent plant-based” to make sure you’re buying truly natural vitamins, recommends the Organic Consumers Organization.
2. Natural Food Sources
If the food source list on the vitamin label doesn’t include a list of natural food sources, the supplement is probably synthetic. On the other hand, if it contains food sources like citrus, vegetable, fish, or yeast, it’s natural.
3. Whole Food Sources
The list of ingredients should include whole foods that contain a certain vitamin and not the nutrient. For example, instead of “vitamin C,” which indicates the vitamin is synthetic, the ingredient list should include “acerola cherry powder” or another whole food.
4. Salt Forms
The product label of nature-identical synthetic vitamins includes salt forms like bitartrate, acetate, gluconate, chloride, nitrate, hydrochloride, and succinate. In fact, they are added to increase the stability of the vitamins.
For example, ascorbic acid is the most common form of synthetic vitamin C.
5. Words That End in “ate” or “ide”
If the product label includes ingredients whose name ends in “ate” or “ide”, it means it contains salt forms. In other words, the vitamin is synthetic. For example, ingredients like nitrate, acetate, hydrochloride, or chloride.
Moreover, look for words that begin with the letters “dl.” That means the vitamin is synthetic. So, if you’re buying a vitamin E supplement, avoid products that contain dl-alpha tocopherol acetate or dl-alpha tocopherol.
Clues on the Label That Will Help You Avoid Synthetic Vitamins
- Retinyl Palmitate in Vitamin A
- Thiamine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate in Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Riboflavin in Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Calcium D-Pantothenate in Pantothenic Acid
- Pyridoxine Hydrochloride in Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Cyanocobalamin in Vitamin B12
- Aminobenzoic Acid in PABA (Para-aminobenzoic Acid)
- Pteroylglutamic Acid in Folic Acid
- Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate in Choline
- Ascorbic Acid in Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- Irradiated Ergosterol, Calciferol in Vitamin D
- dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate, dl-alpha tocopherol, dl-alpha tocopherol succinate in Vitamin E
In addition, here are few other ingredients you should avoid in supplements
- (MSG) Monosodium Glutamate or “natural flavors”
- Stearic acid or magnesium stearate
- Titanium dioxide
- Carnauba wax
Note – consult a pharmacist before choosing a supplement to help you choose a real, natural vitamin. Also, talk to your doctor before considering taking any supplement.