Currently, few people are not aware that a healthy diet, rich in variety and food in its most natural of states is the best way to get the vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed for optimal health.
Unfortunately, our busy lifestyles and calendars can make that a bit of a challenge. After your diet, the next stop is a supplement program. Many people question the difference between natural and synthetic supplements. Do our bodies know the difference? Actually, they do.
Since our bodies metabolize and absorb vitamins and nutrients from our foods better than from supplements, the same is usually true of natural vitamins from plants and whole foods. Natural supplements also contain other plant compounds and beneficial fiber.
When choosing natural supplements, carefully read the labels and be on the lookout for those with long ingredients lists that you cannot recognize the source.
This brings us to a very important consideration: depending on the manufacturer, synthetic supplements contain a lot of fillers and artificial dyes, hydrogenated oils, lead, mercury, and PCBs as found in fish oils.
Another compound to look out for is talc or magnesium silicate as cheap fillers and related to stomach cancers and lung problems.
There are significant issues with synthetic vitamin E consumed at high doses, posing risk of bleeding problems, but the same is not true of natural vitamin E at those same high doses. Most natural forms of vitamin E also have beneficial tocopherols and tocotrienols.
Natural vitamin K, (vitamin MK-7) naturally derived from fermented soy beans will raise vitamin K levels better than synthetic K-1 or synthetic K-2.
Vitamin C is one that is absorbed equally as well in synthetic or natural forms. However, natural forms can include citrus bioflavonoids that assist absorption.
Some of the few vitamins where synthetic is better is niacin or vitamin B-3, since the synthetic form causes less skin flushing. This is also true of vitamin B-12 and folic Acid (B-9). Both will absorb twice as well from supplements than from food sources.
So, which of the natural supplements should you target for optimal health? Our top 4 are as follows:
- Vitamin D for bones, teeth, muscle, and immune support
- Fish Oil/Omega-3 fatty acids for good heart health and cell membrane support
- Calcium for bones and teeth. Take your vitamin D and calcium together for better absorption.
- Probiotics for a healthy digestive system and overall good health. When your gut is healthy, so are you!
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