Many synthetic multivitamins are a scam; here’s how to get better nutrition naturally

Multivitamins are advertised as a great way to get all the nutrients you need, without having to worry about what you’re eating. The multivitamin, so we’re told, will fill in all the nutritional gaps that coincide with a conventional Western diet and help you stay healthy. But the average supermarket vitamin leaves much to be desired. Instead of being made from whole foods and natural sources, most multivitamins are comprised of fillers, added sugars, colorants and synthetic nutrients. This is a recipe for nutritional disaster — but there are plenty of great alternatives for achieving better nutrition and resolving nutritional deficiencies.

Studies have continued to show that the average supermarket multivitamin does nothing to promote better health — yet Americans waste billions of dollars every year on supplements that don’t work for their bodies. There are better options out there, options the pharma-vitamin industrial complex doesn’t want you to know about.

The multivitamin scam

The average multivitamin isn’t made from whole foods and natural plant sources of vitamins and minerals — they’re made from synthetic versions of the nutrients your body needs to function. This may not sound so bad on paper, but in reality, your body can’t use nutrients it doesn’t recognize or is incapable of absorbing. In many cases, the “nutrients” presented in multivitamins are virtually unusable for your body.

As Derek Henry, founder of Healing The Body explains, the Organic Consumers Association reports that synthetic, isolated versions of nutrients are inferior to naturally occurring forms. Most synthetic vitamins lack the transporters and co-factors that are associated with naturally occurring nutrients.

Global Healing Center explains this phenomenon in further detail:

The natural form [of vitamins and minerals] come in packages with other vitamins, enzymes and minerals that control the way the body recognizes, metabolizes and uses them to make what it needs.

Isolated vitamins can’t always be used by the body, and are either stored until you obtain or create the nutrients required to use them effectively or are excreted. Synthetic vitamins are also devoid of necessary trace minerals and must use the body’s own mineral reserves which may lead to dangerous mineral deficiencies.

In the video above, Henry notes that synthetic vitamins can also “trick” your body into thinking its gotten enough of a nutrient, even though it’s not being absorbed.

NPR reported in 2013 that Americans were spending $28 billion on vitamin and mineral supplements. That same year, at least three published studies found that the average multivitamin did nothing for consumers’ health. Many conditions are still being caused by nutrient deficiencies.

A better way to get the nutrients your body needs

Most people don’t get enough nutrients from their diet — that’s probably why so many people turn to supplements. Refined grains, added sugars and processed foods make up far too much of the standard American diet, but medical experts agree that dietary improvements should come before supplementation.

Dr. Clifford Lo, an associate professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, states that nutrients are most powerful when they come from whole foods. “They are accompanied by many nonessential but beneficial nutrients, such as hundreds of carotenoids, flavonoids, minerals, and antioxidants that aren’t in most supplements,”  Lo explains.

Working with a holistic nutrition practitioner is one way you can work to get your diet in check and boost your nutrient intake. If you are diagnosed with a nutrient deficiency that requires supplementation, looking for a supplement made from whole foods and real, non-synthetic nutrients is the best option. As sources note, you can check supplement labels to verify what kinds of nutrients they use; many supplements bear the “natural” label even when just 10 percent of the ingredients are in their natural form. The “dl” form of any nutrient is virtually always going to be synthetic, but there are plenty of other synthetics to look out for also.

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