September 17th, 2017 - Brian Maguire

To avoid being deceived by money focused unknowing marketers, you must not only get in the habit of reading the labels of supplements and other products before purchasing them, but you also want to understand what those labels mean. Many products that claim to be “natural,” simply are not. These supplements are permitted to call themselves “natural” even when they contain synthetic ingredients.  Just because these manufacturers are uneducated or ignore pertinent research, while CONSIDERING certain vitamins to be “virtually identical” to the ones found in food, it doesn’t make it so.

DID YOU KNOW: A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found NO benefit of supplementation with isolated synthetic beta-carotene! (1)

As discussed in other related articles, these “virtually identical” vitamins are not like those found in nature and are not properly assimilated or fully accessible to the body. In addition, they present a strenuous workload for the liver and kidneys, as they are for the most part recognized as toxins.

Many companies are focused on their profit margins and sacrifice quality to do so. A lot of times there is no significant benefit experienced at all after taking their so called ‘natural’ supplements. Through careful wording and by using a certain percentage of natural ingredients, supplement manufacturers can give the impression that they are natural when they are truly not.

For example, vitamin C with rosehips is synthetic vitamin C with ADDED rosehips, which should not be confused with vitamin C derived FROM rosehips. Synthetic or isolated vitamin C comes in the form of ascorbic acid, which is synthesized from sugar, such as dextrose, many of which are corn (GMO) based.

It’s typical for many supplement makers to try to pack as much as they can into a capsule, giving us the impression that more is better, which is definitely not the case. As previously stated, a significant amount of one particular food nutrient extract or laboratory made nutrient does not make a supplement potent enough or effective. It’s the bioavailability and synergistic effect that whole food complex extracts provide that makes a supplement complete and useable to the body.

So, the higher the level of an unaccompanied single nutrient ingested, the faster imbalances can occur. Synthetic megavitamins can contain 10 to over 100 times the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for a vitamin or mineral, acting like drugs with potentially serious reactions. Again, it is the combined effect of ALL parts of the food vitamin extract that is most important, not the chemical effect of a single part.

Yes, organic fresh whole food and high quality whole food supplements CERTAINLY cost more money! However, you get satisfaction, confidence, and peace of mind knowing that they are actually providing the benefits that they are claiming. Getting the most value for every dollar spent while obtaining the maximum results should be your goal. Do not be fooled and mislead by manufacturers selling supplements that are no more than inferior synthetic imposters, often doing the body more harm than good, especially over long-term use.

Some key points to remember:

  • All multivitamins and other individual vitamin and mineral supplements are synthetically made or in isolated form unless stated otherwise. In fact, a prominent study published by The University of California and The American Nutraceutical Association found that 97.5% of what’s considered natural is mislabeled and loaded with toxic substances, stating 98% of vitamin supplements are synthetic!
  • Many of the popular supplement products claiming to be whole food are a lot of times partially or mostly synthetic, and/or in isolated form. Make sure that ALL the vitamins and/or minerals in the supplement you are taking come from a whole food complex. A lot of times companies just add an impressive proprietary blend sourced from real fruits and vegetables, but the majority of vitamins and minerals are synthetically produced or isolated at best.
  • Read the list of ingredients on the label and check if the nutrients listed are legitimately natural or just synthetic imposters. For example, if you find vitamin C listed on the label, it should be from a whole food source, like acerola cherry fruit, camu berry, rose hips, or some other food source. If it lists ascorbic acid, it is synthetic or isolated. If these whole food forms of C are listed in the same row as the ascorbic acid it is likely mostly in synthetic form.
  • USP vitamins and many pharmaceutical grade nutrients are also in synthetic form. A lot of companies add some whole food nutrients to these forms but that doesn’t make it natural by any means.
  • Beware: vitamins can be legally labeled as “natural” if they consist of at least 10% of the vitamin in its natural form, meaning 90% of the so called “natural” vitamin can be synthetically manufactured! So ridiculous.
  • Lastly, keep in mind that whole food vitamins should smell like food when the bottle is opened.


The Organic Consumers Association identifies synthetic form vitamins to AVOID:

Vitamin A: Retinyl Palmitate

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Thiamine Mononitrate, Thiamine Hydrochloride

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Riboflavin

Pantothenic Acid: Calcium D-Pantothenate

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Pyridoxine Hydrochloride

Vitamin B12: Cyanocobalamin

PABA (Para-aminobenzoic Acid): Aminobenzoic Acid

Folic Acid: Pteroyl glutamic Acid

Choline: Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate

Biotin: d-Biotin

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Ascorbic Acid

Vitamin D: Irradiated Ergosterol, Calciferol

Vitamin E: dl-alpha tocopherol, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate or succinate

Take note: the “dl” form of any vitamin is synthetic

the word “acetate” for fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) indicates synthetic

time-released vitamins and supplements are also mostly synthetic

This PDF has a detailed list of synthetic fillers here:


Below are a couple of certifications you will find on reputable brands. Some counterfeit brands may still mimic these certifications but they are still highly valuable when searching for a quality supplement:

Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Certified Manufacturing Facility – Ensures that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards

National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International Certified for Sport – A certification in place to protect professional athletes from accidental positive drug tests

International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) – A third-party testing and certification program exclusively for fish oils

DID YOU KNOW: a 2017 Forbes article stated that 25 percent of Amazon’s products are Chinese knockoffs! 

Bear in mind that if you are looking to acquire and maintain incredible, vibrant health, a solid foundation must be set in place. For this basic infrastructure to remain intact it must include proper and regular detoxification techniques, a pH-balanced anti-inflammatory diet, exercise, proper sleep patterns, as well as healthy mental, emotional, and spiritual components.

Supplements should not replace but complement these foundational specifications. Whole food supplements can make a remarkable difference in your health. So much so that certain powerful supplements (like resveratrol for instance), prevented disease in animal studies even when they were fed a toxic standard American diet!

Also, it is important to remember that most supplements are not subject to testing requirements like those of over the counter and prescribed medications, and are not regulated as closely by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Therefore, it becomes EXTREMELY important to be able to trust the companies and manufacturers you purchase your supplements from. Third-party testing and recommendations reassure that these products are providing you with the benefits they claim and are not harmful. It is helpful and comforting to know that you can rely on websites like pH or other multi-faceted, holistically health-focused websites to do copious amounts of research to determine the quality, origin, and type of ingredients present in supplements, as well as provide you with the most up to date and pertinent health-related information available!





1- N. Eng. J. Med. 1996; 334(18): 1145-1149 

Terry, P., Jain, M., Miller, A. B., Howe, G. R., & Rohan, T. E. (2002). Dietary intake of folic acid and colorectal cancer risk in a cohort of women. International journal of cancer, 97(6), 864-867.

Brönstrup, A., Hages, M., Prinz-Langenohl, R., & Pietrzik, K. (1998). Effects of folic acid and combinations of folic acid and vitamin B-12 on plasma homocysteine concentrations in healthy, young women. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 68(5), 1104-1110.

Kathryn Scharf; The Kushi Institute of Becket, Massachusetts;