Behavior towards health and wellness is continually changing, mostly for the better. But despite the increasingly progressive and proactive health awareness initiatives over the years, most people still do not get adequate nutrients from the food they eat. Inclination towards fast foods or junk foods, medical conditions, exposure to pollution and stress, and a very hectic schedule are some of the reasons for this. Most of these reasons are just the results of poor choices or decision-making, nothing a healthier lifestyle or prudent time management could not fix. But for people with physically and mentally demanding jobs or careers that require much of their time, leaving them with little opportunity to obtain and much less time prepare healthy foods, dietary supplements can help bridge the gap.
Supplements can be either natural or synthetic, the difference being their source or origin. Natural supplements are derived from whole foods while the other is synthesized in a laboratory. There is much debate as to which is better. And the lack of regulations requiring scientific proof of their effectiveness does little to help with this. But some studies have been done that demonstrate the advantages of natural over synthetic supplements. Here are some reasons why natural supplements are a better option than synthetic supplements:
- Food Synergy
Whole food-sourced or natural supplements are known to be superior to synthetic supplements. This is mainly due to food synergy, which is the added beneficial effect one nutrient has when taken with another, like the way some macronutrients help the absorption of lipids in lipid-soluble vitamins.
The efficiency with which the human body absorbs synthetic nutrients is unpredictable, whereas natural supplements, which are usually concentrated from whole food sources, are safer and more effective. One example of this is Vitamin E, whose natural form has twice the bioavailability compared to its synthetic form. Despite the close similarity between the structures of the natural and artificial configurations, the human body reacts to them differently.
Whole foods contain phytochemicals that help prevent various diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, several types of cancer such as lung, colon and breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
- Safer to take
Some synthetic vitamins are recognized by the human body as chemicals. Like most chemicals, there is only so much the body can take, that is why there is an RDA or Daily Recommended Allowance. This risk is virtually non-existent for whole foods.
There are a few cases where a synthetic supplement is more appropriate than natural supplements. For instance, people with vitamin deficiency who need higher doses of the nutrient that they lack would benefit more from synthetic nutrients, which are isolated and more concentrated forms of these nutrients. Still, in general, there is no replacing nature.
Nutrients from whole foods are naturally easier and safer for the human body to consume. But if still in doubt, the most reliable way to know when to take natural supplements and when to take a synthetic supplement is to research supplement reviews, read how your body reacts to the supplements taken, and consult with a medical professional.