The majority of vitamin supplements on the market today are synthetic. This means that they contain man-made equivalents of vitamins found in nature, which generally indicates chemical compounds of some sort. Since a lot of people are now focusing on leading healthier lifestyles, they are opting to cut back on the many chemicals that permeate the items they ingest and go for natural options instead, which are made solely from food-based ingredients. But when it comes to being healthy, aren’t organic ingredients best? What is the difference between vitamins that are natural and those that are organic?
First you might want to know how they are similar. Both natural and organic vitamin supplements are made from natural products. This means that the ingredients were not chemically synthesized in a laboratory by technicians, they came from plant and animal products. But that is where the similarity ends. And the main reason is because of the strict regulations surrounding the production of organic foodstuffs. Organically grown crops and organically raised livestock must be 100% chemical-free. This means that no chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and so on can be used to grow crops, and further, the soil where these plants are grown must be free of toxins for a certain number of years if the produce is to receive a certified organic label (from the Department of Agriculture).
Further, animals raised in an organic fashion must receive no hormone injections or antibiotics and they have to be fed a diet of strictly organic vegetation. It may seem extreme, but people that are willing to pay extra for chemical-free food are serious about getting their money’s worth. And because these products are backed by a governmental regulation and certification process and there are strict laws concerning false advertising, they must adhere to rigorous standards. While you may be wondering about the authenticity of vitamins that claim to be organic since the FDA does not regulate substances that fall into this category, you should know that any product bearing the USDA Organic label has been regulated and it is guaranteed to be 100% organic.
As for natural products, there is simply no way to know what you’re getting. Unlike the term “organic”, which has a legal definition, the term “natural” has no such standard. So any company that has any amount of natural ingredients in their product could label it as natural and be well within their rights to do so. Although this unfortunately leaves consumers vulnerable to buying a product that they think is natural only to find that it isn’t, the situation is of the “buyer beware” variety. Now that you know natural products may not be so natural, you might want to think twice before you pay more for a multivitamin, a bottle of fish oil, or B12 spray bearing the word “natural” on the label. You might not be getting the chemical-free supplements you seek. If you want to be sure that you’re getting just what you want, look for the certified organic label.