A Guide to Real vs Synthetic Supplements

How safe are your supplements, really?

Australians are one of the world’s largest consumers of dietary supplements. Over 8.3 million of us purchased vitamins, minerals and/or supplements in 2018. From Vitamin C to Amino Acids, the market is continuously growing.

The amount of highly processed, nutrient lacking pre-packaged foods on the market is also increasing. The typical Australian diet is often filled with too many empty calories and not enough of the nutrient-dense, whole foods our bodies need to thrive. Therefore, we rely on supplements to boost our diet more than ever.

Why use Supplements?

Supplements have a wide variety of purposes, including all-round immune function, bone and heart health, beauty, sleep, performance and sport. Dietary supplements are typically comprised of ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, enzymes and amino acids, available in powders, liquids, tablets and capsules.

It’s not recommended that you rely on supplements to meet nutritional needs rather than getting it naturally from your diet, or rely solely on sports supplements to provide results in muscle building or fat loss without a healthy balanced diet and exercise regime. Rather, supplements can be a great addition to boost your diet or take your training to the next level.

The problem lies with many of the dietary and sports supplements on the market today making false claims about how “natural” they are. Due to a lack of quality regulations, many synthetic supplements contain potentially harmful substances and megadosing ingredients, resulting in a lack of absorption in the body.

In short, synthetic ingredients are produced artificially and could contain chemical compounds that aren’t meant for human consumption and do not occur in nature.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when buying supplements:

Always read the label

Rules are there for a reason. In the medical industry, one of the main safety concerns around complementary medicines is that they don’t go through the same tests and regulations as prescription drugs.

Similarly, in the sports supplement industry, supplements could contain compounds that are illegal and banned for use in sports – but aren’t included on the label as an ingredient. When we take a supplement, we expect to be able to trust the label and brand. In reality, we often don’t know what ingredients they contain, where they come from, or if they actually provide any health benefits. Even worse, they could cause more harm than good. When ordering supplements online from overseas countries, the risk is even higher.

Supplements that are Australian Certified Organic provide an extra level of precaution and consumers can rest assured the products and ingredients used are heavy metal tested and contain no artificial or synthetic ingredients and preservatives.

Raw Nutrients greens

Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing

“More is better” is not always the case. Supplements have been known to contain ‘megadoses’ of vitamins and minerals well beyond the recommended daily intake in a synthetic form. Consuming single, isolated vitamins and minerals beyond the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) on top of those you receive through your diet means you’re getting much more than you need.

Vitamins A, D, E and K, in particular, must be monitored to ensure they’re consumed in safe amounts. While your body can excrete what it doesn’t need, overloading on vitamins and can lead to negative health impacts on the body.

What goes in your body, may not be absorbed

Supplement manufacturers claim that synthetic ingredients are chemically identical to whole foods. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean our bodies will respond to and receive them in the same way. This is because whole foods contain a wide variety of complex nutrients including enzymes and coenzymes that work together for optimal absorption in the body.

On the other hand, synthetic ingredients are isolated and missing these essential cofactors. Supplements can also be costly, so it’s important to choose a high-quality, certified organic, non-synthetic, wholefood supplement where possible.

A quick way to determine if the product includes natural or synthetic ingredients is to check the label for unrecognisable words. For example, Retinyl Palmitate instead of Vitamin A; Cyanocobalamin instead of Vitamin B12; and other chemical names in place of whole foods.

It’s similar to eating at a fancy restaurant where you have to Google the ingredients on the menu. Stick to words you know. Except for Fructo-oligosaccharides (we admit, we had to Google that too).

Choose organic and non-synthetic

At Amazonia, we understand that organic, non-synthetic, real nutrition is the basis for optimal health. We pride ourselves in providing the highest quality products made from natural, wholefood ingredients.

No fillers, no synthetics and no artificial ingredients. The vitamins, minerals and nutrients we include are derived from plant-based whole foods to help you #ShineBright from the inside out.