Discussion – Supplement Whole-Food vs Synthetic.

Learn the differences.

In the modern-day, time is scarce and invaluable to many.

Within fast-paced stressful environments, the focus on healthy living to cope with daily demands are even greater. Over and over we’ve been told by health care practitioners we need to take supplements because our diets are lacking vital nutrients.

Recent studies appoint a consumer tendency to look for constant energy boosts, better brain activity and peak performance products.

But, with so many options available, how to identify – and stock – what’s best for your store?

Is there any difference between synthetic and whole-food supplements?

Are we assuming all supplements come from natural sources?

What’s really going on inside those supplement packs?


Working in a health segment allows us to dig down on it and to discover what is currently not said – or highlighted – about supplements, many of which are purely synthetic. We look at and analyse the efficacy of whole-food against some of the most updated scientific claims available.   


Synthetically manufactured or based supplements are everywhere, and, in the supplements, it means they are man-made, produced with chemical ingredients in laboratories. In principle Synthetic supplements are isolated portions of the vitamins and minerals.

Whole-food supplements are made of whole-food ingredients found in nature, concentrated for the best therapeutic effect, containing hundreds of natural vitamins and minerals.


A good example between synthetic and whole-food supplement differences can be found in Vitamin C.

Vitamin C from natural source, such as Camu Camu, is complex matrix of nutrients. Made of hundreds of different components that work synergistically, it is composed of enzymes, co-enzymes, minerals, and co-factors to produce the desired effects.

Due to its natural source, and it is well absorbed format, it is used in many physiological processes in the body as it is identified – and used – as food.

“Ascorbic acid”, also commercially sold as “vitamin C”, is a singular, man-made molecule mostly derived from corn sugar. It is well documented being poorly absorbed by the body, it is only retained for a short period of time before being excreted, having a limited exposure on the metabolic functions of the body.


Have you ever wondered why does your urine can turn bright yellow when taking supplements?

This is due to large excess of high level of synthetic compounds being unused by the body, hence excreted as waste.

We’re used to the idea that “more is better”.

We normally like to see ingredients listed in high percentages, as such, many consumers opt for a high dose of synthetic supplements despite its poor absorption ad retention by the body.  So, it is common to think, “if a nutrient is good for the eyes, as example, then a whole bunch of this nutrient must be even better.”

When it comes to nutrition, this isn’t how Mother Nature works. 

Foods are balanced. Foods are loaded with lots of nutrients but never in exceeding-dose quantities. Human bodies can’t recognise synthetic isolated ingredients and tries to get rid of them as quickly as possible.


Other good example is the Magnesium. Most consumers probably know about the mineral magnesium, but possibly overlook the benefits of it.

Always high in demand, Magnesium helps up to 75% of the population reported with a deficiency in the mineral.


Last year we saw the first ever organic magnesium been launched and creating a storm.

Coming from sea lettuce, the 100% whole-food Organic Magnesium offers hundreds different nutrients, manually harvested and all made by Mother Nature, guaranteeing maximum absorption.


In the synthetic format by comparison, the most popular types of Magnesium Supplements are still – Magnesium Oxide and Magnesium Citrate.

Well known because the pills are smaller and contain more magnesium, this factor is of minimal significance when bio-availability is considered.  Once ingested, magnesium oxide is poorly absorbed by the body, with only around 4% of its elemental magnesium absorbed. Magnesium Citrate on the other hand has documented side effects of stomach irritability potentially causing acid reflux and diarrhoea.


In the mystery and magic of nature, organic whole-food sources have shown to be the most optimal as they offer a true symphony of natural synergistic ingredients, recognised and fully utilised by the body.

Whilst the pharmaceutical sector is a billion-pounds industry working to maximise profit, with valid and respectable Labs and studies supporting their claims, organic whole-food nutrition focuses on the clean and pure nutrients given by nature to make their own claim.

Choosing between whole-food supplements and synthetic vitamins depends on consumer eating habits, health, and why they want or need to take them.

Advances in research are supporting consumers to make informed decisions about types – and quality – of supplements. As a result, the awareness surrounding the benefits of natural organic sources found in plants, herbs and spices has seen a strong rise in consumer demand for whole-food based supplementation in recent years.

So, as recommended by Katarina Cepinova, Nutritional Therapist, (Dip NT, mBANT, rCNHC), next time you look at a supplement, ask yourself:

Is this a true whole-food supplement that my body will fully utilise for optimal health? As our bodies responds well to natural sources of complex nutrients, we have an opportunity to look at Nature’s ability to maintain physiological and physiological well-being. The focus should be given to not just to what we eat, but how it is what we eat (food and supplementation) absorbed in our bodies.”


For more information about our stocked ranges, call us now on 0208 961 5666. To discover more about our whole-food  products available, check our Royal Green brand’s catalogue >>here<<.