Vitamins have become mainstream with almost every corner store stocking a shelf or two with several brands. But how do you know what is high quality, absorbable (bio-available), healthy, and worth it’s sticker price? Did you know that certain synthetic vitamins can actually do more harm than good? In the next couple of weeks I will outline some of the most harmful vitamins on the market so you can avoid them in order to stay healthy.

It seems that almost everyone is taking some kind of vitamin supplement these days. When I was a child my parents often gave me Flintstones chewable vitamins. When I read that label today I’m shocked – if only my parents had known they were causing more harm than good. Just like my parents, your head and heart are in the right place. It’s often necessary to take vitamin supplements, especially if you are depleted, stressed, or have an illness. They’re also necessary if you’re eating foods that are processed, grown in soil that lacks nutrients, fruits and vegetables that aren’t vine ripened or if you are of child-bearing age, growing, aging, don’t exercise or sleep enough, and have certain genetic predispositions. Ok, that’s just about everyone!

Not all vitamins are good for you. There are 13 single vitamins that are most commonly found in supplements, like a multi-vitamin. Over the next few weeks I will discuss the most common of these and the harm they cause. Please keep in mind that getting phytochemicals (plant-based nutrients) from vine ripened fruits and vegetables is far superior. Most vitamins you find in stores are synthetic and therefore not easily recognized and utilized by the human body. In fact, some have been shown to do more harm than good.

Questionable Vitamin #1: Synthetic Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an excellent antioxidant, but synthetic is not good for you. Synthetic Vitamin C causes oxidation damage while natural Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant.  If you need an added boost of Vitamin C, like around flu season or if you have immune dysfunction, then consider a liposomal delivery system. My favorite, most highly absorbable Vitamin C, comes in a liposomal delivery system (liquid) by Quick Silver Scientifics. You won’t get an upset tummy or diarrhea with this potent. It can support your immune system and combat the effects of aging and stress.

Questionable Vitamin #2: Synthetic Vitamin E

Vitamin E is not as bio-available as natural Vitamin E nor is it biochemically equivalent. Synthetic Vitamin E is listed with “dl” prefix so avoid these. It is made from petrochemicals and not good for humans. The carrier protein in the liver prefers the natural version of Vitamin E, rather than the synthetic one. D-Alpha-tocopherol is Natural Vitamin E and is at least 2 times as effective as the synthetic version according to both physiological and pharmacological markers. Rac-α-tocopheryl acetate—is a synthetic petrochemically-derived form of dl-alpha tocopherol, which has known toxic effects and can increase Risk of Prostate Cancer:

Read more on my friend Suzy Cohen’s site:

Questionable Vitamin #3: Synthetic Beta Carotene

Synthetic vitamins E, A, and Beta Carotene were shown to increase mortality –, and if you are a smoker, it’s worse.  Synthetic Beta Carotene was shown to cause a small but statistically significant increase in all-cause mortality, that is death!

While eating foods with Beta Carotene have been shown to be safe, it’s true that Mother Nature does it best, synthetic vitamins can do more harm than good. Beta Carotene has an absorption efficiency of about 9% to 22% depending on its form (e.g. from raw or cooked vegetables or synthetic vitamins), the current storage of Vitamin A, and if it was taken with fats. Food sources are always best.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog on more highly advertised and questionable vitamins that are touted as the most important, and which ones to buy. I will also reveal one of my favorite whole food supplements!

Blessings of Vibrant Health,

Kristin Grayce McGary