Natural vs Synthetic Vitamin E
“Natural Vitamin E supplements outperform synthetic forms, according to a VERIS Research Summary. Results of recent studies suggest that natural Vitamin E is more bioavailable and is retained in body tissues significantly longer than synthetic Vitamin E. These studies show that previously accepted differences were underestimated and that the bioavailability of natural Vitamin E is about twice that of synthetic Vitamin E compounds.”
(Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, July 1999, p. 100)
Natural vs Synthetic Vitamin E – Natural Vitamin E is derived from vegetable oils, primarily soybean oil. Synthetic Vitamin E is produced from petrochemicals. A key difference scientists are examining is the structure of the compounds.
- Natural Vitamin E is a single stereoisomer.
- Synthetic E is a mixture of eight stereoisomers, only one of which is the same as natural Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol).
In synthetic Vitamin E, seven of the stereoisomers have different molecular configurations and lower biological activities when compared to natural Vitamin E. That means, the synthetic versions are less capable at providing health benefits in the body.*
Consumers will find natural Vitamin E by looking on the product’s list of ingredients:
Natural = d alpha-tocopherol
Synthetic = dl alpha-tocopheryl
NOTE: the differences are easy when you know what to look for. When looking for a NATURAL form of Vitamin E, always select one that is “d” (not “dl”) and the word tocopherol ends with “ol” (not “yl”).
Research has shown that the human body strongly discriminates between natural and synthetic Vitamin E. One researcher who has studied this effect believes anyone taking Vitamin E should be taking the natural form. “Our studies suggest without question that natural Vitamin E delivers at least twice the impact as synthetic E,” said Robert Acuff, PhD, Professor and Director, Center for Nutrition Research at East Tennessee State University. The natural form of Vitamin E is clearly the one our bodies were designed to use.*
Another study by Maret Traber, Associate Professor at the Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, found that the body seems to discriminate between the two forms, favoring retention of the natural form of Vitamin E for use within the body and excreting the synthetic form. The natural form of Vitamin E, such as our UNIQUE E® Mixed Tocopherols, is simply a better product than the synthetic forms.*