Natural vs. Synthetic Vitamin E
The Natural Health Research Institute (NHRI), www.naturalhealthresearch.com,
organized a symposium on the Controversy over the Role of Natural Vitamin E in reducing the Leading Causes of Death, at the American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS), www.aocs.org
, meeting in St. Louis, May 2, 2006. Michael Lelah, Ph.D., Technical Director at NOW Foods, was one of the speakers at the symposium. Michael presented an overview of the differences between natural and synthetic Vitamin E.
Unlike most vitamins, the natural form of Vitamin E is very different from the synthetic synthetic form of Vitamin E. Natural Vitamin E actually is made up of 8 different unique biochemicals - alpha, beta, gamma, and delta - tocopherols, and alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocotrienols. Natural Vitamin E is derived from various fats, oils, nuts and grains; a primary source is soy. On the other hand, synthetic Vitamin E is a mixture of 8 stereoisomers of d-alpha-tocopherol. Only one of these stereoisomers is bio-identical to alpha tocopherol. The others are completely different. Synthetic Vitamin E is chemically produced from petroleum byproducts.
The families of synthetic and natural Vitamin E's have very different bioactivity. In general, as an antioxidant, natural Vitamin E is about twice as potent as the synthetic family.
At NOW Foods, when we talk about natural Vitamin E, we are refering to the forms as discussed above. We only use the natural forms in our products.