Gone are the days when Flintstones’ chewable were a thing! We thought vitamins came from a magical fairyland where they were squeezed from whole vegetables and fruits. Not exactly.

There are six categories of nutrients used in the manufacturing of vitamin supplements.


These include nutrients from vegetable, animal or mineral sources. But before making it into the supplement bottle, they undergo significant processing and refining. Examples would  include vitamin D from fish liver oils, vitamin E from vegetable oils, and natural beta-carotene.

However, when a vitamin is labeled “natural”, it only has to include 10% of actual natural plant-derived ingredients. The other 90% could be synthetic.

Nature-identical synthetic

This includes nutrients completely manufactured in a lab with the molecular structure identical to the same nutrients occurring in nature. Manufacturers often prefer this process because of the cost and scarcity of natural resources. Most standard vitamin supplements on the market today are this type.

An example would be vitamin C. Most vitamin C currently manufactured is synthetic, coming from China. Vitamin C is a weak acid. Many supplements use salt forms (sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, magnesium ascorbate) to decrease acidity.


These nutrients are manufactured in a lab and are different from the same nutrients found in nature. Synthetic vitamins can have the same chemical component, but still have a different shape.

Food cultured

This involves the same process behind cultured foods like yogurt, yeast or algae. sauerkraut. Culturing in and of itself creates nutrients and can make them more absorbable.

Food based

One kind of food based supplement is made by enzymatically reacting synthetic and natural vitamins with extracts containing vegetable proteins and then making this into a supplement.

Bacterial fermentation

This includes nutrients produced by genetically altering bacteria. Genetically altered bacteria can produce nutrient by-products.

Examples would be CoQ10, amino acids, and vitamin D2.

In Conclusion

With all of the data and research regarding nutrition and health, the most convincing information tells us to focus on what we eat — not what we get from a pill bottle.

In some situations, where it’s possible to get nutrients from whole foods, choosing a supplement instead is beneficial to your health. At NutriSport Pharmacal, we can help you decide on which vitamins to use in your business.