Are Liquid Vitamins Organic or Inorganic?
The main purpose of any liquid vitamin or mineral is very simple: to provide your body with an added boost of nutrition that it may not be regularly receiving from your diet. Since you will be consuming most supplements on a consistent basis in order to achieve this effect, it is important to consider what the ingredients in these supplements look like and any potential impact they may have on your body. When it comes to ingredients, the typical concern for most people is whether or not they should be prioritizing organic over non-organic. In this article, we will examine what makes organic liquid vitamins certified to be called organic and highlight the ways they differ from non-organic supplements.
The Meaning of “Organic”
Any supplement in the United States that has been certified by the USDA as an organic supplement must contain at least 95% organic ingredients. Supplements of this kind are easily recognizable, as they will usually display the USDA seal somewhere on their label. The USDA also outlines what it means to be an organic ingredient: the ingredient must be harvested naturally in accordance with the standards of organic farming. These standards forbid the use of pesticides, insecticides, and GMOs, resulting in higher quality crops without influence from chemicals or synthetic substances of any kind (1).
Use caution when searching for organic supplements because there are some ways that brands can attempt to sneak past becoming USDA certified. For example, a supplement may have the phrase “made with organic ingredients” on its label. Though it may be partially true, this does not carry the same weight as the USDA seal. In fact, any vitamins or minerals that use this phrase are only required to be made with 70% or more organic ingredients as opposed to the USDA’s 95%. If eating organic is a top priority for you, then you should try to stick with USDA certified formulas.
Differences Between Organic and Non-Organic Supplements
Now that you are an expert on all things organic, let’s explore a few of the ways that organic and non-organic supplements differ from each other.
If you have read about nutrition before, then you may be familiar with the concept of bioavailability. Bioavailability refers to the ability of a substance to be absorbed and used by the human body. Since the main purpose of any liquid vitamin or mineral is to provide your body with an extra dosage of nutrients that supplement the nutritional value you already receive from your normal diet, bioavailability is extremely important to the ingredients in every supplement formula. If the ingredients in your supplement are not bioavailable, then absorption rates will decline. Low absorption rates mean lower intake of nutrients, rendering your supplement practically useless.
Ingredients that come from a natural source typically have better bioavailability than those derived from synthetic sources. The reason for this may be that the nutrients in whole foods are accompanied by other vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants that are necessary to help your body absorb the main essential nutrients with greater efficiency. These additional nutrients are sometimes known as “synergists,” as they provide the synergy that allows your body to properly utilize the main nutrients in your supplement. Vitamin E is an excellent example of this phenomenon. Studies have shown that the natural form of vitamin E absorbs twice as effectively as the synthetic form (2). Organic vitamins tend to make use of the natural forms of nutrients as opposed to the synthetic forms, meaning that they likely can provide an added boost to your body’s absorption rate compared to non-organic alternatives.
On top of utilizing the synthetic forms of nutrients as opposed to the natural forms, many non-organic supplements also contain unnecessary additives and filler ingredients to make them more superficially appealing. Whether it be for the sake of convenience, cost-effectiveness, or simply aesthetic appearance, non-organic supplement brands have become reliant on these synthetic ingredients as part of their formulas. Some of the most common additives include dyes and high sugar content. Dyes may make a formula stand out to the eye, and sugars may create a pleasant flavor. However, both of these additives, particularly sugar, have the potential to become harmful when consumed excessively. Superficial benefits like appearance and taste are not worth risking harm to your body.
Organic supplements, on the other hand, often avoid synthetic ingredients of any kind, utilizing the natural forms of most nutrients and cutting out additives and fillers entirely. Since USDA certified organic supplements are required to contain at least 95% organic ingredients, there is not much room left to be taken up by synthetic ingredients in the first place. We believe that, in the long run, it will likely be safer and healthier for you and your family to stick with supplements that keep their additives in check and provide you with only the natural nutrients you need in a healthy, organic formula.
- McEvoy, Miles. “Organic 101: What the USDA Organic Label Means.” USDA, 13 March 2019, https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2012/03/22/organic-101-what-usda-organic-label-means.
- Burton, G.W. et al. “Human plasma and tissue alpha-tocopherol concentrations in response to supplementation with deuterated natural and synthetic vitamin E.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9537614.