Our Members Asked:
Which "whole food" multivitamins don't include synthetic vitamins? How about Complete Foods, Sunwarrior, Garden of Life, Nature's Brands, and Doctors' Research?
If you read labels very carefully, you'll find that most "whole food" multivitamin/multimineral supplements are not exclusively made from "whole" foods (i.e., they contain food extracts or concentrates) and some may contain nutrients not from "foods" but from synthetic sources.
It is particularly interesting to look at the source of vitamin D in these products. Plants do not provide vitamin D, so food-based products needs to include either fish oil (such as cod liver oil), a meat liver extract, or brewer's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) or lichen (a combination of algae and fungus — which can be eaten if properly prepared) which has been exposed to UV radiation, as these can produce vitamin D
Bear in mind that it's not necessarily clinically important that all of your nutrients come exclusively foods and, in limited situations, it may be better to include a synthetic source. In addition, some "whole foods may be contaminated with heavy metals, as ConsumerLab.com has found (see the Greens and Whole Foods Powders Review). It's also important that products contain the vitamins and minerals they claim. We routinely purchase and test supplements claiming to be from "whole foods" as part of our Multivitamin/Multimineral Supplements Review, so be sure to check the report.
However, if it important to you that you get your nutrients only from whole foods, we have, reviewed the labels of products from the brands you asked about -- sign in to read our assessments >>