Whole food vitamins are those that have been carefully processed and unaltered in any way that would change the molecular structure or biochemical combinations and actions of the vitamin complexes.
Many supplements that are called "natural" have a food base but the primary ingredients are USP or synthetic vitamins because to claim the right to be natural, a supplement needs only to originate from a natural source and/or be as little as 10% natural.
Even supplements derived from natural sources such as herbs, yeast, foods such as rice bran, berries, etc, can be useless due to heat, pressure, or other processing techniques that destroy their enzymes.
Chemically, natural and synthetic vitamins are identical, but there has been found to be a very important distinction. When a beam of polarized light passes through a natural vitamin it will always bend to the right, due to the molecular rotation of the natural substance. The letter "d" seen on some supplement labels represents dextro or "right". This indicates the vitamin is the natural form.
As a beam of polarized light passes through a synthetic vitamin it splits into two parts: one part bending to the right and the other to the left. Therefore, there is the letter "d" for right and "l" for left. Synthetic supplements, therefore, may be represented by the letters "di" preceding the vitamin name.
This polarized light test shows that the biological activity of synthetic vitamins can be 50%-70% less than nutrients in natural, whole food supplements. There may be times when a synthetic supplement may be useful and effective, but we feel that, for the long term, a truly natural supplement would be best.
According to Dr. Richard Murray, synthetic vitamins fail time and time again when put to the scientific test in human feedings. Over 200 studies have proven the superior efficacy of whole foods and whole food supplements as compared to synthetics.
In conclusion: Supplements concentrated from whole foods and processed in a way that keeps all nutrients intact would be the best way to go. Unfortunately, this type of supplement is difficult and expensive to manufacture and hard to find - but they are available.
Do the best you can to ensure whole food nutrition for you and your family. You will never regret that decision. Good whole food supplements include: non-denatured whey protein powder, colostrum, omega-3 rich fish oil, and organic greens drinks.