In order to assess the quality of your supplements, it is important to know if the vitamins and minerals are in the most biologically active and absorbable forms. Most over the counter formulations contain vitamins and minerals in their most commonly used and often inexpensive forms. To the untrained eye the synthetics may not seem like an issue (especially if the cost of the supplement seems like a bargain). The most active forms of vitamins and minerals can have a substantial benefit to your health, and can often be the distinguishing factor between a mild effect and a profound shift in your health.
The body’s physiology is complex and sometimes delicate, and it often converts orally absorbed nutrients a number of times before it is in a form that is useable. A prime example is folic acid, also known as folate.
Folic acid is essential for DNA and RNA formation, genomic maintenance, and red blood cell production. A deficiency during pregnancy was found to cause neural tube defects in infants so it was mandated by governmental agencies that folic acid should be fortified in standard foods such as bread and cereals. Natural folates are found in dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, broccoli, kale, turnip greens) and other vegetables. Their absorption rate of naturally found folic acid is approximately 50% less than that of supplemental folic acid.