Many of today's vitamin and mineral supplements are made synthetically through chemical processes, rather than derived directly from plants or other foods. Some manufacturers do make supplements directly from natural sources, and claim that these vitamins are superior in quality to their synthetic cousins.
So which ones are better for you?
Basically, it comes down to science. If the molecular structure of a synthetic vitamin and one made from natural foods are the same, then there is no real difference between their effects on the body.
Most synthetically made vitamins are identical to the natural ones. If one says, "better quality," don't rely on that unless their claim is backed up with scientific evidence or reasoning.
The list of ingredients and their amounts are the most important aspects to look at when comparing the two. If the lists are the same, then go for the cheaper one. Some synthetic vitamins contain artificial chemical colors, or are made with products that some people are allergic to. If this is the case, you may want to choose the food based, natural vitamins.
Fit's Tips: Just so you know, most synthetic vitamins and nutrients are both cheaper and purer.