Many people around the globe rely on a daily regime of synthetic supplements and vitamins due to the inability to get their recommended daily allowances (RDA) from diet alone. In the US alone, a study (1) showed without enrichment and/or fortification and supplementation, many Americans did not achieve the recommended micronutrient intake levels. But even-though dietary supplements are a huge part of the global health and wellness industry ($123.28 billion in 2019) (2) do they provide the correct amounts of essential nutrients needed and are they in the right form for effective absorption? Are whole food sources of vitamins and minerals as a balanced diet a better option for intake and bioavailability?
What are synthetic vitamins?
What are whole-food (natural) vitamins?
One limitation (6) of getting all vitamins from whole food sources would be for those who have dietary restrictions due to diet choices or allergies. For example, many vegans have to take a vitamin B12 supplement as it is primarily obtained from meat and dairy products.
One of the most important vitamins to consumers and food producers alike, especially during and after the coronavirus crisis, is the immune-boosting vitamin C. As one study (9) shows vitamin C has many benefits for the body, from being an antioxidant, reducing potentially harmful free radicals to boosting the production of phagocytes and lymphocytes, white blood cells essential for protecting the body from infection, as shown by this research. (10) The immune-boosting properties made it a possible treatment source for the coronavirus, with trials to demonstrate its effectiveness, taking place in China.
This essential vitamin has been shown to be extremely effective when consumed from a whole food source with one study (11) concluding that ‘ingesting vitamin C as part of a whole food is considered preferable because of the concomitant consumption of numerous other macro- and micronutrients and phytochemicals, which will confer additional health benefits.’
The Baobab tree itself is extremely multi-purposed (14) with its bark being used to make ropes and baskets and the seeds, bark and leaves all being used as treatments for ‘almost any disease’ such as malaria, tuberculosis, fever, infections, diarrhea, anemia, toothache, and dysentery.
The many benefits of the Baobab fruit make it a perfect source of vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals for food products. As well as the added nutritional value the fruit has also been shown in a study (15) to help curb hunger cravings and improve digestive health, potentially due to its high fiber and polyphenol content, it can also help control blood sugar (16) levels, and reduce inflammation. (17)
Before the recent coronavirus crisis, the increase in health awareness by consumers saw the market for vitamin C ingredients increase to $2.1billion (19) in 2019 making it an important factor in any new/reformulated food product. With immunity-boosting ingredients now at the front of everyone’s mind, there has never been a better time to make the Baobab fruit the primary source of vitamin C in trail mixes, cereals, chocolate, and snacks.