Be Picky About Your Supplements

MYTH NO. 1: “ALL SUPPLEMENTS ARE ALIKE.”

No way. Just because you’re taking an herb, mineral, or vitamin you need doesn’t mean you’re getting it in a form you can easily digest. Or that you’re getting the correct amount. You must get sufficient amounts of a supplement for it to do its job, and the truth is that many over-the-counter vitamins and other products simply don’t include enough high-quality ingredients.

Many supplements, even those purchased at Whole Foods or other health food stores, have more fillers, binders and even toxins than they do the herb on the label.

MYTH NO. 2: “THE QUALITY OF SUPPLEMENTS IS REGULATED.”

No agency–government or private–monitors the quality of nutritional supplements. This means that there are no industry standards for potency or purity. Some manufacturers never even test their own raw materials. Instead, they rely on the word of their suppliers to provide quality, authentic, potent products. (Some couldn’t even guarantee they’re providing the product they say they’re selling!)

MYTH NO. 3: “I CAN TRUST WHAT THE LABEL SAYS ABOUT CONTENTS.”

Many things can go wrong when providing supplements of raw materials. The materials can go rancid. Most include fillers and can include heavy metals, dioxins, mercury, and other dangerous ingredients. They can be formulated by people who don’t know how to provide (or care about providing) nutrients that can be best absorbed by our bodies. They can be shipped in an environment that is too hot or too humid, or they can be left sitting after harvest for months, even years, before being used. Oils, fatty acids, vitamin E, and other liquid forms of vitamins are most vulnerable to damage.

Many times patients have told me, “I tried using XYZ herb before and didn’t see any results. Why do you want me to use it again?” Most likely, they took a brand that didn’t test its own product and didn’t guarantee potency. They were probably taking more fillers than herb, so naturally they didn’t see results.

MYTH NO. 4: “LABELS TELL YOU HOW MUCH OF A SUPPLEMENT YOU’RE GETTING.”

This isn’t true!

First of all, how much of a supplement your body absorbs depends on the quality and potency of the product and on the correct use of absorbing agents in the supplement.

Secondly, labeling itself can be a problem. It is often impossible to know how much of a product you’re getting. For example, the Recommended Daily Allowance for minerals is based on theelemental form of the mineral. This is the actual amount of the mineral, not including the chelating agent (the agent necessary for absorption, for example: citrate, carbonate, glycinate, aspartate, etc.).

The difference between two products can be as simple as a couple of parentheses on a label. Look at the example below:

PRODUCT A: Magnesium Citrate 1000 mg

PRODUCT B: Magnesium (Citrate) 400 mg

You wouldn’t know from looking at it, but these products have the same amount of magnesium. Magnesium citrate (no parentheses) simply means the amount of magnesium plus citrate. Using the ratio that citrate must have to combine with minerals, this means that Product A really contains 400 mg of elemental magnesium and 600 mg of citrate. Product B also contains 400mg of elemental magnesium in the product with citrate used as the chelating agent.

SO WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?

My products can be more expensive than the ones at health food stores. This s because they work! I take a lot of care in choosing only reputable, authentic, potent products that provide accurate labeling and the most effective absorbing agents. The products are tested to assure their purity and potency, both in raw material form and after production, and they are formulated by doctors and pharmacists who do thorough research to understand how to deliver their nutrients most effectively to the body. Remember, all supplements are not alike! And an inexpensive supplement that can’t be absorbed by the body won’t help you and could potentially harm you.

Sources:

“Absorption of Mineral Supplements” HealthQuest Inc. www.hquest.com

“Quality Verification” Vital Nutrients www.vitalnutrients.net/quality.asp

* The information in this article cannot be substituted for medical advice about your unique body. Call for an appointment to discuss questions or concerns.