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Why Quality Supplements Matter

 

Patients, friends, and family members often ask us, “What supplement(s) should I be taking?” And, while the answer may be different for each person, there is one thing everyone should know: All supplements are not created equal. So, if you are going to take supplements, make sure they are of high quality. What does that mean, exactly? It means no store brands or generics, and here’s why: The FDA’s guidelines governing supplement manufacturing are less stringent than other comparable industries.

The Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act of 1994, (DSHEA) allows products to go directly to market and carry claims about what the product does without any safety, purity, or quality testing by the FDA.  The burden is on the FDA to prove that the product is unsafe if it later proves to be harming people, and then take the producer to court. In other words, they take a reactionary stance, rather than a proactive one.

This puts the onus on us to research the vitamin and supplement brands we put our trust in. We always want to ensure that we are recommending a quality product. Think of them as part of your diet. You want the best quality food possible put into your body and the best quality supplements. It’s no different than putting good gas in your car. Here is what we look for in the brands we recommend:

Potency
The brands we rely upon deliver clinical-strength results and the form of the nutrient is high-quality and well-absorbed by the body. Professional-grade supplements will have some basic sciences or clinical trials behind them and have a long history of clinical effectiveness.

Accuracy
Drug store brands and big-box retailers often contain contaminated ingredients, unnecessary fillers, or are mislabeled entirely. With high-quality brands, the dosage on the label matches the dose in the pill, capsule, tablet, powder, etc. When it comes to purchasing online, avoid Amazon or eBay because a large majority of the supplements for sale may be counterfeit. In fact, if you look at the genuine brand’s website, they won’t say they are selling on Amazon or eBay, likely because they are not. Secondly, they could also be supplying you with expired products. Counterfeiters often change the expiry date on the packaging before reselling.

Fillers
Make sure what you are taking is free of common allergens like gluten, shellfish, or dairy, and contains absolutely zero additives, colors, or fillers.

Oversight
Supplement manufacturers are not required to have someone come and review their facilities or the quality of their products. However, several manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to hold their products to a higher standard. They voluntarily go through a qualification process governed by the FDA that provides them with a certification known as “Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).” Third-party certifications on labels are also good from organizations such as NSF International or The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP). They ensure that products are uniformly consistent in quality. After all, you want to receive the same thing every time. Another good source of information is consumerlab.com. Here, you can register and gain access to the latest tests and reviews of more than 1,300 health products.

Be Supplement Savvy
Who can benefit from supplements? We think everyone, though which supplements are right for you are totally individual. Vitamins and minerals are the essential elements that facilitate every chemical reaction in your body. For example, magnesium alone controls over 200 enzymes, yet most people are mag-deficient. And, while it would be lovely to think that we can get everything we need from a whole-foods-based diet, the truth is that industrialized farming, depleted soils, and CAFOs mean that the plants and animals we consume have far fewer nutrients than those we evolved from eating. Not to mention the total burden of environmental toxins, lack of sunlight, and chronic stress we experience, which leads to higher nutrient needs and large-scale nutritional deficiencies in our population overall.

To find out what supplements would benefit you most, contact us today.

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