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Trust us, we’re the experts…

This is the message that all companies are putting out there when they are creating a public image.  They want you to trust them and their products and believe that they only have your best interest in mind.

It would be nice if all that were really true.  But the cold hard reality of it all is big business is out to make a buck and if they can skimp a little on some of the ingredients to pad their profit margin, they will do it in a heartbeat.

It might not be their intention to produce dangerous, toxic supplements, but the fact that they cut a few corners  and buy the cheapest ingredients available can do just that – create inferior, toxic supplements that may (on the good end) not be effective or (on the bad end) may actually be making your health worse, not better.

Hopefully you have committed yourself and have come to the understanding that sometimes the old saying is true – “you get what you pay for”.  You have found a company that does the testing, the rigorous quality control, and the research and produces quality supplements you can trust.

You know their products maintain the highest purity, potency and deliver the best performance…

BUT…

You find yourself at your favorite local convenience store and you see the supplement bottle with the same supplement you always get.  Maybe you are almost out and its sooo convenient and it is cheaper – Maybe you find yourself thinking, “Here are the same supplements for less money.  Why shouldn’t I save myself a little hassle and some cash by just buying these supplements?  I am sure they must be safe and effective.  I mean if they store sells them they can’t be bad.  The government wouldn’t let unsafe, toxic supplements or products on the shelves.”

How bad could they be? – I mean really!

Well, I am here to tell you that the answer to the question is PRETTY DARN BAD.

Here is a perfect example that illustrates my point.

On March 2nd of 2010, the Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation sued the makers and sellers of fish oil supplements in California.  The reason? – The companies were not telling consumers that their products contained toxic levels of PCB’s.

It was not the FDA or the Federal Government or even the State Government of California that started this action against the fish oil companies.  There was no recall to protect the health and wellness of consumers.

It took an environmental group, people like you and me, to try and stop this spread of toxins.  They basically found a loop hole that allowed them to sue the companies for not including PCB’s on the supplements labels.  A California law requires a warning label to be put on a product whenever it contains toxic ingredients.

At the time of the lawsuit, the Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation had only tested 10 Omega-3 supplements and found PCB’s in all of them.  They are continuing their testing a plan on adding more companies to the lawsuit if their products are found to be contaminated.

The defendant currently listed in the lawsuit is Omega Protein, a company based out of Houston that is the world’s largest producer of Omega-3 fish oil.  They provide fish oil to many other companies such as: Rite Aid, CVS, GNC, Now Health Group, Pharmavite, Solgar and Twinlab.

What might be the scariest part of this incident is the fact that many of the labels on the fish oil supplements stated that the supplement had been treated to reduce or remove PCB’s from the Omega-3.  So not only did they not list PCB’s as being in the product, they said they had removed them.  As a consumer you would expected to believe that these products were safe.

So did the company set out to hurt consumers?  I would hope not.  But did they set out to really help consumers?  Again the answer is probably not.  They were just supplying a product that has become more and more in demand and doing it as cheaply as possible.

The manufacturing company and the companies selling the supplements probably never even tested or checked for PCB’s in the fish oil.  At least I hope that would be the case.  It would really be disturbing if they did test, found PCB’s, and then sold the supplement anyway knowing about the toxicity.

Another perfect example of not testing the basic ingredients showed up when the FDA had to issue a massive recall of all products containing textured vegetable protein because of Salmonella contamination.  The company who produced this product, Basic Food Flavors, could have saved a lot of headache if they had merely tested their product before shipping it out.  The companies who use this product to produce things like potato chips, dips, soups and snacks also could have done this testing.  But many companies are not doing these basic quality control tests because of the extra expense involved.  They are more worried about their bottom line then your health.

So now that you are standing there looking at the less expensive supplements at your local drug or grocery store maybe you are thinking, “I am glad I found a company that does tests on all its ingredients even if their suppliers say the products are safe.  I am glad I found a company that truly cares.  I think my health and my family’s health is important enough that I will spend a little extra time and a little more money to get safe and effective supplements.”

If you haven’t found that company yet, here are some things to think about when looking:

Look for an established company that has a good track record for producing products of the highest quality.

Find a company that has been around for years and has earned a reputation of integrity.

Do a little research and be sure the company does rigorous quality controls on their ingredients and their products.

Look for a company that uses pharmaceutical grade quality controls.

Check to see if they do clinical trials to prove the safety and effectiveness of the products they manufacture.

This may seem like a lot, but it’s your health you are playing with.  I always think of that commercial for women’s products that says “And I’m worth it.”

It’s something to think about!

Choose your supplements wisely

Not all supplements are created equal. Just as there are different levels of quality in the food we eat and the products we buy there are quality levels in supplements.

The nutritional health and wellness industry is growing by leaps and bounds (partly due to the aging baby boomers) and many companies are putting vitamins and supplements on the shelves and online.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to know if you are getting quality that you can trust.

A recent study shows that the likelihood of choosing a non-toxic and effective health supplement from the overwhelming array of products that are available is only 2.5%. In other words, there is a 97.5% chance that without investigating the reliability of the product yourself you could select a nutritional product that might be hazardous to your health!
(I call that a step in the wrong direction).

SO…. The question is “Who can you trust and what is actually good for you?”

It comes down to making choices.

Research your products and the companies that make them before you put your health on the line.

Many of us agonize over what clothes or car or TV we should buy but just grab the cheapest vitamin on the shelf. Its your body and your life. The choices we make now affect our future health and wellness.


So how do you choose the right supplement?

First let me educate you on some information that I wasn’t aware of until just recently.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does not regulate the vitamin and supplement industry.

That means that what is written on the label of a vitamin bottle might be true but also might be just a scam trying to make the supplement look better than it is. There is no one regulating what can or cannot be said about the effectiveness of the supplement.

This also means that there are no laws regulating the serving size or amount of vitamin and/or mineral contained in each tablet or capsule you are ingesting. No one to make sure it is a dosage your body needs or can use to maintain health.

Many vitamins work together in your body and if the proper amounts of each are not ingested together they might as well not be ingested at all.

They could actually do more harm than good.

Another important thing I have learned during my supplement research is that many of the vitamins available use fillers and artificial ingredients in their products. I always thought if you bought Vitamin C then the pill was all Vitamin C. Turns out it might have things like petroleum in there too. It might even have more ‘junk’ then it does the actual vitamin.

The first step in choosing a vitamin or supplement is choosing a vitamin or supplement company.

Look at the label of any vitamin you plan on purchasing and see who the company is and check for contact information. Look them up on the Internet or even call them and find out some of their manufacturing practices.

  • Do they follow and meet with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliance?
  • Are the products they make independently tested and analyzed for effectiveness?
  • Does the manufacturer test the supplements for purity and potency?
  • What types of ingredients are used? Are they natural or synthetic?
  • Is the product full of fillers and other artificial ingredients? Many companies use fillers, binders and coatings in their vitamin tablets. These are usually inactive ingredients that are unnecessary for your body and can actually do harm.

  • Fillers are just that. They fill up space and help form the tablet.
  • Binders help keep everything together. Many times these can actually be harmful and include such things as gum, carbopol and povidone.
  • Coatings help keep it all together and can contain artificial flavors to make it taste better. (if you are trying to cover up petroleum and other nasty things no wonder you need artificial flavors.)

  • Are the products bioavailable? Meaning does it actually get absorbed and used by the body and not just get passed through the system as waste.
  • Are your vitamins and supplements a food or a drug?

All of this information should be available on the company’s website or by contacting their customer service representatives. If you are unable to find it or if they are unwilling to share this kind of information then it is probably in your best interest to avoid these supplements.