The challenge with supplements
There are about 2000 companies providing tens of thousands of nutritional products/supplements. About 95% of the products on the shelf are synthetic, meaning that these products require extra work on the part of kidneys and the liver for the ingredients to be of benefit to your body. Sometimes a supplement caplet will show up on an x-ray, obviously undigested in the person’s body, ready to pass through the digestive track with minimal or no absorption.
In reviewing some online answers to this question about absorption, I discovered this blog post by a chiropractor, Dr. Hope Reid.
Three statements that Dr. Hope Reid made:
While there are some synthetic vitamins that have been shown to provide minimal health benefits, the majority of them may cause more harm than good; mainly due to added fillers like artificial colors, binders and other substances. Most synthetic vitamins are not easily digested and absorbed. And as a result, 90% of it passes right through you and often times taxing your kidneys before being excreted through your urine.
The reality of needing supplements
Farming methods have truly changed the nutritional content of our food. Fruits and vegetables are typically hybridized for size, color, and firmness, not nutritional content. So they look better, taste better, but may not have more nutrition. The soil quality where foods are grown has been called into question for decades, and the situation is definitely not improving. Volumes are written about the increased role of pollution and oxidative stress in our need for better nutrition. In 1995, a USDA study recommended 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables. As if in realization of the decrease of nutritional content from our fresh food, in 2012, the recommendation was increased to 7-13 servings daily. In the past 7 years, do you think the nutritional content of the typical American diet has improved?
As a result, in families today, it is increasingly common that both children and parents are taking a daily supplement. The family’s commitment to daily intake usually varies with schedule…and with the parents’ understanding of the benefit of consistent intake. Cost varies as in every other area of our nutritional intake: a consumer pays more for organic, and although a consumer pays much less at a ‘big-box store,’ quality is typically not the primary reason for the purchase. Two other factors may affect consistency: a consumer may like a particular brand and find that in a year, that brand is no longer available: about 96% of the companies that start in this industry are gone in 4 years. Additionally, if family income gets tight, very often health/wellness purchases are perceived as unnecessary.
Bottom line, there may be a ‘$500+ shelf’ in the kitchen full of partially used bottles of supplements that have been recommended, started, stopped, and replaced…but never emptied and tossed. Is that true in your kitchen?
Suggestions for choosing the right supplements
One of the FDA requirements for supplement companies is that there is a label with certain information on each bottle/carton of supplements. This is a link to a file entitled “How to Read a Supplement Facts Label.”
The label in and of itself, however, does not guarantee that what is in the bottle is on the label…or that what is on the label is in the bottle. This peace-of-mind factor is provided by third party testing (which is on the label: i.e., nsf.org).
As was mentioned initially about synthetic/whole foods vitamins and minerals, you don’t want to waste your money if you have already arrived at the conclusion that your body can benefit from supplements. Nutritional supplements that you are taking regularly should provide a tangible benefit in cost savings for your health and that of your family:
- fewer doctor visits
- fewer sick days for both adults and children
- less money spent on random over-the-counter short-term medical products
- energy to experience the fullest realization of physical, mental, spiritual potential
- productivity that allows each family member to be the best version of him or herself every day!
Supplements should make a difference when you take them consistently!
Some specific suggestions from the Council on Responsible Nutrition on choosing supplements include: look for nationally advertised or recognized brands; review the company’s website, looking for a company address, phone number for customer questions; look for product labels and ingredient lists; look for a company with longevity.
My personal recommendation for supplements has been validated for the past 20+ years by our excellent health. Because we purchase products that are made by the same company, we know they are designed, formulated and manufactured by standards that result in safe, science-based, and effective supplements.
If you’re wondering about the supplements you are currently taking, or you feel a need to upgrade your supplements, or you’d like to know about the supplements we have been taking for the past 20+ years, contact me (480.382.8255 phone/text; firstname.lastname@example.org email) and let’s set up an appointment (in person or zoom) to get you on track to a vital, vibrant and vivacious life!
Thank you for reading to the end! Comments welcome below!