The Facts You Need To Know About Supplements To Enhance Your Health
Nearly 75% of the world population takes some type of supplement each day. There are literally thousands of brands and millions of products to choose from. Is there really a difference between them?
Fact #1: The FDA manufacturing standards are not rigid enough for Healing*Edge Science but are improving every year as research delivers warnings about the dangers of many different chemical such as FD&C dyes, sodium benzoate, dextrose, ethycellulose, and propylene glycol
Is there a difference between vitamins?
The FDA allows questionable fillers and binders such as; cork by products, chemical FD&C dyes, sodium benzoate, dextrose, ethycellulose, and propylene glycol to name only a few. Although these ingredients may be legal, what are the nutritional benefits? Reports have indicate that some of these ingredients can be toxic at certain levels with prolong use.
The FDA does not monitor the contents or purity of a supplement nor the source of a nutritional ingredient. The practitioners of Healing*Edge Sciences do. We have for over a decade.
Purity: What does it really mean? —Defined: The quality or state of being pure or unmixed with any other element.
In most cases, Impure ingredients are used by many companies. The FDA does not require manufacturers to list these ingredients (on the nutritional labels) if they are not added when making the final dosage form. Many times the raw materials may contain only 90% or less of the listed ingredients along with 10% or more corn starch and lactose. Lactose and corn are known allergens for some people. These items have been known to cause digestive disturbances and weaken the immune system. A conscientious company will not compromise the integrity of a product with such raw materials.
Hypoallergenic: What does it really mean? — Defined: non-allergy producing. A term applied to a preparation in which every possible care has been taken in formulation and production to ensure minimum instance of allergic reactions. (Blakiston’s Medical Dictionary)
Facts #2: Not all products are created equal
Pharmaceutical Grade: What does it mean?
There are basically three different grades of raw materials used in products they are:
- Pharmaceutical Grade – meets pharmaceutical standards
- Food Grade – meets standards set for human consumption
- Feed Grade – meets standards set for animal consumption
The difference between each grade type is one of quality and purity. In technical terms, no substance is 100% pure, for there are always other substances added to various products. The difference between the grades is one of how much of these other substances are present in the product.
There are several criteria by which pharmaceutical grade are judged. The product must be in excess of 99% purity with no binders, fillers, excipients, dyes, or unknown substances.
United States Pharmacopeia (USP)
The USP provides assurance to the consumer, as well as those involved in manufacturing and processing, that the quality and purity of the raw materials utilized are of pharmaceutical grade. Consequently, the USP guarantees a certain standard of excellence sold only through physicians and selected pharmacies. The bottom line is, if the product is not manufactured properly it may not work or could cause side effects. If you’re not sure what you are buying, ask for the facts.
Fact #3: Quality Control begins with the raw materials
There are numerous raw material suppliers. What makes one superior over the other begins with how the material is grown. Raw materials and quality control is the key to an excellent nutritional supplement.
Questions to ask about your supplements
- Is the product natural or synthesized?
- How were they cultured?
- Did the seeds come from organic sources?
- Were pesticides used at any point?
- Where were they grown?
- How were they harvested?
- Were fields depleted in the process?
- How often are the fields rotated?
Quality control begins by selecting the freshest active raw materials. Immediately after harvesting is completed the product starts to age. Transporting and storing the materials in a temperature controlled environment is pertinent to insure the longevity of the items. Once the finished products reach the warehouse, rotation and inventory control is the key to maintaining fresh supplements.
Just like food and drugs, vitamins age until they have lost their entire potency. Many people take vitamins all their life and wonder why they have medical problems. Medical problems can be magnified by improperly made, irresponsible stored or poor quality raw materials. Vitamins are a science just like drugs and all other product producing industries. Unfortunately, there will always be companies who prefer the bottom line in place of your health and quality products.
Fact #4: Transportation of a supplement is vital for proper absorption
As we age our enzyme bank depletes. The conversion of food and vitamins are more difficult and the breakdown can be challenging. Absorption into our cells is minimized often resulting in malnutrition. The proper cofactors must be included in a formulation in order to get nutritional benefits. Ratio balancing of the individual ingredients is another fact not to be ignored. Nutritional supplements are available in several forms. Consumers can buy them in tablets, liquids, or capsules. Let’s review each one separately.
Various Forms of Nutritional Supplements
Tablets are usually very hard consisting of binders and heavy coatings in order to maintain their shape. As you have already learned, binders can be invasive to the body if not carefully selected. Manufacturers produce tablets because they are economical. They tend to force many ingredients into one tablet trying to convince the consumer that their needs are met in one magic pill. Very few companies have mastered the proper technique of tablet making.
Liquids supplements are easy to absorb but require heavy dosing in order to achieve desired RDA allowances. They are cumbersome when traveling and tend to taste unpleasant. Often the taste must be disguised by some type of sweetener. Some sweeteners are harmful while others are perfectly acceptable. Know which sweetener is in the products your considering.
Capsules tend to be the industry’s favorite. The capsule is usually made of gelatin allowing easy breakdown of the nutrients inside. For the vegetarian there are capsules made from vegetable sources although they tend to cost more. Like tablets capsules can have fillers. This is done primarily to make the capsule look full and act as a non-caking agent.
Absorption of nutrients can only be attained by the proper catalyst accompanying it. Take iron for example. People can take all the iron they want but without folic acid and B-12 it can not reach the cells. A clear understanding of vitamins and nutrition is crucial prior to taking a nutrient. Trust the professionals at Healing*Edge Sciences they have years of experience behind them.
Fact #5: You can’t always judge a supplement by its cover
“Supplemental Facts” on the label do not always tell the facts. In most cases they don’t even come close. News journalists have recently discovered vitamin and nutritional products do not contain the milligrams listed on the label. Obviously, it is an impossible task for any agency to monitor every supplement that is on the market. This is a serious concern for Healing*Edge which is why specific procedures must be met and verified to insure consumer safety.
Globally, there are various units of measurements displayed on nutritional labels. Interpreting these labels requires the expertise of a professional who understands the difference between them along with the latest laws and regulations placed on the industry.
The DSHEA act of 1994, approved by our congress, mandated labels changes within our industry. Over the years policies and standards have been redefined. The rules and regulations have changed creating confusion to the consumers and unnecessary expenses to manufactures. Because our country trades on a global level It will take decades before a worldwide standard is set and acceptable to all governing bodies in this comprehensive industry.
Fact #6: Advertisement is not always in our best interest
Many companies spend billions of dollars in advertising hoping to convince the consumers to buy their brand. Catchy phrases and fancy buzz words are used to entice, stimulate and often mislead the general public. These are ploys used when the quality or the efficacy of a product is in question.
Healing*Edge Science likes to deal with facts. Our goal is to educate the public about health issues, offer serious alternatives and provide quality products backed by facts not advertising gimmicks.
Fact #7: Expiration dates: What do they really mean
Expiration dates have been used for years to increase sales in all industries. Example: If a drug has an expiration date of December 31, 2002 will it still be good January 1st. 2003. What is happening to that drug weeks and months before expiration date.
All drugs and vitamins start to age or break down the day after they are manufactured. Most all products are safe to take up to 1 year after expiration date. The concern is that the product may be less effective, the dosage may vary. Not all substances deteriorate at the same speed. For example: Vitamin A deteriorates one third faster then other vitamins. Quality vitamin manufacturers will beef up their vitamin A slightly to cover the time period that this vitamin may be on their shelf, distributors shelf, retailers shelf or in your home. A quality manufacturer will be sure their vitamins are approximately at the listed strength on the label at time of expiration.
Fact #8: How do you find quality vitamins
This is difficult for the average person. The following information is guidelines you may be able to follow.
- The store must be a high volume store. This means vitamin sales, not food sales.
- The store must maintain a temperature controlled environment.
- The store should not have a warehouse on or off the premises.
- The store should maintain a quality rotation policy.
- The store should have board certified staff operating the floor.
- The store needs to understand how vitamins are made, must know the manufacturers and have toured many of the vitamin labs they are carrying.
- The store must carry pharmaceutical grade vitamins.