Supplements: the good, the bad, & the ugly


Several patients ask what supplements would be best for them to take, and I realize it can be overwhelming walking up and down the aisles…where do you start?

Here are some great tips: QUESTIONS!

How is the tablet held together? This will affect how your supplement is absorbed in your body. “Cellulose capsule” is the shell and is not harmful. Our products are hypoallergenic. They may be pressed with vegetables to enhance absorption. They contain no dairy, yeast, wheat, salt, egg, starch, gluten, corn, sugar, binders or coatings. Impure ingredients and diluted forms of the vitamin are typically used and are not required to be listed on the label. “Carbonate” and “oxide” forms are not absorbed well in our bodies. (Check your calcium and magnesium) Sugars and plasticizers like “propylene glycol” may hold it together.

What’s good for the machine while manufacturing is not good for you! More advanced companies will not depend on lubricants like stearic acid. Although it aids in the efficiency of the machines, our digestive systems have trouble breaking it down. Nutrient absorption is consequently delayed or inhibited. Some companies will use “calcium stearate” as a lubricant and then make it appear to be a calcium source, which it is not! Time-released supplements with these ingredients are actually harmful due to the nature of where and when it should be broken down.

Do you know where your product is made and under what guidelines? Can you tour their facility? Thorne Research manufactures over 120 high-purity supplements in their own 58,000 sq. ft. facility in Dover; Idaho. Metagenics adheres strictly to the GMP (good manufacturing practices) in both locations (Wash. and Calif.)Standard Process in Palmyra, WI has used their own raw, organically- grown food materials for 75 yrs. in their formulas. Pure Encapsulations uses pure ingredients and make products (over 20% of which are prescriptions in Europe) in their facility in Sudbury, MA. There are no mandatory rules set by the FDA in regards to supplements. Therefore, a company can produce a supplement without any significant science or testing, proving its quality. It’s unfortunately true…labels can be misleading and are sometimes meant to be that way. It may not be giving you exactly what you think it does. Although the higher quality products will not sell directly to you (they sell only to physicians), there is a reason for it…they are giving you what it says it is and these don’t, so you should be under the care of a doctor.

Does the company which makes your supplement do any research or offer educational programs? Metagenics has a staff of 35 clinicians and scientists who are involved in all aspects of product manufacturing and testing. They have several experts who offer seminars to health professionals & have maintained a research center in Washington since 1990.Standard Process has several dedicated representatives, offer several seminars, and do research studies. These products you buy at your grocery store, convenience store, or even your health food store in a mall are made by companies that do not offer educational programs, professional services, or even information and research proving the quality and potency of each product.