Have you started taking supplements? Wouldn’t you like to know if they were really working? Or even potentially harming you? This section exposes the TRUTH about the supplement market!
SUPPLEMENTS are available in as many varieties as there are fish in the sea! They can be used to treat many conditions or as a means of prevention. They come in different sizes, forms, colors, and prices, that include pills, capsules, powders, liquids, etc.
Americans spend $30 billion annually on all forms of supplements, almost doubling from $17 billion in 2005. This number is still increasing rapidly, as many people are becoming more health conscious. It is crazy to think that consumers spend their money on supplements with most not even knowing the details of how or what they are made of! A lot of people just base a supplement on its price and labeling, blindly trusting that the manufacturer is providing them with a safe and effective product.
In the quest for choosing the right supplements, it is in your best interest, as consumers, to have a better understanding of the variety of supplements available based on origin, cleanliness of the facility, the ingredients listed, as well as the types of fillers that may be added and finished product testing requirements.
All supplements are positively NOT created equal! Just as there are various quality levels for everything from cars, to shoes, to clothes, electronics, or food manufacturers, some supplement companies are just more focused on quality and the health of consumers than others.
The potency or the volume of the active ingredients listed by the supplement manufacturer should be enough to get the job done, right? Unfortunately, no. Often times a manufacturer will put an insignificant amount of a nutrient in the product just so they can list it on the label, like in some proprietary blends.
Take lutein for example, a carotenoid valuable for eye health. A product may only include 500 micrograms, which is only about 12% of the lutein necessary to make any significant difference. Most nutrients perform in a similar fashion at various levels. It would be like taking 300 mg of aspirin to get rid of a headache as opposed to the 650mg you would need to get relief. Although I’m not recommending taking synthetic aspirin by any means!
MANY VITAMIN AND SUPPLEMENTS CONTAIN DANGEROUS INGREDIENTS!
Artificial dyes are often added to supplements for cosmetic or appearance. These dyes have been linked to hyperactivity and behavior issues in children. Avoid any supplements or foods for that matter with any of the following dyes: FD&C Blue No. 1 FD&C Blue No. 2 FD&C Green No. 3 FD&C Red No.3 FD&C Red No. 40 FD&C Yellow No.5 FD&C Yellow No. 6. ALL of these chemicals have been approved by the FDA, yikes! These synthetic colors have also been linked to allergies, ADHD, and even CANCER! (1) (2)
Hydrogenated Fats like Genetically Modified soybean oil may be added to your supplement basically because it is a CHEAP filler. The CDC claims “avoiding artificial trans fat could prevent 10,000-20,000 heart attacks and 3,000-7,000 coronary heart disease deaths each year in the U.S!” (3)
Magnesium silicate or Talc can be found in many supplements used as a cheap filler and anti-caking agent. Magnesium silicate is similar in composition to asbestos and may also be contaminated with asbestos in the mining process and should NEVER be ingested! THe Japanese often treat their white rice with talc to make it whiter and talc has been linked to increased rate of stomach cancer. (4)
Titanium dioxide is another dangerous ingredients that may be found in your vitamins or supplements and should be AVOIDED! It is used as a colorant, the same one found in many cosmetics products, most of which are not tested for safety. Titanium dioxide has been shown to cause lung damage. (5) This toxic substance has been shown to cause kidney damage in mice. (6) and to induce small intestine inflammation which can lead to malabsorption and many digestive conditions including leaky gut, IBS, Crohn’s disease, cancer. (7)
DID YOU KNOW: European lawmakers now require a warning label on foods that contain artificial dyes. The label must state: “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”
Since you are putting these substances in your body, cheap is most often not the best choice when considering a high-quality supplement that is both safe for continuous use and does the job. The old adage you get what you pay for definitely applies in the case of supplementation!
Let’s face it, higher quality ingredients in addition to strict quality control regulations just cost more money and there is no way around that. A lot of companies don’t even test their raw materials for harmful contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, processing solvents, etc.
In March 2010, the Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation tested MANY fish oil supplements and discovered that they contained PCB, a known CANCER-causing chemical that was banned from use back in 1979, but still contaminates the environment. The group consequently sued the manufacturers of these supplements, including CVS Pharmacy, GNC, Now Health Group, Omega Protein, Pharmavite, Rite Aid, Solgar and Twin Lab. Again, AVOID cheap supplements and look for those that are third party tested when at all possible!
DID YOU KNOW: Artificial and “natural” flavors like high-fructose corn syrup, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, & POISONOUS artificial sweeteners are often added to children’s vitamins to make them more palatable!
Quality manufacturers make use of independent labs to test all their raw materials for authenticity, as well as extensive testing procedures for all potentially toxic substances.
Quality control factors such as production, packaging, shipping, storage, exposure to light, and temperature consistency throughout the entire process all need to be considered. You deserve the peace-of-mind in knowing that the supplement you are investing in is advancing your health as opposed to doing nothing, very little, or even worse harming it!
Luckily you can rely on websites such as this one, and many others, to give you their unbiased, trustworthy opinions based on extensive research and stringent investigation into the authenticity and quality control of the supplements you and your families are consuming on a regular basis!
Vitamin and mineral supplements are among the most commonly used dietary supplements in the marketplace, and they can come from synthetic as well as natural sources. Approximately 40% of adults and 30% of children in the United States take these types of supplements.
That number increases to near 100% when taking into consideration the consumption of fortified dairy, cereals, water and other food sources. You may be thinking, great, free vitamins! However, this is NOT necessarily a good thing at all and can potentially cause you more harm than good. You see, mostly lower quality synthetic vitamins and minerals are added back in to these products to compensate for the destruction of their original nutrients during pasteurization and intense processing. It is NEVER recommended to use damaged fortified foods as your source of vitamin and mineral supplementation!
Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a report that warns against buying fortified foods, particularly for parents giving these foods to children under the age of eight. The author explains “the window between what’s good for you and what’s potentially toxic is actually quite narrow”. For children, zinc, niacin and vitamin A can be particularly problematic, as high doses can contribute to liver damage and skeletal issues. Remember, the the vitamins and minerals added to fortified and enriched foods are in SYNTHETIC form. Therefore they can build up in the body and become problematic, unlike whole food sources which the body recognizes.
Taking synthetic supplements or ones that contain fractioned (part of the whole) vitamins can do your body more harm than good, especially over time with regular usage. In fact, energy and vital nutrients are robbed from the skeleton and tissues in your body’s attempt to digest and assimilate what it can from these inferior substances. Vitamins need to be in complete whole food form for the body to efficiently utilize them.
On top of that, it is incredibly disturbing to witness honest, hard-working, health-conscious consumers being misled and deceived by greedy profit driven, or at best, uneducated, careless companies and manufacturers of supplements. Basically, your hard-earned money is thrown in the trash. Worse yet, you are spending money to cause potential damage to your body due to the poor quality of SO-CALLED ‘natural’, health promoting supplements!
With all the health information available today, many of you are likely familiar and agree with the fact that whole foods are a much healthier choice than refined or processed foods, even if you have difficulty getting past the self-sabotage and addiction to unhealthy food choices.
For instance, raw honey is by far healthier than white sugars, and Himalayan salt with 84+ trace minerals or Celtic sea salt with up to twice as many minerals is immensely more nutritious than refined iodized table salt, which contains only sodium chloride and toxic chemicals after being highly processed, having potential and LIKELY damaging effects on the body! Supplements can be seen in the same light.
Supplements come in many varieties and can have very diverse effects on the body. Some come from complete whole food sources, while others from synthetic and/or isolated sources. Isolated or synthetic nutrients can act just like refined, processed foods, stealing nutrients from the body in an attempt to make them whole again. They can create imbalances and toxicity, even causing damage to your DNA with long term use.
Making educated decisions when choosing supplements for you and your family can mean the difference between promoting HEALTH and vitality, or just further stress and toxicity, potentially making you sicker!
4- Merliss, R.R. (1971, September 17). Talc-treated rice and Japanese stomach cancer. Science 173 (4002), 1141-1142. [DOI:10.1126/science.173.4002.1141]