Choosing supplements for nutrition
Supplements, vitamins, minerals, herbs, essential fatty acids and others, offer a way to effectively support your body in health and sickness in ways that are not available from drugs.
Ideally we would like to get our nutrition from food but that has become increasingly difficult as the nutrient value of many foods continues to decline with industrial farming and processing. Nutritional supplements can replace what we don’t get from food and also provide many nutrients more quickly than from food.
Herbal and other supplements provide complementary, alternative and frequently non-toxic ways to treat disease and support our bodies’ structure and function.
Supplements, however, are not all created equally. Quality and safety can vary considerably when considering label accuracy, chemicals, toxins and other adulterants that can adversely affect health and well-being.
When choosing a nutritional supplement, here are the 7 requirements that assure you of a safe and effective product:
Screened for bacteria, yeast, molds, fungals and parasites in packaged product
There is no regulatory requirement for supplements to be tested in their final packaged (bottled) form for pathogens that are known causes of disease but they have been found in supplements. The only required, minimal testing is for raw materials prior to mixing, capsulation and packaging.
Tested from the final sealed bottle, not mid-way in the manufacturing process
Every manufacturing batch of the product should be tested in final bottled and sealed form to meet both USP and California Proposition 65 most stringent (Pregnant and Nursing) levels.
No problem added ingredients
Some ingredients commonly found in supplements increase the risk for an allergic reaction and may interfere with the effectiveness and safety of the product.
- Contains no sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
- Contains no wheat
- Contains no dairy
- Contains no GMO modified materials
- Contains no fish
- Contains no eggs
- Contains no soy
- Contains no sugar
- Contains no yeast
- Contains no artificial colors
- Contains no artificial flavors
- Contains no artificial preservatives
No plastic packaging in contact with the product
All plastics give off chemicals that are proven or suspected health risks. When the supplement comes in contact with the plastic or its off-gasses in the container, it absorbs some of those toxins.
- Contains no Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
- PVC gives off a number of chemicals including phthalates.
- Contains no High density polyethylene (HDPE)
- HDPE is less toxic than PVC but still gives off chemicals
Screened for pesticides to the most stringent Proposition 65 “Safe Harbor” levels
Many pesticides have been shown to be and are potential causes of birth defects and cancer.
Screened for heavy metals to the most stringent Proposition 65 “Safe Harbor” levels
Heavy metals are associated with cancer, birth defects, neurological problems and more.
Screened by an independent, ISO 17025 accredited testing laboratory
Many supplement companies test in their own laboratory, This is not only a conflict of interest but many of the companies who claimed to have good test results for a product that was determined later to have toxins or an inaccurate label did their own testing.
Choose a rational formula
The multiple vitamin mineral product should be formulated at values close to 100% of the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) except for calcium and magnesium which should be less.
The RDA during pregnancy and nursing is not the same as for adults so a standard multiple vitamin that is not designed for this unique time in life will not provide adequate nutrition.
- The product must contain 100% of the RDA for folate.
- We recommend most of your calcium and magnesium be taken together but at a different time than your multiple vitamins because the calcium is a chemical “buffer” which can interfere with the absorption of other nutrients.
- We recommend a vitamin and mineral supplement without copper or iron. Numerous scientific studies have shown that adults get more than enough copper and iron in their diets and that supplementing with more of these minerals may reduce brain and cognitive function as well as causing constipation. If you suspect that you suffer from anemia or have reason to believe you are copper or iron deficient we recommend you talk to your doctor before supplementing. There are many reasons for anemia other than a lack of iron and copper.
Why embrace California Proposition 65 “Safe Harbor” standards?
California Proposition 65 is a unique law that takes safety to a new level. It is arguably the most stringent standard in the world even though some supplement companies argue that it is too strict.
While many standards tell you what the highest safe level of exposure should be for a substance such as mercury, there are minute amounts of many heavy metals and other contaminants in many food and environmental contacts that we have every day. The amount of toxins from each source such as food, water etc. by itself may not be a problem but it’s the total from all of them put together that we need to be concerned about. So it makes no sense to say a food or product is OK if, by itself, it is at or less than the maximum safe amount; if everything we eat, drink and are exposed to is at or close to the maximum then the sum of all these products will be many times higher than the maximum safe level.
California Proposition 65 acknowledged this fact and created “Safe Harbor” levels for foods, water and other sources including supplements. These levels take into account the amounts of potentially concerning substances such as heavy metals you are exposed to from all sources to be certain that your supplements along with everything else don’t put you at risk.