In this week’s podcast, Dr. Amy Yasko stresses the importance of supplement quality and storage. All supplements are not created equally and unfortunately, you cannot just opt for the cheapest or for the nicest packaging or for the name brand you recognize the fastest. There are a few main reasons why supplement quality is essential when deciding which ones to buy and consume – the leading reason being the lack of oversight and regulation that takes place by larger institutions such as the FDA. Unlike pharmaceuticals, food supplements such as Vitamin B, Iron, and your general multivitamin gummies are not held to such strict rules and regulations leaving many brands to set their own standards of quality. This can cause severe gaps in effectiveness especially for people who are relying on supplements to nourish, heal, and alleviate chronic conditions. Ineffectiveness is just the beginning issue when it comes to low-quality supplements, there is a real danger in taking supplements that contain fillers, inaccurate dosages, and toxic ingredients. Here are a few more reasons why you should be paying attention to the quality of your supplements:
Presence of supplements
While a bottle of drugstore supplements could state that it contains a multitude of daily vitamins and minerals, their simple presence is not the only necessary factor for them to work effectively in your body. The amount of each supplement and the synergetic balance of all the present ones are crucial to making sure they work and interact well in your body. All minerals and vitamins have a minimum IU level that needs to be present for your body to recognize and absorb. Anything less will cause no benefit to you and too much of a particular supplement will either be filtered out of your body (such as Vitamin C) or have unpleasant side effects ( digestive issues, brain fog, etc.)
Absorptions of supplements
Another important factor in supplement quality that could determine how effective they are is the way they are packaged and the tablet form they come in. Many supplements require a specific capsule and/or bottle to guarantee their effectiveness – if the brand does not create their product in the proper and bioavailable form then your body cannot readily absorb it and it is passed through and wasted.
Lack of regulation leads to harmful filers and ingredients
When taking any supplements you not only want to make sure they are effective but that they are also not filled with useless fillers, flavorings, and most importantly toxic ingredients like heavy metals and mold. Many times cheaper made products will contain dairy and gluten fillers to help preserve the supplements, create the lubricating film on top as well as give it coloring. While these fillers are not toxic they can cause digestive irritation to anyone with gluten and dairy sensitivities. The more sinister ingredients to watch out for in low-quality supplements are toxic heavy metals such as mercury that has not been properly filtered out of fish oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, and titanium dioxide found in artificial coloring. These are ingredients you want to watch out for and run away from. They will cause you a host of health problems and side effects that are simply not worth the extra few minutes you save by grabbing off the shelf without reading the ingredients.
Storage and Shelf Life of Vitamins
How vitamins are stored is just as important as what is inside your vitamins. Vitamins need to be stored at a proper temperature to keep them fresh. Also, many companies produce or buy their vitamins in bulk quantities. This is not ideal because then vitamins are not fresh by the time they get to you. Many vendors like Amazon do not keep their supplements in a temperature-controlled environment with a quick turnover in supplies.