With supplements, there is (to a certain point) an element of you get what you pay for. This is true for most things in life but with supplements (unlike clothing for example) it’s a wee bit 😊 more important as we are putting them into our bodies. We are also relying on them to improve our health and prevent diseases including cancer. This means it is super important, not only to pick the right ones but also to store them correctly. In today’s blog we’ll look at all the important things you need to know about picking and storing an effective supplement without blowing the budget!
Let’s start with brands. I can’t recommend any specific brands, because I have more than one brand that I use. Being independent I pick and choose the best of the best from all the ranges to suit each of my patients individually. This brings me to an important point. There is no one size fits all approach to supplements. Your supplements must be prescribed to suit YOU. As I said before, there is an element of you get what you pay for, so aim for brands at the higher (but not necessarily the highest) end of your budget. That way you can avoid the ‘expensive wee’s’ that cheaper, non pharmaceutical brands create!
So, there are two types of supplements: standard and pharmaceutical grade supplements. Currently no supplements are regulated and clinical trials are not mandatory. This also means that accurate labelling and manufacture of supplements aren’t required by law. This means the quality is not guarenteed with standard supplements but is definitely with pharmaceutical grade supplements.
A research group in Canada recently studied a range of standard supplements, found commonly in USA supermarkets. They found many contained different ingredients than those listed, and also had contaminants, and unlisted fillers (things to bulk up the capsule or tablet) in them. The worst thing the study found was that over 50% of supplements contained no signs of the active ingredients! The best example of this was with two types of St. John’s Wort, (used to help treat mild depression). Neither contained St John’s Wort and instead one contained a powerful laxative and the other contained rice only! This study showed that standard supplements can be dangerous as well as useless. Also, these standard supplements often contain toxins and genetically modified ingredients, both of which are known to cause health problems. Pharmaceutical grade supplements guarantee that they contain the ingredients listed, and contain only pure ingredients free of contamination, and fillers.
Another way standard supplements can be dangerous is if they contain an ingredient you are allergic to. For example, standard supplement ranges manufacturing process don’t ensure that their products are free of common allergens like gluten, wheat, dairy, fish, soy, nuts, etc. Pharmaceutical grade supplements undergo more stringent manufacturing standards than required by the regulatory authorities. These also often contain synergistic ingredients which help your body to more easily absorb the active ingredient.
Lastly, supplements can be dangerous (yes, dangerous!) if not stored correctly. For example, most fish oils at your supermarket are just displayed on the shelf at room temperature. Any heat (above fridge temperature) will cause those lovely, healthy fats to oxidise (i.e. become damaged) and these oxidised fats cause damage to your own fats. This is a concern as our most important internal fats surround our cells and are super important for signalling between cells. So, in a nutshell, our cells can’t work properly if we eat fish oils that haven’t been stored correctly.
By now you should be able to tell that individually tailored, pharmaceutical grade supplements are your body’s best chance for an effective and safe result. Let us know in the comments below if you’ve had a bad experience with supplements. Have a great month.