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Vitamin Supplements Are Not All The Same

vitaminsWhile listening to a radio program with a prominent doctor, a caller raised the question about taking multivitamins and supplements. The learned doctor told the caller that he could choose any vitamins in grocery stores and pharmacies, that all brands, especially those “one-a-day” products, would be beneficial. I felt mortified.

The truth is that vitamins, minerals, and supplements are not all the same. Some companies care and manufacture healthy products, while other companies use inferior grade nutrients and they oftentimes contain more synthetic chemicals rather than real nutrients. It takes real nutrients to detoxify synthetics.

For example, while studying for my nutrition degree, I was in a pharmacy looking over all the Vitamin A products. My coursework at the time was addressing vision, skin, hair, and nail health. At the very end of the row there remained one bottle of a Vitamin A product. I assumed this was the most popular, but in reality it was the cheapest. Looking over the ingredients, this particular product actually had no real Vitamin A. It was all synthetic ingredients.

Most people don’t have the time to study nutrients and to learn which are good ones and those that are not. I feel it is a waste of money to “assume” products on the shelves have been thoroughly tested and are of benefit to us.

Another example. I purchased a book produced by a Canadian independent research company that compared over 1,500 supplement products. It ranked each company’s products based on manufacturing practices, on 18 different criteria for purity and potency, and addressed 47 ingredients stated to be a part of the product. The rankings were 5 (Gold Star) down to less than 1. Anything from a 3 to a 5 was considered a good, effective product.

At the time I was taking a product I felt was from a reputable company. It ranked 1.5! I began looking up other products I knew my friends were taking to learn of their poor quality as well. Then I looked at name brands that can be found in big box stores. Also from 2 on down.

Rankings (Gold Star, Silver Star, and Bronze Star) were measured on a company’s compliance with good manufacturing practices, compliance with a nationally recognized certification program, and third party laboratory verification of formulations.

It certainly was disheartening to see so many brand names we all have known and trusted to not make even the Bronze rating.

Our own Thorne Research in Sandpoint rated a 3+ for its products. This was in 2007, the edition of my resource, NutriSearch Comparitive Guide to Nutritional Supplements, Edition 4. Researching their practices, I found Thorne uses only real food source ingredients. Companies can apply as often as they like to improve their rankings. I feel I can at least trust I am getting benefit from the supplements I choose from Thorne Research. Please note that I do not work for Thorne or distribute their products through my practice. However, I provided this information to you to recognize the value of checking out all the ingredients in a product you want to select and researching their companies and practices before you invest.

Krystle Shapiro, LMT, MSHN owns NewTritionally Yours! and Touchstone Massage Therapies. She offers nutrition education classes and medical massage therapies. She can be reached at (208) 290-6760.

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