This Topic Covers:
Which vitamins to buy. What vitamins are and their role and function.
Personalized nutrition. Synthetic vitamins vs. whole food supplements.
Selecting quality vitamins. Vitamin therapy for prevention, maintenance and for the correction of
conditions and illnesses.
The Need for
The Need for
Types of Vitamins
How Are Vitamins
Vitamins vs. Whole Food Supplements
Supplements In Clinical Nutrition
How Much is Too
Personalized DRI Nutrient
Safety and Risks
You Should Ask
Nutrition With Supplements
Guidelines for Supplements
Regulating Health Benefit Claims
Quality Standards - Learn What You're
Pharmaceutical Grade or Over the Counter
Supplement Treatment Approach
Therapy by Condition
On-line Sites to
Purchase High Quality Supplements
Supplements Safety Alerts
Vitamins, used therapeutically, can be of immense help
in fighting disease and speeding recovery. They can be used in two ways, namely,
correcting deficiencies and treating disease in place of drugs. Latest
researches indicate that many vitamins taken in large doses far above the actual
nutritional needs, can have a miraculous healing effect in a wide range of
common complaints and illnesses. Vitamin therapy has a distinct advantage over
drug therapy. While drugs are always toxic and have many undesirable side
effects, vitamins, as a rule are non-toxic and safe.
- Council for Responsible Nutrition
enacted the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, Congress
recognized the role supplements can play in health promotion and in the
prevention of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and
osteoporosis. This comprehensive piece of legislation established a new
regulatory framework for supplements, ensuring continued access to safe
products, made to quality standards. It also allowed for increased
dissemination of information about the health benefits of these products.
In passing this landmark legislation, Congress set forth a number of
"findings" which emphasize the importance of communicating the positive
benefits of supplements to the American public. Congress found that:
The importance of nutrition and the benefits of dietary supplements in
health promotion and disease prevention have been documented
increasingly in scientific studies;
There is a link between ingestion of certain nutrients or dietary
supplements and the prevention of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart
disease, and osteoporosis;
Preventive health measures, including education, good nutrition, and
appropriate use of safe nutritional supplements will limit the incidence
of chronic diseases and reduce long-term health care expenditures;
Consumers should be empowered to make choices about preventive health
care programs based on data from scientific studies of health benefits
related to particular dietary supplements;
There is a growing need for emphasis on the dissemination of information
linking nutrition and long-term good health;
National surveys have revealed that almost 50 percent of the 260,000,000
Americans regularly consume dietary supplements of vitamins, minerals or
herbs as a means of improving their nutrition;
Legislative action that protects the right of access of consumers to
safe dietary supplements is necessary in order to promote wellness;
Dietary supplements are safe within a broad range of intake, and safety
problems with supplements are relatively rare;
Although the Federal Government should take swift action against
products that are unsafe or adulterated, the Federal Government should
not impose unreasonable regulatory barriers limiting or slowing the flow
of safe products and accurate information to consumers;
A rational Federal framework must be established to supersede the
current ad hoc, patchwork regulatory policy on dietary supplements.
One of the most important issues involving
supplemental nutritional products is the "Quality" of the ingredients. The
fact of the matter is that almost all vitamin preparations are produced by
only two or three large international pharmaceutical companies. BASF
(Germany), Hoffmann-La Roche (Switzerland) and Takeda (Japan) are three of
the largest producers of bulk vitamin and mineral raw materials. These
materials are then purchased by wholesale producers and/or smaller nutrition
specialty companies for formulation and/or repackaging and labeling. Thus,
the primary determinant of "Quality" for most nutritional preparations is
freshness... the time from manufacture to sale.
In most cases, more expensive "pharmaceutical grade"
vitamin and mineral products tend to have the highest quality (freshest,
most pure) ingredients. In some cases pharmaceutical grade ingredients may
be used. Cheaper vitamin brands are usually made from ware-housed older raw
materials sold at a cheaper price. In almost all circumstances the most
"cost effective" brands are made from auctioned raw materials that are near
the expiration date of their shelf life.
www.naturalproductsinfo.org, Copyright Dietary Supplement Education
Surveys of dietary intake
and physical and laboratory data reveal that the typical American diet does
not always provide a sufficient level of nutrients to support optimal
health. Many clinicians also acknowledge that some Americans may need a
vitamin and/or mineral or other supplement to meet specific nutrient needs.
Recent studies have also found health benefits
associated with dietary supplements. For example,
A Johns Hopkins study noted trauma patients who
received vitamins E and C spent less time in Intensive Care Units and
were “less likely to experience organ failure.”
Progression of Alzheimer’s disease may be slowed
by high doses of vitamins according to a Georgetown University pilot
study with additional therapeutic trials underway.
In a longitudinal study, high doses of vitamin
supplements were beneficial to individuals with Age-related Macular
- A recent, limited
Carolinas Medical Center study noted that adults with type-2 diabetes
who take supplements reported fewer infections than those who did not
Supplements are easy to add to the daily diet, and are often the first step
consumers take toward greater nutritional awareness, and the adoption of
other healthy lifestyle choices. About half of American consumers now use
supplements, according to recent surveys…
The Lewin Group, Inc. was commissioned by the
Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) to conduct an evidence-based
study of five dietary supplements that could potentially improve users’
health. The purpose of this study is threefold: (1) to critically review the
research evidence for each supplement, (2) to develop estimates of the
potential health care expenditure savings that could result from daily use
of two of the supplements, and (3) for supplements where there is emerging
evidence, to suggest areas of future research that would fill existing
The overall conclusion
of this study is that in certain instances, supplements are an inexpensive
and safe way to improve health status and reduce health care expenditures...
download the full report (PDF – 2.3 MB).
www.ift.org - Institute of Food Technologists,
© Institute of Food Technologists
National nutrition surveys have focused on the use of
traditional vitamin and mineral supplements. About 25% of 11,643 adults who
took part in the 1992 National Health Interview Survey took supplements
every day (Slesinski et al., 1996). Individuals taking vitamins had
significantly lower fat diets, with more fiber and vitamins (calcium for
women), suggesting that supplement users have generally healthy lifestyles.
Users of dietary supplements tend to be female, college
educated, and have incomes over $50,000 (Eisenberg et al., 1998). In one
survey, elderly Georgia residents who used dietary supplements were more
likely to be physically active, and to have more arthritis or stomach
problems than their non-user neighbors (Houston et al., 1997). Calcium,
vitamin E, and vitamin C were the most popular supplements used within this
group, and the researchers concluded that supplement use was part of a
cluster of health behaviors practiced by this group…
Reference source -
Each year in North
American alone people spend over $20 billion on vitamins, minerals and other
dietary supplements, believing that these products are benefiting them. But
are they? What is the real truth about vitamins? If we eat a balanced
diet, do we really need nutritional supplements? To answer this question we
have to go back to our roots - our soil.
body is unable to manufacture most vitamins for itself, and so they must be
obtained from nutritional sources. During the early 1900s, in our
grandparents' time, the soil was rich with nutrients that produced healthy,
vigorous crops high in vitamin content. Today, due to modern factory farming
practices, our soils are sadly laced with industrial pollution, pesticides
and chemical fertilizers that not only contaminate the soil, but activate
increased soil erosion. Because of poor soil quality and nutrients, our
foods have only a fraction of the nutrient value of 70-100 years ago.
Polluted air and water systems deplete our bodies of their store of
nutrients, such as antioxidants including vitamins and minerals that are
necessary for protecting our health. Add the stresses of modern life to this
and as a population we are left with ever-weakening genetic and immune
systems. Therefore, vitamin and nutrient supplementation is more crucial
mineral depletion of our soils and foods is not news. The U.S. government
has been issuing official warnings since 1936. The U.S. Senate Document
#264, published by the 2nd session of the 74th Congress in 1936 stated the
of us today are suffering from certain dangerous diet deficiencies which
cannot be remedied until the depleted soils from which our foods come are
brought [back] into proper mineral balance. Foods, fruits, vegetables and
grains that are now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer
contain enough of certain needed minerals, are starving us - no matter how
much of these foods we eat. Leading authorities state that 99% of the
American people are deficient in these minerals, and that a marked
deficiency in any one of the more important minerals actually results in
disease. Any upset of the balance or any considerable lack of one or another
element, however microscopic, causes problems and we sicken, suffer, and
shorten our lives. Lacking vitamins, the system can make some use of
minerals; but lacking minerals, vitamins are useless."
report was offered over 70 years ago. Just imagine how it would read today.
The Need For Vitamins
substances that your body needs to grow and develop normally. There are 13
vitamins your body needs. They are vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins
(thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin
B-12 and folate). You can usually get all your vitamins from the foods you eat.
Your body can also make vitamins D and K…
has specific jobs. If you have low levels of certain vitamins, you may develop a
deficiency disease. For example, if you don't get enough vitamin D, you could
develop rickets. Some vitamins may help prevent medical problems...
The best way
to get enough vitamins is to eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods. In
some cases, you may need to take a daily multivitamin for optimal health.
However, high doses of some vitamins can make you sick.
Need for Vitamin Supplements
‘©Helpguide.org. All rights reserved. Helpguide.org is
an ad-free non-profit resource for supporting better mental health and
lifestyle choices for adults and children.’
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA)
defines a dietary supplement as a product that:
supplements the food you eat;
contains one or more dietary ingredient (including
vitamins; minerals; herbs or other botanicals; amino acids, and other
comes in pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid form; and
is labeled as a dietary supplement.
There are different types of dietary, or
nutritional, supplements. Vitamin and mineral supplements are types of
dietary supplements containing micronutrients meant to help a healthy body
function smoothly. Herbal (or botanical) supplements are dietary supplements
that have a medicinal purpose. Herbal supplements generally support a
specific area of the body’s health, such as the liver, bones or skin.
Ensuring smart supplementation
The word “supplement” means something
added. In this case, you’re “adding” to a basic healthy diet and lifestyle,
or to a prescription medication or therapy to treat a medical condition…
Reference source -
Foundation Is a
Multivitamin: The base of any supplementation program is a multivitamin
with minerals, containing at least 400 micrograms (0.4 milligram) of the B
vitamin folic acid. Multivitamins are the most commonly used product in the
dietary supplement category. There are 13 recognized vitamins and products
have all of them in addition to an assortment of minerals. There are 12
minerals for which "Reference Daily Intakes" have been established by the
Food and Drug Administration, for purposes of nutrition labeling.
A multivitamin/mineral product will fill most nutrient
gaps in normal diets. It will also easily provide the 400 mcg of folic acid
that women of childbearing age should get every day, for the sake of their
unborn babies. Most pregnancies are unplanned, so being ready for the
unexpected means taking that multivitamin every day. Folic acid
taken before pregnancy and during the first trimester can greatly reduce the
risk of having a baby with neural tube birth defect such as spina bifida,
according to the March of Dimes and the Centers for Disease Control and
But multivitamins are not just for young women.
Multivitamins with folic acid may also help reduce the risk of heart disease
and stroke in men and women of all ages. Folic acid, vitamin B-6 and vitamin
B-12 help reduce blood levels of homocysteine (an amino acid produced in the
body), and people with lower homocysteine levels have a lower risk of heart
disease and stroke. It is the long-term use of multivitamins that is most
beneficial, so consumers should resolve in the year 2005 to make this a
Benefits of Nutritional
June 20, 2012—The
Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the dietary supplement industry’s
leading trade association, today released its comprehensive report, The
Benefits of Nutritional Supplements
Edition). The updated book, which assesses the current
state of the science on the health benefits associated with select
nutritional supplements, finds consistent and adequate use of these products
contributes to overall health and wellness throughout all age groups,
lifestyles, and life stages.
Specifically, the report addresses the current state of the science
regarding multivitamins and other supplements, including antioxidants
(vitamins C and E), calcium, long chain omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils),
vitamin D, vitamins B-6 and B-12, fiber and folic acid. It includes
studies that demonstrate benefit as well as studies with null results and
also addresses studies that purport to have found harm. It discusses
who needs dietary supplements (nearly everyone), who takes dietary
supplements (most everyone), and who recommends dietary supplements—the
majority of many physician specialists (primary
care physicians, OB/GYNs,
as well as other health professionals (nurses, nurse
As reported by
the Council for Responsible Nutrition – Executive Summary and Call To Action
reports on the following topics:
Supplements for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Intakes of Vitamins and Minerals
Uses Vitamins and Minerals, and more...
Two ways to access the book:
‘©Helpguide.org. All rights reserved. Helpguide.org
is an ad-free non-profit resource for supporting better mental health and
lifestyle choices for adults and children.’
Health benefits of vitamin and mineral supplements:
Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients
that serve a specific purpose and benefit the body in a unique way. For
example, vitamin A supports vision and bone growth, whereas vitamin E
strengthens the immune system and helps repair DNA. Vitamin and mineral
deficiency can impair the body’s ability to heal and protect itself.
Taking vitamins does not make up for an unhealthy diet,
and vitamins are an insufficient substitute for nutrients from fresh fruits,
vegetables, and whole grains. However, a general multivitamin and mineral
supplement can be a good safeguard against periodic vitamin shortfalls in
Some groups of people, because of distinct nutritional
needs, benefit most from taking a vitamin and mineral supplement:
Women of childbearing
age (need extra calcium and iron)
Pregnant or lactating women
Children and teenagers with irregular eating habits
Vegetarians or vegans (may be deficient in key
Dieters or people avoiding certain food groups (may
be deficient in key nutrients)
People with eating disorders or medical conditions
(deficiency diseases, absorption problems, lactose intolerance, etc.)
People who often eat processed and fast food
Reference - ods.od.nih.gov
If you don't eat a nutritious variety of foods, some supplements might help
you get adequate amounts of essential nutrients. However, supplements can't
take the place of the variety of foods that are important to a healthy diet.
Good sources of information on eating well include the Dietary
Guidelines for Americans and
Scientific evidence shows that some dietary supplements are beneficial for
overall health and for managing some health conditions. For example, calcium
and vitamin D are important for keeping bones strong and reducing bone loss;
folic acid decreases the risk of certain birth defects; and omega-3 fatty
acids from fish oils might help some people with heart disease. Other
supplements need more study to determine their value. The U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) does not determine whether dietary supplements are
effective before they are marketed.
Dietary Supplement Safety
© American Nutrition Association
Assessing claims of functional foods and nutritional
supplements: With more and more products on the market claiming to have
health benefits for the consumer, this panel will help you better understand
how to evaluate these claims and separate fact from fiction.
CDC reports estimate that foodborne diseases cause
76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the
US each year
Adverse Event Reports for Drugs are approaching
In 2008, the first year of mandatory reporting,
the FDA received less than 1,000 Dietary
Supplement AERs, fewer than anticipated
Mayo Clinic published a report on its patients,
concluding that a small number of prescription meds and a small number
of DS accounted for most of the drug-nutrient interactions with no
serious interactions and reporting that “the actual potential for harm
The American Association of
Poison Control Centers’ latest annual report listed zero deaths from DS
[Dietary Supplements] in 2008, the most recent year reported
Another toxicology journal report on a one-year
poison center surveillance project concluded that “most
supplement-related adverse events were minor” and the most
problematic were caffeine and products containing the herb yohimbe
Bias: a peer-reviewed study reported that increased
pharmaceutical advertising is associated with scientific journals
publishing fewer articles about DS and publishing more articles with
conclusions that DS are unsafe
To read in entirety...americannutritionassociation.org
absorbed by the body, which doesn't store large amounts. The kidneys remove
those vitamins that are not needed.
Water-soluble vitamins must be
into the body daily, as
they cannot be stored and are excreted within four hours to one day. These include vitamin C and the B-complex vitamins.
absorbed into the body with the use of bile acids, which are fluids used to
absorb fat. The body stores these for use as needed. Oil-soluble
vitamins can be stored for
longer periods of time in the body’s fatty tissue and the liver. These include
vitamins A, D, E. and K. The body
for proper functioning needs both types of vitamins.
Taking supplements with meals helps to assure a
supply of other nutrients needed for better assimilation as well.
Unless specified otherwise, oil-soluble vitamins
should be taken before meals, and water-soluble ones should be taken after
How Are Vitamins
All purchased vitamin supplements are made synthetically in
laboratories. The only exception is vitamin B12, which is made
"naturally" by bacteria - biosynthesized. The Vitamin-Mineral-Herb
industry often promotes their vitamins as "natural". When these other
vitamins are synthesized, they end up equally in two forms that are mirror
images of each other - one is a d (dextra or right) and the other an l (levo or
left) form. Only the l form is active in the body. The d form, the mirror image,
does not have vitamin activity. These d forms, however, are not inactive in
other ways in the body. In large amounts, they may have harmful effects such as
increasing a nasty substance called pteroyl-glutamine acid in the body. Taking
mega doses of any vitamin will give your body a large dose of this inactive d
form of whatever vitamin you take.
and Synthetic Vitamins
Vitamin supplements can be divided into two groups:
and natural. Synthetic
vitamins are vitamins produced in laboratories from isolated chemicals that
mirror their counterparts found in nature.
Natural vitamins are derived from food sources.
A natural vitamin is a concentrated nutrient derived from a
quality natural source, with no artificial colors, sweeteners, or preservatives.
Natural vitamins contain co-factors that come with the nutrient in nature. For
instance, some co-factors that are usually found with Vitamin C are various
bioflavonoids. It is concentrated from its natural source as carefully as
possible. No extreme heat, pressure, or possible toxic solvents are used to make
the natural vitamins. There are no sugar or chemical tablet coatings. The
nutrients are prepared from high quality raw ingredients, no artificial
chemicals are added nor do harsh binders or fillers hinder absorption.
are made in a laboratory through a chemical process, rather than
from natural plants and materials. When the synthetic molecule is identical
to the form derived from natural sources, both are indistinguishable from each
other in all aspects, including their function and effects on the human body.
Most vitamins in supplements are petroleum extracts, coal
tar derivatives, and chemically processed sugar (plus sometimes industrially
processed fish oils), with other acids and industrial chemicals (such as
formaldehyde) used to process them [1-5]. Synthetic vitamins were originally
developed because they cost less . Assuming the non-food product does not
contain fish oils, most synthetic, petroleum-derived, supplements will call
their products ‘vegetarian’, not because they are from plants, but because
they are not from animals. Most vitamins in vitamin supplements made from food
are in foods such as acerola cherries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lemons,
limes, nutritional yeast, oranges, and rice bran (some companies also use animal
Vitamins vs. Whole Food Supplements
primary difference between real full-spectrum whole-food vitamins and synthetic
vitamins is that real vitamins contain the essential trace minerals necessary
for the vitamins’ synergistic operation.
Synthetic vitamins contain no trace minerals and must utilize the body’s
own mineral reserves. Ingesting real vitamins does not require the body to
deplete its own reserves of nutrients to replace any nutrients missing from the
false vitamin complex.
doses of synthetic vitamins can have very serious toxic effects.
Naturally-occurring whole-food vitamins are not toxic since the vitamin is
complexed in its natural whole integral working form, and requires nothing from
the body to “build” a vitamin. Naturally-occurring whole food vitamins are
only necessary in small quantities on a daily basis.
A Molecular Difference:
"A synthetically-derived substance may cause a reaction
in a chemically susceptible person when the same material of natural origin is
tolerated, despite the two substances having identical chemical structures. The
point is illustrated by the frequency of clinical reactions to synthetic
vitamins - especially vitamin B1 and [vitamin] C when the [same]
naturally-occurring vitamins are tolerated."
Certain studies on natural vs. synthetic vitamins have shown that synthetic
vitamins are 50 to 70% less biologically active than natural vitamins.
Synthetic vitamins are actually just fractions of naturally occurring vitamins
synthesized in the dextro- and levo- forms (known as "right" and
"left handed" molecules) which form geometric mirror images of each
other. It may seem strange, but the geometry of nutrient compounds is
crucial for the bioavailability of the nutrient. The body uses only the levo-
forms. Synthetic vitamin compounds have little of the correct geometry (levo-forms)
of naturally occurring vitamins present in food and botanicals.
So, can a synthesized, isolated vitamin fraction made in the laboratory be
called a real vitamin? Can it provide you with the nourishment that
naturally-occurring, whole-food supplements can? The answer is a resounding and
Synthetic Vitamins vs. NOS Supplements & Whole Food
What is Naturally
Occurring Supplements – (NOS)?
vitamins are obtained by taking a nutrient-rich plant, removing the water and
the fibre in a chemical-free vacuum process, and packaging it for stability. The
entire vitamin complex is captured intact, retaining its full-spectrum
functional and nutritional integrity. The best vitamin supplements are those
with labeled potencies derived from naturally occurring, full-spectrum food
“naturally-occurring” on a label means that a vitamin or nutrient is
completely comprised of compounds from naturally-occurring sources – the
plants themselves – rather than merely containing a naturally-occurring
ingredient mixed with synthetic ingredients.
Putting the word
“Natural” on the vitamin label is deceptive. The word is constantly abused
and as such it’s meaning has been diluted to a point where it holds little
value. Many misleading labels on supplement products take advantage of the
ambiguity of the word “natural” to project a wholesome marketing image –
most often when the product does not merit it.
- NOS Research Paper. PDF
Because of the mass marketing of synthetic vitamins as
“natural” or the equivalent of real, natural vitamins over the last 70 years
the general public has become confused about real, natural vitamins as opposed
to those that are synthetic. The significant difference between real, natural
vitamins and nutrients, as made by nature and man-made synthetic vitamins and
nutrients can be the difference between healthy nutrition and disease causing
The knowledge of the distinction between natural and
synthetic vitamins and nutrients, although recognized by certain leading persons
and organizations in the food industry, seems to be missing from the general
public domain and therefore this knowledge needs to be brought forward in a
broad public manner and disseminated in an organized program of public awareness
Synthetic vitamins and nutrients have been shown to exhibit
toxic effects when ingested. These toxic reactions are similar to some adverse
drug reactions or “side effects” that are often associated with drugs, which
are also synthetic chemical compounds. The adverse effects of large doses of
synthetic vitamin E, synthetic carotene, synthetic vitamin D, synthetic vitamin
C, and many other synthetic nutrients is well known.
The fact that there is a distinction between synthetic
vitamins and nutrients and “natural” or naturally occurring vitamins and
nutrients is accepted and recognized by various institutions and organizations
and also by certain large commercial pharmaceutical corporations who manufacture
synthetic vitamins and nutrients and who rightfully support the restriction of
these substances in the same manner as drugs are restricted.
Today there are two main categories of vitamin supplements
generally available commercially. They are as follows:
Supplements containing chemical vitamins
(such as USP man-made vitamins
or nutrients) added to a natural base. This category is related to the
direct addition of synthetic vitamins and nutrients to a product and
represents a majority of the supplements and fortified foods available
"Food Grown" or "Food Based" Supplements. In this category, product
potencies are often derived by adding (spiking) chemical, synthetic
vitamins and nutrients into a base such as yeast, algae, other
bacteriums or a mixture of various materials and then using that
artificially potentized (spiked) material base or a portion of that base
for all or part of the labeled potency of the product. These labeled
products may have a generally misleading label claim referring to the
spiked base as the “food” source. (This category represents the indirect
addition of synthetic vitamins and nutrients). The indirect addition of
synthetic nutrients, in this case, is apparently for label claims of
“Food Source” which can be legally made if the base that the synthetics
are added to (spiked into or “grown” within such as yeast or other
materials) is referred to as natural “food.”
Only whole food supplements complete the nutritional gap:
supplements are made by concentrating foods for use in supplements. When
processed correctly, they supply a multitude of the plant's components. Foods
provide nutrients that work synergistically. They work together to provide you
with optimal nutrition for good health.
What is the importance of whole food ingredients?
whole food ingredients can provide you with all the nutrients contained within
the food, rather than just isolated components…
Whole food supplement
vitamins and nutrients are derived mainly from
recognizable food sources.
Whole-Food Supplements in Clinical
- All Rights Reserved, Dynamic
A whole-food supplement is one comprised of foods (not
extracts, but entire foods) that have been concentrated into supplemental form.
Isolated supplements are singular (or groups of individual) vitamins, minerals
and/or amino acids. Whole foods contain vitamins, but
vitamins never contain the rest of the whole-food "complex.
Many biochemical researchers,
nutritionists and herbalists have noted that without the whole-food complex, the
body will never achieve whole nutrition, as vitamin supplements lack the rest
of the complex.
Richard Murray, DC, an avid biochemical researcher and lecturer for the past 30
years, taught that isolated vitamins eventually lead to biochemical imbalances
and consequential nutritional deficiencies, as the body is forced to surrender
its stores of nutrients in order to make any isolated vitamin work.
Whole foods are alive with enzyme activity, while
isolated vitamins are not living substances in the least. Vitamins do not
resemble foods, but they resemble parts of foods. It is the rest of the food
complex - the other parts - in which proponents of whole foods are interested.
Retired USDA botanist, James Duke, PhD, author of The Green Pharmacy, agrees:
"Vitamins and phytochemicals are better taken in their evolutionary context
- as they occur in plants - not isolated and out of context." Although it
is true that isolated vitamin supplementation "works," we must define
the word "work."
are the benefits of an organic health supplements?
1) These supplements have no synthetic or isolate ingredients.
2) They contain only complete whole food vitamins.
3) These supplements do not have any sea shell, rock or coral derived minerals.
4) Organic whole food vitamin supplements include homeopathic minerals.
5) They increase the intake of whole foods, such as seeds, nuts and grains.
6) They do not include any chemical, additive or synthetic ingredients.
7) They have a lacto-vegetarian formula.
a Vitamin Strategy
important for consumers to have an overall strategy for how they will achieve
adequate vitamin intakes. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advises that
nutrient needs be met primarily through consuming foods, with supplementation
suggested for certain sensitive populations.
These guidelines, published by the Department of Health
and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), provide
science-based advice to promote health and to reduce risk for chronic diseases
through diet and physical activity. They form the basis for federal food,
nutrition education, and information programs.
Barbara Schneeman, Ph.D., Director of FDA's Office of
Nutritional Products, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements, says, "The
Guidelines emphasize that supplements may be useful when they fill a specific
identified nutrient gap that cannot or is not otherwise being met by the
individual's intake of food." She adds, "An important point made in
the guidelines is that nutrient supplements are not a substitute for a healthful
is the case with all dietary supplements, the decision to use supplemental
vitamins should not be taken lightly, says Vasilios Frankos, Ph.D., Director of
FDA's Division of Dietary Supplement Programs.
are not dangerous unless you get too much of them," he says. "More is
not necessarily better with supplements, especially if you take fat-soluble
vitamins.” For some vitamins and minerals, the National Academy of Sciences
has established upper limits of intake (ULs) that it recommends not be exceeded
during any given day. For more information, visit
Don't decide to take dietary supplements to treat a health condition
that you have diagnosed yourself, without consulting a health care
Don't take supplements in place of, or in combination with, prescribed
medications without your health care provider's approval.
Check with your health care provider about the supplements you take if
you are scheduled to have any type of surgical procedure.
The term "natural"
doesn't always mean safe. A supplement's safety depends on many things, such
as its chemical makeup, how it works in the body, how it is prepared, and
the dose used. Certain herbs (for example, comfrey and kava) can harm the
How Much Is too Much?
- Institute of Food Technologists - © Institute of Food Technologists
Foods typically contain safe levels of vitamins, but
dietary supplements that contain high levels of vitamins could be
hazardous…Although excess water-soluble vitamins are usually excreted in
urine, thus minimizing toxicity, adverse symptoms from consuming high doses
of water- soluble nutrient supplements have been reported, including
diarrhea from vitamin C (Levine et al., 1995) and peripheral neuropathy from
vitamin B6 (Snodgrass, 1992).
Fat-soluble vitamins are more readily stored in the
body than water-soluble ones, and therefore have the potential to be more
dangerous. Vitamins E and K are considered relatively non-toxic; acute or
chronic over-consumption of vitamins A and D, however, is hazardous. Vitamin
A can cause spontaneous abortions and birth defects, especially at levels
above 20,000 IU/day (NRC, 1989). A high vitamin D intake can cause
hypercalcemia, leading to the deposition of calcium in soft tissues and
serious damage to the heart and kidneys…
It is unlikely for one to consume toxic levels of
minerals just from food, although selenium toxicity has been reported in
China and other areas where high concentrations of selenium exist in soil
and accumulate in plants. The human intestine has limited capacity to absorb
mineral cations, thus the excessive consumption of one mineral can lead to
impaired absorption of others. For example, a high iron intake inhibits the
absorption of zinc, while an excessive intake of zinc hinders copper
As is the case with all dietary supplements, the decision to use
supplemental vitamins should not be taken lightly, says Vasilios Frankos,
Ph.D., Director of FDA's Division of Dietary Supplement Programs.
"Vitamins are not dangerous unless you get too much of them," he says. "More
is not necessarily better with supplements, especially if you take
fat-soluble vitamins.” For some vitamins and minerals, the National Academy
of Sciences has established upper limits of intake (ULs) that it recommends
not be exceeded during any given day.
A (retinol, retinal, retinoic acid): Nausea,
vomiting, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, clumsiness, birth
defects, liver problems, possible risk of osteoporosis. You may be at
greater risk of these effects if you drink high amounts of alcohol or
you have liver problems, high cholesterol levels or don't get enough
D (calciferol): Nausea, vomiting, poor appetite,
constipation, weakness, weight loss, confusion, heart rhythm problems,
deposits of calcium and phosphate in soft tissues.
If you take blood thinners, talk to your doctor before
taking vitamin E or vitamin K pills.
B-3 (niacin): flushing, redness of the skin, upset
B-6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and
pyridoxamine): Nerve damage to the limbs, which may cause numbness,
trouble walking, and pain.
C (ascorbic acid): Upset stomach, kidney stones,
increased iron absorption.
Folic Acid (folate): High
levels may, especially in older adults, hide signs of B-12 deficiency, a
condition that can cause nerve damage
The table below shows the maximum daily intake of
key nutrients that the Institute of Medicine has determined is unlikely to
pose a risk of adverse health effects.
(The numbers apply to the general population, not to those
who may need supplementation because of a medical condition.)
Recommended daily intake
Safe upper limit
Folate (folic acid)
600 IU ages 19 to 70; 800 IU ages 71
600 IU ages 19 to 70; 800 IU ages 71
22 IU (natural)
33 IU (synthetic)
22 IU (natural)
33 IU (synthetic)
1,500 IU (natural)
1,000 mg ages 19 to 70; 1,200 mg ages
70 and up
1,000 mg ages 19 to 50; 1,200 mg ages
51 and up
2,500 mg through age 50; 2,000 mg
ages 51 and up
350 mg (from supplements only)
The table lists the Daily Values (DV1)
based on a caloric intake of 2,000 calories, for adults and children four or
more years of age. The nutrients in the table are listed in the order in
which they are required to appear on a dietary supplement label. This list
includes only those nutrients for which a DRV has been established.
The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL2)
is the highest level of daily nutrient intake that is likely to pose no risk
of adverse health effects to almost all individuals in the general
population. The UL values listed above pertain to adult (≥ 19 y) men and
women, excluding pregnant and/or lactating women. To view -
Vitamin and Mineral
Personalized DRI Nutrient Calculator
recommendations are based on the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) by age and
gender. Nutrient recommendations based on the DRIs are meant to be applied
to generally healthy people of a specific age and gender set. Individual
nutrient requirements may be higher or lower than the DRIs. Consult a
healthcare professional to determine individual nutrient requirements for
those with specific health or medical conditions.
Use this tool to calculate
daily nutrient recommendations for dietary planning based on the
Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). These represent the most current
scientific knowledge on nutrient needs, developed by the National Academy of
Science’s Institute of Medicine. Individual requirements may be higher or
lower than the DRIs.
According to results of the
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 52% of adults take dietary
supplements.1 Supplement use is typically a safe and effective method of
maintaining a healthy body; however, supplements
have the potential to interact with prescribed medications. In this
article, common drug interactions with vitamins and minerals are discussed,
along with suggestions on how the pharmacist should manage these
It is important for pharmacists to be able to
identify patients who are most at risk. Risk factors for poor outcomes from
drug interactions include use of multiple medications and/or supplements,
older age, inadequate kidney or liver function, and the use of medications
with narrow therapeutic indexes. Patients with these risk factors should be
targeted for interventions to prevent drug interactions with vitamins and
Supplements are most likely to cause side effects or
harm when people take them instead of prescribed medicines or when people
take many supplements in combination. Some
supplements can increase the risk of bleeding or, if a person takes them
before or after surgery, they can affect the person's response to anesthesia.
Dietary supplements can also interact with certain prescription drugs in
ways that might cause problems. Here are just a few examples:
Antioxidant supplements, like vitamins C and
E, might reduce the effectiveness of some types of cancer chemotherapy.
Vitamin K can reduce the ability of the
blood thinner Coumadin® to prevent blood from clotting.
St. John's wort
can speed the breakdown of many drugs (including antidepressants and
birth control pills) and thereby reduce these drugs' effectiveness.
This checker will find interactions between DRUGS and NATURAL MEDICINES
including each ingredient of brand name products. It will NOT find drug-drug
interactions. Discuss with your physician prior to making clinical
Safety and Risks
Many supplements contain active ingredients that can have strong effects in
the body. Always be alert to the possibility of unexpected side effects,
especially when taking a new product.
Keep in mind that some ingredients found in dietary supplements are added to
a growing number of foods, including breakfast cereals and beverages. As a
result, you may be getting more of these ingredients than you think, and
more might not be better. Taking more than you need is always more expensive
and can also raise your risk of experiencing side effects. For example,
getting too much vitamin A can cause headaches and liver damage, reduce bone
strength, and cause birth defects. Excess iron causes nausea and vomiting
and may damage the liver and other organs.
Be cautious about taking dietary supplements if you are pregnant or nursing.
Also, be careful about giving them (beyond a basic multivitamin/mineral
product) to a child. Most dietary supplements have not been well tested for
safety in pregnant women, nursing mothers, or children.
If you suspect that you have had a serious reaction from a dietary
supplement, let your health care provider know. He or she may report your
experience to the FDA. You may also
submit a report to the FDA by calling 800-FDA-1088
a form online.
In addition, report your reaction to the dietary supplement company by using
the contact information on the product label.
Link to Weight Loss
Tainted Products for additional information…
What Questions Should You Ask?
How can you tell which supplements are effective and right
for you? Here are some recommendations on what you should know before you buy:
Could the supplement interact negatively with one or
more of your prescription medications? Because some vitamins and herbs
interact negatively with drugs, it's important to inform your doctor about
all supplements you're taking, says Augsburger, a professor at the
University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. For example, the FDA issued a
warning that St. John's wort decreases the effectiveness of HIV drugs such
Could the supplement affect you during or after
surgery? Some supplements can affect how fast or slow your blood clots,
your heart rate or blood pressure and other factors that could be vital if
you are going to have surgery. Tell your doctor about the vitamins,
minerals, herbals or any other supplements you are taking.
Are the potentially beneficial ingredients easily
absorbed into your body? If pills are not formulated properly or are
compressed too tightly during the manufacturing process, your body may
excrete them before they dissolve, Augsburger says. Augsburger cited a
recent study showing that two of nine commercial products containing
melatonin (a sleep aid) did not disintegrate after more than 20 hours.
Do you really need to take this supplement?
yourself why you want to take a supplement and whether you need it if you
can get the same nutrients from the foods you eat, says Stephen Barrett, a
retired psychiatrist and board member of the National Council Against Health
Fraud and founder of Quackwatch.com. "There's a certain amount of
gambling involved in terms of whether the product might be useful or whether
it's even in the bottle," says Barrett.
Has this supplement been scientifically tested?
Do some research to find if the product has been tested on human subjects.
Make sure the references you read are from professional journals like The
New England Journal of Medicine.
Before taking a dietary supplement, ask yourself these questions:
How, when, and for how long should I take it?
What are the potential health benefits of this dietary supplement
What are its potential benefits for me?
Does this product have any safety risks?
What is the proper dose to take?
Other important concerns:
When you shop for supplements, look for USP or NF on the package
If you are shopping for a botanical, make sure to find a product that
uses only the effective part of the plant. Avoid botanicals that have
been made using the entire plant, unless the entire plant is
Remember that a product described as "natural" is not necessarily safer
or more effective.
Consider the name and reputation of the manufacturer or distributor. Is
it a nationally known name? Large companies with a reputation to uphold
are more likely to manufacture their products under strict,
Does the label provide a way to contact the company if you have
questions or concerns about their product? Reputable manufacturers will
provide contact information on the label or packaging of their
Contact the manufacturer and ask about their quality control procedures
and manufacturing processes.
Try to avoid mixtures of many different supplements. The more
ingredients, the greater the chances of harmful effects.
Avoid supplements priced significantly lower than similar products; they
are likely to be of lower quality.
Avoid products that claim to be "miracle cures," "breakthroughs," or
"new discoveries," to have benefits but no side effects, or to be based
on a "secret ingredient" or method. Such claims are almost always
fraudulent, and the product may contain potentially harmful substances
Avoid products that claim to be effective treatment for a wide variety
of unrelated illnesses. If a supplement claims that it can diagnose,
treat, cure, or prevent disease, such as "cures cancer," the product is
being sold illegally as a drug.
Avoid products that claim to be safe or effective based solely on
ConsumerLab.com to find
out which brands of supplements they have tested.
If you have questions about a certain
brand, don't be afraid to look up their contact information, call them and
ask about the points above.
Reputable supplement labs will have answers and documentation available for all
your questions. Keep in mind that some of the highest
quality products are only available through health care providers.
- Read the label on the bottles. Ingredients
for the supplements should be from organic sources whenever possible.
- Dietary Supplements
should be tested for
toxic substances and any kind of contamination such as lead or mercury.
- Look for hypoallergenic products if you
have sensitivity problems. Avoid wheat, yeast and corn.
- Look for an expiration date and make sure the product is fresh. If
there is no expiration date on the label, buy something else.
You may also check with the store to see if they are sure of the
Nutrition” - Nutrigenomics
Science and the
Wisdom of Nature can match your nutrition to your unique biochemistry:
Now we have the answer in your BioType™. Over
the last 20 years
team of doctors, scientists and nutritionists have been expanding the original
discoveries of Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, Dr. William Walsh, and Dr. Roger Williams who
pioneered the innovative field of individualized nutrition. Now we are able to
identify your individualized nutritional BioType™ and match it with a specific
nutritional program of supplements and foods that are determined by assessing
the needs of your uniquely inherent biochemistry.
We test the
biochemical systems that affect your mind, body, emotions, energy and
overall health and well-being. Specifically, we offer five tests in one; glucose
control, neurotransmitter production, histamine levels, nutrient absorption, and
oxidative stress, (heavy metals). These fundamental systems affect your
day-to-day activities as well as your thoughts, feelings, behaviors and long
term health. Completing our clinically developed questionnaire, allows our
doctors to determine whether your expressed symptoms correlate to specific
We compare your cluster
of symptoms to over 20,000 clients who have listed the same group of symptoms
and have also undergone over 100 blood, urine and tissue analysis. Locating the
match of your BioType™ with a subgroup in our database enables us to
extrapolate your unique biochemical profile with 99% surety. In order to
rebalance these underlying biochemical functions, our doctors
individualized nutritional program for you.
Helps You Find the Foods That Are Right For You:
Questionnaire will help analyze your nutritional status and
provide you with information regarding the nutrients, which may be found
deficient in your diet as well as recommendations for which foods and recipes
will help, fulfill your nutritional needs. The Food Advisor can give you a
personalized set of food recommendations from a short questionnaire and move you
along your way to a healthier meal plan!
Nutritional Therapy - Personalized Nutrition
Natural Products Foundation
Like foods, dietary supplements are required to carry
ingredient labeling. This information must include the name and the net quantity
of contents on the principle display panel. The label must also list all
ingredients that do not appear in the supplement facts information panel in the
order of their amount in the product.
But unlike foods, the law spells out a number of labeling
requirements for dietary supplements that are unique. Specifically, these rules
Inclusion of the term "dietary supplement" (or
similar terms such as "herbal supplement") as part of the statement of
Stating the quantity of each dietary ingredient or for
combination products, the total quantity of all dietary ingredients in the blend
Most importantly for consumers, the new law requires that
dietary supplements provide nutritional labeling. This labeling, called a
"Supplement Facts" information panel, lists the amount of calories,
calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total
carbohydrate, dietary fiber, sugars, protein, vitamins, and minerals. The
Supplement Facts panel must also include the quantity per serving for each
dietary ingredient (or blend) and may describe the source of a dietary
ingredient (for example, "calcium from Calcium gluconate").
Health Benefit Claims
To help consumers make informed decisions about using
dietary supplements, the law sets out very stringent requirements for when
manufacturers can make claims about the health benefits of their products. Based
upon DSHEA and specific food labeling laws, FDA has issued regulations that
allow dietary supplement manufacturers to make three types of claims:
nutrient-content claims, 2) health claims, and 3) structure-function claims.
nutrient-content claims, the regulations are
straightforward: based on FDA's requirements, when a supplement contains a high
enough level of a nutrient, the product can carry a claim such as "high in
calcium" or "an excellent source of vitamin C."
FDA also authorizes health-related claims for
foods and dietary supplements when there is a documented link between a
food/dietary supplement and a health-related condition. Here, FDA has by regulation established approved
claims based on a review of the scientific evidence for significant scientific
agreement, or based upon an authoritative statement from a scientific body like
the National Academy of Sciences. The following six claims apply to dietary
Folic acid and a decreased risk of birth defects
Calcium and a lower risk of osteoporosis
Potassium and the reduced risk of high blood pressure
Psyllium seed husk (as part of a diet low in
cholesterol and saturated fat) and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease
Soy protein and the reduced risk of coronary heart
Plant sterol/stanol esters and the reduced risk of
coronary heart disease
the law allows information describing the
supplement's effect on the body's structure or function, such as Vitamin E
supports a healthy heart, or fiber maintains bowel regularity.
To use these
claims, manufacturers must have scientific data to substantiate the statement
and the product label must bear this notice: "This statement has not been
evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to
diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease." In addition, FDA requires
marketers to inform the agency of the use of the claim no later than 30 days
after the product is first marketed and to certify that they can substantiate
the claim, if challenged. Knowingly filing a false certification is a crime.
The DSLD contains the full label contents from a sample
of dietary supplement products marketed in the U.S. The Dietary Supplements
Labels Database offers information about ingredients in more than two
thousand selected brands of dietary supplements. It enables users to
determine what ingredients are in specific brands and to compare ingredients
in different brands. Information is also provided on the health benefits
claimed by manufacturers.
The Dietary Supplement Label Database (DSLD) is a joint
project of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary
Supplements (ODS) and National Library of Medicine (NLM).
The DSLD contains the full label contents from all of
the dietary supplement products marketed in the U.S. with a Web-based user
interface that provides ready access to the data;
American Herbal Products Association (AHPA). Copyright
The vast majority of dietary supplement products
fully comply with applicable laws and are properly sold to consumers.
However, some unscrupulous companies have threatened consumer confidence by
selling tainted products that contain undeclared prescription drugs and
other chemicals. Since 2008, FDA has identified nearly 400 such products.
These unlawful ingredients have been found in capsules, tablets, powders,
teas, and coffees. While these tainted products represent a tiny minority of
all dietary supplements sold, it is important that consumers have confidence
when buying their products from reputable companies.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration called
attention to this problem with the following statement:
FDA has identified an emerging trend where
over-the-counter products, frequently represented as dietary supplements,
contain hidden active ingredients that could be harmful. Consumers may
unknowingly take products laced with varying quantities of approved
prescription drug ingredients, controlled substances, and untested and
unstudied pharmaceutically active ingredients. These deceptive products can
harm you! Hidden ingredients are increasingly becoming a problem in products
promoted for weight loss.
Consumers need to understand that when purchasing
supplements, what they think they are buying may not be what they are getting.
You may pay slightly more for supplements from your health care
provider, but you will know you are getting the top of the line, and when it
comes to your health, that is what is most important.
Retrieved from -
There is only one sure way of buying the highest
quality nutritional and herbal supplements: do the research and find a
manufacturer that provides a comprehensive scientific evaluation of every
raw material it uses, operates GMP-certified manufacturing facilities,
performs human clinical evaluations to document predicted safety and
efficacy and has a scientific staff and facilities to achieve true quality.
Raw Materials –
The Starting Point: Ingredient selection makes the biggest difference in
quality of the final product. Without quality ingredients, event the best
scientific formula won’t live up to its health-promoting benefits. There are
significant quality differences in individual ingredients, and bargain
nutritional supplements are often made with low-cost and low-quality
Safety and/or effectiveness may be at risk with cheaper
ingredients. Low cost suppliers often don’t spend the time or money to
conduct adequate literature reviews for safety, or devote qualified
professionals to review this literature. Cutting corners on safety can have
long-reaching effects on your health – and that’s a cost no one can afford.
How do you
verify the quality of ingredients? An advanced scientific staff and
sophisticated research facilities are required to identify the quality
difference, which requires a hi-tech laboratory for comprehensive scientific
evaluation. All the products we carry have devoted the resources to
facilitate such testing.
Dietary supplements are complex products. The FDA has established quality
standards for dietary supplements to help ensure their identity, purity,
strength, and composition. These standards are designed to prevent the
inclusion of the wrong ingredient, the addition of too much or too little of
an ingredient, the possibility of contamination, and the improper packaging
and labeling of a product. The FDA periodically inspects facilities that
manufacture dietary supplements.
In addition, several
independent organizations offer quality testing and allow products that pass
these tests to display their seals of approval. These seals of approval
provide assurance that the product was properly manufactured, contains the
ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful levels of
contaminants. These seals of approval do not guarantee that a product is
safe or effective. Organizations that offer this quality testing include:
ConsumerLab.com, LLC ("CL") is the leading
provider of independent test results and information to help consumers and
healthcare professionals identify the best quality health and nutrition
products. It publishes results of its tests in comprehensive reports at www.consumerlab.com.
CL also conducts an annual Survey of Vitamin & Supplement
Users. CL’s research is cited frequently by the media, in books,
and at professional meetings. In addition to the products it selects to
review, CL enables companies of all sizes to have their products quality tested for potential inclusion in
its list of Approved Quality products and bear the CL Seal. Since its founding in 1999, CL has
tested more than 3,400 products, representing over 450 different brands and nearly every type of popular supplement for adults, children,
Copyright The United States
The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) is an official public
standard–setting authority for all prescription and over–the–counter
medicines and other health care products manufactured or sold in the United
States. USP also sets widely recognized standards for food ingredients and
For USP Certified Nutrients
see links below
Look for 'USP' on the label.
ensures that the supplement meets the standards for
strength, purity, disintegration and dissolution established by the testing
organization U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP).
Look for expiration dates.
Dietary supplements can lose potency over time, especially in hot
and humid climates. If a supplement doesn't have an expiration date,
don't buy it. If your supplements have expired, discard them.
What the USP Verified Mark Means on a Supplement Label
The distinctive USP Verified Dietary Supplement Mark is
awarded to finished dietary supplements that pass USP's comprehensive
verification processes. Manufacturers can display the mark on the label of USP
Verified products. The mark represents that USP has rigorously tested and
verified the supplement to assure the following:
What's on the
label is in fact in the bottle—all the listed ingredients in the declared
does not contain harmful levels of contaminants.
will break down and release ingredients in the body
has been made under good manufacturing practices.
USP is an independent, not-for-profit organization. No
other organization in the U.S. that tests supplements is recognized in federal
law as the nation's official standard-setting body for medicines and
supplements. USP standards are enforceable by the FDA.
The importance of USP Verified Dietary Supplements:
Assurance of safe, sanitary, well-controlled, and well-documented
manufacturing and monitoring processes is proof that the supplement
manufacturer is quality-conscious and concerned for your well-being.
Tests based on USP standards have shown that contents of many
supplements sold in retail stores don't match the label and that some
supplements contain significantly less or more than the claimed amount of
key ingredients. There may be a serious health risk when supplements taken
to prevent a specific health problem do not contain ingredients in
appropriate quantities. You must be sure of the identity and amount of
ingredients in your supplements if you want to be sure you're getting value
for your money.
Some supplements may contain lead, mercury, other heavy metals,
pesticides, bacteria, molds, toxins, or other potentially harmful
contaminants. You must be sure these contaminants are not present at levels
that can cause health problems.
If a supplement does not break down properly to allow its ingredients
to dissolve in the body, it means you won't get the full benefit of its
contents. It's important for you to know that the supplement has been
tested against recognized standards, as the USP Verified Mark indicates.
Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN)
ensure the quality of your supplemental products CRN was founded in 1973,
which is a Washington-based trade association representing ingredient suppliers
and manufacturers in the dietary supplement industry.
CRN members adhere to a strong code of ethics, comply with
dosage limits and manufacture dietary supplements to high quality standards and
under good manufacturing practices. CRN's mission is to enhance and sustain a
climate for our member companies to responsibly market dietary supplements and
their ingredients by maintaining and improving confidence among consumers,
media, government leaders, regulators, healthcare professionals and other
decision makers with respect to our members’ products.
CRN member companies - www.CRN
View Companies Participating in the USP Verified Program for Dietary
GMP- Certified Manufacturing:
Good manufacturing practices (GMP)
certification of a manufacturing plant is an excellent marker of quality.
GMP certification is not free – in fact, it’s very expensive to implement,
which is why most nutritional supplement manufacturers are not officially
GMP-certified. GMP-certification insures the highest quality manufacturing
to bring you the highest quality products. Click here to see a listing of GMP
www.npainfo.org - Natural Products Association
the first organization to offer a third-party GMP certification program for
the manufacturing of dietary supplements and dietary ingredients. NPA
established its GMP standards for dietary supplements in 1999 and updated
the standard in 2000. At the time of publication, these GMP standards
represented the industry's best practices and served as the basis of the NPA
GMP Certification Program.
2007, the FDA published the final GMP regulation specific to dietary
supplements (21 CFR 111). In order to keep the NPA GMP Certification Program
relevant and reflect the highest level of industry good manufacturing
practices, the NPA GMP Standard has been revised to include all of the FDA
GMP requirements of 21 CFR Part 111 and retains certain requirements from
the 2000 version of the NPA GMP Standard that exceed requirements of the FDA
GMPs, or reflect best industry practices, and/or are necessary for the
evaluation of compliance to the NPA GMP standard. NPA
GMP Certification is awarded to companies that meet a high level of
compliance to the NPA GMP Standard as verified through comprehensive
third-party inspections of facilities and GMP-related documentation.
The Natural Certification Program and
Seal of Approval
Under this program, products must follow strict guidelines set out by NPA to
merit the seal. The criteria include, but are not limited to:
Product must be made up of at least 95 percent truly natural ingredients
or ingredients that are derived from natural sources, excluding water
ingredients with any suspected human health risks
processes that significantly or adversely alter the natural ingredients
that come from a purposeful, natural source (flora, fauna, mineral)
Processes that are minimal and don't use synthetic/harsh chemicals
Non-natural ingredients only when no viable natural alternative
ingredient are available and only when there are absolutely no suspected
potential human health risks
- Natural Medicines.org
Required) Provides the world's largest collection of brand name dietary
supplements along with scientific data on each ingredient. The Database is
continuously updated with new data added daily.
Through a separate collaboration with Consumer Reports, the
natural medicine ratings from Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database CONSUMER
Version are provided to consumers who use www.ConsumerReportsMedicalGuide.org
Pharmaceutical Grade or OTC (Over the Counter)
Retrieved from -
Why Supplement Quality Matters -
Ingredient selection makes
the biggest difference in quality of the final product. Without quality
ingredients, even the best scientific formula won't live up to its
health-promoting benefits. There are significant quality differences in
individual ingredients, and bargain nutritional supplements are often made with
low-cost and low-quality ingredients.
Retrieved from -
hwifc.com - Health & Wellness
Why professional or pharmaceutical grade? Pharmaceutical grade supplements are
specifically designed to have a profound effect on one’s health. For
this reason, they are typically sold through physicians, pharmacists and
nutritionists. Pharmaceutical grade is the highest quality grade vitamin,
meaning purity, dissolution, and absorption meet the highest regulatory
standards verified by third party testing. Optimal health requires
- Chiropractic Economics ©
Is There a Difference in OTC (Over The Counter)
really a question of physician-grade vs. OTC; rather it's about substituting
fake vs. real nutrition," says Richard Drucker of Drucker Labs. "Many
OTC supplements use synthetic chemical nutrients (as opposed to natural and
organic sources) because they are much cheaper to manufacture, and putting a
vitamin into a mega-drugstore is all about profit margins."
Armstrong of A.C. Grace Company says it comes down to quality. Armstrong
believes raw materials have to be checked and double-checked, and companies have
to perform independent assays to verify potency, among other things.
Physician-grade supplements, according to Wilson, are
formulated with a specific result in mind. They are not intended for a
person to use over the counter, as they often have very high amounts of
particular actives to help the doctor manage a case. "These products are
designed to be part of a protocol," Wilson says. "Consumer products
are designed for maximum sales and profit impact."
Why Are Physician-Grade Supplements Better?
The term "physician grade" refers to professional
market supplements available only to and marketed exclusively to doctors…
"When companies provide
products to a doctor, they know the results will be monitored. If the
product does not do what it should, the doctor stops using it," says Allan
Wilson of Anabolic Laboratories. "That feedback loop does not exist only in
the consumer market, and also acts as a quality gauge. To survive in the
'physician only' market, a supplement company must provide products that yield
“Physician Grade” Supplements
The best option for consumers is to purchase “Physician
Grade” supplements. These are
supplements available only to and marketed exclusively to health care providers.
They hold themselves to higher standards, and therefore have better
results. This is important,
because when companies provide products to a health care provider, they know the
results will be monitored. If the
supplement doesn’t do what it should, the provider will stop recommending it
to his patients.
also have better educational tools for the doctor, including trained and
qualified employees to answer any questions.
They have Ph.D. scientists and pharmacologists researching and developing
their products. These companies
also do individual assays on every lot, instead of just spot checks to
make sure their products meet label-claims.
Health care providers often insist on seeing the test results before
deciding to recommend the product to their patients.
Their products are formulated with a specific result in mind, and are
designed to be part of a health care protocol.
Over-the-counter supplements, on the other hand, are designed for maximum
sales and profit.
nihadc.com - ©
National Integrated Health Associates
Physician grade products must yield consistent results
and as such are held to a higher standard in manufacturing, quality control,
testing and continued monitoring. Additionally, companies provide
educational tools to the doctor and train their employees in order to field
any questions or concerns regarding the supplement.
The manufacturers know that doctors will likely stop
using the products that do not perform consistently. In an Integrative
medical health practice like NIHA the doctors are carefully listening to and
monitoring patients’ reactions to specific products and this feedback may be
shared at a weekly doctor/practitioner meeting where any pertinent
supplement questions, issues and protocols are discussed, in order to
improve the treatment outcome for the patient.
hwifc.com - Health & Wellness Institute of Integrative Medicine and
Pharmaceutical grade supplements are specifically
designed to have a profound effect on one’s health. For this reason,
they are typically sold through physicians, pharmacists and nutritionists.
Pharmaceutical grade is the highest quality grade vitamin, meaning purity,
dissolution, and absorption meets the highest regulatory standards verified
by third party testing. Optimal health requires optimal nutrition!
beyondorganic.net, Copyright © Beyond Organic. All Rights
It’s difficult to get all of our nutritional needs in
food alone. Taking supplements can be beneficial, whether it's for a medical
condition or to help us meet our dietary requirements. They typically have
less, if any, side effects in comparison to pharmaceutical drugs.
But if you do decide to go this route, it's very
important to research the supplements you plan on taking. Understand its
benefits and disadvantages; its efficacy; contraindications; recommended
dosage based on your sex, age, and weight. Brands are made of varying
quality, so look at how it's manufactured if available. Consider the source
of your research articles - are they written by a reputable source? Are the
studies supporting its efficacy well-designed, or is there a marketing bias
to the article?
Supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so you must
accept this risk and do your research if you're considering adding it to
your diet. However, it can also be very rewarding. Just remember to not take
too many supplements in relation to regular food and to take as directed.
For those whose stomach's are especially sensitive to supplements, this
could be a sign that you are using a synthetic form of the nutrient that
doesn't agree with you or you don't have enough healthy bacteria in your
digestive system. Taking probiotics either through food sources or as a
supplement for 2 weeks prior to other supplementation can help in this case.
For herbal supplements, make sure you understand which
part of the plant contains the key ingredient that provides the purported
health benefits. It may be the root, leaves, or another specific part of the
plant. Cheap supplements will often contain parts of the plant which provide
diminished benefits. Understand what the active ingredient is, the
supplement's potency, and the amount that each dose contains. Supplements
with "super critical extracts" are of the highest
potency, and therefore require less than other supplements. The
higher quality supplements will usually provide this level of detail in the
nutritional label and will also be pure with few additional ingredients.
Gaia is 1 high quality brand to look for.
When you have a choice between buying pills in a
smaller or larger dosage, it’s usually best to go with the smaller dosage
that you can take more frequently over the course of the day (also known as
divided doses). This increases the absorption level and gives your body a
steady supply of the supplement. Along those same lines, avoid mega dosing.
Some people take large doses of certain vitamins like C, but it's harmful
and should be avoided. There are studies that show a high intake of vitamin
C (specifically, somewhere over 2000 mg from a
synthetic source) can cause atherosclerosis, or hardening of the
arteries. The best thing to do is set a dietary goal of meeting the Adequate
Intake (AI) level without exceeding the tolerable Upper Intake (UI) unless
otherwise indicated by a doctor (see Nutrient
Remember to take your multi-vitamins or any other
supplements containing vitamins A, D, E, and K with some food that has a
small amount of fat. These vitamins are fat-soluble, meaning they dissolve
to Vitamins and Mineral Therapy By Condition
to Listings of On-line Professional Grade Supplement Sites
to Listings of On-line Whole Food Supplements
Link to Listings
of On-line Quality Discounted Dietary Supplements
Dietary Supplements Safety Alerts
Supplements Consumer Alerts
How to Report an Adverse Event or Serious