A common question when striving for healthier nutrition is “Do I need supplements?”
The answer is not as easy as ‘yes’ or ‘no’… it often depends on an individual’s current health, diet, and wellness goals. Ideally, we should get enough foundational vitamins and minerals from our food if we are eating a nutrient-rich, whole foods diet. However, there are a few limitations to this theory. As our population continues to grow, the demand for more food has begun to deplete the nutrients in the soil that it is grown in, and more processed food, which may be devoid of nutrients, has become more popular. For this reason, our food is not as nutrient-dense as it was even 50 years ago. In addition, the demand in our lives and bodies has increased through daily stress, lack of quality sleep and increased toxic load from food, water, and air pollutants. All of these factors may increase our need for nutrients to support our energy levels, immune system, metabolic pathways, and natural detoxification processes.
With that said, it is my belief that most individuals can benefit from at least a high-quality multivitamin. Take note– there is an emphasis on the term ‘high-quality’. According to an analysis of the US Food and Drug Administration…
“…nearly 800 dietary supplements sold over the counter from 2007 through 2016 contained unapproved drug ingredients.” Furthermore “…more than one unapproved pharmaceutical ingredient was found in 20% of those supplements…”, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.
For this reason, I only recommend professional-grade supplements. Professional-grade supplement companies use high-grade, raw ingredients which are routinely tested for impurities and quality. These brands also exclude impure additives and are more likely to be free of excipients (such as coloring agents, preservatives, binders, and fillers) which can interfere with absorption and bioavailability. Other considerations are allergens; many supplements will use common allergens such as lactose, gluten, corn, or soy without mention on the label. You may be asking, ‘How do they get away with it?’ Unfortunately, supplements are not regulated by the FDA, therefore these ingredients can slide under the radar pretty easily. Professional-grade supplements opt into a third-party evaluation which analyzes raw ingredients in addition to the batch products.
How do you know if a supplement is considered professional-grade? It isn’t always easy to tell, and it can require a bit of research. Look for products that follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), also sometimes referred to as cGMP, where the ‘c’ stands for ‘current’. The Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) reminds supplement manufacturers and resellers to stay up to date with their processes, equipment, technologies, and policies in manufacturing and reselling supplements. The FDA developed cGMPs to ensure supplements are produced in a consistent manner while meeting both quality and safety standards. You may also look for 3rd party certification programs to ensure and further validate product quality. Some examples of certifications include:
To make it even easier, work with a dietitian or health care provider that exclusively works with professional-grade supplement brands or uses trusted dispensaries, such as FullScript.
Keep in mind that the power that supplements have to do good, can also cause harm if not taken appropriately. Consult a healthcare practitioner whenever adding supplements to your regimen.
If you are interested in a supplement review and consultation or would like to replace your current supplements with professional-grade, please reach out and/or request access to our supplement dispensary by email.
You can reach me here: firstname.lastname@example.org.