How do you choose a good vitamin and mineral supplement? Here are some helpful insights.
How to Select a Good Vitamin and Mineral Supplement
I often shared with you my favorite nutritional supplements. But how did I decide to take USANA myself and share it with my patients?
Well, let me share with you an easy guideline you can use to evaluate any vitamin.
Here are some of the questions to ask yourself when choosing a good vitamin and mineral supplement;
1. Is the supplement safe to take?
Multi-vitamin supplements are a combination of different ingredients. Oftentimes, they can contain substances that are not listed on the label.
Moreover, most science-based nutrition companies test ingredients for contaminants. They test supplements against E. coli, salmonella, pesticides, steroids, stimulants, and other banned substances.
However, vitamins and minerals can contain toxic levels from inconsistencies in the strength of raw materials. So you have to make sure that the nutrition company tests every batch of pills to confirm that the strength and purity are consistent and safe.
2. Am I getting what’s on the label?
Only buy products that adhere to the Pharmaceutical Good Manufacturing Process (GMP). This will ensure you that what’s on the label (and only what’s on the label) are in the bottle. Theses are the rigorous standards that govern the production of prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Most manufacturers only use FDA guidelines when manufacturing their vitamins. However, this does not ensure that what is on the label is in the bottle.
3. Does the supplement get absorbed?
A multi-vitamin or mineral is only as good as its ability to be absorbed and utilized in the body. Therefore, it is important to choose supplements that meet U.S. Pharmacopeia standards for disintegration and dissolution.
Look for a supplement that chelated minerals in it. This way, you can be sure that your body will absorb them. Also, be sure that there is an expiration date indicating when the supplement may no longer meet USP standards of quality and strength.
4. Is the company science-based and credible?
Is the company research-based and science-focused? Who is the formulator of the products?
Anyone can have their own vitamin brand just by ordering 100 bottles. Did you know that?
Only a few manufacturers produce most of the vitamins sold – several thousand companies. So, you have to look for a company that manufactures its own products. It should be a company that is tested and certified by independent agencies such as NSF International, Consumer Labs or Nutrisearch Inc.
I use The Nutrisearch Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements by Lyle MacWilliam. It helps me make a third-party analysis of over 1500 products available in the U.S. and Canada.
Do you want to know how your vitamin rates? Send me an email with your brand to [email protected] and I’ll happily get the guide for your brand’s rating.
5. Is it food-based, natural and organic?
Here is another question that I often get. Patients often say they only want to take food-based, natural, or organic supplements. This is a good question and a theory that many of you may have thought about. So I asked the scientists at USANA to explain.
Natural vs Synthetic Vitamins and Minerals
It is a common misconception that "natural" vitamins and minerals are extracted from plants in their pure form. Some people also believe that such vitamins and minerals are superior to "synthetic" ones which are made in a laboratory. In reality, this is a misleading distinction.
First, it is not possible to extract pure vitamins from plants without considerable and significant chemical processing.
Secondly, the biological activity of a compound has nothing to do with its source. It is determined by its chemical structure. In other words, it makes no difference whether the chemical originates from a leafy plant or a test tube. They are the same compound regardless.
Some vitamin and antioxidant compounds are efficiently synthesized in factories. This is their way to produce products that are identical in chemical form to those found in nature. That is pure and fully safe.
Additionally, our bodies absorb some synthetic vitamins better than natural food folates. An example of this is folic acids.
Supplements vs Whole Food
The very reason we have this industry is due to large published studies in the medical and nutritional literature. These have given us the knowledge and insight into nutritional elements.
However, if you want full benefits from the whole food, eat the whole food. "Whole food" supplements are not whole foods. They do not contain water, fiber, calories, or other macronutrients. They are processed.
Supplements, whether "whole food", synthetic, or naturally derived, are just supplements. They do not replace a varied diet of healthy food.
Most importantly, USANA makes sure that all of the raw ingredients that go into their products are selected for effectiveness, purity, and safety.
USANA uses vitamins and mineral compounds in those chemical forms, whether "natural" or "synthetic,". This is the best way your body can absorb and utilize them. And we purchase those materials with the highest standards for quality."