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Posted on 03-16-2015

Photo by Praisaeng. Published on 16 June 2013

Photo by Phraisaeng. Published on 16 June 2013. Free Digital Photos.net

Are your supplements up to snuff?

Every day we advise patients on the use of supplementation, from your typical multiple vitamin to more complex herbal formulas.  In 13 years of practice, the most important thing we've learned about the supplementation world is that there is a HUGE disparity in quality.  Have you ever walked by a store in a mall and seen 2 months of Vitamin D advertised for a few bucks and thought “that’s a great deal!”  As the saying goes, if it’s too good to be true… it probably is.

About a month ago, the NY Times published an article that hammered on four major retailers for fraudulently selling bogus nutritional supplements.  Basically, what the bottle said was in the pill wasn’t in the pill.  This didn’t come as a surprise to us since we both recall back to our days in graduate school when our nutrition professor said the same thing about retailers there.  He was part of a team of researchers that would go into some of these same stores and pull bottles from the shelves, test them, and break down every single ingredient that was in the supplement.  I remembered him showing us the lab “assay” breakdown of the supplement they were studying, Vitamin E.  In all of the stores (several major national chains) they tested, only a few had Vitamin E in the supplement, and it was under 15%.  In a few of them, they had ZERO Vitamin E and I clearly remember him pointing out the “unknown” category.  They had NO IDEA what some of the ingredients in these supplements were, and these guys were PhD researchers!  Scary? This isn't too different than walking up to some stranger you see taking a pill and snatching it out of their hand and swallowing it.  Other than Woodstock, where else would you see that happen?!

The bottom line:  if you’re going to supplement, get a product that is pharmaceutical quality.  We like to use supplementation (Metagenics & Integrative Therapeutics) that is only sold to physicians and is GMP certified.  Last, if you’re not; exercising, eating right, getting adjusted, having deep tissue massage therapy, or receiving acupuncture treatments in order to keep your body healthy, then it’s likely not going to matter how many supplements you take anyway.  Supplementation is only one part of the large and complex health equation. 

Dr. Tracy & Tricia

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