How Can Quality Be Determined in a Nutritional Supplement?

By Christina Reiter, BSN, CCN
To answer this question, it’s important to know that nutritional supplements are processed in the body as nourishment or food, just like a bag of potato chips or a can of beans that you might buy in a supermarket. In the case of supplements, nutrients (or, in the case of herbs, phytochemicals) have been packaged for purchase several days, weeks, or months after manufacture.

What concerns would you have when purchasing a bag of potato chips or a can of beans? Most likely, they would be something along the lines of these five things:

  • How fresh is it?
  • Can my body use this?
  • Does the label accurately describe the contents?
  • If there’s a problem, can I talk to a manufacturer’s representative?
  • Is it free from contaminants, microbes and allergens?

Another Question: Can’t I simply eat the right foods to get what I need for healing?

It would be nearly impossible to consume and assimilate within a single day an adequate amount of the proper foods to take care of both the body’s daily nutritional needs and have enough remaining to pay back nutritional debts, thus allowing for healing. The reasons are as follows:

  • The body’s priority with any nutrient consumed each day is to use it, first, to take care of its daily needs. Second, the body then begins paying back debts and healing using any nutrition that may be left over at the end of the day.
  • Most people, especially as they begin to change to better eating habits, will suffer from an assimilation problem. This is partly due to past dietary deficiencies. Therefore, even if they do eat well, there will not be 100% use of the food. This is a process that takes patience, time, and therapeutic amounts of nutrients (as opposed to recommended daily amounts).
  • The nutritional quality of the fresh fruits and vegetables, even those organically grown, is lacking in nutritional content due to the depletion of the soil’s nutrients.

It has been our experience in this regard that individuals who initially take supplements to improve their dietary intake and not as a therapeutic means, experience a quick leveling off of any perceived improvements. Compare these individuals to those who take the supplements, while simultaneously changing their diet and lifestyle. These are the ones who experience steady improvement back to health, eventually being able to reduce dramatically or discontinue the supplements and achieve long-term success.

Most people expect all nutritional supplements, such as vitamins, minerals and herbs to be exactly the same from company to company. Therefore, with this assumption in mind it makes perfect sense to buy the cheapest possible products. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Unbeknownst to many, supplement quality can vary tremendously from one manufacturer to the next. This not only determines how well a supplement works, but whether it creates side effects that can range from minor annoyances to major inconveniences and even life-threatening reactions.

When you choose to work with and purchase from a qualified healthcare professional, the advantages far outweigh empty promises by health food store clerks or infomercial-type or multi-level marketing experiences. Namely, this means following through with accountability, regular monitoring of your progress using objective assessment and goal-centered care, working with you (and your other healthcare team members) towards long-term (realistic) solutions focused on you and keeping you healthy.

In light of this discussion, don’t spend less on products that give questionable, unpredictable results; rather, spend a small amount more on those that are backed by reliable, trustworthy professionals and that give much more consistent, satisfying results. If you also recognize the importance of results-driven solutions over marketing hype, then you have come to the right place, at Texas Star Pharmacy. Book your appointment today with me, Christina, a certified clinical nutritionist, or our pharmacist, Dr. Donna Barsky, to review your medications, supplements, laboratory results, and dietary habits, all in one location: 3033 West Parker Road, Suite 100, Plano Texas 75023 – at the Northeast corner of Independence and Parker – “Where we hold your health in our highest regard.”