By Chris Jones, DC, DNM
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The supplement industry has grown considerably in the past few decades. Walk into any grocery, drug, or health food store and you will see hundreds of different supplements readily available. 

And while some of them might be high quality, there is a growing number of products that are low-quality and ineffective being sold every day. That’s unfortunate for those looking to buy because no one wants to waste their money. 

So how do you make sure you aren’t getting low quality vitamins and supplements? 

That’s what we’ll get into in this post on 5 signs you’re getting bad supplements. First, let’s answer the biggest question that I get on this subject: Are they really necessary? 

I often hear people say, I’d rather just get my vitamins and nutrients from my food the way our ancestors did. The truth is, I would too. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it once was to do that. Why? There are negative repercussions of modern farming methods, such as soil overuse which lead to mineral depletion and breeders favoring high-yield varieties, which sacrifice nutrition for size. Elevated carbon dioxide also contributes to lowering mineral content in plants.

This means that the food on your plate is not nearly as nutrient rich as what our ancestors ate. This makes it necessary to utilize strategic supplementation to deliver proper comprehensive nutrients. 

How do I know which supplements to buy? 

The first thing I would say is, not all supplements are created equal. You can walk into any local pharmacy, grocery store, or big convenient store and pull a multivitamin off the shelf. The labeling will claim that it covers all your vitamin and nutrient needs and the entire 30-day supply will only set you back about $10. Seems like a good bang for your buck, right? So why are the supplements your natural wellness practitioner suggested more expensive? They both say, “high in vitamin — ” and “300% of your daily vitamin —- needs” and so on and so on. Why the price difference? 

Like anything in life, you get what you pay for. The difference in quality can vary quite drastically when it comes to vitamins and supplements. With one you’ll likely receive little to no benefit, while the other can do wonders for your body. 

Here’s are 5 signs you’re getting bad supplements: 

1. They are Synthetic Vitamin Forms Synthetic vitamins are isolated vitamins. These vitamins are compounds, created in a lab, that mimic natural vitamins like biotin, Vitamin D, or many others.

2. They Have Unnecessary Binders, Preservatives, and Coatings. Supplements require product stability and adequate preservation to ensure quality from the manufacturer to your mouth. While a long shelf life is needed, it also must come in a delivery form (capsules, pills, gummies) that can be broken down and become usable to the body when swallowed. These factors make it necessary for all supplements to contain at least some additives rather than exclusively active ingredients.

But, the variance between quality in binders, additives, coating, and preservatives is massive. The low-quality versions are unhealthy and toxic for the body and should be avoided. Additionally, some supplement companies add lactose and gluten to their products. While these may be in small amounts, if you are dealing with a sensitivity or intolerance, it can be a big problem. 

3. They Have Low Quality Mineral Oxides, Salts, and CarbonatesMinerals are not generated by the body and can only be obtained through food or supplements. Many require stomach acid to be effectively broken down and properly utilized. Again, cheaper, low-quality supplements are often harder to break down and pass through the digestive lining.

4. They Have Artificial Sweeteners, Flavors, Dyes, and Synthentic Colors Supplement companies know that if you are given the choice between swallowing a horse pill that tastes like grass or pounding back a few fruit punch flavored gummies, you’re going to pick the gummies. I’m not saying that all gummies are bad for your health, but it is important to pay attention to exactly what companies are using to create the candy-like experience. Steer away from dyes such as Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, acesulfame potassium, and aspartame, as well as artificial flavors. 

5. They Make Exaggerated Health Claims If you pick up a supplement bottle and it promises fast weight loss, instant energy, or a complete physical transformation, think again. There are many incredible herbs, vitamins, minerals, and plants that can be instrumental in helping promote weight loss or increased energy or mental focus. But exaggerated claims on labeling is never a good sign. If there is exaggeration and dishonesty in the wording, there’s a good chance that the product integrity is also questionable. 

If you’re looking for a supplement to be the “silver bullet” that changes everything, there isn’t one. You can’t expect for one capsule or pill to make up for poor eating habits and a consistent unhealthy lifestyle. 

When choosing supplements, go for quality. At the bare minimum, make sure that what you buy has the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) stamp which is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA)’s final regulation on dietary supplements with stringent requirements for companies. Additionally, learn how to spot natural ingredients over synthetics and have an eye for low-quality additives and preservatives. If you can find a company that does third party clinical testing, that is optimal for ensuring quality and integrity. 

And lastly, test, don’t guess. You could spend years of your life playing a guessing game with symptoms and supplements if you don’t know what’s at the root of the challenges you’re facing. First, get conclusive test results and then address the problem. 

If you’re ready to end the guessing game, click here to schedule a free consultation. 

In a matter of days you could be on your way to getting conclusive test results and effectively treating the root of what’s going on. 

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