Where do you get your supplements? Do you know which ones your body actually needs? Many of us may try to stock up on supplements when there is a sale or when we stumble across them at the grocery store or online. While it’s important to take supplements (see our latest blog on the importance of taking supplements), many people are unfortunately wasting their money. This may be because the supplements are of low quality or because you are buying supplements that your individual body doesn’t currently need. This article will go over why it’s critical to not only buy high-quality supplements but to buy the right ones that your specific body needs.
Know What Your Body Needs
Just because you read an article on why a particular supplement can help your health, doesn’t mean your body necessarily needs it. Before you search for supplements, know which ones your body can actually benefit from. The best way to know this is by getting lab testing performed. The great thing about functional medicine is that you can easily get the lab work ordered and completed. Sometimes with conventional medicine, it takes lots of convincing and pleading to have them order tests. If you don’t have certain symptoms, they may dismiss the need for it. However, we don’t want to wait until symptoms are occurring to get labs done. By knowing if you are deficient or even low in certain nutrients, you can purchase the necessary supplements to optimize your health now before health conditions arise.
Here at in2GREAT, we offer a number of lab testing services including:
- Vitamin D
- Menstrual Cycle Mapping
- Estrogen Metabolite
- Viral Panel
- Heavy Metal Testing
- GI (GI Map and Zonulin) (also Wheat Zoomer)
- Adrenal testing (CAR)
- Food Sensitivity (ELISA)
- Methylation/ DNA (23 and Me)
The results from this test can let us know if you need to be supplementing. The thing to note is that these requirements may change. What your body needs right now may be different 6 months from now. That’s why it’s so vital to have your labs drawn periodically.
Dangers Of Unnecessary Supplementation
If you are taking a handful of supplements that your body doesn’t actually need, it could be causing you more harm than good. You could be giving your body too much of a certain nutrient, which can have negative health consequences as well. For example, taking too much of a fat-soluble vitamin can accumulate in your body, leading to mega toxicity. Be sure that your supplements ingredients don’t overlap with each other and be aware of your total intake to avoid consuming too much.
What’s Wrong With Generic Supplements?
- Synthetic or Cheaper Forms of Vitamins
- Fillers/ Additives
- Low Concentration
Synthetic or Cheaper Forms of Vitamins
When you buy generic supplements, they are usually cheaper right? Did you ever wonder why that is? Generic over the counter store supplements tend to have synthetic or cheaper forms of vitamins. These forms are not the most active form of vitamins. This means that either your body can’t use the vitamins consumed, or it takes your body extra work to metabolize them. So by the time they are in the active form, the amount is too minute to even make a difference.
Many generic brands add fillers or additives to their supplements. These can include dyes, sugars, or other toxic ingredients that could be harmful over long periods of time if you keep consuming them. The scary part is, companies don't have to list the exact ingredients, so you never actually know what you are consuming. There has been an increasing number of adverse reactions to some fillers, additives, and contaminants lately that have resulted in death.
Low-quality supplements usually have very low concentrations of the actual vitamin they are marketing. This means you’d have to take multiple pills to get the same amount as high medical-grade supplements. In the end, you most likely are wasting your money on cheap vitamins that don’t make a difference to your health. As a recommendation to stay away from low-quality supplements, avoid buying from big box or chains. Instead, search for high-quality, medical-grade options.
Why You Should Buy Physician Grade Supplements
- Third-Party Testing
- Contains The Active Form
- Higher Concentration
When you buy supplements, make sure they are tested by a third party (an outside source other than the supplement company). The FDA doesn’t require third party testing; however, high- quality brands usually go beyond the minimum standards and get this performed. This ensures that the supplement actually contains the ingredients (and the amounts) that they say are included. For typical supplements, the FDA will only take action if labels are misleading after supplements are already on the market- not before.
Contains The Active Form
High-quality brands include vitamins in the active form. This allows your body to use the vitamin most easily and quickly. Sometimes it’s hard for individuals to metabolize certain vitamins depending on if they have specific mutations in genes. An example of this is if someone has the MTHFR gene variation. They may not be able to metabolize folate or certain sulfur-containing amino acids, so they need to consume the bioactive form of these to get the best results. Taking vitamins in the active form also allows your body to reap the benefits of higher levels since none is lost during the process of getting to the usable (active) form.
Medical-grade supplements contain higher concentrations compared to generic brands. This means that while they may be more expensive, you are actually getting levels that can make a difference in your body. Since the levels are tested by an outside party, you know that you are actually receiving the levels they say are included.
Where To Buy High-Grade Supplements
To find high-quality supplements, you first want to get tested to know which vitamins you need to search for. Then it’s recommended that you purchase from your doctor or from a reputable supplement or nutrition store. Do your research and look up the brands that you plan on buying from. Usually, your doctor will have brands or websites that they will refer you to in order to make sure you are receiving the highest quality.
If you want to know which supplements you would actually benefit from, get some lab testing performed. In2GREAT Functional Medicine Clinic, located in Kansas City, offers a number of testing options. They will analyze the results and help you pick the best supplements that are right for your unique body. You can get in contact with them via the website or give them a call at (913) 308-0167.