Based on my over 25 years of experience, I feel I can offer to you some simple yet effective tips when choosing quality vitamin supplements for not all nutrition supplements are created equal. Until there is a medical review of emerging nutritional supplements, hopefully this short article will be that guide for you.
Clearly, it’s vitally important to your health that you choose vitamin supplements that are actually USED by the body and not quickly eliminated. Did you know that 90% of nutrition supplements are actually urinated out? Don’t believe me? Take an off-the-shelf vitamin brand, follow their recommended daily allowance and within an hour, sometimes less, you will urinate it out – your urine will be a significantly darker yellow color. I know talking about body elimination is not something one talks at parties, but it is important to understand what is happening here.
Why does that happen? It’s because the vast majority of nutrition supplements are not assimilated by the body, yet the supplement industry of which nutrition supplements are a part, are a literal multi-billion dollar a year enterprise.
Without any further adieu, here are the key things to look for when choosing quality vitamin supplements.
- Product Development and Nutrient Reactions: The supplement you’re considering should be rigorously tested and its creation process overseen by certified professionals. Vitamins work in a precise symbiotic synergism. Getting optimal assimilation is 0% art, 100% science. In other words, the vitamin supplements should be scientifically formulated and certified with each batch (see point #2).
- Manufacturing Procedures: These should utilize pharmaceutical blending not paddle/ribbon blender-type mixers. In addition, contact the company to ask if they have a Certificate of Analysis (COA) on file, confirming the potency of each batch. If the company ignores you or hesitates, that’s not a good sign. Lastly, you should select a vitamin supplements maker that adheres to pharmaceutical GMP compliance – this is the highest standard possible.
- Optimal Delivery System: The supplement should have enteric coating for optimal assimilation in the human system. (I discuss this more in depth later on in this article.) This is critical yet almost nobody considers this when choosing a vitamin. If they did, they would save a lot of money.
- Product Quality & Freshness: The ingredients the vitamins are made from should be made in smaller batches with the manufacturing process NOT outsourced out to other manufacturers. Remember, most vitamin and mineral supplement makers, as well as herbal product manufacturers are unregulated by the FDA. While this has its pros and cons, a vast majority of vitamin supplements don’t even insert the claimed ingredients into the supplement and contamination is a legitimate threat (again, this is why you want pharmaceutical GMP compliance).
- Pharmaceutical Grade Quality: You want a vitamin supplement that is pharmaceutical grade quality. Again, look for vitamins that are “enteric coated.”
- Value for Money: They should be inexpensive yet provide discernible benefits. However, with that said, the old saying of “you get what you pay for” is true. For a nutraceutical-quality, pharmaceutical grade vitamin supplement, expect to pay $30 to $38 or so per 90-day supply. You get what you pay for. In the long run, paying for quality is never dumb.
- Vitamins & Co-Factors, Standardized Herbal Extracts, Amino Acids, Active Enzymes, & Essential Minerals and Trace Elements: Ideally, a multi-vitamin should have vitamins but the necessary co-factors along with the other elements mentioned in the bullet point #7. The more comprehensive containing a broad range of synergistic nutrients and micro-nutrients is essential for maximum impact.
- Excipients. The “excipients” should be the highest quality. Ask the vitamin manufacturer as to what specific excipients they’re using. Excipients are the binding agents that hold together the vitamin tablet. Excipients are substances that are added to vitamin formulas or tablets that bind while not providing nutritive value. Examples of excipients include monoglycerides, magnesium stearate, modified food starch, etc. Some vitamin companies even use silica – or what people usually refer to as “sand” – as an excipient.
- Easy to Use: They should be easily ingestable at any time.
- Product Delivery: The supplement should be easy to order and shipping should ideally be free.
- Money-Back Guarantee: The longer the guarantee, the better. Look for guarantees longer than 30 days. You want 90 days or more. The longer the guarantee, the more convinced the manufacturer is of their product.
- Contact Information: It should be very easy to contact the company via phone and email.
Another key component of vitamin potency comparison is the manufacturing process. There are four main areas of manufacturing that are relevant here, i.e., scientific formulation, potency of ingredients (I’ve already discussed that), type of facility, and verification of ingredients on label. Let’s discuss them now in more depth.
It’s critical that in a multivitamin with many nutrients be formed with scientific knowledge at the cellular level. Did you know that some vitamins cancel each other out and some need other minerals to do their job. For example, Vitamin D actually enhances calcium absorption in the body, and inhibits its excretion by the kidneys, yet boron is important for calcium utilization; vitamin B5 is critical to metabolizing amino acids. In addition, a good vitamin will stimulate the liver to make CoEnzymeQ10 thus avoiding the need to purchase this important but expensive ingredient, (unless the user is taking a statin drug).
Type of Facility
In the vitamin potency comparison process you may be engaged in, look for GMP certified facilities that are regularly inspected by government authorities. Do you think this irrelevant? Supplement fraud is utterly rampant – you can read about it here.
Here’s one example. As reported by Medscape 1/24/2000, “High levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been identified in five brands of shark liver oil capsules that are available internationally over-the-counter.” PCBs are toxic to the body.
In another study done by Time Magazine as reported July 31, 2000, eight of 21 vitamin brands tested we’re found to have pesticides and lead. This dovetails into my next point, verification of ingredients. Pharmaceutical GMP compliant facilities verify not only purity and potency of ingredients, but they also validate the existence of label proclaimed ingredients. Many so-called vitamin manufacturers actually don’t have the ingredients in the vitamin as stated on the label! Such fraud is commonplace, unfortunately.
Specifics About Enteric Coating
I referred to enteric coating earlier in this report but now let’s discuss it in depth. Before we discuss this, however, please don’t underestimate the importance of the delivery system. This is absolutely vital! In fact, most don’t even consider it and it is the most important aspect of the vitamin supplement outside of the formulation of the ingredients. Without a good delivery system a supplement is rendered useless. Many supplements will pass through the body with the active ingredients never being released. Other supplements will lose their efficacy when active ingredients are released in the stomach and they are converted to less potent ‘salt’ forms by the hydrochloric acid present in the stomach.
The design of good vitamin supplements uses two techniques to ensure that the active ingredients reach the liver via the blood stream for distribution to various body organs and cells. Look for a synergistic, scientifically engineered blend with all ingredients assessed at molecular level to ensure synergy, safety and effectiveness. This is crucial because when some ingredients are combined they will help create other substances in the body. For a vitamin manufacturer to enteric coat their vitamins says a lot about the quality they want to give their customers for it is expensive and sophisticated to do so.
Enteric coating is an inert substance that protects the active ingredients. It encases the active ingredients using the technology known as enteric coating – the same coating almost all pharmaceutical drugs have. This enables the active ingredients to be released in the upper intestine (the duodenum), thus avoiding damage to any of the nutrients. It binds various active ingredients with larger molecular size to selected enzymes which when released in the upper intestine break the molecules down to a smaller size to enable easy transfer of the nutrients through the intestinal wall into the blood stream and then on to the liver.
This delivery system enables the tablets to pass through your stomach undamaged by the harsh stomach acids. When your enteric-coated vitamin tablets go into the alkaline environment of the duodenum (the first part of your small intestine), the enteric coating dissolves in 20 to 30 minutes. Once that is accomplished, the active ingredients of the vitamin tablets are released over a period of 25 to 35 minutes. This happens before the tablets finish its journey through your duodenum. The end result is improved health.
So, now you can see why you should only settle for the sophisticated enteric coated delivery system. To settle for run-of-the-mill vitamins is a waste of money for you’re almost literally flushing your money down the toilet.
There you have it. Follow these guidelines and you will not only save money but you will get the best vitamin supplement possible. If you only remember one thing from this report, remember this: you want pharmaceutical grade quality nutrition supplements. Anything less is a waste of money and you’re being taken.
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