By Namwook Cho L.Ac.
It is hard to recommend or explain how to find the right vitamins or supplements for patients. It is also hard for us to find one that works.
Chances are always lower than we expect. We have too many products that look good in the market, but eventually, we find out that was not the good one to purchase. Recently, ConsumerLab.com introduced general guidelines to find the right product through research. The company purchased, tested, and reviewed the labels of more than 6,000 dietary supplements and found that more than 20% have problems.
Here are the clues that could be applied to avoid poor products from ConsumerLab.com. If you find phrases like “proprietary blends,” “proprietary formulas,” and “complexes.” And meaningless claims on a label that “contains clinically-tested ingredients” or “pharmaceutical grade.” Usually, those terms do not mean anything. This is illegal that any product claims to treat or cure a certain symptom or disease.
Check Up List For Vitamins and Supplements Purchasing
Do Not Be Blinded To A Misleading Product Label
Here are red flags that ConsumerLab.com thinks you should be careful about as you want the products.
If you find phrases like “proprietary blends,” “proprietary formulas,” and “complexes,” it could make the products will give you maximum benefits. Usually, CoQ10, Curcumin, and chondroitin in joint supplements use the phrases. These are often developed around an expensive ingredient because this allows a company to use less of the ingredient, creating a formula in which the expensive ingredient is just a small portion of the formula.
Before any decision to buy a product, make sure to check the amount of each ingredient, especially those you are specifically interested in.
The misleading label on Mineral Products
Minerals, fish oil, and herbs are the cases that you need to do some math before buying them. Mineral products need to be stabilized with other materials. The real problem is that amount of the mineral is sometimes weighed with its stabilizers. For example, only 14% of magnesium bisglycinate is magnesium, and only 11% of magnesium citrate is magnesium. This doesn’t mean these are not good forms of magnesium, but a label must tell you exactly how much of the mineral you are getting. A good label may read “Magnesium (as magnesium citrate) 110 mg,” so you know that you’re getting
110 mg. A misleading label for the same product may read “Magnesium citrate 1,000 mg,” leading you to believe that you’re getting a lot more magnesium than the 110 mg it provides (since the remaining 890 mg is citrate and not magnesium).
Fish oil products are varied. According to ConsumerLab.com, omega-3 products’ concentrations range from about 25% t 90% of fish oil. When buying fish oil, don’t focus on the amount of fish oil but on omega-3 fatty acids or the amounts of the two key omega-3s, EPA and DHA. This will also show you the ratio of EPA to DHA.
Some labels include the expression “contains clinically-tested ingredients.” First, you should not be confused that a clinical test does not guarantee the product’s efficacy. And there is the other thing to make sure of. The amount of the substance that has been clinically tested and how much was the amount that was tested to prove that it worked or mixed with other compounds that were never tested.
And common misleading expressions using FDA, such as “FDA Approved Laboratory.” FDA does not approve laboratories or nutritional supplements. Vitamins and nutritional supplements are the subjects of the register. FDA does not require a supplement to be approved.
“Pharmaceutical Grade” is another example of a misleading label. Because currently, there is no “pharmaceutical grade” for most supplement ingredients. But do not be confused by the fact that a manufacturer can claim that an ingredient meets a standard set by U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP).
Claiming treatment or cure for a symptom or disease
This is a regal issue that supplements are not considered drugs, and they cannot claim that they could cure a symptom or disease. Some cases are exceptional. For example, calcium and vitamin D for osteoporosis, folate for neural tube defects, stanols for heart disease, etc.
Some products only claimed to be “Quality Tested” or “Third-party Tested.” Look for certification marks and you better have a testing institute. Do not simply believe what it says.
There is a limit for most substances
You have to know that there are limits to vitamins and minerals. Recomendable daily calcium consumption is 260 mg and no more than 1,000 mg and magnesium is daily recommended amount is 75 mg, iodine is for 130mg daily, and folate is for 80mg, respectively. Unfortunately, supplement labels are not required to disclose when the amount of an ingredient may pose a risk of harm. To avoid taking a substance too much unintended, you should know the limit of certain substances and always watch your diet to ensure the food you are having does not contain the same substance.