Do you remember the last time you looked at an ingredient label on a product package, you might have seen something that made you reconsider and put the package back on the shelf. But did you even for a second wonder whether you could trust what the labels are saying?
Nowadays, the culture of dietary supplements has become increasingly popular. But most studies show that for example multivitamins either provide no benefit or may even cause harm. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that multivitamins have little to no influence on the risk of common cancers, CVD or total mortality in postmenopausal women. A now-infamous meta-analysis in the Journal of American Medical Association, which looked at over 68 trials with 230,000 pooled participants, found that treatment with synthetic beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E may even increase the death rate.
The problem with multivitamins is that they contain too little of beneficial nutrients like magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K2, and too much of potentially toxic nutrients like folic acid, calcium, iron, and vitamin E. This means that multivitamins can cause nutrient imbalances that contribute to disease. Another problem is that many companies create dietary supplements by using the cheapest possible ingredients, such as folic acid instead of natural folate, which can end up being detrimental to your health.
The supplement industry is notorious for loose regulations: unlike foods, supplements are not tested before they go on the market. So what should you do?
There are three principles to supplementing wisely:
- Get nutrients from food whenever possible.
- Take nutrients in their naturally occurring form whenever possible.
- Be selective with your supplementation.
At this point, you might be thinking – I’m against supplementation entirely. Not so. No matter how well we eat, it is difficult to obtain enough of some nutrients from food alone. And there are also companies trying to help people improve their health. The problem is that it’s hard to know who’s who because of course the bad apples don’t slap a warning sticker on their product to tell you that it’s full of steroids or just grass instead of ginseng. To figure out which companies are legitimate, you’ll have to do a bit of your detective work.
But how should you do the research?
Most countries in Europe have reasonably good environmental, agricultural, and manufacturing standards. Unfortunately, China does not.
This is especially important for herbal supplements, because if they’re grown somewhere with low environmental standards, they may be contaminated with dangerously toxic pesticides that are banned in the United States. So, first of all, check the country of origin! If a botanical supplement is grown somewhere without strict laws regulating pesticides and herbicides, make sure the manufacturer runs tests on all their raw materials. You should also avoid products that advertise about:
- Weight loss, sexual enhancement, bodybuilding, or athletic performance: these categories are the most common targets of fraud.
- Claims about benefits, not ingredients.
- “Proprietary blend:” if they won’t tell you what’s in it, there’s probably a reason why!
- Anything with very high levels of any particular nutrient (over 200% of the Daily Value).
Since Oreme is a medical clinic, seeking the highest possible results for its patients, we have been collaborating with quite a few laboratories for the last few years in creating a new dietary supplement. Suplex Stem Cell Support Formulais a mixture of vitamins, herbs, and ingredients that may help support healthy stem cell function. It is designed to help stem cells do their job of keeping joints healthy. You may ask what is so magical inside the box? The formula uses only the highest quality ingredients: Organic coconut blossom sugar, banana powder, D-glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulphate, L-ascorbic acid, l-carnosine, trans-resveratrol, turmeric (Curcuma longa) root extract, bitter melon (Momordica charantia) fruit extract, cholecalciferol, black pepper (Piper nigrum) fruit extract.
The formula we designed is good for daily usage but especially recommended before and after surgery or any other invasive procedures.
To supplement or not to supplement? That is the question.
All in all, supplements are confusing. That’s probably the most important thing to take away from this and also one of the best reasons to get as much of your nutrition from food as you can. You don’t have to send a tomato to a third-party lab or do a lot of detective work to recognize if it’s any good. If it’s spoiled or off somehow, you’ll spot it right away.
And of course, quality has its price: bargain-basement products generally have standards to match (although there are exceptions). But if you ruthlessly pare down your supplements to a few that you need, it gets a lot more affordable to buy the best.