The decision to add vitamin and mineral supplements to your daily health regime is often a confusing one, with many conflicting points of view coming from the many resources and experts that are available to us.
Even as a healthcare provider, I find myself struggling with the often-divergent information. When making this decision, it is also important to take into consideration that the vitamin and supplement business is a multi-billion dollar industry. Claims made as to the benefits of certain products are extreme and their marketing techniques often make you feel that you must use their product if you want to be healthy and free of disease. In addition, when there are so many different brands, levels of cost and reports of efficacy or bioavailability (that being, just how much of this vitamin or mineral is actually getting into the blood stream and benefiting my system) how do you make a decision?
It would seem that common sense would lead us to believe that we should be getting most of our nutritional needs met by our diets. However, recent published information contradicts this notion and we must conclude that most of us need to supplement to optimize our health. These concerns include the over processing of our foods, soil nutrient depletion, and the fact that over 80% of the American population does not consume the recommended 5 fruits and vegetables a day required for optimal health. Even the American Medical Association (AMA) has recently reversed its long standing opposition to a daily vitamin supplement and now recognizes in their policy guidelines that insufficient vitamin intake is a cause of many chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.
So the next questions are: What to take, what brand, how much, how often? That is very hard to answer, especially in the United States. Currently there are no US regulations that enforce a minimum standard of practice for the manufacturing of dietary supplements within the United States. This lack of regulatory oversight has created a market that allows the production and sale of potentially substandard, inferior products. There are also well-publicized analyses of commercial supplements showing considerable variation in ingredient quality and quantity. To address this concern, I have chosen to recommend and make available to my clients, pharmaceutical grade supplements. Pharmaceutical grade is the highest quality grade of supplements; meaning the purity, dissolution and absorption meet the highest regulatory standard verified by an outside party. Pharmaceutical grade vitamins and supplements may be available without a prescription, but they are typically only sold by licensed health care practitioners. This also assures that you are getting the most for your healthcare dollar. If you have decided to add supplements to promote health and prevent disease than taking a pharmaceutical grade supplement allows you to have confidence that your choice will lead to the desired goal.