five tips to pick out the best
Have you heard the saying, there is a pill for everything? That can be pharmaceutical or natural. The purpose and definition of a supplement is “that completes or enhances something else when added to it.” What is that something else? It is a good diet that is based in whole foods, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and lean protein. This also should be coupled with exercise, appropriate water intake, let's also add good sleep, and less stress, with deep belly breathing as a basic start. Do these sound lifestyle tips sound familiar?
You may or not have all that stuff down as second nature, but at least you are doing your best right? Perhaps it isn't enough to meet your bodies' needs, so now you are turning to a pill. Nutriceuticals include dietary supplements as well as other categories of products based from food. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, said “let food be your medicine and medicine be food.” Here are a few things to consider when purchasing supplements.
The Delivery Method: Capsule, tablet, liquid or sublingual. Choosing the appropriate form is important as it can affect the results. For example, generally speaking, tablets are hard pills that may be difficult for your body to break down and absorb. An example maybe those multivitamins that are advertised by taking once per day. Sublingual means under the tongue, which is usually absorbed faster, Vitamin B12 is best in this form. Some form may also just be your preference. There are now some amazing great tasting fish oils on the market that are liquid and come in flavors such as Peach Cobbler or Key Lime Pie! Yummy!
The Brand: Generic or brand name? Seems to be a dilemma in many industries. This is your health we are talking about, and my favorite saying is if we don't have health, what do we have? That being said, generally speaking, I recommend brand name. Occasionally generic maybe okay, and safer when it is a natural food store. The problem here can be that label and true contents may not match up. For example lets say you are looking a Probiotics, and label says you are getting 100 billion, but then 3 rd party testing shows that there are 50 billion. Also some brands are known to do testing that ensures their products are free from contaminates such as pesticides, heavy metals, mold, and more bad things that we don't want in our bodies.
Location: Typically the better brands that have better results are usually found at health food stores, or doctors' offices (Naturopathic & Chiropractic). There are some other retailers that also may carry better supplements, such as The Vitamin Shoppe. For example a better fish oil brand is Nordic Naturals or Carlson's and those are carried there.
Ingredients: We want supplements that are pure as possible, and it is best if the label says it is free of gluten, dairy, soy, egg, casein, and corn. Also stay away from food coloring, such as FD&C Yellow #6, or other similar additives or preservatives. If it is in capsule form this is usually made vegetarian.
Form: If you are supplementing a vitamin, it is important to get the best bioavailable form, meaning the form that is most useful to your body, and best absorbed. For example, Vitamin B12's active form is methylcobalamin and Folic Acid's active form is 5-Methyltetrahydrafolate (5-MTHF), so when choosing a B-complex vitamin, get one with these forms in it.
It is always a good idea to check in with a doctor before taking anything, especially if you are on prescriptions or other supplements, there can be interactions. A great resource is Herb, Nutrient, and Drug Interactions , published by Mosby Elsevier. As a reminder when reading information such as this, it isn't intended to treat or cure any medical condition.
This information and other information is intended for general reference purposes only and is not intended to address specific medical conditions. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice or a medical exam. Prior to participating in any exercise program or activity, you should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition.