Are Your Vitamins And Supplements Safe?

Written by Melissa Crispell. Posted in Vitamins,Supplements & Herbs.

vitamin and supplement can help you Live Well!Consumer Reports recently stated, “In 2015 Americans spent over $35 Billion on dietary supplements.” But did you know that supplement manufacturers aren’t required to prove to the Food and Drug Administration that their products are effective, or even safe, before putting them on the market? As a clinical nutritionist, it is my mission to empower people to make educated choices that will enhance, not compromise, their health. If you are using, or considering using, vitamins and supplements, it will be helpful to consider these important guidelines:

1. Do I need a supplement? The answer for the majority of the population is “Absolutely, beyond a shadow of doubt, YES!” There’s growing belief that our food sourcing is so nutrient depleted, that even if we are eating perfectly clean and balanced, we just can’t eat enough to receive the appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals. Why not know for sure? Taking inventory of your current health status will reveal the deficiencies requiring support. Functional blood tests are a powerful tool for assessing your micro-nutrient status, cardiovascular health, metabolic risk, inflammation, genetic predisposition, and hormone health— essentially all of the components that make up your total health picture.

2. What should I take and how much? Nutritional supplementation and dosing should not be taken lightly. Incorrectly combining supplements with prescription medications can have disastrous consequences. Even vitamin D (which is actually a hormone) can be toxic if your level is too high. Again, appropriate blood testing can help determine what your body needs to reach optimal performance. Before introducing any new product, consult with a professional to help navigate your needs.

3. Are you getting what you pay for? Without official regulation of supplements, it’s important to become an educated label investigator! Seek to choose a product with high-quality ingredients and the appropriate amount of nutrients. Full-disclosure labels, listing ALL ingredients, are a good indication that there’s nothing to hide. Look for a company that follows current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs); has no proprietary blends; uses hypoallergenic ingredients combined with the needed co-factors, protectors, and transporters to produce the most bio-available nutritional supplements.

4. Aren’t all supplements the same? No way–not ever! Unless you’re purchasing from a reputable, licensed healthcare provider such as First State Health & Wellness, your supplements aren’t required to successfully pass any 3rd party testing for: identity; microbiological quality; potency; chemical solvent residue (PCBs & dioxins); or heavy metals (lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium). Even if you are purchasing from a provider, not all companies agree to this voluntary process. Quality of ingredients is paramount—they should not only be chemical free, but should contain nutrients that are easily absorbed by our bodies. For example: Not all vitamin C products are the same. High quality, food sourced vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant to help balance free radical production and the body’s ability to detoxify from them. However, synthetic vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a blend of fermenting corn sugar (can you say GMO?!) and acetone (yes, nail polish remover). Without any naturally occurring ingredients, this artificial combination lacks antioxidant properties. The same goes for multi vitamins–seek to avoid sugars and magnesium stearate.

The bottom line is to see a nutrition professional, such as a clinical nutritionist, who has specific education and experience in functional diagnostics and supplementation. We are here to support you!

Melissa Crispell, CNS, CNHP, is a clinical nutritionist, certified wellness coach, certified natural healthcare practitioner, clinical trainer for PERQUE Integrative Health and nutritionist at First State Health & Wellness. If you are using, or are considering using supplements, call First State Health & Wellness at 302.454.1200 or visit to schedule a supplement review with Melissa.
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