Back in November I wrote a blog about the ‘big three’ supplements I recommend being a quality multivitamin/mineral, fish out and Vitamin D3. Let me expand upon that to push for ONLY PHARMACEUTICAL GRADE supplements. What does that mean? Pharmaceutical grade means at that all the nutrients and minerals are CHELATED, or bound by usually an amino acid (pre-protein) such that the body recognizes it as food and aborbs it more readily. On the other hand, if the nutrient is bound by a cheap salt such as oxide or or sulfate then it does not appear as food and the absorption is haphazard. Further, pharmaceutical grade means that the quality of the ingredients is a higher grade and that NEXT TO NO FILLERS are used. Therefore, pharmaceutical grade is the highest quality, most effective, purest product. The products on the shelf of most pharmacies and nutritional stores are NOT pharmaceutical grade. If you ask your pharmacist or doctor to recommend one, they are not likely to know what to tell you. In fact most physicians still believe the incorrect lesson taught to them in medical school that vitamin/nutrient supplements are only good for creating expensive urine. Unfortunately most doctors receive little training in nutritional medicine. Pharmacists seem to be hit or miss when it comes to nutrition. Who do you think field most of the questions regarding nutrition/supplements? That would be doctors and pharmacists (perhaps nurses as well). Until a few years ago, I did this myself. I would find what I thought was a reasonable bargain on products from the local drug/supplement stores. A few of the products left me so constipated (cheap calcium), it ruined me from buying anything for some time. When your face becomes grape purple just straining to have a normal elimination, you know something is wrong. So, quality items should be chelated. Fish oil (which are usually obtained from fish farms subject to water pollution) should be free of metals/mercury, PCB, dioxins. If it doesn’t say so on the label, it most likely has not been done. Most people just look at the cost, or what can they buy in bulk and save money. Paying for better products absolutely improves quality and efficacy, and ultimately your health.
I’ve recently added to my ‘basic three’ to include a fourth supplement. Maybe from here on they will be known as my awesome foursome. The newest member: A HIGH QUALTIY PROBIOTIC. Since many illnesses originate in the gut, keeping a healthy mix of the right bacteria (probiotics) goes a long way to normal health. Again, most people have no guidance on which are worth the money. A common problem with at least 1/3 of the store shelf probiotics is that THEY ARE NO LONGER LIVING and hence a waste of your money. Assuming you are not taking acid reducers or frequent antibiotics, taking a probiotic for 4-6 weeks usually re-establishes the right mix and quantity of gut bacteria such that using them 2 times a week or so will maintain the right amount and combination. Since we have frequent exposure to antibiotics in the nonorganic meat of grocery stores and restaurants, we frequently destroy the ‘good guy’s in the colon and need frequent restoration (hence 2+ times a week to maintain). Look for products with many mixed species of bacteria (rather than just 1 or 2) as well as higher counts such as 25-50 billion colony forming units (cfu). My trusted brands are Metagenics and OrthoMolecular (they have good childrens products as well) though plenty other good brands exist (often sold by chiropractors). Again, the old saying rings true here: you get what you pay for.