Supplements, What You Should Know

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Kay LeamenBy Kay Leaman,
HealthyDay HealthyLife

The first question we ask ourselves is, ‘Do we need vitamins?’ Some believe that, since they eat healthy and include fresh fruits and vegetables in their daily diet, they get what their bodies need. But, if you look into this further you’ll find:

Supplements‘An analysis of nutritional records done by Canada’s national newspaper found that potatoes also lost 57 percent of their vitamin C and iron, 50 percent of their riboflavin, 28 percent of their calcium, and 18 percent of their thiamine. Of the seven nutrients analyzed to determine nutrient density, only niacin levels increased in potatoes in the past 50-60 years. This decline in nutrient density isn’t specific to potatoes. Broccoli in the 1950s had more calcium. Scientific American reported – shockingly — that it takes eight of today’s oranges to pony up the same amount of nutrients that one single orange had in the 1950s. What on earth is going on?’

Over farming, GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), pesticides, etc. all play a part in decreasing the nutrients in our food.

Enter the ever-growing industry of supplements—long rows of bottles with a wide variety of names, labels and forms which can be daunting. But how many of us choose one based on price, assuming they are all the same?

Well, supplements are not equal. Consider the following:

The FDA considers a drug unsafe until it’s proven to be safe.

The FDA considers a dietary supplement to be safe until it’s proven to be unsafe.

Consumer Labs (3rd party testing): Of particular concern is that several products provided more than or close to the Upper Tolerable Intake Levels (ULs) of nutrients, above which there is increasing risk of toxicity with regular use. Why is that a problem? Because as intake increases above the UL, the potential risk of adverse effects may increase.

American Cancer Society: But since they became widely available in 1994, the FDA and some independent researchers have found problems with some dietary supplements. Products like herbs are sometimes tainted with germs, pesticides or toxic heavy metals. Other supplements do not contain what’s listed on the label. Still others contain more or less than the amount of the herb listed on the label. And many have ingredients that aren’t listed on the label at all.

In 2013 researchers in Toronto published a report in which they sampled and analyzed 44 herbal supplements. The supplements were sold in both the US and Canada, and labeled as containing single herbs. Using DNA barcoding analysis, less than half the supplements (48%) contained any of the herbs listed on the label. More than half of the supplements contained something that wasn’t on the label (substitutions or fillers). Even among the samples that contained the herb on the label, many also contained fillers or contaminants.
Through my own health journey I have chosen supplements based on price and purchased a ‘bottle of this and a bottle of that’ based on the newest discovery. (This can be dangerous over time.) But, through education and research we found a supplement that we trust and it has made a difference in our health.

If you and your family do supplement and you would like more information on how to choose a quality supplement, you can contact me via email.

Have a healthy Valentine’s Day. (Dark Chocolate can be good for you!) To reach me, email

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