The following are noteworthy when considering a nutritional supplement product or program:
The FDA disclaimer,” These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, ” often appears on commercially manufactured dietary supplements that specify their use or effect on the body. This statement is usually not placed on the packaging of products that do not state a specific use or benefit to using the supplement.
- The Food and Drug Administration does not dedicate extensive attention or resources to monitoring the business of herbs and vitamins and minerals. It is responsible for , “..overseeing food sanitization and quality, acceptable manufacturing procedures, nutrition labeling and truth in packaging laws, interstate shipping of foods, and additive usage rules,”.* However certain filler ingredients can be lumped into broader categories such as, “…natural and artificial flavors”. Seek out as much unbiased information and feedback as possible before determining whether one is an appropriate supplement to include in your program.
Pills, Powders, Gummy’s and Chews, Liquids, Sheets…Oh My!
- The most important consideration when selecting the form of supplement you’ll use is in what form you are most likely to take it and take it consistently. If you can’t comfortably swallow pills, then chewable or drinkable supplements will be better options. However, if you cannot stand to taste more bitter or acrid flavors then the sweetened chews and gummy’s will be more suitable alternatives.
- The form of the supplement does impact its absorbability and therefore effectiveness for your body. Liquids are absorbed most quickly and fully by the body, followed by powdered nutrients and those broken down in the mouth either by chewing or sublingually ( under the tongue ). Capsules are easier for the digestive system to break down than hard tablets, and large dense pills are the most challenging and time-consuming for the body’s digestive system. The deciding factors are both the overall health and efficiency of your digestive system as well as your individual preferences.
How strong, how much and how long?
- If you are a basically healthy person with a well-balanced diet – complex carbs, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats – then a high quality multi vitamin and mineral complex offering 50-100% of the nutrients’ recommended daily allowance should suffice. But, if you’ve been advised to supplement due to deficiencies, such as anemia, then higher doses may be more appropriate for limited periods of time.
- Herbs, by mother nature, are in most cases designed to work more gently and slowly in the body than a pharmaceutical product. Consequently, they can safely be used for longer periods of time. Still, there are herbs and natural substances that contain toxic components and should therefore be used with caution, in milder concentrations, smaller amounts, and/or for shorter durations of time.
* Elson M. Haas, M.D., Staying Healthy with Nutrition, the Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 1992