Whether you’re looking to improve your workouts and physical performance, or the symptoms of nutritional deficiencies have finally caught up to you, or perhaps you just want to take precautionary measures to guarantee good health long into the future: you’ve decided to start taking dietary supplements.
We commend your effort to improve your health! But deciding to take supplements is just step 1 of a long and beautiful journey to turn your health around. The next step is selecting clean and pure supplements to ensure your healing does not get hindered by any added impurities. The last thing you want when you’re trying to get healthy is toxins in your body because you’ve accidentally picked unclean dietary supplements.
That’s why we’ve made this quick, easy-to-understand guide on how to choose high-quality, clean supplements to avoid side effects from contamination by added fillers.
Tips for Choosing Clean Supplements
1. Identify Certifications: Always check the supplement container or the brand’s website for certain essential certifications, like:
- GMP: A Good Manufacturing Practice certification ensures that the product you are consuming has passed quality checks at the production level, and should be confirmed especially for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products.
- Third-Party Lab Testing: The supplement you are taking should have been tested by 3rd party labs, i.e., laboratories that are not connected with the company selling it. These tests can check and verify the claims that the company makes about their products without vested self-interests.
- Heavy Metal Testing: This testing ensures that there are no unnecessary heavy metals present in the supplement. This should especially be checked when supplementing minerals and fish-oil supplements like cod liver oil or krill oil. High doses of heavy metals can be a serious issue, especially with long-term exposure. If your blood already has the optimal range for metals, the extra amount from the supplements will increase this level, leading to heavy metal toxicity.
2. Check Ingredients: This is good advice for anything you put in your body – whether food, supplement, or medication – regardless of its origin. Always check the ingredient list to understand exactly what has gone into the product and how much of it is in there. With supplements, check whether the listed ingredients are the most bioavailable forms of the nutrient you are trying to get. This means it should be the most easily absorbable form of the nutrient. Vitamins and minerals can be obtained from food sources, and natural is the best way to go, but because of other lifestyle factors and medications, these naturally occurring nutrients may not be easily absorbed. They also aren’t always present in the most bioavailable forms. That’s why you should check if your supplement contains the easiest-to-absorb forms of the nutrient it is meant to provide (whether natural or synthetic). You can discuss with your healthcare provider to understand what form is the most bioactive, or you can always contact us at iThrive and we’d be happy to help!
3. Check for Additional Ingredients: As a rule of thumb, the supplement you are taking should not contain more than 3-4 other ingredients besides the nutrient you want to obtain from it. Certain pharmaceutical supplements can contain as many as 8-10 other ingredients, which are not always necessary. Read the list and try to recognize the absolutely essential ingredients, such as the nutrient itself and perhaps the oils acting as the base of the supplement, if any. Most other ingredients are extra additives, fillers, and preservatives that might burden your detox pathways.
Hopefully, this guide will help you understand how to identify the purity and simplicity of supplements, and how to avoid those that have added fillers.
But all this begs the question: why would companies add unnecessary components to their supplements in the first place?
Well, it’s for a couple of reasons.
Why Do Companies Add Fillers?
- Cheaper Production: At the end of the day, the motive of any company is to make a profit. And reduced costs are one of the best ways to increase profits, so that the income can be spent on things other than manufacturing. By adding extra ingredients, companies need to put lesser amounts of the essential nutrient per unit, thereby being able to produce more at cheaper prices. This way they can sell more and earn extra profit, at the cost of the consumer who gets less-than-ideal amounts of the essential nutrient per unit. If you take enough supplements to get the actual required amount of the nutrient, you’re taking that much more of the extra and unneeded additives as well.
- Increased Shelf Life: Adding natural preservatives, as well as artificial fillers can help to increase the shelf life of the product. But we believe that for the sake of the consumer, potent and effective, preservative-free supplements are far better than a product that will stuff their body with toxins and other ingredients they do not need to take. This is why natural sources are always best, but even foods can contain preservatives and fillers. They may also not have the most bioavailable forms of nutrients, bringing you back to square one.
- Ease of Production: Mixing and emulsification becomes easier with added ingredients. But you do not need a product that has these extra fillers and preservatives, you just need the nutrients contained within. Consult with your healthcare provider to understand what nutrients you need, how much you need, and what you absolutely should not have floating around in your body.
Let’s face it: Big Pharma and most companies do not have the consumer’s best interest at heart. It’s entirely about profits, to a sickening degree. But people still need these products. You still need nutrition. That’s why it’s important to educate oneself about how to select supplements that are of the highest quality, have undergone clinical trials, and offer extensive health benefits. Reading the supplement label to check the ingredient list is a must when buying supplements. If possible, identify supplement brands that follow best practices and can guarantee safe, clean, and healthy dietary supplements which have cleared various quality checks at different levels from production to sale.
With all these in mind, we hope you have a fun and beautiful health journey and enjoy the transformation your body will undergo to make you the happiest, healthiest version of yourself that you can be!