There are so many different nutritional supplements on the market today. Sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate which is best. Though there are many choices available, it is important to note that ALL supplements are NOT created equally.
When it comes to choosing quality supplements, it’s important to work with a knowledgeable health care practitioner/nutritionist to help you choose the best products for your specific needs.
Know what you’re getting.
First, you want to research the name of the supplement you are buying to ensure you’re getting what you need. For instance, if you need Vitamin E, it may interest you to know that d-alpha tocopherol is the more bio-available, natural form, while dl-alpha tocopherol is the synthetic variety.
What a difference one letter makes!
Similarly, studies show that magnesium citrate is more easily absorbed by the body than magnesium oxide, though they are commonly used in vitamin formulations. There are also other available forms of magnesium, so again, it is important to check with your health care provider as to which form is best for your needs.
In yet another example, studies suggest that Vitamin D3 is at least 300% more effective than Vitamin D2. So as you can see, it is vital to know what you are getting.
Choosing liquid or powder, rather than tablets or capsules.
Most supplements are sold as tablets or capsules. Why? They are considered more stable with longer shelf lives – so, from a manufacturing perspective, this makes perfect sense.
However, from a consumer’s perspective, the trade-off in stability is that you may also be ingesting the binders and fillers used to make these ingredients more durable. These additives may include yeast, corn, sugar, starch, soy, lactose, gluten, etc.
For a person with allergies/sensitivities, this is a very big deal! It is important to note that some of these ingredients may also be genetically modified. Again, important to know what you are getting.
Capsules may be easier to swallow but tablets can often be cut in half if need be. Capsules are often preferable to tablets in terms of digestion and absorption – but when there are notable digestive/absorption health concerns, opting for a quality liquid vitamin or supplements that offer loose powder, may be your best bet.
Here’s why: To make good use of nutrients you ingest, the body must first break down the tablet or capsule into a usable form.
Two common scenarios where tablets and capsules may not get fully broken down are observed with:
- Elderly or chronically ill patients with poorly functioning digestive system
- Individuals who frequently report diarrhea or loose stools
These folks may do better with high-quality sourced liquids, powders, and sprays as many tend to be easier on the system and can be quickly processed and assimilated.
Read more about the tablets vs. capsules controversy, here.
Choose quality sources.
There are many manufacturers out there. Below are a few of my favorites:
Choose manufacturers that are NSF/GMP registered.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, if you are ingesting supplements on a regular basis it is very important that you look at the labels and make the right decision for your health. Keep in mind that the bulk of your nutrition should be coming from eating nutrient dense, quality, whole foods.
If you would like further assistance or have questions, please feel free to contact me. I am a Board Certified Holistic Health Coach and Certified Nutritionist with nearly two decades of direct clinical experience.
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