Quality of Vitamins, Supplements Matters

Are You Taking the Right Supplements?

By: Peter Egan Jr

I had a discussion with an acquaintance recently who was questioning the legitimacy of vitamins and mineral supplements.

She described how she had been taking vitamins and nutritional supplements and had experienced no noticeable impact.

Vitamins are for real. However, like any other product, not all vitamins are manufactured to the same level of quality.

Comparative Guide to Nutritional SupplementsThere is a comparative guide that serves as a non-official clinical nutrition industry standard as a reference for the relative quality of several hundred of the world’s largest supplement manufacturers. The book is called Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements, and it reports on objective scientific research involving the bioavailability and/or absorption rate of each known product from several hundred of the most widely distributed manufacturers of vitamins and nutritional supplements.

A low-quality supplement is poorly absorbed (if at all), and is a complete and total waste of money. According to the CGtNS Fourth Edition, this accounts for the overwhelming majority of products found in places such as grocery stores, pharmacies and even specialty nutrition shops. In the 4th Edition, there were only a handful of manufacturers of the hundreds evaluated whose products scored a 3-star (out of a possible 5) for the majority of their products. Very few had more than 1-in-5 or so meet the 3/5 mark, while the few that scored remarkably better than the rest were nearly 4, 4/5 and 5-star rated across-the-board, with their lowest scoring products almost always better-rated than the overwhelming majority of companies’ best-scoring product.

If you’re serious about optimal nutrition for preservation of good health, disease prevention or whatever other reason, it’s a book you should at least have a look at if not buy (I don’t know the author and have no financial interest in the book’s sales). The reason I’m suggesting it is because I find it to be a remarkably good resource for a topic about which I am passionate and about which I believe that the consequences for poor decision-making are significant enough to merit learning as much as possible.

I didn’t buy it. My mother, a nurse practitioner and clinical nutrition expert, gave it to me as a gift. I have read it more than any other book – fiction or non-fiction – in the time since she passed it along to me.

Point being, and the reason I mention all of this, is that the absence of noticeable results described by the acquaintance could very well be the byproduct of poorly produced supplements or supplements which were improperly stored post-manufacture, decreasing the effectiveness and potency of the products themselves.

The question everyone should be asking mightn’t be “are supplements for real?” Rather, the better question may well be: “am I taking the right supplements?”

My advice is that if you care enough about the bottom line, get the book or ask someone who has it how your brand stacks up against the rest.

I’m not going to plug any particular brand of supplements in this post, but I welcome anyone curious enough to pursue an answer to either get the book or email me and ask me how your brand compares. I’ll be happy to answer in good faith. However I want to be perfectly clear that the reason I am offering is so that nobody mistakes the intention of this post to be the promotion of a book I didn’t write, buy or in any way benefit from its success. On a similar token, I don’t benefit from the promotion of any supplement brand except for my mother’s, which did not exist at the time the book was published.

However, I care about my own health, and I myself take a plethora of vitamins, minerals and supplements. I only buy from those manufacturers whose products are rated 4-stars on-average at the very minimum (according to the CPNS 4th Edition), and I have noticed a monumental difference in terms of my own personal health and productivity in the time since I began regularly taking high-quality vitamins and supplements.