3 Tips for Choosing a Safe, Pure and Quality Supplement

One of the biggest jaw-dropping moments in pharmacy school was when I learned about how unregulated and frankly unsafe most supplements are. And it’s not only vitamin and mineral supplements, but also herbal remedies, superfood extracts, and athletic supplements like creatine and protein powder.

More than 6,300 reports of serious adverse events associated with dietary supplements, including vitamins and herbs between 2007 and mid-April of 2012. Symptoms included signs of heart, kidney, or liver problems, aches, allergic reactions, fatigue, nausea, pains, and vomiting. The reports described more than 10,300 serious outcomes, including 115 deaths and more than 2,100 hospitalizations, 1,000 serious injuries or illnesses, 900 emergency-room visits, and some 4,000 other important medical events.


I want to go over a quick history as to why some supplements are contaminated or unsafe but are still sold on market. In 1994, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) defined dietary supplements aren’t considered drugs and therefor are not put through the same strict safety and effectiveness requirements prescription drugs are.

Drugs are considered unsafe until proven safe. Dietary supplements are considered safe until proven unsafe and therefor the FDA is not authorized to “review" dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed. The FDA does set standards manufacturers must follow prohibiting them from marketing products that are adulterated or misbranded. But here’s the kicker…it’s all self-reporting. Sure, some companies care and test for safety and purity, but a lot of them don’t.

Dietary supplements often go unregulated until something bad happens to the consumers taking them. And with thousands of new dietary supplements hitting the market each year, it makes it virtually impossible for the FDA to regulate efficiently. A 2013 study tested 44 bottles of dietary supplements from 12 different companies and found that ONE-THIRD of the supplements tested didn’t even contain the supplement advertised (meaning a supplement labeled Melatonin 5mg, didn’t contain Melatonin) It’s a tragedy that people are paying for complete garbage or potnetial harmful side effects.

So, what are we supposed to do? How do we know we aren’t going to get scammed and avoid harmful side effects? That is where my tip # 1 comes into play, look for Third Party Certificated supplements.

Tip # 1: Third Party Certificated Supplements (USP or NSF)

USP aka United States of Pharmacopeia, which is a third-party company that not only sets standards for pharmaceutical grade medications, but has also branched out in creating a certification for dietary supplements and herbal remedies. If a vitamin company has a USP Verified Mark on the label, it indicates the product: (1) Contains the ingredients listed on the label, in the declared potency and amount. (2) Does not contain harmful levels of specified contaminants. (3) Will break down and release into the body within specified amount of time. (3) Has been made using safe, sanitary, and well-controlled manufacturing practices according to FDA and USP guidelines. USP continues to randomly check their USP verified supplements by taking multiple products off the shelves across the country/world to make sure the companies are still creating a quality supplement. Some notable products that are USP verified are NatureMade, Kirkland, TruNature, and Pure Alaska Omega.

NSF or Nationally Certified for Sport. The Certified for Sport® certification is the only independent third-party certification program recognized by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and is also recommended by the NFL, NBA, PGA, LPGA, CCES, CPSDA, iNADO, Ironman, NASCAR and many other organizations seeking to mitigate the risks of contaminated dietary supplements. There are numerous quality components of the Certified for Sport® certification program, which verifies that: (1) Products do not contain any of approximately 270+ substances banned by major athletic organizations. (2) The contents of the supplement match what is printed on the label. (3) There are no unsafe levels of contaminants in the tested products. (4) The product is manufactured at a facility that is GMP registered and audited twice annually for quality and safety by NSF International. There are a lot more “sports supplements” companies that opt for this certification. For a full list visit their website which I’ll link below.

If you're looking for a Vitamin/Mineral supplement, go with USP. If you’re looking for a supplement for sport (performance, muscle building, meal replacement, etc.) go with NSF.

Tip #2: Utilize the NutriSearch Guidelines

There are quality products that aren’t “verified” such as preferred vitamin/mineral supplements based on a reputable guide called NutriSearch. I know many naturopathic pharmacists and almost all of them have Pure Encapsulations, Douglas Laboratories and Ortho Molecular Products on their shelves and recommend them to almost all their patients. I’ll use this guide when individuals are looking for a multivitamin or a nutritional supplement to help with a specific disease state or condition.

Finally Tip #3: Ask yourself, “Do I really need to supplement?”

If you are already getting the recommended amount of nutrients by eating a variety of fruit, vegetables, cereals, dairy, and protein, there’s little if any additional benefit from ingesting nutritional supplements. HOWEVER, certain medications, disease states, geographical locations, diet patterns and genetic components can cause nutritional deficiencies that can’t be met with food alone. If you think that you’re lacking certain vitamins or minerals, you can schedule a blood test with us to test your levels of essential vitamins and minerals to help better guide your decision.

What Now?:

If you want to learn about supplements and superfoods that do have a clinical benefit and could be helpful to you and your health, I offer supplement consulting service were based on your lab work, diet, lifestyle, medical conditions, personal symptoms, and exercise habits, we create a personalized supplement, herbal, nutritional and lifestyle protocol to support your optimum health and well-being. If you’re interested in a free wellness consultation, click the link down below to book it!

I’m also taking on clients for my Remedy Wellness Experience which encompasses personal training, nutrition coaching, supplement consulting and medication education for a total lifestyle revamp program to help identify and address root causes of disease, illness, and other conditions. This integrative experience focuses on improving the six key areas of wellness to ensure you live your best and healthiest life. You can also use that same link below to book a free wellness consultation!

℞ Book a FREE Wellness Consultation: https://www.ritualhealthandwell.com/service-page/free-wellness-consultation?referral=service_list_widget

℞ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ritual.well/


℞ Business Contact: hello@ritualhealthandwell,com

DISCLAIMER: This content is provided for informational and/or entertainment purposes only. Nothing contained in these videos should be considered as providing medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The Superfood Pharmacist has used all reasonable care in compiling the evidence-based information but make no guarantee as to its accuracy. You should consult with your health care provider regarding any medical concerns you may have.

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