Buying a supplement? Ask questions

Shopping for a high-quality supplement can be confusing and downright frustrating. So many brands vie for your dollar, and they all claim they’re the best. Choosing a supplement affects not only your health, but also your pocketbook if it’s doesn’t deliver results.

Here are some questions to consider when looking for a high-quality supplement.

Does it dissolve at the right time in the right place? Vitamins, minerals and other nutrients should be delivered to specific regions of your digestive system for enhanced absorption and use. Most brands aren’t designed with optimal absorption in mind. One way to test is to see if your supplement dissolves in water in 30 minutes or less. That’s the same standard the pharmaceutical industry uses for tablets.

Is it absorbed in your bloodstream? It’s important the supplements you take are assimilated into the bloodstream, where they’re available to cells. Always ask the company for peer-reviewed research on their products. The keyword here is peer-reviewed. That means it’s unbiased, legitimate research instead of advertising research in which a company pay someones to publish research in what looks like a legitimate journal.

Is there balance in the formulation? Balance is critical to a well-formulated multi-vitamin supplement. Many nutrients don’t work effectively unless they’re in a certain balance. The B vitamin biotin, for example, is extremely expensive. It should offer at least 100 percent of the daily value.  Most vitamins will show none or less than 100 percent.

Are any sugars, artificial colorings or sweeteners used? It’s common for supplements to include artificial colorings and sweeteners. Read the labels.

Has it been extracted and preserved 100 percent in its live form as found in nature? When you consume something that’s not found in nature, the body becomes combative and either makes it ineffective or produces adverse reactions. Not only should all nutrient factors be natural, but also the processing should maintain its value.

Does the manufacturer use a cooling system to preserve nutrients? When supplements are manufactured at low temperatures, the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients aren’t lost in the process. Without enzymes, the body can’t absorb or use the nutrients effectively. It’s common for companies to use too much heat and pressure in manufacturing supplements.

Are the vitamins designed in a broad spectrum? There isn’t a single cookie cutter vitamin out there that can respond to the unique requirements of each vital organ and cell in your body.  That’s because cells are created to be unequal, smart and unique.  Your brain cells have different nutritional demands than those in your kidneys. So does your skin and liver. This is called nutritional design. When the full spectrum of the nutritional design is met, only then can you say multivitamins have truly done their job of enhancing your quality of life.

Is the amount on the label the amount in each tablet? A common problem in the food supplement industry is quality control. It’s not uncommon for the amount in each tablet to vary dramatically.

The final product, not just the raw materials, must be scientifically tested and approved. Actual testing of the finished product is the most crucial part of clinical testing because it’s where you’re able to evaluate if the vitamins and its components work as a whole. It is also the most expensive part. Most companies test raw materials individually, but not the actual finished product.