Guide to Better Vitamin Shopping

Tuesday, November 06, 2007 by: Arc Archer
Tags: vitamins, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) When it comes to buying vitamins you must consider some guidelines in order to get the better, if not best, brand available for your particular reasons or condition. As with any product on the marketplace, you'll encounter quality vitamin brands and those that are anything but effective no matter how affordable or expensive the product might be.

If you buy, for instance, an electrical appliance, you'll soon know whether or not it works, however, if you buy certain vitamins, multi-vitamin supplements, herbs, minerals, etc., it'll take you some time to realize whether or not that supplement is working for you.

And there are a number of reasons for this.

1. The quality of the product, of course.
2. Its potency, 10 IU of vitamin E is not the same as 400 IU
3. How often and how long the supplement is taken.
4. How healthy or unhealthy the person is.
5. And if the right substance is being taken for the condition in question; i.e. magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide have different effects in your body, magnesium oxide, which is used for body cleanse regimens, will loosen the stools while its citrate form won't at the same amount. However, magnesium citrate in powder form taken with hot water, like tea, will have a calming effect whereas magnesium oxide won't.

One of the things that tends to confuse most health conscious vitamin shoppers is how to recognize and where to find quality supplements. As with food, not all edible things found in supermarkets are the same, a conventional carrot and a local organic one are not the same even though they can pretty much look alike. And pasteurized, treated, and/or irradiated foods, such as almonds, and juices among others, will lack much of their original phytonutrients and vitamins.

Such is the case with nutritional supplements, not all vitamin brands are the same. Not all vitamin supplements are the same or should be.

First of all, let us not forget that there is not and there will not be any supplement, let alone pharmaceutical drug (poison), able to substitute fresh truly organic untreated vegetables, fruit, nuts, etc., they are your healthiest and best source of minerals, vitamins, fats, phytonutrients and other substances yet to be researched.

Second, if you have a condition requiring medical supervision, it is wise to seek the assistance of a health professional knowledgeable in herbs, minerals, nutrition, et al. Ask questions, your health provider should be able to give you answers, a yes or a no is not enough sometimes.

Not all doctors, or MDs, or alternative health professionals are the same.

Once you know the right natural supplement for yourself, then it is up to you to choose and buy from a company that should deliver its promise. And it is not as difficult as it seems to find such companies among the hundreds out there.

One important aspect to keep in mind is that pharmacies are outlets for pharmaceutical drugs, so it is best to stay away from them as well as supermarkets when searching for trustworthy supplements. You don't want to end up with a product whose potency, and its disclosed and undisclosed ingredients are questionable. Many MDs in America and elsewhere lack the knowledge and interest in nutrition, they seem to be programmed to completely miss nutrition's key role in preventing and even curing disease.

For example, on an online short article posted by Yahoo on September 24, 2007 an MD gives some sound suggestions regarding choosing supplements except for, and not surprisingly, her following advice: "Stick to known, big-name brands. For example, I like GNC and Nature's Made products". In an article that appears to be following ethical common sense - where this MD suggests doing your homework, buying German made supplements because of their higher standards - this MD for some reason fails to recommend quality German made supplements, for instance. She instead recommends GNC, not made in Germany, which is a vitamin chain store found in the US and other countries.

The problem with vitamin brand chain stores is mainly quality, their aim is in fact sales, quantity. This is also true with food or restaurant chains. As with Nature's Made, this is a vitamin brand found in pharmacies in America, and it is part of a Japanese pharmaceutical company conglomerate. Many big corporations have taken notice of the ever growing vitamin market in the US, in other words, sales money. Solgar is now owned by Pfizer (pharmaceutical co.).

As to German made supplements, she never mentions Salus Haus, liquid supplements already in the market for many years and available in the US. She also omits Madaus or Schwabe, sold by Nature's Way vitamins in the US, also available in many health food stores.

Now, German made supplements are not the only source of quality vitamins or herbs, there are several US made supplements already pioneers in this area. The following are just a selection among other quality brands.

Thorne Research, available through practitioners and Thorne's website, is a supplement company dedicated to offering hypoallergenic products, that is, lacking most of the excipients or fillers found in most other tablets; they share their philosophy behind their products and disclose how they manufacture their supplements; they also issue the Alternative Medicine Review, an authoritative journal.

Megafood, available in health food stores, is one of the very few companies, if not the only one quality-wise, that manufactures true whole (organic) food supplements; they share and validate their philosophy behind their products and disclose how they manufacture them; they are also available at practitioner's under their Innate Response line. Their vitamins come in glass bottles, not plastic.

Gaia herbs, available in health food stores and at practitioner's, manufactures organic herbal products, that is, they grow their supplements. They, too, disclose how they produce their supplements. Their herbal formulas come in glass bottles, not plastic.

A. C. Grace Company manufactures mainly a pure concentrated form of the natural vitamin E complex since 1962.

Peter Gillham's Natural Vitality manufactures a handful of supplements, among them Natural Calm (magnesium citrate in powder form).

Once again, these are not the only quality supplement companies available in the US, these are just a selection in order for you to get an idea of what to look for and expect from a vitamin company.

Remember always to:

1. Check if the company manufactures its supplements; many brands only distribute or sell cheap vitamins manufactured by others.
2. Check what the manufacturer has to say about their products, their philosophy, their impact on the environment, how they produce their vitamins, and origin of their raw materials.
3. Keep in mind that most of the liquid supplements available are saturated with sugars, preservatives, and contain pasteurized and processed ingredients such as fruit juices in order to enhance flavor.
4. Stay away from pharmacies, supermarkets, vitamin brand chain stores (unless they sell other brands, quality brands), whenever looking for trustworthy supplements.
5. And last but not least, there are some vitamin companies available even in some alternative health practitioner's whose catalog stress how much money they've made and how much they can make for whomever sells their products. Not good.

It is essential for anyone interested in supplementing their diet to be informed, to do their homework before experimenting with their health. Being alert is the key, people are constantly bombarded by thousands of ads from companies trying to get rich no matter what. Such is the case with most, if not all, pharmaceutical drugs, and now with many vitamin brands. The FDA has had an outstanding history of not protecting the consumer, so don't expect corrupt agencies to do your job, which is to look after your health.

About the author

In an economy-based society, no matter who gets elected, the ultimate message that anybody can send out is what you buy... or not buy; whether you are "rich" or "poor", the power is in your hands. Stay informed, and spend your money wisely.
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