(NaturalNews) Feeling a little run down? Are you stressed? Someone in the house ill, and you don't want to get it? In situations like these, many reach for vitamins. By definition vitamins are "organic components in food that are needed.... for maintaining good health." But do you know how to read the ingredient label on your vitamins? Do you know what those words mean, where the ingredients come from? Who makes them? Most people don't.
What's in a brand?
To make sure the money you spend on vitamins is worth it, a good place to start is researching the brand you buy. What is the name of the company that owns and makes your preferred brand? One of the most popular vitamins on the market today is Centrum. Turns out, Centrum is made by Pfizer, the world's largest pharmaceutical company. Why does this matter? Well for starters, a company that makes billions of dollars in revenue each year on prescription drugs, vaccines, cancer drugs, cardiovascular and metabolic disease treatments, pain, etc. may have a conflict of interest in your having good health. Pfizer was founded as a "manufacturer of fine chemicals." Chemicals, especially man-made ones (that can be patented for profit), are isolated substances and are processed by the human body as toxins. This is not how vitamins should be made; vitamins made that way cannot be used by the body. Furthermore, Pfizer has a history of health care fraud and illegal marketing of its products.
The old adage "you get what you pay for" is true when it comes to vitamins. You can find inexpensive vitamins in pharmacies, grocery stores, and other big box stores. However, not only are they not good for you, they may be harmful to your health. Purchasing vitamins made with synthetic ingredients is essentially you paying corporations to take their toxic waste off their hands for them. They are made with things such as coal tar, waste and fecal matter, petroleum by-products, stones, metal, animal by-products, etc. Vitamins worth buying are made from whole foods, by companies that make vitamins, not pharmaceuticals. You should be able to look them up, and call and ask what sources their ingredients come from, should you be so inclined.
Beware of marketing
Not to sound jaded but beware of marketed vitamins. If you have to be bombarded to buy, is it really that good? It also takes tons of money to market that way, which raises questions about their bottom line, their ethics toward their customers and the quality of their products. Centrum is the number one selling multivitamin, not because it works but because of its multi-billion dollar ad campaign.
Part of the huge ad campaign includes trumped up claims. Just last week Pfizer faced allegations of deceptive advertising on its Centrum vitamins from a consumer watchdog group. The nonprofit group, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) threatened to sue Pfizer over deceptive claims regarding "breast health," "heart health," "colon health," "bone health," and "energy and immunity." Watchdog groups such as CSPI have been taking the lead in policing health claims on supplements since the FDA doesn't do enough to help consumers in this area.
Just as with "real" food, "real" vitamins don't need to be marketed on t.v. during prime time. Products that work keep customers coming back and get increased sales through word of mouth.
Currently there is not a whole lot of regulation of supplements. This is a good thing in that the pharmaceutical companies are so big and have so much money that were legislation to make it through, their lobbyists would warp and restrict the supplement industry in a way that would be very bad for consumers, good health, and makers of true vitamins. The down side is that you as a consumer have to take the responsibility for educating yourself as to what you put in your body. Vote with your dollars, and keep good quality supplements on the market.