Is there a difference?
Studies show that 50% of Americans take multivitamins and one in five U.S. adults takes an herbal supplement. The unfortunate truth about most of the supplements you may find on grocery store and drugstore shelves is that they are not required to go under the same FDA test for safety and effectiveness as prescription drugs. Many of these products are loaded with fillers and synthetic ingredients, with little to no active ingredients, so that the supplement companies can save costs.
Many people don’t know that there are often multiple forms of a single vitamin – from cheap and synthetic, to more pricey but natural and much better for you. Store vitamins almost always use the cheap and synthetic forms. For example, folic acid is a cheap and synthetic form of the naturally occurring vitamin folate, and many people need the methylated natural forms of their B vitamins, including methyl folate and methyl B12. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is better as the more expensive P5P (pyridoxine-5-phosphate). Vitamin E is better as the pricier mixed tocopherols as opposed to alpha tocopherol only, and so on. Medical grade supplements contain the best forms of these vitamins, to ensure that your body is getting the most natural and effective form of the vitamin – even if it costs a little more.
Another key issue with buying supplements off grocery store shelves is that most larger companies don’t have strict shipping and handling regulations, so before they even get to the store, they may have been exposed to heat, which can affect their quality.
In addition, many supplement companies have replaced their expiration dates with manufacturing dates, even uglier truth is that many supplement companies are putting prescription drugs in their products. In 2004, the FDA instilled a ban on any dietary supplement containing Ephedra because of serious side effects and even deaths. However, many products that have been pulled from the shelves because they contain unauthorized prescription medication, often find themselves back on store shelves with the same ingredients.
On the consumer side of things, many people are under the impression that they can lead an unhealthy lifestyle, eating a nutritionally poor diet, not exercising and drinking lots of alcohol and just pop a few pills that will cancel out the negative effects. This is a huge myth and unfortunately one that the supplement industry often advertises.
This quick fix belief along with the desire to look and feel their best has too many people taking vitamins and minerals that they may not even need. In high doses, many of these can cause serious side effects, including serious diseases.
Before loading up on unnecessary and even harmful pills and powders, see a trained professional that can do the appropriate diagnose. Many times, the symptoms you may be experiencing, such as low energy, sleep issues, low libido and weight gain, may not be dietary issues at all. Medical grade supplements we use are manufactured to the same strict standards as pharmaceutical drugs. In our clinic, we look to all aspects of your life to find out what is really causing the symptoms you are experiencing. If supplements are recommended, we will recommend and provide ones that are of the highest quality and have been extensively tested and researched.