What's REALLY in your supplements <PT 1: The WHY>
Updated: Mar 3
part 1: why you gotta do your research
Now first things first, I want to make it clear that:
getting nutrients from your food is always best.
But sometimes... we need a little help. Supplements can be useful for filling the gaps in your diet because even when we are eating an organic, varied, whole-food diet, we still may be lacking in some nutrients. Our fruits and vegetables are less nutrient-dense than they were 20+ years ago because of the mono-crop culture that has taken over much of our farming practices.
If you're on a diet that restricts any specific food groups (vegan, vegetarian, keto, carnivore, low-fat, etc) then it's quite possible you could benefit from taking some supplements.
Supps can also be beneficial for decreasing inflammation, providing antioxidant protection, healing the gut, as well as counteracting nutritional deficiencies. They can help with stress, sleep, exercise recovery, balancing hormones, and many other health-related concerns.
But here's the thing, when it comes to supplements, just like with your food, you have to be EXTRA diligent about reading your labels. You may be doing more harm than good by poppin' those pills without checking to see what's REALLY in them. As much as we wish that "the man" <aka the gov> was looking out for our health and safety, there are some things that are beyond their reach.
Also, this is your BEAUTIFUL, GOLDEN, SHINY TEMPLE OF A BODY we are talking about here! Taking shitty supps is WORSE than taking no supps at all. I'd rather you not take any supplements than poor quality ones. It can be downright dangerous in addition to a waste of your hard earned dinero.
The supplement industry is like the wild, wild west so it's important that you educate yourself on what you're putting in your body.
DID YOU KNOW:
Dietary supplements are not FDA approved!
This means many of the products on the market are not regulated and therefore do not have to be tested for effectiveness, purity, and dosage amounts.
Let me repeat that for the people in the back:
SUPPLEMENTS ARE NOT REGULATED.
Often times the quantity (%) of the main ingredient or even the ingredients themselves are NOT the same as what is listed on the label. Meaning, it could say it contains _____ as a main ingredient but in reality it does not. Or they have fillers (wheat, rice, soy, dairy, corn etc) or contaminants (heavy metals, pesticides, bacteria) that aren't listed on the label at all.
Any one else see un problema with this? Although companies are required to follow an 'established set of manufacturing practices', they are literally operating on the honor code.
The FDA cannot take action on a supplement BEFORE it goes on the market, only after harm has been reported.
In other words, supplements make it onto store shelves – without any testing requirements– with the assumption they are safe until proven otherwise.
Are you shocked? I know I was.
We are still operating under the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). A federal law that was spearheaded by legislators with strong financial ties to the supplement industry (currently a $350 billion dollar industry in the US), that in reality, protects the companies more than the consumers. It allows companies to attach general health claims to their products without providing evidence of their effectiveness AND it protects supplements from the strict pre-market approval rules that apply to prescription drugs.
HOLY GUACAMOLE BATMAN.
So... like I said, wild, wild west but... What can we do about it?
Do your research
Read every bottle's label (even within the same company)
Buy professional grade products from companies you trust
Again, I'm not trying to scare you but well... it is kinda scary, don't you think? I'm here to tell ya and make it crystallllll clear that...
you gotta be your own BFF, #1 fan and advocate for your health. period.
No one cares more about YOUR health than you and since you get to choose what you put in your body and your mouth... let's give you some tips on what to look out for so you can make the most informed decisions possible!