Vitamins and supplements are a part of the daily routine for many of us. And if you are going to take supplements, they should be the best quality you can buy and improve your health. That’s why Lifewellness has partnered with Designs for Health: to make it easy to find vitamins in the correct form, to avoid redundancy and offer at a fair price. You can be assured they will be well absorbed, be free of unnecessary fillers/allergens, are confirmed for purity and will give you the most bang for your buck. We know you have lots of choices, confusing ones at best, and there is much deception by manufacturers to get you to buy their product. While you probably have many questions, and the answers aren’t always easy to understand, I’ll do my best to clear the air with the Q&A below. I invite and encourage you to respond with questions of your own. Don’t be shy…as you can see, getting it right in the supplement department can help or possibly hurt your health. Visit our Supplement Store.
Watch out for:
- Those that do not list the exact amount of each ingredient
- Are considerably more costly than other brands
- Duplicate ingredients in another supplement you take
- Companies with recalls or warnings of contamination
‘So what should I take?’
Ahhh… the million dollar question! At Lifewellness we test for a specific nutrient markers, get a peek of your genetics and assess your nutrition and current health to make the appropriate recommendation. In general, most people need Vitamin D3 and need Omega 3 in the form of EPA/DHA. A greater than 90% reduction in cardiac events can be achieved by optimizing your EPA/DHA. You will benefit from a probiotic if you take acid reducers or need to improve bone health. These friendly bacteria improve calcium absorption and discourage bad bacteria that like the effects of acid reducing medication. If you possess a MTHFR genetic variant or take certain medications like birth control or Metformin, you can benefit from B vitamins in the active forms. If you are over 50 years old avoid iron unless you are anemic. Many prescribed medications mug your body of nutrients. Drug Muggers is an excellent book on this topic. And the list goes on….but the important take-away is to get the right supplements for you.
‘Do vitamins do anything for me?’
Yes, vitamins can help our health, but should be just that….a supplement to your food intake. Supplements need the backbone of good nutrition to be effective because there is no nutrient that acts alone. Each nutrient depends on many other nutrients in the body to support our energy, fight cancer and free radicals, promote correct genetic coding and generally provide health to our bodies. So work on feeding your body as healthfully as you can.
‘Is there really any difference between my Centrum and a pharmaceutical grade vitamin?’
First, there is no definition of pharmaceutical grade for supplements. Manufacturers of supplements should adhere to current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) of the FDA and be certified by NSF the National Sanitation Foundation. Secondly, yes, there is a difference between a Centrum and other formulations of multivitamins and it could be an important difference for you.
‘What is an organic or food-based supplement?’
Organic supplements have nutrients derived from organically grown sources. Most of these will be food based, meaning they are extracted from food or plants. These typically deliver less nutrient as they are less concentrated which is not necessarily a bad thing. They are closer to the forms of nutrients you would eat naturally in a whole food. Supplements that are not food-based are often manufactured in a lab or extracted and concentrated from plants, algae and other sources.
‘Why do vitamins make me feel sick to my stomach’
Vitamins that contain iron are notorious for upsetting tummies but other nutrients can be an irritant as well. Also, some vitamins contain fillers, are made with traces of dairy, corn or other potentially allergenic ingredients. Remember, when you take a supplement or vitamin, you are taking a concentrated source of a nutrient that, in nature, would be diluted in food and be accompanied by other nutrients to regulate it’s absorption. Working with a knowledgeable practitioner can help you better understand ingredient labels and find the vitamins that don’t irritate your stomach.
‘Should I take vitamins on an empty stomach?’
As a general rule, you should take vitamins with food. Food stimulates production of gastric acid to help in the digestion of tablets and capsules, and the additional nutrients provided by a meal or snack can help these ‘orphan nutrients’ be better absorbed. Case in point: iron is better absorbed with a meal high in the acid Vitamin C, also as known as ascorbic acid. Include an orange, grapefruit, tomatoes, or tomato sauce to aid in iron absorption.
‘What is the difference between a vitamin from CVS and the ones from Designs for Health?’
Nutrients come in many different chemical formations. That formation can make a difference in how well the body can absorb the nutrients or if the body needs to provide further activation. Concentrations can vary as well. There are fish oils that provide so little Omega 3 that they are not worth taking and high potency fish oils that might not be a good choice for someone on blood thinners for example. Designs for Health supplements take all of that into mind with their formulations. Nutrients are in the most absorbable forms, in the appropriate balance with other nutrients; vitamins need little if any activation and contain optimal amounts of nutrients to most effective. There is growing concern that B Vitamins should be in a specific form to prevent possible harm. So there can be a big difference between Designs for Health and other supplements.
‘Are there other manufacturers that make quality supplements?’
Yes, there are many other quality manufacturers and I may recommend a different brand of certain supplements to help simplify your vitamin routine. But avoid the random roulette of grabbing the prettiest label, the cheapest or most expensive bottle off the shelf. A great consumer resource and worth the subscription is Consumer Lab, which has tested thousands of supplements and published results.
There isn’t just one supplement routine that’s right for everyone and some of you may not need any supplements at all. Although, given the energetic, busy lives and typical health issues of our extended LWI family, supplements can certainly lessen the need for medication and improve quality of life in many cases.