Supplement Safety: Let’s Talk About Problems with the Supplement Industry

Key Points:

  • What you can expect when you do your supplements right: better sleep, healthy digestion, and positive mental health changes.

  • Why aren’t vitamins FDA approved? The history of supplements proves that you should evaluate them the same way you do processed foods.

  • Four ways you can take charge of your supplement routine: ditching your daily multivitamin, understanding potential side-effects of your supplements,  seeking out vitamin providers that focus on bioavailability, and focusing on nutrient dense food.

It’s next to impossible to spend any time on social media without being bombarded by miracle supplements. 

Instagram and Facebook algorithms somehow manage to figure out your biggest health insecurities. Whether you’re feeling self-conscious about slow hair growth, need to fix a hormone imbalance, or you’re dying for a chronic illness breakthrough, clever marketing is ready to answer the call with a pill that will change everything… supposedly.

It’s true — we need supplements. We can’t emphasize enough that depleted soil, environmental pollutants, and processed foods make it almost impossible to get the required nutrients in our regular diets.

But how do you determine which supplements are actually worth the investment — and which ones are doing your body more harm than good?

Here’s our breakdown.

Table of Contents: 

Here’s What You Can Expect from High-Quality Supplements

Vitamins and minerals are building blocks to a better and healthier you. Once you’ve done the research and learned how to determine high-quality vitamins from problematic supplements you’ll be ready to invest in your health.

Here are some positive benefits you may experience with vitamin supplementation:

  • Improved your quality of life and longevity
  • Positive mental health changes
  • A smooth-running immune system
  • Better memory and focus
  • Improved digestion
  • Better sleep

Are Supplements Safe?

Supplement safety is more complicated than you might have thought. 

Vitamins and supplements sold on store shelves aren’t FDA approved, like drugs are. They are FDA regulated, which means they may be monitored by the FDA after they’ve already hit store shelves. But the FDA can’t keep an eye on every supplement that goes to market, which is how you end up with a lot of junky vitamins on Amazon.

Other supplement safety issues include:

  • False claims. Companies can claim that their vitamins are liposomal (active ingredients encased in microscopic phospholipid bubbles for better absorption), without actually testing their efficacy.
  • Contamination. A 2009 study of OTC supplements found mold, yeast, fungus, and heavy metals in a number of supplements. According to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, supplements must be free of contamination but there is no governing board to actually check this!
  • Label claim validation. HCP trusted companies like BodyBio use 3rd party testing to validate potency and guarantee what is claimed on the label. But there is no validating board for this - it is up to the company to decide if they want to be honest or not!
  • Quality in sourcing. Sadly, there are many 
  • Minimal education for doctors. Knowledge of supplement safety and nutrition isn’t a high priority for medical students.
  • Broad-spectrum prescriptions. Prescribing supplements to the general population — instead of recognizing individual needs.
  • General lack of knowledge around supplementation and possible interactions with medications.

Here is a great post from Naturopath Dr. Asia Muhammad about this topic. 

Why Aren’t Vitamins FDA Approved?

The FDA classifies vitamins under the same category as food products. This means they do not have to undergo the rigorous evaluation that pharmaceuticals do, even though supplements can be just as powerful.

As consumers, we should evaluate our supplements the same way we evaluate processed foods and fresh and organic produce. We have to look past the brand and keep a critical eye on the actual ingredients in a supplement, as well as know what our bodies need to achieve optimal health. 

Clever marketing and the ideal of picture perfect health can blur our judgment — making us easy targets for toxic supplements. This is your sign to empower yourself and take action. Learn what supplements aren’t right for you, and how you can genuinely take charge of your own health with high-quality and bioavailable vitamins.

Do Supplement Companies Need to Prove Safety?

The FDA doesn’t require supplement companies or third-party testers to test their vitamins before releasing them to the market. Although there are some safety regulations for introducing new ingredients to the market, these regulations aren’t strictly enforced.

The best person to trust is yourself. Before blindly picking up a bottle from the grocery store shelf, make sure to do your own research on the company’s commitment to safety, healthy ingredients, and vigorous testing.

Can Supplements Be Toxic?

It’s hard to imagine the vitamin companies you trust with your health could be scamming you with toxic supplements. Unfortunately, toxic oils and ingredients like titanium dioxide (a possible carcinogenic), are rampant in vitamin supplements. 

Toxic Vitamins

Did you know? Wrongful supplementation accounts for 23,000 emergency visits every year. These visits may result from overconsumption of vitamins, allergic reactions, or a misunderstanding of the side effects of an herbal supplement.

And this study just accounts for the short-term effects. We know that ingredients like titanium dioxide, hydrogenated oils, and artificial colors have an adverse affect on our long-term health. And when these toxic ingredients are in something you take every single day, you don’t know what kind of damage you’re compounding over time.

Vitamin and Supplement Evaluation 101

Here’s the game plan. These three steps are easy to implement and will help you learn how to determine the best supplements for your health. You’re well on your way to experiencing all the great benefits of a healthy and informed lifestyle.

1. Ditch the Multivitamins

Multivitamins don’t account for individual nutritional needs. And they’re usually packed full of synthetic ingredients and hydrogenated oils, too. Instead of blindly swallowing your daily vitamin, ask your practitioner to help you learn what your nutritional deficiencies are — and how you can improve them individually.

2. Understand the Side Effects of Your Supplements

Saint John’s Wort, a common herbal remedy recommended for depression and mood disorders has put many unknowing consumers in the hospital. This is because Saint John’s Wort can interact with other medications like antibiotics, making them less effective. 

Another common detox supplement, activated charcoal, can bind up vital nutrients and medications — making your prescription medications ineffective if you take them at the same time.

These are both great examples of why it’s important to understand the supplements you’re taking — including the potential side effects and interactions. 

3. Quality and Bioavailable Ingredients are Essential

Although your daily supplements may contain essential vitamins, those vitamins — especially when synthetic — may not properly absorb into your bloodstream. 

For example, folic acid is a cheap form of folate (vitamin B9) used in many prenatal and B complex supplements, but many people are unable to process folic acid due to a genetic predisposition. This leads to a build up in the body, throwing other key vitamins like B12 out of whack. 

Your body might consider these synthetic vitamins as toxins and flag them as waste. The best way to ensure your vitamins are bioavailable (meaning, easy to absorb), is to seek out high-quality ingredients from a trusted company.

4. Give Your Body Natural Vitamins from Food

Consuming a diverse diet of healthy veggies, fruits, meats, fish, and some whole grains is the best way to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need. 

Any time you’re using supplements to fill a nutritional gap, you should also be using food! For example, if you’re supplementing essential fatty acids (like BodyBio Balance Oil), make sure you’re also eating regular helpings of salmon, avocado, and nuts to get those EFA’s in whole food form.

You Can Trust BodyBio

BodyBio is trusted by practitioners and consumers alike as a leading name in cellular health supplementation — and quality has always been at the center of what we do. Our supplements are truly liposomal, bioavailable, and contain high-quality ingredients that have been tested for safety and efficacy. See the kind of supplements thousands of customers have said made a real difference in their health. 

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