Lifestyle Performance Medicine

Not All Supplements are Created Equally

GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) is industry terminology indicating that a manufacturing plant has been inspected and certified by USP (US Pharmacopeia Convention) or NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) and Consumer GMPs are designed to minimize risk in dietary supplements. This certification is not free, which is why many nutritional supplement manufacturers are not officially GMP-certified. However, without the actual GMP certification, you can’t be sure if a company is adhering to the strict requirements. Some other organizations committed to supplement quality include EQP (Emerson Quality Program) and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Ensuring the facility manufacturing your supplements has been fully inspected by the FDA is also important.

Comprehensive Scientific Evaluation of Ingredients. The selection of ingredients makes a big difference in the quality of the product. Even a great scientific formula won’t meet its potential without quality ingredients. In many cases you get what you pay for, and low-cost products are likely made with low-cost ingredients, which could also mean an ineffective product or one that could be harmful. To ensure the raw materials are of a high quality, confirm that the manufacturer has a Certificate of Analysis (COA) for each ingredient.

Another consideration is what form of a nutrient is the best. Not all forms of a nutrient are the same. One example is vitamin D. Supplements can be found as vitamin D2 or vitamin D3; in this case the latter is more effective at raising vitamin D levels. Also, is there added vitamin K for absorption? If so, in what form? Is the delivery method one in which the body can recognize and utilize the nutrient?

Magnesium also a mineral that can be found in several forms that each provide different benefits. Be sure to talk to a healthcare provider to ensure you are using clean supplements that best suit your individual health needs and in forms your body can recognize.

Some things to consider before taking a dietary supplement:

How much of a particular nutrient do I need?

At what time of day should I take it?

With food or without food? For how long?

Are there safety risks?

Does it interfere with any prescription medications?

Always consult with your healthcare professional before taking any supplements.