The Facts You Need to Know About Supplements to Enhance Your Health

Nearly 75% of the world population takes some type of supplement each day. There are literally thousands of brands and millions of products to choose from. Is there really a difference between them?

Fact #1: The FDA manufacturing standards are not rigid enough for Lifestyle and Performance Medicine but are improving every year as research delivers warnings about the dangers of many different chemicals such as FD&C dyes, sodium benzoate, dextrose, methylcellulose, and propylene glycol

Is there a difference between vitamins?

The FDA allows questionable fillers and binders such as; cork by products, chemical FD&C dyes, sodium benzoate, dextrose, methylcellulose, and propylene glycol to name only a few. Although these ingredients may be legal, what are the nutritional benefits? Reports have indicated that some of these ingredients can be toxic at certain levels with prolong use. The FDA does not monitor the contents or purity of a supplement nor the source of a nutritional ingredient. The practitioners of Lifestyle and Performance Medicine do. We have for over a decade.

Purity: What does it really mean?
---Defined: The quality or state of being pure or unmixed with any other element.

In most cases, Impure ingredients are used by many companies. The FDA does not require manufacturers to list these ingredients (on the nutritional labels) if they are not added when making the final dosage form. Many times the raw materials may contain only 90% or less of the listed ingredients along with 10% or more corn starch and lactose. Lactose and corn are known allergens for some people. These items have been known to cause digestive disturbances and weaken the immune system.

Hypoallergenic: What does it really mean?
--- Defined: non-allergy producing. A term applied to a preparation in which every possible care has been taken in formulation and production to ensure minimum instance of allergic reactions. (Blakiston's Medical Dictionary)

What is GMP?

Good manufacturing practices (GMPs) are guidelines that provide a system of processes, procedures and documentation to assure a product has the identity, strength, composition, quality and purity that appear on its label. These GMP requirements are listed in Section 8 of NSF/ANSI 173 which is the only accredited American National Standard in the dietary supplement industry developed in accordance with the FDA's 21 CFR part 111.

What is NSF for sport?

The program's objective is to certify that participating sports supplement manufacturers have met NSF's stringent independent certification process guidelines, which were developed through a consensus process involving regulatory, sports industry and consumer groups. A key component of this program is an NSF Mark on each product label, to show athletes, coaches and consumers that a sports supplement has met NSF's comprehensive Certified for SportĀ® program guidelines.

This program, which focuses primarily on the sports supplement manufacturing and sourcing process, provides key preventive measures to:

  • Protect against adulteration of products
  • Verify label claims against product contents
  • Identify athletic banned substances in the finished product or ingredients


This program is part of NSF's successful 65-year history of providing certification programs for food, water and consumer goods. Specifically, the NSF Certified for SportĀ® Program builds on NSF's expertise in the areas of dietary supplements and functional foods:

  • NSF developed and maintains the only accredited American National Standard to certify dietary supplements, NSF/ANSI Standard 173.
  • By building on NSF/ANSI 173, NSF developed a comprehensive product testing program in NSF-accredited laboratories and an extensive manufacturing process evaluation to ensure the actual product contents match what appears on the label.
  • NSF's history of independence led to a partnership with the National Football League and the NFL Players Association to develop and administer the NFL/NFLPA Supplement Certification Program, a first-of-its-kind program designed specifically for professional football.

Facts #2: Not all products are created equal

Pharmaceutical Grade: What does it mean?
There are basically three different grades of raw materials used in products they are:

  • Pharmaceutical Grade - meets pharmaceutical standards
  • Food Grade - meets standards set for human consumption
  • Feed Grade - meets standards set for animal consumption

The difference between each grade type is one of quality and purity. In technical terms, no substance is 100% pure, for there are always other substances added to various products. The difference between the grades is one of how much of these other substances are present in the product.

There are several criteria by which pharmaceutical grade are judged. The product must be in excess of 99% purity with no binders, fillers, excipients, dyes, or unknown substances.

United States Pharmacopeia (USP)

The USP provides assurance to the consumer, as well as those involved in manufacturing and processing, that the quality and purity of the raw materials utilized are of pharmaceutical grade. Consequently, the USP guarantees a certain standard of excellence sold only through physicians and selected pharmacies. The bottom line is, if the product is not manufactured properly it may not work or could cause side effects. If you're not sure what you are buying, ask for the facts.

Fact #3: You can't always judge a supplement by its cover

"Supplemental Facts" on the label do not always tell the facts. In most cases they don't even come close. News journalists have recently discovered vitamin and nutritional products do not contain the milligrams listed on the label. Obviously, it is an impossible task for any agency to monitor every supplement that is on the market. This is a serious concern for Healing*Edge which is why specific procedures must be met and verified to insure consumer safety.

Globally, there are various units of measurements displayed on nutritional labels. Interpreting these labels requires the expertise of a professional who understands the difference between them along with the latest laws and regulations placed on the industry.

The DSHEA act of 1994, approved by our congress, mandated labels changes within our industry. Over the years policies and standards have been redefined. The rules and regulations have changed creating confusion to the consumers and unnecessary expenses to manufactures. Because our country trades on a global level It will take decades before a worldwide standard is set and acceptable to all governing bodies in this comprehensive industry.

Fact #4: Advertisement is not always in our best interest

Many companies spend billions of dollars in advertising hoping to convince the consumers to buy their brand. Catchy phrases and fancy buzz words are used to entice, stimulate and often mislead the general public. These are ploys used when the quality or the efficacy of a product is in question.

Lifestyle and Performance Medicine likes to deal with facts. Our goal is to educate the public about health issues, offer serious alternatives and provide quality products backed by facts not advertising gimmicks.

Fact #5: Expiration dates: What do they really mean

Expiration dates have been used for years to increase sales in all industries. Example: If a drug has an expiration date of December 31, 2002 will it still be good January 1st. 2003. What is happening to that drug weeks and months before expiration date.

All drugs and vitamins start to age or break down the day after they are manufactured. Most all products are safe to take up to 1 year after expiration date. The concern is that the product may be less effective, the dosage may vary. Not all substances deteriorate at the same speed. For example: Vitamin A deteriorates one third faster then other vitamins. Quality vitamin manufacturers will beef up their vitamin A slightly to cover the time period that this vitamin may be on their shelf, distributors shelf, retailers shelf or in your home. A quality manufacturer will be sure their vitamins are approximately at the listed strength on the label at time of expiration.

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