The supplement industry is vast and highly competitive. Don’t believe me? Just take a stroll down the vitamin aisle of a drugstore, or walk into any nutrition store. You’ll be bombarded with hundreds of companies, selling many of the same products, and each of which claims to have the best formula, highest potency, and most effectiveness.
But how can several companies competing against one another all produce the best product on the market? Is that even possible? The answer is, no. Supplement companies will often use specific wordage to stay within legal guidelines and avoid litigation for false advertising. Therefore, it is up to you to know what to look for when shopping for vitamins so you can distinguish between the high-quality products, and the ones you should steer clear from.
Food Grade vs. Pharmaceutical Grade GMP
When analyzing which vitamin or supplement you should buy, a good place to start is to check whether it is a food grade or pharmaceutical grade GMP product, which stands for Good Manufacturing Practices.
To cut right to the chase, pharmaceutical grade GMP are far superior to their food grade counterparts. The GMP production process goes way beyond the food grade production. For starters, the product ingredients are tested for contaminants and then quarantined before entering the facility and you can be certain that it contains exactly what the label says it does.
Good Manufacturing Practices ensure that proper procedure was followed from the moment the raw material was purchased to the time it was placed in the bottle and sold on the open market. Every part of the manufacturing process is also traceable as lot numbers, equipment numbers, and dates of production are all accurately recorded.
The process and ingredients found in food grade supplements are a lot more questionable and there is a chance that companies that develop these kinds of products don’t follow good manufacturing practices.
You could be consuming compounds that are impure or are not listed on the label, they may not be bioavailable to the body, what’s on the label may not be inside the bottle.
Other ingredients like fillers or binders can also be found in food grade nutritional supplements. Food grade supplements are also tested on a very limited basis due to the fact that these supplements are made for mass production.
Ultimately, this means your health is more at risk when consuming food grade supplements.
It’s important to understand the difference between these two grades, and find a brand that consistently delivers pharmaceutical grade products so you know you’re getting the quality and purity your body needs.
Science Based Research
While many companies may claim they research the ingredients they put into their products very few actually do. Instead, they replace the effort doing the research with shiny labels and vague claims that don’t exactly lie but also don’t give you the entire story of what their product does.
If you’re looking for a company that goes the distance with the effort placed on researching ingredients, look closely at the manufacturing of supplements by a company called USANA Health Sciences. It is truly the benchmark for what research and development should be for the entire supplement industry.
USANA Products manufacture their supplements to the Pharmaceutical Grade GMP’s and have been rated as the No.1 Nutritional Supplement on the market today according to the independent researching of BioChemist and Author Dr Lyle McWilliam
Lyle MacWilliam has a comprehensive guide called NutriSearch Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements which examines the latest nutritional research on the health benefits of supplementation for reducing the chances of developing degenerative disease.
The guide discusses all the pros and cons of each product in the North American market the process of selecting an ingredient for a product should not be akin to throwing a dart at a dartboard and hoping you get lucky with results. Especially when many supplements contain more than one active ingredient in them as a way to maximize potential benefits. Think about the ramifications of a poorly researched collection of compounds put together in one supplement.
What that product contains ingredients that have not been sufficiently analyzed, whether it be separately or how they work in conjunction with one another. The effects of the different compounds good counteract one another, making the product less effective, or possibly even dangerous to consume. Would you be willing to risk taking a supplement like that?
Every single ingredient should be thoroughly researched for its short and long term effects, and scientific studies should also be looked at as a way to back up any claims made by the company.
Another important yet rare feature that very few companies have in their repertoire is a US patent for a formula or set of ingredients they have discovered. Obtaining a patent is a painstaking process that involves years of consistent hard work and research. But once it is awarded, it serves as proof that the company has put the time and effort to erase all doubt and produce the highest quality of supplements on the market.
The Importance of Quality of Manufacturing and Raw Materials
This point ties in closely with pharmaceutical grade products and good manufacturing practices. But apart from being GMP approved, a supplement company should provide quality assurance and testing to demonstrate that the product they are selling is legitimate and safe for consumption.
Experience is also a big factor. That is not to say that a new company cannot be reputable, but a company with several years under its belt is usually an indication that their business practices have been above board and the company produces high-quality supplements.
On the subject of raw ingredients, it is of the utmost importance that they are pure and obtained from reputable sources. These are at the heart of any natural health supplement, and companies that cut corners or have a limited purchasing budget could be sourcing these ingredients from illegitimate suppliers.
All-natural ingredients should be derived from organic products in order to ensure the highest nutritional value and lowest possible contamination due to impurities, chemicals, and pesticides. Reputable supplement companies should make it clear where they obtain the ingredients for their products so you know that what you’re consuming is top quality.
Take Your Time and Choose Wisely
When choosing a supplement to take, don’t let shiny labels or bold claims fool you. Take a few moments to look closely at the products to ensure they are pharmaceutical grade, have plenty of research backing their ingredients, and it never hurts to double-check to see if their ingredients or process is patented. These few extra minutes you’re spending could add years to your life.