What’s in Your Vitamins?

You may have heard the idioms, “You get what you pay for” or “Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.” Why do some people live by these words in certain areas but ignore their wisdom in others?

Don’t get me wrong – I love a bargain. If I’m buying a specific brand of canned beans and they are $0.50 cheaper in one store than another, I’ll likely buy the one priced cheaper. Or if I see a sale on a shirt that I was looking at in another store – I’ll grab it, maybe in two colors! But there are some areas where I won’t compromise and cannot understand those that do. Especially when it comes to our most precious asset – our health.

I never heard someone say, “I’m having major surgery so I’m looking for the cheapest doctor I can find.” Or heard someone ask, “We’re having a baby, do you know where I can buy a really cheap car seat?” OK – I know…ridiculous right? Of course, no one would compromise in these situations. People will go to great lengths to learn the quality of that person or product.  We read reviews, talk to friends or other professionals, we might even look to see where a doctor went to school or if a product had a recall -we check credentials.  Last year we took my mother to 3 different doctors before we decided on the right one for her care.  And not once did we consider– well, Dr. X has great credentials, Dr. Y is the leader in this field, but Dr. Z is cheaper – so let’s go with her. That would be ludicrous…yes? No one would ever sacrifice their health or the health of a loved one for a few extra dollars…or would they?

The sad truth is that it happens all the time. People are told by their doctors or other health professionals that they need more Vitamin D3, Omega-3’s, Zinc, Vitamin B12 or Iron etc. to improve their health, or possibly address a nutritional deficiency that can lead to serious health issues. But rather than research the highest quality products; check the source of the vitamins, find out if they are synthetic or natural, ensure they are certified to contain what the label says or even check for recalls on products – people often choose the cheapest possible products they can find. They grab the cheapest product off the shelf. Or proudly choose the extra, super-sized bottle of whatever letter vitamin they were told and boast, “Wow, $15 for 70,000 tablets – what a deal!” Why would someone now sacrifice their health for a few dollars?

Who’s looking out for the consumer?

The dietary supplement industry is highly unregulated.  According to the Food & Drug Administration’s website, “Manufacturers and distributors do not need FDA approval to sell their dietary supplements. This means that FDA does not keep a list of manufacturers, distributors or the dietary supplement products they sell1. Dietary supplements are actually regulated by the FDA as “food2,” therefore “FDA is not authorized to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed. The manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements are responsible for making sure their products are safe BEFORE they go to market.”

The FDA will inspect manufacturing plants on occasion to make sure there are no major infractions or presence of potentially dangerous pathogens that could harm the consumer, but how often does the FDA actually do this? According to Lachman Consultants, “The definition of “food” includes dietary supplements. As a result…FDA is required to inspect facilities identified as “high risk” once every three years; and, those identified as “low risk” once every seven years.” These facts should certainly be enough of an impetus to compel people to do their research. And to certainly NOT sacrifice their health for a few bucks by grabbing any bottle off the shelf.

Take control!

So how do you know what products are the best?  It’s not all about price, there are several factors that can help you determine quality. [Spoiler alert…low quality vitamins don’t work]

But first, do we REALLY need to take vitamins and supplements? The answer is, in a perfect world, with a perfect diet…no. Ideally, we would get all of the nutrients we need from the food we eat, and maybe you do [in which case you may as well stop reading*]. But the average American does NOT get the right amount of nutrition from food sources, and many are even deficient in key nutrients. Here are some examples:

  • Many people are aware of the tremendous health benefits of Omega 3 EFA’s. However, a 2019 study that analyzed data from 45,347 Americans found that omega-3 intake was lower than the recommended amounts in all age groups. This demonstrates that omega-3 insufficiency is common in the United States.4
  • One of the most researched [and likely most beneficial] vitamins is Vitamin D. But Two-thirds of Americans are getting enough vitamin D, according to a new analysis by researchers from the National Center for Health Statistics. Vitamin D is often called the “sunshine vitamin” because our bodies make it when exposed to sunlight.5
  • About 75% of the US population (ages ≥1 year) do not consume the recommended intake of fruit, and more than 80% do not consume the recommended intake of vegetables6

If you are still reading, it is likely you fall somewhere within the majority of Americans who are not able to get all of the nutrition they need from the foods they eat. So it is important to supplement your diet with high quality vitamins and dietary supplements. You don’t need large quantities of these micronutrients, just trace amounts that can be found in supplement form. Now, let’s learn how to look for vitamins and supplements that are actually worth buying and using.

What’s in YOUR vitamins?

A note here: High-quality vitamins and supplements aren’t necessarily the most expensive, so don’t let price alone dictate what you will purchase.

OK – on to quality, here’s what to look for in your products:

  1. What is the company’s history?
    • Now this is a little tricky as new products come out all the time and they may be great – we just don’t know yet.
    • Look for a company that has stood the test of time. This is not a new industry, but many companies have come and gone, likely due to quality issues, so look for longevity.
    • Also look to see how many, if any, recalls have been initiated on their products. While the FDA doesn’t regulate whether a supplement comes to market they can and will shut down a company for health risks or initiate a recall on products that may be harmful. Recall information can be found on the FDA website.
  2. From where is this product sourced?
    • Whole food supplements have tremendous benefit, even above synthetic, when they come from quality sources. Look for products that come from certified organic farms and are harvested when the nutrient quality is at the highest. A great company will have some traceability available on their website -find it.
  3. How long between harvest time and encapsulation [or production] is the process of seed-to-supplement?
    • University of California studies show that vegetables can lose 15 to 55 percent of vitamin C, for instance, within a week. Some spinach can lose 90 percent within the first 24 hours after harvest.7
    • *If my I’m getting everything I need from my food friends are still here, you may want to know that fruits and vegetables grown in the southern hemisphere for winter and spring consumption in the U.S. can sit in refrigerated ships for several weeks. Hmm…maybe keep reading…
    • Bottom line here – find products that are harvested and manufactured in the shortest period – within 24 hours is ideal. Again, check the company’s website for details.
  4. Has this product been certified by a third party?
    • Look for verification that the product you are purchasing has been tested and reviewed for ingredients, by a third party. You want to know that what is on the label is what is in the bottle. This can only be certified by someone who does not have financial stake in the selling of the product. Common third-party certifications will have a label reading NSF or USP.
  5. What if I just don’t like it or I don’t think it’s working?
    • If you’ve taken a product, as directed for a month with no results [measured in either how you feel or a blood test if applicable] you should be able to get refunded.
    • Look for products with a satisfaction guarantee – a real one. You should be able to finish the bottle and still return it for a full refund if you are not satisfied.
    • Quality vitamins and supplements will do what they should, if taken properly. If they’re high quality, a company would offer a 100% satisfaction money back guarantee for a reasonable amount of time. A 30-day time frame may not be enough for you to give it a fair shot, so look for a longer time to return [like 60 or 90 days]. If a product offers a longer return period than that – grab it, you have nothing to lose and obviously that company is confident in its quality – your search is over.
  6. Isn’t the bargain product I’m taking better than nothing?
    • No. It is not better – you are wasting money.

Here are some fun tests to check the quality of the products you already have:

  • Place the tablet in water and let it dissolve naturally [ok to stir a bit]
    • Observe if it dissolves [many do not!]
    • Look at the color – whole food supplements should be vibrant in color.
  • Already taking Omega-3 EFA’s? Place the gel tab in the freezer.
    •  Observe it after 24 hours. Is it frozen?  It shouldn’t be – pure fish oil won’t freeze.  If it’s crystalized or frozen the quality may be poor.
      • Just a note here: cloudy does NOT mean poor quality.
  • Taking an antioxidant complex?
    • Dissolve it and rub the liquid on half of a cut apple.
      • Antioxidants should keep that half of the apple clear while the other half will quickly oxidize [turn brown]

What’s next?

Once you’ve answered those questions and found high-quality products, it’s time to USE them. Yes, using them is vitally important.  If you are going to read through all this, do your research and find great products – they will only work if you TAKE them! I cannot count how many times I have asked someone how it’s going, taking a vitamin or product I’ve recommended, and they say, “Oh, I don’t know, I forget to take it every day.” Shocking that they don’t notice a difference. Please take the product as directed for at least 2 weeks and then, if you REALLY want to test it, stop taking it for a few days and observe how you feel…you might be surprised.

So, what is YOUR health worth? As billionaire, Warren Buffet says, “You only get one mind and one body. And it’s got to last a lifetime8.“ I hope this helped and you now have the right motivation and the right information to make a smart purchase and a good decision for your health – it’s time to make it happen.  Happy shopping!

Best wishes for your good health!

If you have any questions about supplements feel free to reach out https://acculaserusa.com/contact-us/




4 Thompsonet al Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake by Age, Gender, and Pregnancy Status in the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003–2014 Nutrients. 2019 Jan; 11(1): 177. Published online 2019 Jan 15. doi: 10.3390/nu11010177

5 https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/news/20110330/most-americans-get-enough-vitamin-d

6 https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrient-inadequacies/overview

7Nutritional comparison of fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables II. Vitamin A and carotenoids, vitamin E, minerals and fiber Joy C Rickman, Christine M Bruhn and Diane M Barrett Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA

8 https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/warren-buffett-says-when-it-comes-to-your-future-success-dont-neglect-these-2-things-or-youll-be-a-wreck.html