It’s easy to walk into a local store and reach for a multivitamin or supplement. We take these pills for a variety of reasons: to aid digestion, sleep, and weight loss. The problem is you’re likely wasting your money or, worse, putting your health in danger. At One Life Health & Performance in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, we recommend swapping OTC supplements for something safer and more effective.
Reasons for Swapping OTC Supplements
The FDA lacks the authority to review supplements or vitamins to ensure they’re safe. Instead, it is the responsibility of those behind the labels to deliver products that deliver results. The problem is that many times, OTC supplements are mass-produced and lack the beneficial ingredients they reportedly contain. Instead, they are comprised of fillers that are both cheap and dangerous.
Fillers, which rarely get listed on ingredient lists, are unnecessary and provide no nutritional value. Even worse, a person doesn’t know how these ingredients will react until they’ve ingested them. Magnesium silicate, for example, can cause allergies and organ toxicity. Hydrogenated oil is related to cardiovascular problems. Coloring, such as Blue 2, can also prompt allergic reactions.
Even when a supplement contains the beneficial ingredients it lists, if the dose is incorrect, you can still be in danger. Excessive iron, for instance, is associated with nausea and vomiting. High doses of vitamin A are linked to headaches, bone pain, and skin disorders.
Why does this happen? The truth is that most OTC manufacturers don’t hold their products to any nutritional standards. They know their supplements aren’t tested by the FDA for safety and opt for the easiest way to generate profits. By the time a known problem is reported to the FDA – by a consumer, that is – the product has already hit shelves and entered homes. Meaning it’s too late.
While the ingredients of an OTC vitamin can be dangerous enough, misleading label information can lull consumers into a false sense of comfort. Ingredients listed as natural are presumed to be safe. Similarly, claims of efficacy are taken as true.
But a consumer who takes store-bought diet pills as a way to lose weight, rather than engage in a healthy diet and exercise, does even further harm to his or her body. Rather than engaging in healthful practices, he or she continues old habits and hopes the supplements will work as promised. This is actually destructive behavior, but often it’s fueled by the misleading promises and information on labels.
When you take a supplement without the advice or recommendation of your doctor, you really don’t know what you’re putting into your body. We already know that despite expectations, OTC products are under no real obligation to promote health or deliver results.
What we do know is that some ingredients can react negatively within the body. Combining supplements, for instance, without medical oversite can have damaging, if not fatal, consequences. Fish oil and Ginko Biloba should never be taken together because both thin the blood. The combination can therefore lead to uncontrollable bleeding.
It’s also tempting to eschew prescription medicines and opt for OTC supplements instead. This happens not because we think we know more than doctors, but because we want so badly to be healthy. This can be especially true of patients who have endured lengthy problems with issues like hormonal imbalances, chronic fatigue, and even acne.
The lure is in the words that most OTC products use. Anything that claims to be all-natural is immediately believed to be safe. While nature can offer a host of benefits we’ll get into later, here’s a word of caution: asbestos and cyanide are also found in nature. With that in mind, you should know it can be dangerous to combine supplements with prescription medicines – again – without medical supervision.
Underlying Health Conditions
Swapping OTC supplements is important for everyone, but those with underlying health conditions are especially encouraged to do so. The FDA rarely learns of the undeclared drugs and toxic ingredients in most supplements. These products continue to be sold as-is but remain largely a mystery.
This means people already living with a pre-existing illness who choose to take an OTC vitamin may be putting their health in grave danger. We can’t know how a product will interact with the body’s biological responses if we don’t know what it contains.
The Worst Offenders
Among the most frequently purchased OTC products, and the most dangerous, are weight loss supplements. They promise a svelte body, but they contain hidden ingredients that can be toxic and/or fatal. Some of these ingredients are even illegal in the United States.
One particular danger with weight loss products is the drug sibutramine. While it doesn’t do much to promote weight loss, it is associated with an increased risk of stroke or heart attack. It’s the same with many ingredients, including prescription drugs that manufacturers sneak into weight loss supplements. They produce few results but harm people in such ways as causing dehydration and promoting cancer.
Equally popular are OTC supplements that promise to improve sexual enhancement. It’s important to note that most of these products have not been studied, so there’s little information available as to their efficacy.
In addition, these supplements have shown to contain hidden drugs in small amounts. They also routinely have dangerous impurities within them. The risks are real: taking these supplements without a doctor’s supervision can have life-threatening consequences.
Watch Your Money
The supplement industry rakes in around $35 billion each year. With such a huge marketplace, it’s hard to know just how many products are actually available. Understanding the quality associated with each of these unregulated products is equally difficult. That takes us to the important question: how can you stop wasting your money on what doesn’t work and instead purchase something effective?
The answer is with professional-grade supplements. These contain only the highest-quality ingredients to:
- Promote absorption
- Provide critical nutrients
- Enhance health and well-being
To describe professional-grade supplements, we’ll tell you they’re not available in local stores. This is inherently beneficial because you can coordinate your medical care with only those supplements your doctor recommends. You’ll be at a significantly lower risk for complications from mixing supplements and prescription medicines when your doctor is involved from start to finish.
One of the hallmarks of professional-grade supplements is high testing standards. These go well beyond the subpar tests implemented by OTC companies to ensure safety and efficacy. With this in mind, we recommend swapping OTC supplements for Metagenics, a brand backed by science and TruQuality tested.
Metagenics implemented its TruQuality program to provide complete transparency in its testing. Transparency is a buzzword, used by many but followed-thru by few. What this means for you is that any product Metagenics sells can be found on its website; from there, you can access complete testing data on that product for the last two years. This allows you to validly measure its quality against industry standards.
The data we’re talking about is not fed to the website by a third-party vendor. Nor is it intercepted by marketing officials or board executives. Instead, it comes directly from the quality control laboratory located in-house at Metagenics.
In addition, products aren’t put through just one test and then prepared for sale. They are put through many tests – upwards of a dozen – to ensure safety. The lab also analyzes every raw ingredient to ensure the absence of toxins like pesticides and heavy metals. Each batch is also tested, not just those selected randomly, to provide consistency with every product.
While testing is critical, it’s not the only aspect of a high-quality supplement. Ingredient sourcing is just as important. This means taking responsibility for:
- Quality assurance
- Specialty ingredients
- Pesticide testing
These steps are fundamental not only to consumers – whose lives may depend upon safely sourced ingredients – but also to the manufacturer’s reputation. Metagenics ensures quality by looking first at a supplier’s Certificate of Analysis. Those results are then compared to their own testing, which is performed, again, on every individual raw ingredient.
We’ve already talked about the many problems associated with supplement labels. The common process for OTC products is to collect ingredients, create a label, manufacture the product, and then conduct testing. This means the label is made before the product is even manufactured.
Metagenics starts their labeling process by auditing each supplier. After they’ve collected all ingredients, they create the product. Each product is then put through rigorous testing, and the label is made after testing to accurately reflect those results.
Any vitamins or minerals contained in OTC supplements are usually in trace and/or diluted amounts. Companies like Metagenics, on the other hand, skip the fillers and instead manufacture products that provide real benefits based on their ingredients.
In today’s world, many people need vitamin supplements because they don’t get the nutrients they need from diet alone. Quick and easy convenience foods, such as those from a restaurant or cooked from a frozen state, offer little nutritional value. For this reason, vitamins have a place in society, but if they’re not effective, they serve no purpose.
When discussing how a vitamin is absorbed by the body, we have to look at bioavailability. This refers to how much of an oral supplement enters the body’s circulatory system.
OTC supplements often contain a lot of ingredients, most of which are fillers, and tend to be packed very tightly. For these reasons, the body struggles to digest, and therefore absorb, any nutrients these supplements might offer. Professional-grade supplements, on the other hand, are designed with absorption in mind.
What to Focus On
When it comes to vitamins, and the endless choices available, it helps to know what to focus on. We recommend you pay particular attention to your intake of:
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin D
If you have a particular condition you want to manage, such as irritable bowel syndrome, additional supplements like probiotics may also be helpful. We can discuss with you in further detail those supplements that can provide the most benefit to your body, based on individual needs.
Make the Trade
Swapping OTC supplements for those that are professional-grade is like upgrading your entire health regimen. It’s important to understand the contents of a bottle cannot improve every aspect of your health, but this is where traditional medicine and natural alternatives can work together. Hence, the reason it’s so crucial to follow medical advice when choosing your supplements.
Our staff perfectly understand your desire to enhance your health. This is why we recommend Metagenics for your supplement needs. They are proven safe and effective by repeated and rigorous tests. Call One Life Health & Performance in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, today to speak with one of our friendly team members and learn more.