Vitamin deficiencies are very common even with people who seem to be the healthiest. The moment we experience deficiencies, the best remedy that we can think about is to pop vitamin supplements. However, it’s been an undying battle if these supplements really help our body or not.
Some manufacturers lie about their list of ingredients to trick consumers. They either hide potentially harmful chemicals and camouflage them into something that’s vague to confuse you. Worst case scenario, they don’t even list these toxic ingredients.
Let’s take into consideration what is inside some of these vitamin supplements.
While supplements aren’t necessarily bad, nutritionists would recommend getting the nutrients that you lack from actual food. From the word itself, dye, we already know how vitamins come in a wide range of colors. While it’s aesthetically appealing to be ingesting an ocean blue colored pill or a very bright pink one, it doesn’t really offer any benefit to your body. It can even cause allergies and behavior problems. You might be thinking, “Then, what’s the purpose of the dye?” The main purpose of dyes is if a certain medication is exposed to extreme light, temperature, moisture or any other conditions, it can be an indication that certain ingredients in the supplement can be rendered useless or more useful. Basically, it is useful to an extent but it doesn’t mean that it’s useful to your body. While some dyes can be safer than the other, it might be better to just avoid it all in all.
Here are dangerous dyes according to the Americal College of Healthcare Sciences in Portland: FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Blue No. 2, FD&C Green No. 3, FD&C Red No. 3, FD&C Red No. 40, FD&C Yellow No. 5, and FD&C Yellow No. 6.
Fillers in vitamin supplements usually serve a purpose. Whether it’s to give a certain color to the pill, as a preservative, or as an anti-caking agent to prevent lumps. If you think about it, it sounds useful and harmless. But here are some of the fillers that you might find in your supplements that are considered carcinogens. The first one is magnesium stearate which is used to lubricate machines (Yes, machines! Can you imagine?!), silicon dioxide which is also used as a machine lubricant and a capsule filler, and titanium dioxide which is used to create that milky white color in a lot of pills. Another filler is a preservative called sodium benzoate. It is mostly found in sodas and processed food but is still considered a carcinogen and is toxic to the body if ingested in unhealthy amounts.
Did you know that the same artery-clogging hydrogenated fats and oils– or what we usually call as trans fats are also used as vitamin fillers? The safest way to avoid these fillers is by simply reading the label. If you can’t decipher certain ingredients, just look them up online.
Mercury & Lead!
I bet you know a friend or two who are taking Omega-3 to improve their health. Fish can have dangerous levels of mercury, lead and other contaminants that weren’t eliminated in the process of making the fish oil supplements. Also, don’t let the lie of “organic” label stamped on the bottle fool you. We all know how we put so much faith in anything that’s labeled “all-natural” and “organic”.
3rd Party Testing to the Rescue!
ConsumerLab has tested nearly 6,000 supplements since 1999 and found that about 20% of the supplements that they test are not properly made — containing too little or too much of a listed ingredient, are contaminated (such as with lead, cadmium, or arsenic), or are pills that will not properly break apart to release all of their ingredients.
The frequency of problems varies and depends on the type of supplement, with multivitamins and herbal supplements having the most problems, while simple, single-ingredient supplements are least likely to be problematic. Gummies also tend to have more issues than pills and capsules.
In addition, even products that contain what they claim may be inappropriate to use, having been designed to provide too little or too much of an ingredient. And, of course, many supplements won’t do you any good simply because they may not be effective the condition for which they are being used.
I recommend that you sign up for the ConsumerLab newsletter and subscribe (it’s well worth it, and will save you from taking potentially harmful supplements, and help you get the most potent bang-for-your-buck) so you can learn about which supplements will help versus hurt you.
Are Supplements a Cure-All??
You have to realize that supplements cannot replace all the nutrients that can be found in natural food. Nothing beats a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle. No vitamin supplement can ever give you that regardless of the brand or how expensive it is. I think that some supplements can definitely be helpful, and there could be instances wherein these supplements are the only choice available for individuals in order to improve their health.
Realistically speaking, a green and leafy vegetable salad can’t simply be replaced by a few supplements. Actual food can have more than just one nutrient in it that can really improve your overall health, and those work in synergy to help your body get and stay healthy.