Have you ever wondered if supplements work?
Curious about all the quick-fix supplements on the end caps at the grocery store to fix all your ailments? In fact, it’s estimated that 77% of American adults use supplements. The question is do they work?
In many cases, the answer is NO.
We all know we need essential nutrients for our bodies to function properly. We can get some of it from our food, but it’s no secret that food is becoming increasingly less nutritious. It seems so backward that the food that tastes good and we enjoy eating is so full of sugar and junk, while the “healthy food” often tastes so bad. How many times have we had to convince our kids (or maybe even ourselves) to eat our broccoli before we can have a dessert?
But not only is the average diet deteriorating while it becomes more and more processed, even the food itself isn’t what it once was:
- Apples – Vitamin A is down 41%
- Broccoli – Calcium and Vitamin A is down 50%
- Cauliflower – Vitamin C down 45%, Vitamin B1 down 48%, Vitamin B2 down 47%
- Collard Greens – Vitamin A down 45%, Potassium down 60%, Magnesium down 85%
- Sweet Peppers – Vitamin C is down 31%
- Watercress – Iron is down 41%
Try as we might to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, oftentimes we still need a little extra help to get all our necessary nutrients.
It’s easy to run down to the local grocery store and pick up a bottle with the fanciest label, but it’s what’s inside the capsules that really makes all the difference. Not all supplements are created equally. Whether it’s GNC, Walgreens, Amazon, or a high quality supplement company...many people think that any supplement—Vitamin C, D, B12 or a multivitamin—are of the same quality, no matter the source, the store, or the bottle. Unfortunately, this is not true.
Just because the bottle and label are appealing, doesn’t mean the supplements inside are up to par.
Turns out, over 90% of supplements on the market today are synthetic, meaning they are in a form that our bodies can’t even use!
Methylation and Bioavailability
Two of the most vital words when it comes to nutrition are “methylation” and “bioavailability.” These relate to how our bodies utilize ingredients effectively and if they are in a form that our body can absorb.
Methylation is the process that our body uses to create energy in our cells. (And this happens 200,000,000 times per minute in your body!) It’s the process of taking the nutrition of the supplement and breaking it down into what our body needs.
Bioavailability is the ability for the actual broken-down vitamins to be absorbed into your body. For good nutrition, you want the supplements/vitamins to be bioavailable so they can be easily used in the body.
Unfortunately, most cheaper/low quality supplements do NOT provide bioavailable ingredients. That means they can’t even be used (or methylated) in the body!
So why are synthetic supplements even still around if they don’t actually work?
Synthetic supplements are so prevalent because the ingredients are inexpensive to produce, are easy to access, and most everyday people don’t even realize what’s in the supplements they’re taking. Ingredient labels often feel like they’re written in a foreign language, so most people don’t take the time to research, to discover what they’re actually putting into their bodies.
People often think, “Supplements are supplements! The manufacturers wouldn’t give me something harmful...so if they say this particular supplement is good for me, I’m sure it’s great!” And they don’t give the "actual" ingredients a second thought.
But maybe we should. Because oftentimes, the cheap brands we can find at any ol’ grocery store are actually full of fillers and non-bioavailable ingredients that end up causing havoc in our systems.
These fillers and harmful ingredients might be causing more harm than what the intended supplemental ingredient is trying to accomplish
The body must work overtime to convert the synthetic material into a form that it can use. This wastes energy and resources, and if it’s ultimately not able to convert it, the synthetic material gets stuck, floats around or clogs our systems. We become incapable of flushing it out, and eventually, problems start to arise. Supplements with synthetic ingredients leave our bodies with less energy and resources than it started with—no wonder people don’t think supplements work!
For example, with B12, if it is a synthetic version (which most are) and the methylation process is not done well, you could end up with toxins in your system. 25-40% of the population actually have difficulty methylating. If a person methylates appropriately, they may be okay.
But for that 25-40%, if you get a synthetic product, you likely will not be able to methylate correctly and that can create excess toxins (which can be harmful for the body). When B12 is in the methylation process, it breaks down into a few different components that can be used differently in the body. Cyanocobalamin is an element of the most common B12 that breaks down into cobalamin and cyanide.
After that happens, you now have cyanide in your body. If you don't finish the methylation process well, the cyanide sits there. And some people can get ill from this. On the other hand, if you have natural/quality ingredients, it can be broken down properly and the cyanide won’t be deposited.
This is why it’s so important to only take supplements with biologically active ingredients.
Why are ingredient labels so confusing?
It almost feels like you have to have a biochemistry degree to be able to interpret ingredient lists. This makes understanding labels incredibly tricky.
Synthetic ingredients are usually listed as their generic names while natural ingredients are usually listed proud, in their full, detailed names. Clever marketing can bury their synthetic ingredients in these confusing words, listing only the generic names of ingredients. And when it comes to two similar products, they will count on people opting for the cheaper option instead of working to decipher the ingredients.
Here’s a list of common synthetic versions on the left. And a list of high-quality versions on the right (and what we use in all of our supplements). Note the cost difference of synthetic versus certified natural.
And to go even deeper, some companies may put a “longer form name” to make it seem more impressive. Just because they write a detailed scientific name doesn’t mean it’s natural or good.
This is where you need to know the exact type of beneficial ingredient. If they do say what the specific ingredient is, you have to look to see if it’s the synthetic form or not.
Take a look at a more detailed label like Dr. Tennant’s® Restore below:
All that to say...
Choosing a natural supplement that is bioavailable (easy for the body to use) and methylated (easy for the body to break down) are often the best choices for supplements. In the event that you can’t understand the ingredients listed on the label, research it or ask.
- Supplements are necessary to help make up for the lost nutritional value in our food today. The challenge is they must be in the correct form to work.
- Supplements are beneficial but only if they are actually good supplements and your body can use them effectively.
- Ingredients and the form of the ingredient matter.
- Any and all of Dr. Tennant’s® products contain only the best ingredients, so you know exactly what you’re putting into your body and can trust the quality.
If you choose to pick something off the shelf and your body can’t process it, you might as well save the twelve bucks and go to Starbucks, at least you’ll have more fun!
In the end, your health matters.
It’s your body. It’s your life. Ingredients matter.
Featured Products in This Article:
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A delicious source of almost every nutrient needed daily!
Dr. Tennant’s® Cellular Nutrition Program is designed for optimal health and healing as it provides your body the vitamins and minerals necessary to make new healthy cells and supports digestion as well as your immune and cardiovascular health.