The topic of supplements has long been controversial, with some health care professionals claiming that people who eat a well-balanced diet need no additional vitamins or minerals. Others, in contrast, are enthusiastic about the healing power of some particular nutrient added to the diet. For most people, a multivitamin may provide a bit of nutritional insurance. Some individuals need supplements because they are taking drugs that deplete the body of nutrients. But how do you find a good supplement?
Choosing a Good Supplement:
Q. With the wide variety and brands of supplements available and, as far as I am aware, no FDA regulations, how does one choose a quality product? I need to take vitamin D, calcium and magnesium.
Sometimes when I think I have chosen a good product labeled “all natural” and I read the label, I find other added ingredients (such as mannitol and sorbitol) that I am not supposed to consume for my gut health. Where can I turn for advice?
A. There is no substitute for reading labels when you need to avoid certain ingredients such as mannitol, sorbitol or other so-called sugar alcohols. But it is very difficult to tell which supplements meet quality standards. You won’t find that on the label.
ConsumerLab.com is a good resource even though there is an annual subscription fee for its reports. It recently reviewed multivitamins and found that 46 percent fell short. Gummy multivitamins were especially problematic. This information can be crucial for finding a good supplement.
Do You Need a Supplement?
One of our favorite sources for determining which vitamins and minerals might be needed, above and beyond a diet rich in veggies and fruit, is Dr. Tieraona Low Dog’s book, Fortify Your Life. In it, you’ll find an explanation of the main vitamins and minerals along with details on which medications may be leading to nutritional inadequacy.