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Another one that deserves double coverage! Sometime supplements can do more harm than good. The old adage “you get what you pay for” definitely applies here.

Since the topic has come up, I'd like to address this more fully. Recently MaryClark posted about rushing her son to ER after he took a supplement he purchased at GNC. There are so many energy drinks on the market, and many people think that they are a better option than sodas. NOT!
Buyer beware – avoid those energy drinks like the plague, especially if you take any type of medications. Several summers ago my brother treated my dad to a Monster drink. Shortly after he complained of pains, shortness of breath, and arythmia. He came very close to a trip to ER himself. I started asking him questions, put 2 and 2 together, and had him flush with water. His symptoms started dying down, and disappeared within an hour or so. Those things are laden with caffiene, and herbs that don't mix well with medications. They also have mega doses of B vitamins. Mega amounts of most anything can be dangerous.
If you are taking a synthetic multi-vitamin supplement, you'd be better off not taking one at all. Your body sees the ingredients as foreign and tries to filter it out. People who have kidney stones are often told they are calcium based. The calcium in many vitamins is akin to concrete. Truly! When a vitamin says it is 'whole food' look more closely. Often the vitamin portion is a high percentage from food, but the minerals are derived from rocks. Chelated simple means smaller rocks. Tiny rocks, but rocks nonetheless. There are only a handful of 10 food derived multi-vitamins on the market. The technology to extract minerals from plants has just begun to develop. The problem in the past has been not extraction, but to be able to extract enough to be cost effective. Mannatech developed a patented hydropic process where they grow plants in mineral rich water so that the plants absorb far more minerals which in turn makes it an affordable process. I have only seen one or two others on the market that claim to be 100 whole food. They are far more expensive than Phyto-Matrix. One thing you will notice with a whole food vitamin is the amounts are lower. This is because they are 100 bioavailable. A good example is vitamin C. it takes 1000mg of man-made vitamin C to equal the absorbability of 1mg of natural, food derived vitamin C.
I encourage people to eat healthy, but because of modern farming practices and green harvesting even our ‘healthy’ foods have less nutrition that what our grandparents ate. Think about how tasteless fruits have become. I won’t even buy apples anymore unless they are locally grown. They pick‘em green before the flavor and nutrition develop, and ship them across the country. So, unless you are eating wheelbarrows full of fresh fruits and veggies, it really behooves you to take a good quality food based vitamin. The FDA’s answer is for the most obese nation in the world to double their intake of fruits and vegetables to get the missing nutrition. ?? Less than 5 of Americans eat the lower recommended amount of 5-8 servings. What makes them think people will eat 9-12? And what do they think that will do to our fat problem since most people count french fries and ketchup as vegetables?
What else should you look for?
I have my preferences as to what you need for Core Nutrition for Optimal Health, but mainly I want to cover the basics. Some people take herbs for this or that. Many people are on the anti-oxidant, anti-aging band wagon. Let's face it, we don't want to get old! Another popular supplement is Omega Fats.
So what do you look for generally?
First, you want it to say GMP (good manufactoring practices – which means they have quality control and safety testing in place.) Sometimes it might be represented as pharmaceutical grade.
You want the label to say that it is standardized (meaning ever serving has the same amount of the active ingredients.) In independent tests, you wouldn't believe how many green tea products had NO anti-oxidant value. If it says it has 500mg of xxx and it is standardized then every serving has that much. In an unregulated industry, there are many companies that don't do that. One pill will have 500mg, another 10mg, and another might have 1000mg. So standardized is important!
Stabalized means it has been tested to maintain its efficacy at least until the expiration date. It means the company does extensive testing in different environments to ensure this.
With anti-oxidants, the higher the ORAC value, the better it is. You won't always find the ORAC value on the label, but it should be available in a product description or some literature on the product. It has been over 4 years since Mannatech introduced AO, but at that time, their product had the highest ORAC value of over 90 other anti-oxidants that were independently tested. I think there are one or two out there that are competitors now, but at that time 5000 was a number to be proud of. The average in that group was closer to 1000.
With your Omegas you need to be really careful if they are fish based. It should clearly be labeled that it has been molecularly distilled to remove the heavy metals. I know of two companies that purify using this process, but I am sure there are others. At our house we grind our own flax. If you by flax oil, it should be refrigerated. Whole seeds are not digestable, and fresh ground seed is the best. If they aren’t freshly ground, they will lose their nutritional value almost completely within 72 hours. You can also use coconut oil and nuts as a source of omega fats. Some fats are actually good for you.  

Okay, I think I have covered the basics...
Oh, I just remembered one more thing. I am not a fan of liquid supplements simply because they begin to oxidize as soon as you open them. Think of it like what happens to an apple when you peel it. Not only does it lose its appeal, but it loses nutritional value. There are lots of great juices out there, but they will decline in their efficacy the longer the bottle is unused. Dark colored glass and refrigeration help slow that process, but it still occurs.  

Supplementation is something we should all do for our health, whether we are trying to lose weight or not. Often times people with various health challenges will see them resolve just by addressing specific nutritional needs. I have studied herbs as well as nutrition. My mom's digestive issues resolved themselves pretty quickly when she cleansed her colon. There are all sorts of cleanses out there. And with our modern diets it isn't a bad idea to do one at least once per year. Another thing that helps the digestive tract is enzymes. When Mannatech introduced its enzyme product I didn't pay it much attention. Then I saw an experiment conducted. [Link Removed] video isn't with Mannatech's enzyme, but the process was the same. The oatmeal with the Gi-Zyme in it changed to soup! Especially if you eat wheat and use dairy products, enzymes are very beneficial to health.


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