It’s easy to want to live healthy on a budget. Sometimes you’re in the grocery store, and you see a supplement that promises to be just as good as any other for a low price, so you grab it. It’s a vitamin…it can’t be that bad right?
Actually, there are many great reasons to avoid cheap or supermarket vitamins and supplements, and just as many great reasons to take the time to seek out better options. Unfortunately, much like our food, our supplements are subject to additives and preservatives that could cause more harm than good, and so supplement brands and the quality we select DOES matter. We might think that we’re doing our budget a favor when we reach for discounted vitamins at big box stores, but in reality, we could be causing our bodies more damage, and this is not the goal. By being aware of what makes a high-quality supplement, we can make good choices and feel whole and healthy again.
The Major Reasons to Avoid Cheap Vitamins
Let’s take a look at some of the major reasons you should avoid buying cheap vitamins and supplements. Some of the reasons will be additives, others will be the chemical make-up, but all are definitely things you’ll want to steer away from when it comes to putting them in your body. Here are a few ingredients you’ll want to avoid in your supplements entirely.
These types of vitamins are usually created in a laboratory and derived from – believe it or not – toxic substances like petroleum or coal tar instead of gathered from the bioavailability found within whole-foods. Because they’re synthetic, these types of supplements will be lacking synergistic transporters, which are essential to replacing or upgrading your cell’s components. Sure, they can stimulate your cells’ metabolism, but the results will be much inferior and you’ll end up with damaged and tired cells. You can usually spot synthetic vitamins as they will be listed on the ingredients label by their “isolated names” – ascorbic acid, riboflavin, and dl-alpha tocopherol acetate. Stay away!
While not as prominent an issue with most trusted and whole-foods derived supplements, a lot of big name pharmaceutical companies use toxic coloring agents. Even children’s vitamins – like the popular Flintstones brand – contain fake colors like FD&C Blue No. 2 Aluminum Lake and FD&C Red No. 40 Aluminum Lake, both of which contain potential neurotoxins, and have been linked to cancer and hyperactivity in children.
It seems odd that a multivitamin or supplement that’s intended to improve your overall health would contain an ingredient that has the potential to prevent your body from absorbing nutrients, yet here we are. Even a lot of trusted and seeming whole-foods-based supplement companies use magnesium stearate as a flow agent additive, making it easier for the vitamin blend to pass through their manufacturing equipment. It’s a chalk-like substance that possesses NO nutritional benefit whatsoever, and with extended or frequent use can leave a harmful film in the intestines that prevents healthy absorption rates and may cause digestive issues.
Often used as a pigment in many vitamins and supplements, titanium dioxide is yet another additive that has absolutely no business lurking in your multivitamin, much less your body. It’s not even a food item, seeing as it is a nanoparticle that is derived from, as the name suggests, bits of titanium. Besides the fact that this additive has been proven to cause cell damage, it has no beneficial use whatsoever, and any supplement containing titanium dioxide should most definitely be avoided.
How to Avoid Buying Cheap Vitamins
When shopping for whole foods-based supplements, there are a few things to keep in mind that can help you avoid scary additives and toxic coloring agents, and often, it can be as simple as reading the label.
- Seek the advice of a professional from whom to order your supplements. Do a little bit of research and find a well-trusted source that has a good background based firmly in whole health and wellness.
- If you have trouble locating such a source, it never hurts to shop small. Generally, small, local health food stores will be your best option when it comes to being able to trust the supplements you’re getting are top quality and actually going to help you stay healthy and whole.
- DON’T go to Walmart or other big box stores and buy whatever bottle is 50% off. This is usually a sign of poor quality vitamins, and you should steer clear of deals that seem to good to be true.
- Watch out for ridiculous health claims that sound too good to be true. Stick to knowing what you’re looking for and need, and go from there.
- Stay away from supplements that are sold by big pharmaceutical companies…chances are they’re full of fillers and non whole foods-derived vitamins.
- Don’t buy something that is labeled as “Pharmaceutical Grade”. This is not an actual certification, and could mean plenty of bad additives within.
How to Buy Good Vitamins (What To Look For)
We’ve covered what to look for when it comes to spotting poor-quality supplements and how to recognize them, so now we’ll cover the qualities you’ll want to look for when purchasing your supplements.
- A common misconception when it comes to supplements is that a bigger dose will provide more benefits. This is not necessarily true, as the body can only absorb so much at once. Look for something that you would take once, maybe two or three times a day in small doses instead of a supplement that proudly boasts mega-servings of everything.
- It all starts with reading the label. Check supplement labels for certifications, like GNP, which stands for Good Manufacturing Practices. This indicates that the supplements within have been tested for consistency.
- Check the ingredients too. Make sure you’re able to easily spot what you’re wanting in a supplement, and nothing more. Familiarize yourself with the names of less trusted and non-beneficial supplement ingredients so that you can spot them right away and steer clear.
- Look for ingredients listed in their most bioavailable form. For example, Vitamin A should be listed as beta carotene, otherwise it’s been lab produced and won’t offer as many benefits. Generally speaking, you should be able to identify the vitamin’s source as a legitimate food instead of being a synthetic; if you can’t, skip it.
As long as we take care with our diets and include the right supplements – whole foods-based, without harmful additives or strange names – we can ensure our bodies are healthy, happy, and whole.
We Recommend Shaklee
We recommend Shaklee Vitalizer® as they are superior supplements that fully assimilate into your body and are free of harmful additives that are commonly found in grocery store vitamins. Take one strip each day to get all of the essential vitamins, minerals and probiotics that you need to lay the foundation for good health!