There are about 65,000 dietary supplements on the market consumed by more than 150 million Americans, and it’s believed that 75% of Americans take at least one dietary supplement on a regular basis. Supplement use is increasing across all ages, with those 55+ going up the most, from 74% to 80% since 2016.
Some of the main reasons people take supplements include bridging a nutritional gap, improving overall health and wellness, boosting energy levels, improving sleep quality, bone health, increasing immune function and more.
Not all supplements, however, are created equally. Although many supplements on the market today provide consumers with the benefits they’re seeking, not all companies are forthright regarding their ingredients and product claims.
According to a study, dietary supplements accounted for more than half of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Class I drug recalls between 2004 and 2012. The "Class I" designation means that the supplements contained ingredients with a reasonable probability of causing serious health consequences or even death.
It’s important when shopping for supplements that you ask the right questions and take the time to do the research. Here’s a list of questions to ask your supplement company:
1. Does the company provide transparency on their labeling and website?
Supplement companies should provide clear and accurate labeling, which includes listing out ALL ingredients--even fillers, in easy-to-understand language. Other information accessible to consumers should include the sourcing of raw materials, process utilized in making the product and amount of material/vitamin in the product.
Labeling should also include when and how to take the product, indications for usage and interactions/contraindications with other medications or supplements.
2. Is the product in its active form?
B vitamins, for example, exist in different forms. Some are synthetic, others are in their natural form. Folic Acid is synthetic while Methyl Folate is in natural form. Cyanocobalamin is synthetic while Methylcobalamin is in natural form. Of course, you want vitamins in their natural forms—your body recognizes these and can more readily utilize them. Synthetic vitamins, in fact, have been shown in some studies to be detrimental to the system.
It is believed that up to 60% of Americans cannot process synthetic forms of B vitamins due to methylation issues. Switching to natural forms of vitamins may produce optimal results including an increased ability to remove toxins from the body, a boost of energy that lasts throughout the day and improved sleep and overall health.
3. Are there fillers, excipients, flow agents and preservatives in the product?
The FDA allows questionable fillers and binders such as magnesium stearate, chemical dyes, sodium benzoate, dextrose and propylene glycol to name only a few. Studies show that some of these ingredients can be toxic at certain levels with prolonged use.
Raw materials may be in the supplement at 90% or less of the listed ingredients—many companies also include fillers, such as corn starch and lactose to fill the capsules.These fillers reduce the manufacturing cost of the product, can interfere with bioavailability and are known allergens for some people.
For some consumers, fillers, excipients and flow agents can cause digestive disturbances, and over time, may even weaken immune function. Therefore, it’s important to find a company that believes in the integrity of its products, and does not cut costs by adding these fillers to their products.
4. Where are the raw materials sourced?
Let’s face it—China does not have a great track record when it comes to creating safe products.Their history includes product with high levels of lead and heavy metals, unregulated manufacturing facilities and dangerous ingredients which have resulted in numerous recalls and health issues.
As of July 2011, over 60% of dietary supplement ingredients sold in the United States were imported from China. Raw materials from China are less expensive, and many companies look for ways to cut corners and increase their profit margin.The key to an excellent nutritional supplement, however, is its raw materials and quality control.
If the company cannot tell you where their raw materials are sourced, or if they have shared with you that the raw materials are from China, it is best to move on and find a company that believes in higher standards and quality.
5. Are the supplements pharmaceutical grade?
Fewer than 3% of the products on the market are pharmaceutical grade. While no products are 100% pure, pharmaceutical grade products must exceed 99% purity with no added binders, fillers and excipients. Pharmaceutical grade supplements have greater bioavailability since added fillers prohibit maximum absorption.
In addition, pharmaceutical grade nutrients are only manufactured in FDA registered facilities that follow cGMP, or Certified Good Manufacturing Practices.
cGMP-certified facilities must adhere to strict guidelines. For example, machines are cleaned meticulously in order to avoid exposure to allergens and cross contamination.This cleaning process is FDA regulated, and employees go through training at the manufacturer plant to make sure they understand the tear-down, cleaning and reassembly process. There are no shortcuts. Machines are frequently tested, calibrated and controlled by rigorous guidelines to ensure safety and accuracy. This is they type of meticulous oversight that you want.
6. Does the company perform third party testing?
Third party testing is one of the most important elements of ensuring that products are safe. Third party testing means testing is performed by an accredited laboratory and ensures that heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, environmental toxins, pesticides, dioxins, PCBs and microbial contaminants are not in your supplements. Be sure the company is investing in this testing to provide clean and reliable supplements.Third party testing also verifies that the supplements comply with the mandates of all relevant regulatory agencies.
When doing your research on a supplement company, be sure that they have invested in themselves by having their products third party tested. It takes time and money to perform these tests, but they provide crucial validity when it comes to consumer safety.
7. Do the products utilize patented ingredients?
Patented ingredients are trademark-protected and backed by clinical research. This extra step of utilizing patented ingredients helps to further support the product’s safety and efficacy, although not every supplement company is going to invest the money to attain these ingredients. Branded ingredients usually go through a much higher quality standard of manufacturing and come with evidence-based literature to support their health claims.
At Pure TheraPro Rx, we create supplements that build a healthy body, and we do this by first building your trust.
We will never purchase raw materials because of cost, and risk potential health hazards. For this reason, our entire product line is China-free---and we intend to keep it that way!
We believe raw materials from China may pose a potential health risk, based on a long history of recalls and occurrences, such as historically China-made products containing heavy metals and other cancer-causing contaminants. We have the word “Pure” in our name for a reason.
We choose our raw materials based on quality, not cost. Although they may be more expensive, we believe in going the extra mile to provide quality and peace of mind for our customers.
Increased cost to us does not mean increased cost to you! Being that we are direct-to-consumer with no middle man raising our expenditure, we are able to provide the highest quality, pharmaceutical grade supplements at affordable prices to our customers—not just to the wealthy—but everyone!
We use a GMP certified and FDA inspected manufacturing facility along with rigorous quality standards to produce our line of exceptional pharmaceutical-grade nutraceuticals. Our health-practitioner-recommended formulations are typically patented and comprised of highly researched ingredients for maximum efficacy. All Pure TheraPro Rx brand supplements are non-GMO, China-free, made in the USA and free of excipients, fillers and flow agents that hinder bioavailability.