All Vitamins Are Not Created Equal...
(Are You Getting Your Money's Worth?)
If you can answer the following questions correctly, you have a basic understanding of why all vitamins are not alike.
1) Which vitamin E is synthetic?
a) d-alpha tocopherol
b) dl-alpha tocopherol
2) Which of the following calcium label claims contains only 93 mg. of actual calcium?
a) Calcium (gluconate).............................1,000 mg.
b) Calcium gluconate................................1,000 mg.
3) A quality control lab is not required in a vitamin manufacturing facility.
TRUE or FALSE
4) "Natural Vitamin E" on the label means the vitamin E is 100% natural.
TRUE or FALSE
5) By law, the vitamin potency listed on the label must be matched by the product in the bottle.
TRUE or FALSE
6) Do most vitamin companies manufacture their own products?
YES or NO
The standards under which a vitamin or mineral is manufactured vary greatly from one company to another. There are very few companies that actually manufacture their own products.
Quality standards greatly affect how and whether a supplement is absorbed and utilized by the body. A manufacturer can create a tablet that looks identical to a quality product but is nothing more than a replica. Replicas do not deliver the potency and results you desire.
Reading a label carefully and understanding what the label actually means are important when purchasing any product. This is particularly true when comparing labels on vitamins.
Understanding Mineral Potency (Example: Calcium)
The elemental amount of calcium refers to the exact weight or potency of calcium a formula provides. (The same is true for all other minerals.)
Some labels clearly list the elemental weight and are therefore simple to understand.
Elemental Calcium.............................................................250 mg.
(Equivalent to 1,111 mg. Calcium Amino Acid Chelate)
In Example A, you are receiving 250 mg. of actual calcium, and 1,111 mg. refers to the combined weight of the calcium and amino acids.
If the label does not clearly list the elemental amount, you must then have a further understanding of interpreting the label information.
Calcium (Gluconate)..........................................................1,000 mg.
Calcium Gluconate..........................................................1,000 mg.
At first glance, Examples B & C appear to be the same formula, but they are not. When, the chelating agent (Example B, gluconate) appears in parentheses, it represents the "source" of the calcium supplied in the formula. The potency of 1,000 mg. listed is the actual amount of elemental calcium you are receiving. However, in Example C, when the chelating agent does not appear in parentheses, the 1,000 mg. represents the weight of the calcium together with gluconic acid, and the amount of calcium you are receiving is only a small percentage of the potency listed. In Example C, you would actually receive only 9.3% or 93 mg. of actual calcium.
Example B is an honest and intelligible label, as it clearly represents the actual amount of elemental calcium the tablet will provide. Example C, although technically not mislabeled, appears to offer much more calcium than is actually provided and is very often misunderstood by consumers.
Natural vs. Synthetic
(Example: Vitamin E)
The word natural can, unfortunately, sometimes be misleading. In the case of vitamin E, a manufacturer can use a blend of 10% natural vitamin E and 90% synthetic vitamin E and still label the product natural vitamin E. using synthetic vitamin E, which is 40% cheaper, a manufacturer can greatly reduce the quality of a product to reduce his manufacturing cost.
To protect the consumer, a manufacturer should properly list the chemical name in the contents description. Natural vitamin E begins with d; synthetic begins with dl.
"Natural vitamin E is officially recognized as having 36% greater potency than its synthetic counterpart...However, recent studies of human subjects indicate that natural vitamin E is probably twice as effective as synthetic vitamin E."
These are just two examples of how to properly read a vitamin label. Your best source of educational support is your health care practitioner. Your practitioner should be able to provide you with even further information verifying why all vitamins are not created equal.
FACT: A consumer would assume that a vitamin contains the potency listed on the label.
GOVERNMENT STANDARD: Only 90% of the vitamin potency listed on the label has to be in a product at the time of shipping.
FACT: A vitamin starts losing its potency the minute it's made. If not manufactured properly, a vitamin can be up to 50% weaker than the label claim by the time you purchase the product.
GOVERNMENT STANDARD: There are only minimal government guidelines, not requirements, regarding product storage (light, temperature, moisture, etc.), inventory rotation, particle granulation or product coating, all of which affect the potency and quality of a vitamin.
FACT: Even though vitamins are perishable items, manufacturers are not required to prove that their products last for an extended period of time. Remember, light, heat, moisture and oxidation rapidly destroy vitamin potency.
GOVERNMENT STANDARD: After a vitamin is manufactured, vitamin companies are not required to conduct shelf life testing to see how product potency is affected over time.
FACT: Even though vitamin supplements are essential to your health, there is no law requiring that vitamin supplements be tested during the manufacturing process.
GOVERNMENT STANDARD: A quality control laboratory is not required in a vitamin manufacturing facility.
(How do you manufacture quality vitamins without a quality control laboratory? Good question! Moreover, most vitamin companies do not even manufacture their own products.)
Here is how you can check if a company manufactures its own products. If a product is actually made by the company, the label should say "Manufactured by______________." Manufacturing the product is the first step in quality control. Companies that have their products manufactured by a private label house and just market the products must use phrases such as "Manufactured for ________________," "Distributed by _____________," or any other wording that expresses these facts.
ARE YOU GETTING YOUR MONEY'S WORTH?
Several years ago, a visiting scholar at Rockefeller university in New York City and a noted author of many books on nutrition, Dr. Michael Colgan, had researched the effects of vitamins. The following is an excerpt from his findings as published in an Omni magazine article.
"...And the food-processing industry? Oh, they're interested in my work," Colgan smiles. "They offer me weekends, give me the stretch-limousine treatment. Actually, though, I'm more disillusioned by drug companies that make vitamins. Many are run by people who know nothing about nutrition, have not one qualified person on the executive staff. Or, if they have, these people spend all their time in other research and never come in contact with the vitamins that are being produced by the firm. There is so much rubbish on the market," he adds abruptly. "The majority of vitamins in health-food stores are rubbish!"
WHAT IS A REPLICA?
A replica is a poor copy of an original, always reproduced by those who lack the creativity of the originator. unfortunately, since it is not their creation, they also lack the pride and know-how that go hand in hand with original creativity.
Since the very purpose of a replica is to mimic the outward appearance of the real thing and to make money by passing off a poor copy, corners are always cut to make a greater profit at the expense of quality. A replica is a sham, which attempts to make up in appearance what it lacks in substance.
As long as the product you've purchased has been honestly represented as an imitation and you've paid a fraction of the cost of the original, you have not been taken advantage of. You have knowingly sacrificed quality for price by your own choice.
When A Replica Is Sold As The Real Thing...Look Out!
Whenever someone is passing off a replica as an original or attempting to say that the replica is equal in quality to the original, LOOK OuT, because a fraud is being committed at your expense. If the price you pay for a replica is half the price of the real thing but the quality is only 5% of the real thing, you have still paid 10 times too much. Since you've been promised quality and you did not get what you expected, you have been deceived and cheated. We've all had the experience of buying a copy of a product for less money and coming home to find that this replica lacked substance, lacked quality, and most importantly did not produce the results expected from the original, and we had in fact been taken advantage of.
Why Do companies Make Replicas?
Companies make replicas primarily for one reason...to make money. These companies have no investment and therefore take no pride in the product they sell, sacrificing quality for the greatest profit.
These dollar-oriented operators have no understanding of the health food industry, have no investment in the industry, and therefore have nothing to lose. They have no interest in you the consumer, but they do have a clear interest in making money at your expense.
When You Buy A Vitamin Replica, You Are Losing A Great Deal More Than Just Your Money
Those of us who are concerned enough about our families to pay the extra money for the added benefits of natural vitamins go into a health food store not just to purchase vitamins but also to seek the specific health benefits that those vitamins will produce for ourselves and our families. Some call this the "Feeling of Nutritional Well Being".
"The Feeling of Nutritional Well Being" is the very quality of your life. It would be a tragedy to experiment with replicas at the expense of your most valuable treasures...the health and well-being of both you and your family.
Are Your Vitamins Releasing The Energy You Need?
Since most vitamins cannot be manufactured in the body, they must be supplied by our diet. Vitamins are essential to release energy in foods. But our food supply does not guarantee the potency of vitamins. Therefore, a guarantee of potency from the company that supplies your vitamins is essential. This guarantee of potency is vital for the increased energy and feeling of well-being you are seeking. "When a vitamin is in short supply, the lack of a functional coenzyme handicaps a reaction in the pathway. The overall effect of the deficiency is diminished energy production."
The decrease in energy from the lack of proper nutrition sometimes surfaces in obvious forms such as scurvy or rickets. But often the symptoms of the lack of a vitamin are much more subtle. "Since nerve cells are particularly sensitive to a decreased energy supply, they reflect deficiencies rather rapidly. Irritability, lethargy, apathy, fatigue, and nervous disorders are typical B-vitamin deficiencies."
The above article provided by: Natural Organics, Inc. 1998