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To Supplement or not to Supplement..

Many individuals believe they need need to take expensive supplements to reach their peak health and performance. While a deficiency of a certain vitamin, mineral, or macronutrient will be detrimental to your well-being, many deficiencies can commonly be mitigated through adequate intake of appropriate foods. In the modern day, food still provides more advantages than supplements do. Your Revolution Dietitians can assist with providing the benefits you desire using food sources. If food options cannot provide adequate intake of the desired nutrient, a supplement may now be appropriate.

The main concern with supplements tends to be the safety and label accuracy of the product. Supplements are regulated under The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, which is much less stringent in regulation than many people believe it to be. There is no need to prove safety, efficacy, or benefit prior to being provided in markets.

Occasionally, you may also hear news stories and studies that test samples of various supplements and utilize chemical analysis to determine measurements of ingredients/contaminants through a 3rd party lab. Some of these have previously found supplements entirely devoid of the main active ingredient claimed. This situation may be entirely avoided by choosing a supplement that is NSF or USP certified.

NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) is an optional 3rd party certification foundation that can verify safety and accuracy of the supplement. They regularly audit the toxicology for formulation, label accuracy, marketing claims, contaminant levels, and good manufacturing processed (GMP) which verifies physical location, personnel, equipment, and records among many other items. It does not test for efficacy. Try the following links to search for an NSF Certified product.

http://info.nsf.org/Certified/Dietary/

http://www.nsfsport.com/listings/certified_products.asp  

USP (U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention) is another optional certification body that is not affiliated with government but recognized in US law. They test for potency of ingredients, harmful levels of contaminants, safe manufacturing practices, and testing absorbability of supplements. For absorbability, USP will verify that the product dissolves or disintegrates properly to provide the possibility of absorption in the body. USP Verified Products Listing can be found in the following  link. http://www.quality-supplements.org/verified-products/verified-products-listings

Either of these optional certifications will lead you to a safer supplement selection. Below, you will find the most common certification symbols that may be placed only on certified items. As stated earlier, food will provide the most benefit, so talk with your Revolution Dietitians for assistance with achieving your health goals from the best sources available to you!