Tag Archives: proven effective

Shaklee’s Vita-Lea–what so special?

The raw materials of nutritional supplements, whether it can maintain the original natural balance will have to depending on its processing and production processes. Due to manufacturer’s product line features, usually it can revealed from the deployment of multiple vitamin and mineral, let us take a look at Shaklee’s Vita-Lea.

In the processing of multivitamin and mineral, various nutrition gradually fused together until they form a paste, or mixtures. In such, liquids must be removed to produce flakes. Most companies using petroleum products to mashing. Then, they must remove liquid from the pulp into a tablet, here the liquid is alcohol. Normally, when you open a bottle of nutritional supplements which made from alcohol or other petroleum products, you will be able to smell the taste of the oil.

Shaklee only use of pure water to integrate Vita-Lea, when the slurry form a solid tablet, only the water is evaporated, it has no oil or chemical residue can be leave.

What you can do to verify this?

Vita-Lea picture

You just have to heat a nutritional tablet. You will be able to know whether the manufacturer use petroleum products or chemical binders in the manufacturing process. It is advice that you do it outdoors, because if the product processing involves oil (it is likely to involve), after burning the odor will be very pungent and its residue is a cloud of black dirt.

Burning 21

Now, you can do the same test on Shaklee’s Vita-Lea. It odor like charred vegetables and the residue is nothing but a pile of ashes.

Burning vita lea

The integration of multivitamin mineral pulp needs more cost and very time-consuming if using water instead of petroleum products, however, Shaklee insists using only pure water.

Shaklee “Explo-Tab

Some companies produce their so-called “time release” multiple nutritional supplements. They want you to believe that you have achieved something unique and effective. “Time release” multiple nutritional supplements trouble is, many nutrients are early absorbed in the digestive process, but later failed to properly absorb. If the “time release” multiple nutritional supplement failed to correctly release of each nutrient at the appropriate time, then you will lose.

For some nutritional supplements, such as vitamin C, the “time release” system is indeed very useful. But this system is not suitable for a multivitamin and minerals. What appropriate for this kind of product is called “Explo-Tab“. Shaklee’s Vita-Lea has used this technology for many years and effectively release nutrients.

Cross section view of Vita-Lea's tablet

Cross section view of Vita-Lea’s tablet

Cross section view of other multivitamin's tablet

Cross section view of other multivitamin’s tablet

Shaklee’s “Explo-Tab” technology allow tablet to stay in the digestive system for a while, and then quickly explode to release the nutrition. The following describes the “Explo-Tab” operation. If you cut Vita-Lea’s tablet into very fine shreds and observed under microscope, you will see a small white balls. These fine balls are starch grains. When these starch grains get wet, they will be expansion and forcing the tablets “explosion”, and release nutrition within.

Now, let us do some experiments to see how good the multivitamin dissolve.

(Note: The experiment was conducted with Vita-Lea’s tablet and another brand of multivitamin in tab water, just to show what the “Explo-tab” is) 

Put a tablet of Vita-Lea into a glass of tap water, let it dissolve, you can see the above-mentioned activities. If you want to emulate the situation in the stomach, adding a few drops of vinegar to make it acidic. After a while you will see the “Explo-Tab” decomposition. Now, use another multivitamin to make the same test. You will find that other nutritional tablets may (a) cannot be dissolved, (b)a portion dissolved, or (c) dissolved sometime in the next day, depending on the individual brands.

The ingredients is fully released and dissolved within 5 minutes

The ingredients is fully released and dissolved within 5 minutes

Other multivitamin--the ingredients is not released after 12 minutes, only the outer layer (brown colour)is dissolved.

Other multivitamin–the ingredients is not released after 12 minutes, only the outer layer (brown colour)is dissolved.

It is rarely have multivitamins supplements such as the Shaklee’s Vita-Lea which can completely and timely to decompose and release the nutrition.

Who will benefit from Vita-Lea

  • Women who are trying to conceive
  • Anyone interested in promoting long-term health and vitality
  • Anyone whose day-to-day diet is not always optimal
  • Those who are concerned about providing added support for immune function
  • Those who live an especially stressful lifestyle
  • Anyone who gets sick often
  • Those who feel bad and tired more often than they feel good and alert

For more information regarding Vita-Lea, kindly click here.

Why is Iron Important?


Iron is an abundant metal in the earth. Most living things need iron to survive. It is needed in many proteins and enzymes in the human body. Iron is an essential ingredient in the proteins that carry blood through the body and in cell development. Almost two-thirds of iron in the body is found in hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to tissues. If you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells. A lack of red blood cells is called iron deficiency anaemia.

Smaller amounts of iron are found in myoglobin, a protein that helps supply oxygen to muscle, and in enzymes that assist biochemical reactions. Iron is also found in proteins that store iron for future needs and that transport iron in blood. Iron stores are regulated by intestinal iron absorption.

When you don’t have enough iron, not enough oxygen can get to your cells. When that happens we get tired, fatigued and decreased immunity which affects how we go about our daily tasks. Other symptoms include decreased attention span, irritability, decreased immune function leading to more frequent illness, swollen and red tongue, poor performance at work or school, and delayed or impaired cognitive development in infants and young children.

There is such a thing as getting too much iron which can cause death by heart or liver failure. It increases the risk for liver disease (cirrhosis, cancer), heart attack or heart failure, diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, hypothyroidism, hypogonadism, numerous symptoms and in some cases premature death. Iron mismanagement resulting in overload can accelerate such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer’s, early-onset Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

iron deficiency

Iron Deficiency Symptoms

People often don’t know they have anemia until they have signs or symptoms — they appear pale or ‘sallow,’ are fatigued, or have difficulty exercising. If you’re low in iron, you may also:

  • Feel short of breath
  • Have a fast heartbeat
  • Have cold hands and feet
  • Crave strange substances such as dirt or clay
  • Have brittle and spoon shaped nails or hair loss
  • Sores at the corner of the mouth
  • A sore tongue – glossitis (an inflamed tongue)
  • Severe iron deficiency can cause difficulty in swallowing
  • feeling tired and weak
  • decreased work and school performance
  • slow cognitive and social development during childhood
  • difficulty maintaining body temperature
  • decreased immune function, which increases susceptibility to infection

If you’re tired and dragging, see your doctor. It’s fairly easy to detect and diagnose the different stages of iron deficiency with a simple blood test. Women who are pregnant and people with a gastrointestinal disorder such as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, or celiac disease should have their iron tested on a regular basis.

You might need more iron, either from dietary sources or from an iron supplement:

  • pregnant and/or breastfeeding women
  • preterm and low birth weight infants
  • older infants and toddlers
  • teenage girls
  • women of childbearing age, especially those with heavy menstrual losses
  • people with renal failure, especially those undergoing routine dialysis which can remove iron from the body
  • people with gastrointestinal disorders who do not absorb iron normally (such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis)
  • Have an ulcer, which can cause blood loss
  • Take too many antacids, which can prevent your body from absorbing iron
  • Have had weight loss (bariatric) surgery
  • Work out a lot (intense exercise can destroy red blood cells)

heme iron food

If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you may also need to take an iron supplement, because the body doesn’t absorb the type of iron found in plants as well as it absorbs the iron from meat. Meat-derived iron, known as heme iron, is more easily absorbed by the body. Plant-derived iron, known as non-heme iron, is not as well absorbed and requires vitamin C (or meat) to improve absorption. In addition, absorption is diminished by calcium (dairy products), fiber, tea, and coffee. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, be sure to consume iron-rich foods with vitamin C rich foods such as citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli, kiwi, melons, red and green sweet peppers, and dark green vegetables whenever possible.

How Much Iron Do You Need?

How much iron you need each day depends on your age, gender, and overall health.

Infants and toddlers need more iron than adults, in general, because their bodies are growing so quickly. In childhood, boys and girls need the same amount of iron — 10 milligrams daily from ages 4 to 8, and 8 mg daily from ages 9 to 13.

Starting at adolescence, a woman’s daily iron needs increase. Women need more iron because they lose blood each month during their period. That’s why women from ages 19 to 50 need to get 18 mg of iron each day, while men the same age can get away with just 8 mg.

After menopause, a woman’s iron needs drop as her menstrual cycle ends. After a woman begins menopause, both men and women need the same amount of iron — 8 mg each day.

Can Iron Supplements Cause Side Effects?

Iron supplements can cause side effects, usually stomach upset such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark stools, or constipation. Pregnant women are especially susceptible to constipation. Adding extra fiber to your diet can help relieve this symptom. A stool softener may also make you feel better.

Starting with a low dose of iron and then gradually increasing the dose to the daily recommended amount may help minimize side effects. If your iron supplements are bothering your stomach, your doctor can adjust the dose or form of iron you use. You can also try taking the supplements with food.

Unlike some supplements, when the subject is iron, more is definitely not better. Adults shouldn’t take any more than 45 mg of iron a day unless they are being treated with iron under close medical supervision.

For children, iron overdose can be especially toxic. Iron supplements have killed young children because their needs for iron compared to an adult’s are relatively low. If you take iron supplements, it is very important to keep them in a high, locked cabinet, far out of your children’s reach. Symptoms of iron poisoning include severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dehydration, and bloody stool in children.

It’s difficult for adults to overdose on iron just from food and supplements, because an adult body has systems in place to regulate the amount of iron it absorbs. However, people with the inherited condition hemochromatosis have trouble regulating their iron absorption.

Although most people only absorb about 10% of the iron they consume, people with hemochromatosis absorb up to 30%. As a result, the iron in their body can build up to dangerous levels. That excess iron can deposit in organs such as the liver, heart, and pancreas, which can lead to conditions like cirrhosis, heart failure, and diabetes. For that reason, people with hemochromatosis should not take iron supplements.


Taking an Iron Supplement

If your iron is low, eating a diet that is high in iron-rich foods such as fortified cereals, red meat, dried fruit, and beans may not be enough to give you what you need. Your doctor might recommend that you take an iron supplement. When you take an iron supplement make sure you are getting Vitamin C to help your body absorb the iron.

Prenatal vitamins usually include iron, but not all prenatal vitamins contain the recommended amount. Check with your doctor before taking any supplement. While you are taking iron supplements, your doctor should test your blood to see if your iron levels have improved.

What Supplements Are Safe?

Think about the supplements in the grocery stores; they have rows with enticing prices and odd labels. But where do these supplements come from? Who is responsible for the quality control? When it comes to grocery store supplements the answer is more muddled than it should be. Taking a closer look at the companies and what kind of quality control they use is one way to make sure you know what you are buying. Here is yet another great thought provoking message from Dr. Stephen Chaney. (Tips from The Professor: Who’s Testing Your Supplements?)

It’s so tempting…

You’ve been getting your supplements from a company that you know and trust – a company that does clinical studies on their products and performs rigorous quality controls.

You know their products are pure, safe and effective


You’re shopping in your favorite drug store or discount store and you see the same supplements for just a couple of dollars!

You can’t help thinking…

“Wow! Here’s the same stuff I’ve been taking for a lot less money”…”Why not save my money?”…”They must have run some quality control tests on their products”…

“After all, how bad can they be?”

The answer is – pretty bad!

The events of 2010 illustrate just how bad.

On March 2nd, 2010 the makers and sellers of fish oil supplements were sued by the Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation in California for not telling consumers that their products contained toxic levels of PCBs.

Toxic chemical–PCBs

It is amusing and somewhat scary that the FDA did not initiate this action and force the manufacturers to take their contaminated products off the shelves. Instead an environmental consumers group had to sue them for not including PCBs on the label! They sued them under California proposition 65 which requires a warning label whenever a product contains toxic ingredients.

 The defendants in this lawsuit were Omega Protein, a Houston-based company that is the world’s largest producer of omega-3 fish oil, and the many companies that they produced fish oil for – companies like Rite Aid, CVS, GNC, Now Health Group, Pharmavite, Solgar and Twinlab.

And those aren’t the only ones. The Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation only tested 10 omega-3 supplements manufactured by Omega Protein to date and have found PCBs in all of them. They plan to continue testing and to add other companies to the lawsuit if their products are also contaminated.

Even scarier is that many of labels on these products said that the omega-3 supplement was treated to reduce or remove PCBs. As a consumer you were lead to believe that they were safe! The bottom line is that the manufacturer probably didn’t test for PCBs and neither did the companies selling their omega-3 supplements to the consumer. The alternative – that they tested the products, knew that they were contaminated with PCBs and sold them to the public anyway – is even worse.

Salmonella Poisoning

As if that weren’t scary enough the FDA announced a massive recall of products containing textured vegetable protein manufactured by a company called Basic Food Flavors because of salmonella contamination.

The problem is that there are at least 56 different kinds of consumer products containing this company’s textured vegetable protein – including salad dressings, dips, packaged snacks, potato chips and soup mixes (Who knew that salad dressings contained textured vegetable protein?). That means that this recall will be huge. It will affect many foods that most people buy and use every day. Once again, the problem is that neither the manufacturer nor the companies using the textured vegetable protein had run the basic quality control assays that would have detected salmonella contamination.

So what can you do as a consumer? Here are some recommendations:

1) Get your supplements from an established company with a reputation for quality and integrity. It is recommended choosing a company that has been around for a number of years so that you know that their reputation is based on their track record over the years rather than just on hype.

2) Make sure that they run rigorous quality controls on their products. It  is recommended choosing a company that requires pharmaceutical grade quality controls on their products.

3) Make sure that they have published clinical studies on their products that prove both safety and effectiveness. Again it would recommend choosing a company that has many published clinical studies on their products rather than just one or two.


Not all supplements are created equal!

Knowing what is in your dietary supplements is just as important as the supplement you take. In the news today there are scares about the safety of many dietary supplements on the store shelves especially with omega-3 fish oils; how do you avoid being caught up in the mayhem?

As the case of fish oil supplements above and other “natural” products have caused many people to stop and wonder what they are buying. The grocery and food store supplements boast low prices but what are you really getting for that lower cost? Mostly nothing at all! The active ingredients in most are of low quality and strength or the pill’s delivery system does not allow it to dissolve in the body properly.

Calcium supplements bought in the store come out looking like they did going in; not one thing was done for your body. Supplements on those shelves do not necessarily do either what they claim or what you think they may do by virtue of their name. Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant and you expect that all vitamin E tablets and nutrition would be the same; this could be said with any specific vitamin or mineral. This is just not the case.

The truth is not all supplements are created equal. Quality control and testing are different from company to company. While there are federal and moral standards in place it seems that bad products still get through to store shelves. It seems quality control is not a major priority for most of the companies who sell these products; if they would have tested their products then they would have known of the high levels of PCBs.

It seems that in the fish-oil supplement cases, the manufacturer did NOT test their own products before putting them in their bottles and allowing them to be sold. This begs another question; why has the FDA, who has all the laws in place giving them the power to prevent this from happening, allowed these products to be put on the shelves to begin with?

Shaklee supplement label–you can trust everything write there!

Finding a company who prides themselves upon quality control and testing for their products is the only way to ensure that you are getting and can trust everything printed on the bottle. Companies and products with patents means that no other company can use the exact same ingredients in the exact same concentration or mixture; which means that one product could have better reliability than others that claim either the same thing or something similar.

We see this all the time with generic brands. Using some generic brands of pain relievers and other medications are just fine and as good as the name brand. When dealing with other products however, a lesser company cannot possibly put in all the effective ingredients as the original, especially if that original company has a patent.

What does this mean for Shaklee users? You can be assured that what you see and read on the label is what you get. Shaklee goes to the extreme for quality control and testing, going so far as to bring in third party testing laboratories and getting patents on their products.

“Harmony with nature” for over 50 years


There is no other company goes through so much to be so effective. This is second nature to Shaklee; inspired by the founder of the company, Dr. Shaklee, to be in harmony with nature in everything they do. What is even better yet is that they do not stop at one milestone; they keep going and have been doing so for over 50 years.

Dietary supplement safety and environmental protection are the core beliefs behind every Shaklee product. That is why unlike so many other companies, Shaklee offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Bottom line is that you can be comfortable with every Shaklee product you bring into your home to be as effective and powerful as the bottle says. Shaklee has published in many peer reviewed journals and other publications and have been confident enough to send their products to third party testers to be sure of their results. Plus, they do not hesitate to announce it.

Good news should be spread. And Shaklee is the best news of all for those looking for a safe reputable dietary supplement among their other many outstanding products.

What is GLA and How Does It Improve Health?

Source of GLA

We would all love to be in perfect health all the time, but being able to live in a way that would make that happen can be incredibly tough. It only becomes more difficult as you get older, with work, family, and other commitments taking up most of your day. That makes it virtually impossible to eat the foods that can help keep you healthy, meaning that junk and processed foods tend to be the order of the day. The human body needs a certain number of vitamins and minerals in order to maintain a healthy balance. The fact that we can’t get enough of the foods we need to help us achieve that goal means that turning to supplements is often necessary. One supplement that is becoming increasingly popular is Gamma-Linolenic Acid, or GLA for short.

The body is not able to naturally produce GLA, but it can be introduced into the system by regularly eating vegetables. That brings us back to how difficult it can be to eat these types of foods every day, which is why a GLA supplement should very much be considered part of your daily vitamin regimen.

Just about everyone can benefit from taking the GLA, but considering that it can help specific ailments, the benefits that you see from it may vary. Where the real GLA benefits are to be found are in people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or diabetic pains. It is also effective in helping those who are suffering from eczema or breast cancer, as well as being beneficial to people who suffer from osteoporosis or other bone issues. There have even been studies done that show that bond density is improved in elderly folks who regularly partake of the GLA supplement.

The list of health benefits from using GLA goes on and one, but there are probably still many of you out there wondering about potential GLA side effects. While you may assume that since GLA is derived from the natural oils of plants, the possibility of side effects would be lessened, you still have to be careful with how you use it. Of particular note is taking GLA supplement with other medicines or supplements that are known to increase the risk of bleeding. These include such items as aspirin, blood thinners, and the ginkgo biloba supplement. As is the case with any supplement, you should always check with your doctor before taking it.

Burn fat with GLA

When it comes to weight loss, there are many supplements that have undergone various trials to see how well it will work. Fortunately there have been some researched supplemental breakthroughs that have successfully been very effective for weight loss. GLA is a fatty acid which stimulates the burning of fat instead of the storage of fat by jump starting the metabolism. That is why people use GLA for weight loss more and more often. GLA benefits include the burning of specific tissues that are common to obese or overweight people, along with using up some of the body’s calories.

When a person is healthy, GLA can be extracted from the linoleic acid, which is usually found in essential oils such as evening primrose, black currant and other seed oils. Depending on the a person’s diet and nutritional intake, the GLA may not be able to extracted in this manner. The reason for this may be that if a person lives an unhealthy lifestyle where their diet is filled with alcohol, smoking, trans-fat and habits like smoking. These habits will put a halt on the conversion from linoleic acid to GLA. Fortunately, it’s fairly simple to provide the body with the appropriate amount of GLA that is necessary to burn the essential amount of fats that are accumulated from a high calorie, high fat diet. Since GLA originates in seed oils, the body can actually skip the need to be extracted from the linoleic acid and fortunately go directly to burning the body’s extra fat.

Evening primrose

If a person is looking to increase the amount of Omega fatty acids when they are extracting the GLA from the linoleic acid, it’s highly suggested to use black currant seed oil in order to begin this process. Most recommended dosages of GLA that is extracted from the black currant seed oils should be approximately 200 to 3,000 milligrams maximum daily. Essential fatty acids are some of the healthy fats that are naturally in some food. They serve as an essential part of the body’s nutritional intake in order for the body to function and weight loss to happen naturally. GLA comes in the form of supplements, which is one of the most concentrated ways to consume it and thus yield the quickest results for the losing weight process. In order for the GLA supplement to begin successfully stimulating the weight loss process, it’s important for consistent exercise and a well-balanced diet to be implemented.

Weight loss due to GLA supplementation has been due to the decrease in appetite that it renders. It also has the ability to decrease body fat by effecting the enzymes that metabolize glucose and fats that the body takes in. Most people who suffer from depression or anxiety tend to eat a bit more, which is due to a lack of serotonin. GLA for weight loss supplements assist with regulating an individual’s levels of serotonin, a chemical in the brain which let the body know when it’s full after eating. GLA will balance out the level of serotonin, so that the individual will not feel the need to eat more when they are depressed or feeling anxious.

Advocates for the use of GLA supplements believe that a wide range of maladies may be helped from their use. People with breast cancer or colon polyps may find relief from daily usage. High cholesterol may be lowered and the effects of chronic fatigue may be lessened when GLA is used on a regular basis. Studies of GLA’s effect on heart disease and attention deficit disorder are also being done.

PMS symptoms

There are several areas where the use of GLA has been documented with varying degrees of success. Many women who suffer PMS symptoms monthly have experienced less irritability, breast pain and tenderness and bloating after taking GLA. It has also been noted that hot flashes seem to lessen after taking the supplement.

Other interesting benefits include those found in the areas of the skin. With aging or exposure to the sun the skin becomes dry and less smooth. The elasticity of aged skin lessens and sagging occurs. GLA benefits the skin by aiding in cell repair and giving the skin the ability to retain more moisture. This in turns produces skin that is smoother and skin that shows fewer wrinkles.

Joint pain and stiffness

One of the best known benefits is its ability to reduce inflammation. People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis have availed themselves to the properties of GLA to help reduce joint pain and stiffness. It should be noted that it takes one to three months for any lessening of symptoms to occur. Others who suffer with eczema or psoriasis have also experienced a noticeable difference after using GLA supplements.

There are presently laboratory tests being done that hope to show how GLA benefits will include the slowing down of the growth of cancer cells. There are other lab tests being done that hope to prove that GLA will be beneficial in reducing high blood pressure and the pain that is brought about by fibrocystic breast syndrome. Others tests hope to show how diabetics with nerve damage may be helped by taking the supplement.

One more thing to pay attention to GLA is the daily dosage you take. There should be very clear instructions on the bottle outlining the recommended daily dosage. The most common daily dosages for adults fall in the 500 to 1,000 mg range, usually depending on what they are taking the supplement for. Those taking GLA for high cholesterol tend to go with higher doses than those taking it for arthritis pain, but again, this is something that you should discuss with your doctor.

How Do I Know If My Multivitamin Safe?

The Best Multivitamin – What is In It and What is Not?

Nearly 50% of adults take a multivitamin. How do you know you are getting what you need? How do you know are not getting what you don’t need? Most vitamin companies that sell their wares in the grocery and health food stores, do not have proof or studies showing that they actually work. Some even contain dangerous toxins like sodium selenite and selenate that do more harm than good. Taking some multivitamins does nothing good at all for our bodies, they just drain the bank account and make you think multivitamins don’t work.

If many of us use a multivitamin anyway why not re-route the money going toward dangerous and ineffective pills to a product that actually works and has the proof to back it up? I came across an article and comments that help back up the philosophy I am talking about. If you are going to buy vitamins, arm yourself with the knowledge you need to make the best product decision possible. Changing brands can change your life.

Read the label; not all vitamins are the same. Some are made with synthetic fillers and modified forms of the nutrient. The only kind of vitamin supplement you should be taking is the one most like whole food. The best way to get your nutrition is by eating non-genetically modified foods so that you know the nutritional value of that food is not diminished. The soil nutrients are being depleted of selenium. To remedy this most companies add back in the lost selenium with a synthetic one. Opening the door for synthetic tampering of supplements and foods. When people genetically modify food the nutritional value of that food goes down; that is another reason taking a high quality supplement is so important in today’s day of food quantity instead of quality.

Quality is the most important ingredient in a supplement. Not many companies do quality testing on their products, let alone third party tests. Only Shaklee does over 1,000 quality tests each time they make Vita-lea; a convenient and easy open packet of every vitamin and mineral your body needs to feel its best every day. Not only do they do their own tests, they have many third party laboratories study their products as well. Since January of 2011 Shaklee already has 3 clinical studies published that are more than most vitamin companies have in total. And the studies and proofs keep coming.

Here is some information on what to look for in your vitamins and the kind of supplements you are using…

 If Your Multivitamin Contains These Ingredients – Dump them now

sodium selenite

Both sodium selenite and selenate are classified as dangerous and toxic to the environment. They can be carcinogenic and genotoxic, and may contribute to reproductive and developmental problems in animals and humans. Nonetheless, they are the primary forms of the mineral sold on the mass market today.

Most mass-market vitamins actually contain chemicals that the EPA has banned from public drinking water at levels above 50 parts per billion. That’s the equivalent of a tablespoon of water in an Olympic-size swimming pool.

If supplements are so good for us, why aren’t we getting healthier?

Part of the reason could be that many people mistakenly believe that a vitamin is a vitamin, and one form of a mineral is equal to any other, failing to understand the inherent differences between synthetic chemicals and whole food nutrients. Many also mistakenly use supplements as a way to avoid having to change their dietary habits. But the proof is in the pudding, as they say, because if you eat a diet consisting primarily of processed junk food, and take cheap synthetic vitamins and minerals, you’re not likely to see a major change in your health status…

It has always been my belief that supplements should be used in addition to, NOT in place of, a sound diet. You simply cannot cover your nutritional- or lifestyle “sins” by taking a handful of supplements.

Why Selenium Supplements have Become More Popular

Selenium is an essential trace mineral found primarily in plant foods, and is known to have powerful antioxidant activity. Past studies have shown it can play a beneficial role in:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Cognitive decline
  • Cataracts and macular degeneration
  • Cold sores and shingles
  • Osteoarthritis

The selenium content in whole plant foods depend on the level of the nutrient in the soil, and, unfortunately, many farming areas around the world are becoming increasingly selenium depleted. Most of the selenium is also lost when the food is processed or refined, so unless you consume lots of whole organic produce, you may be at risk of selenium deficiency.

It is because of these facts that supplements containing selenium have increased in popularity in the United States, to the extent that close to 25 percent of Americans over 40 take a selenium supplement or multivitamin that includes selenium. However, supplementing with sodium selenite and selenate may do more harm than good…

 Beware of Inorganic Selenium

As explained earlier, sodium selenite and selenate are two potentially problematic ingredients found in many multi-vitamins. According to PAN, a database for pesticide chemicals, both sodium selenite and sodium selenate are classified as “Highly Toxic,” based on oral administration trials using rabbits and rats.  And according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the highest allowable level of selenium in public drinking water is 50 parts per billion, which is equivalent to 50 micrograms, dry weight.

Studies have shown that:

  • Long-term exposure to selenium, sodium selenite, sodium selenate, or selenium dioxide may cause paleness, coated tongue, stomach disorders, nervousness, metallic taste and a garlic odor of the breath. Damage to the liver and spleen in animals has also been observed, according to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  • According to the 1986 edition of the Handbook of the Toxicology of Metals, daily intake of about one milligram of selenium as selenite can be toxic.
  • In one study, sodium selenite was found to induce substantial DNA damage in human fibroblasts.
  • More recent research also indicates that too much selenium may contribute to the onset of diabetes.

It’s very important to realize that these potentially toxic chemicals are some of the primary forms of selenium sold as dietary supplements on the market today. As discussed in earlier, such inorganic minerals cannot replace biologically active trace minerals.

Other Problematic Ingredients Found in Many Multi-Vitamins

In the U.S., many supplement makers add so-called ‘flowing agents’ into their capsules. Two common additives are:

  • Magnesium stearate
  • Titanium dioxide

Now, neither of these will cause any major harm in small doses. But they do add up over time, and magnesium stearate can cause a biofilm to be created in your intestine, which will prevent the absorption of nutrients.  The only purpose of it in the supplement is to help the raw materials become more slippery and easily flow through the machines that create the supplements.

Magnesium stearate is not a supplemental source of magnesium but rather a form of stearic acid. It’s essentially chalk, and previous research has shown that it suppresses your natural killer cells, which are a key component of your immune system. Unfortunately, this chalk filler stimulates your gut to form a biofilm – a sort of sludge lining – that acts as an effective barrier to the absorption of not only that particular vitamin but all the nutrients you’d normally get from food sources as well. This is a major reason for focusing on nutritional foods rather than taking handfuls of vitamins each day.

Titanium dioxide is another absolutely unnecessary color agent you don’t want to see in your supplements, as it has been shown to cause autoimmune disorders.

The Problem with Synthetic Vitamins

Most natural health experts agree on one thing: No matter which foods you eat, whole foods are far better for you than refined foods. So why do some people believe the rules of nutrition would suddenly change when it comes to vitamins and other nutritional supplements?

Whole food supplements are what their name suggests: Supplements made from concentrated whole foods. The vitamins found within these supplements are not isolated or synthetic. Rather they are highly complex structures that combine a variety of enzymes, coenzymes, antioxidants, trace elements, activators and many other unknown or undiscovered factors that work together synergistically, to enable this vitamin complex to do its job in your body.

Synthetic nutrients, on the other hand, are not natural, in that they are never found by themselves in nature. When you take these isolated nutrients regularly, especially at the ultra-high doses found in formulas today, it’s more like taking a drug… At best, they will not benefit you as much as high quality food and food-based supplements. And at worst, they may cause problems.

Nature does not produce any nutrient in an isolated form. The nutrients in foods are blended together in a specific way and work best in that format. For an isolated nutrient to work properly in the body, it needs all the other parts that are naturally present in the food too. If the parts are not all there from the start, they are taken from your body’s stored supply. This is why isolated nutrients often work for a while, then seem to stop working.

Once your body’s store of the extra nutrients is used up, the isolated nutrient you’re taking just doesn’t work as well anymore. Worse yet, a deficiency in these extra nutrients can be created in your body.

Studies also show your body treats these isolated and synthetic nutrients like xenobiotic (foreign substances). This is why your urine will oftentimes turn some shade of glow-in-the-dark yellow when you take certain synthetic vitamins, as your body simply flushes these foreign substances out.

How to Identify High Quality Multi-Vitamin Supplements?

We do believe that dietary supplements — including vitamins and minerals — can help compensate for some of the damage your body incurs through modern living. However, it’s not wise to use supplements to justify a poor diet. In my experience no amount of supplements will ever be able to substitute for healthy food choices…

There are times when supplements can be quite useful, such as a high quality animal-based omega-3 supplement, for example, are essential for nearly everyone. This is because the main source of animal based omega-3 fats in your diet comes from fish – most of which is now so grossly polluted with heavy metals, PCBs and other environmental toxins that no longer are recommended sources for optimal omega 3 levels. Another supplement that many people need is vitamin D3, unless you can get sufficient amounts of safe sun exposure year-round, or use a safe tanning bed.

Another incredibly useful supplement is probiotics, which influence the activity of hundreds of your genes, helping them to express in a positive, disease-fighting manner. You can get these healthy bacteria from eating fermented foods, and if you eat them enough you will keep your digestive tract well supplied with good bacteria, but there may still be times when a probiotic supplement is necessary, such as when you stray from your healthy diet and consume excess grains or sugar; if you have to take antibiotics; or when traveling to foreign countries for example.

 There are other instances when supplements may be useful as well, such as in the case of CoQ10 if you’re taking statin drugs, but their effectiveness depends largely on the quality of the supplement itself.

You may also want to take one or more food-based supplements to ensure you are getting an adequate variety of nutrients. However, I strongly recommend you make whole food supplements your first choice, and steer clear of synthetic vitamins.  How do you tell whether or not a supplement you’re looking at is a good choice?

For starters, make sure it has the following characteristics:

  • It is as close as possible to its natural (whole food) form.
  • Use independent third party labs that check the raw materials for contaminants and correct dosage.
  • Follows industry standards for quality assurance including ISO 9001, ISO 17025 and NSF Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) certifications.
  • The utmost care has been taken in all phases of its production, from growing its ingredients, to manufacturing, testing for potency and quality control.
  • It works! Always try to select from companies that have a long track record of providing high quality products that produce good clinical results.

If you are interested in optimizing your health your BEST solution is to choose the highest quality foods possible, and eat a wide variety of whole organic foods. Once you have addressed your diet and are looking for further improvement, odds are you would likely benefit from some supplements, like an animal-based omega-3 supplement and a probiotic, for example. There are many others you could consider depending on your specific circumstances, but just about everyone would benefit from these two.

Just remember to do your homework first and use only those that come from a reputable manufacturer using whole-food, natural ingredients that are free from additives, and have gone through a vigorous quality control process.






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