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  • Writer's pictureNatalia. Integrative and Functional Medicine Nutritionist


According to studies around 85% of Americans take supplements, and with good reason! Supplementation is a great way to get enough vitamins & minerals for optimal health.

But not all supplements are the same! You might be wasting your money and risking your health with poor quality, contaminated or mislabeled formulas.

These are some of the things you should be aware as a consumer before purchasing supplements.


Last week a client asked for my opinion on a hormonal balance supplement she got on Amazon. Reading the label sparkled all kinds of concerns for me:

The ingredients seem right but why aren't the amounts listed?

How do you know if you are actually getting the therapeutic levels needed for the ingredients to be effective?

How do you know how much you are supposed to take per day?

This is a problem I see very often when it comes to over-the-counter, retail or online bought supplements:

labels that are not accurate,

ingredients that are not exact or pure,

products that are not stored correctly,

forms that are not bioavailable,

pills contaminated with things that aren't on the label.

The thing with supplements is that they work only when they are from a quality source and at therapeutic levels!

The difference between retail and professional brands is that the later are produced under quality standards, the formulas are created and approved by physician boards, and ingredients and clinical efficacy are tested by 3rd parties.

Remember that nutritional supplements are not regulated! The FDA does not test dietary supplements for safety or efficacy, it is the responsibility of each manufacturer to show that a product is safe and effective.

This means that when you order supplements through Amazon, or purchase them at the local health shop, you should be aware of the following.

What you see might not be what you get.

A New York Attorney General investigation found that many supplements in GNC, Walmart, Target and Walgreens didn't contain any or very little of what was claimed on the label.Even more, Boston Magazine found that 1 in 3 supplements are fake! Some counterfeit products have even made their way into Amazon's stock. The label says 60mg of Vitamin C but there's actually 20 mg or none at all.

You might be wasting your money.

You need some magnesium to help your sore muscles and you spot a cheap Magnesium Oxide formulation online. Later you find out the hard way that this formulation can't be absorbed by the body and it causes diarrhea!

The same happens with Iron Sulfate and Iron Citrate, or Folic Acid and Methylfolate, and a long etc.I know all this and will recommend what actually works, and yes, professional brands might not be as cheap as store-bought ones, but they are effective!

Quality control is a big issue

You know that Omega 3 is great for your health so you buy one of those big store brand jars of fish oil capsules. What you don't know is that each capsule is only 300mg so you have to take several per day for it to work. Furthermore, the oil might not be distilled correctly or may even be oxidized because it wasn't stored properly. A NY Times article found that Amazon's warehouses can reach 102 F! No supplement can withstand that temperature.

Professional brands have quality control measures for every step of the process, from choosing the right providers and manufacturers, to potency, quality and storage

The fact is that unless you buy your supplements from a reputable source that invests in quality and upholds high standards, you might be getting counterfeit, expired or ineffective products. When you buy from a professional grade dispensary you know you are getting something clean, tested and that you body can actually use.

As a healthcare professional I care about the health of my clients and want to help them heal the root cause of their health issues. That is why I keep up to date with the latest supplement studies and I research the quality of the ones I recommend.

That is why I offer professional high quality supplements through the Functional Nutrition & Wellness dispensary at Wellevate & Thorne, both of which offer quality products that actually work that I personally use and recommend to family & friends.

Almost everybody can benefit from supplementation, just make sure you know about the right doses, formulation, quality, therapeutic levels, uses and side effects. So don't waste your money and time! Consult a professional before purchasing.

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