The 411 About Supplements Part 2

Larg3_24_2009Chinese-Herbs

The post “The 411 About Supplements,”  which I wrote a couple of days ago, provided a link to another website that explained how vitamins and supplements are made. What caught my attention was finding out that 70% of vitamin C is made in China. Vitamin C is made from corn or soy, gmo corn and soy. That bothers me. China not only sells us vitamins made from genetically modified ingredients, it has a reputation for selling us products contaminated with lead. Did I mention the vitamin C is made from gmo corn and soy?

What else is hiding in our supplements and herbs? Who is looking out for us, the consumer? Last February GNC was one of the companies busted for selling fake herbs. How long had that been going on before the FDA found out? I thought GNC was one of the good guys.

I Googled my question and found an article in Mother Earth Living Magazine, titled, ” 5 Herbal Supplement Companies You Can Trust.”  I read what the author had to say and then researched each brand myself. When it comes to health, I don’t trust any one source. There is too much fraud these days and not just about our food, but that’s another post.

I contacted most of the companies directly on their list and asked them, “Are the raw materials used in your herbs and supplements from China? And how do you guarantee they are safe?” The following are their responses:

I asked my question on Rainbow Light Nutritional Systems Facebook page :

Rainbow Light sources raw materials from countries all over the world. Some ingredients, such as Traditional Chinese herbs, are available only from China. Regardless of the country of origin, all of our raw materials are tested for potency and/or identity where applicable, in addition to heavy metals, pesticides and micro’s. For certified organic materials, vendors must meet USDA organic certification standards and must pass audit by officially licensed certifying agencies, even if the material is grown or processed outside of US borders. Interestingly, Chinese law does not permit GMO’s in human food manufacturing, so China is seen as an emerging positive resource for companies looking to use non-GMO ingredients for their food and dietary supplement products.

Me: What? The last 3 sentences is what got me.  A year ago I wrote a post about a Chinese TV personality by the name of Mr. Cui, who is leading the march against  gmos in his country. After reading the response from RLNS,  I found an article in the Library of Congress that states, GMO foods have been around since 1997, starting with tomatoes. RLNS maybe uses organic materials, but the person answering my question has no clue, when it comes to China and their use of gmos.

I emailed NOW Foods and this was their response:

We source ingredients from all over the world including China. NOW audits its suppliers and thoroughly tests its raw materials to avoid supporting bad manufacturers while avoiding contaminated products.  We  test our ingredients for identity, purity, potency and safety (heavy metals, microbes, contaminants). We back up our testing with state-of the-art analytical, physical, sensory and microbiological laboratories here on-site. So, ingredients are tested in the US, encapsulated/tableted in the US and bottled in the US.  http://www.nowfoods.com/Quality/Are-Supplements-Safe/

Me: So they do test raw materials and their website says they are gmo free.

I found New Chapter online and found out they sold out to Proctor and Gamble in 2012. Enough said there.

Gaia Herbs:

Their herbs are organic and most of their plants are grown in the United States. I did not contact them because my questions were answered on their website.

I spoke to the customer service rep on the phone from Herb Pharm:

She told me that any raw materials they buy are sample tested for purity, no matter where they come from. China is one of the many countries they source from.

Barlean’s Organic Oils:

They are verified non gmo and that’s good enough for me.

Whole Earth Sea:

This company is based in British Columbia. They state their ingredients are non gmo, organic and grown in B.C. They seem to only sell in health food stores, so check and see if they are in a store near you. Amazon has online retailers who sell it, BUT I have read too many complaints from consumers who bought similar products that were counterfeit. I only buy books and CDs from Amazon. Actually, I did buy some kind of salve that was supposed to clear up my eczema and all it did was make it worse. The company who makes and sells it would not refund my money, but offered to give me another jar free of charge. If it didn’t work the first time, why would I use it again? When it comes to supplements, I buy direct from the manufacturer, in store, or from Vitacost.

Nature’s Sunshine:

You can either become a member to buy their herbs at a discount or buy from a distributor in your area. I talked with their customer service rep and he said they test the raw materials before using them in their products and yes, a lot of the herbs come from China. Many of the herbs they buy are certified organic, but there are also wild-crafted herbs mixed in, so they cannot use the organic certified seal. What are wild-crafted? Plants that grow naturally in the wild that are harvested.

Well, that’s pretty much the only ones I found (so far) online. I’m glad to know that most of the companies I researched do test raw ingredients. Since I get my nutritional needs met from eating mostly raw, organic foods, I don’t buy a lot of herbs and supplements. You can bet, I won’t buy vitamin C anytime soon. I’ll stock up on oranges instead.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that companies merge with bigger corporations all the time, so you must make sure the company you buy from today hasn’t changed ownership in the future. New Chapter was sold 2 months after they were in the magazine article. Yes, New Chapter is organic, but Proctor and Gamble paid a lot of money to stop gmos from being labeled. Why is that?  I don’t trust anyone who fights to keep us from knowing what’s in our food. I won’t buy anything they sell.  Also, just because a magazine or blogger says something is safe doesn’t make it true. You must do your homework!

Be well and stay informed,

Inge

 

 

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The 411 on Supplements

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Do you know what’s in your vitamins and supplements? Click here to find out.

Be well and stay informed,

Inge

Multivitamins are Getting a Bum Rap

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Vitamins are back in the news again. It is being reported by mainstream media that we don’t need them. As usual, the media didn’t go into detail of what the study actually said. I hope to clear things up.

To begin with, two major studies were done. One had to do with men’s brains and their memory, and the other had to do with the prevention of heart disease among people who already had a heart attack. Both studies were done by the Annals of Internal Medicine. The report said that vitamins did not do anything to help with those.

But the report I listened to from my local NPR station forgot to mention that. They just made a blanket statement that vitamins are a waste of money. Dr. Cynthia Mulrow from the institute of Medicine was quoted as saying, “People over time and particularly people in the United States have been led to believe that vitamin and mineral supplements will make them healthier, and they’re looking for a magic pill.”

Well duh! Isn’t that what most people want these days? I run across that mentality over and over when I speak with cancer patients. They want the drugs to work fast so they can go on with their lives and abusing their bodies. They don’t stop to think how they ended up that way. Most think its, 1. fate 2. genetics (its proven that disease is only 10-30% genetics and the rest is environmental or lifestyle). It’s the same with supplements. I know some who pop a daily multi vitamin and continue to eat junk food, smoke and drink alcohol. They are fooling themselves. It’s only a matter of time when their lifestyle choices will catch up with them.

My guess is when they do get sick, they will want a ‘magical’ pill to make them well or at least feel better. I can think of at least two people who have type 1 diabetes — they take their insulin BUT continue to eat sugary foods — both have lost limbs from their disease but they don’t seem to want to give up the very foods that caused their problems in the first place. I don’t understand it.

I will agree that most of the vitamins available today are junk. They contain more fillers than actual good stuff. I also agree there are herbs being sold to us that do not contain what is on the label. As with anything of importance, I suggest ‘buyer beware.’

So how does one know which ones to trust?  I have a list on “Make Mine GMO Free” section. I continue to add to the list as I find them. There also is an online company that researches herbs and supplements called ConsumerLab.com. They were featured on the Doctor Oz Show recently.

I take B12 and vitamin d3. I went to my oncologist a few months ago and asked her to check my vitamins levels as part of my 3 month blood work checkup. I was low on both vitamins I mentioned. I suggest you do the same. It couldn’t hurt to see where your vitamin levels are. If yours are fine then don’t take supplements.

If you think you’re getting your vitamins from your processed food, your kidding yourself. Most of those so-called fortified vitamins are junk. Let’s take Tums as an example. The commercial ads claim that Tums is fortified with calcium and that’s good for women with Osteoporosis. Sounds good right? Wrong! Tums is an antacid and since it stops acid, it also nullifies the effects of calcium — calcium needs stomach acid to be absorbed by the body.

Children’s chewable vitamins contain sugar or aspartame and food coloring. Those ingredients are not healthy and do not belong in vitamins.

If you eat the standard American diet (SAD) you probably are nutrient- deficient. If we were getting the right amount of nutrients, we wouldn’t be getting sick. Our gut is where all the action is. Keep your gut happy and you will probably be healthier.

If you do eat fruits and vegetables, are they organic? Conventional produce is grown in soil whose nutrients are depleted from all the herbicides. Roundup comes to mind. It contains Glyphosate,  a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds. Recent studies showed Glyphosate to be in human urine. Does that sound good to you? If the soil doesn’t have the right amount of nutrients, how can the produce grown in it?

Then there is the problem with genetically modified foods (GMOs). Independent studies done outside the United States (due to Intellectual Property issues and possible lawsuits) show a myriad of health issues showing up. GMOs are also in many supplements.

Organic contains a  great deal more nutrients and there is no herbicide residue. You also don’t have to worry about GMOs.

I know of many testimonials from cancer patients who added supplements to their treatment regimen. They are now cancer free, but they also changed their diets. Here is one testimonial:


So in a nutshell,  If you’re not sure you are deficient, get your blood tested. Supplements work for me. If you decide to take them, do your research first. But none of them should be taken in place of eating healthy organic foods.

Be Happy and Healthy!

Inge