How Effective Are Those Super Health Supplements?
Are you using expensive, industry leading, multi-nutrient health supplements? You know. The ones that advertisers market as super supplements that can reverse the signs of aging. The ones that 'may' assist in addressing (read 'cure') certain degenerative diseases?
You are no doubt well aware of all the promises of "strong, comprehensive, safe, and so on". Of course, they all contain 'only the finest clinically supported ingredients" to provide you with superior health and 'tangible' anti-aging benefits. Right? Maybe not.
By using the term 'anti-aging' the manufacturers are actually suggesting that they will slow down your aging process, (not reverse it), thereby addressing premature aging and the chronic disease it causes (which nowadays is effecting an OVERWHELMING majority of the adult population).
If you use one of these super supplements (i.e not cheap or supermarket grade products) then you're obviously health conscious and aware of your need to boost your diet with the power of nature, BUT..... I'm fairly sure that at some stage you've wondered to yourself just how much truth is in all the marketing claims for your particular brand of choice.
So, let's find out!
The Secrets of Super Health Supplements
If you are using a premium grade supplement - WELL DONE! Clearly you understand the importance of proactively taking control of your own health.
These days, a large percentage of the population knows exactly how difficult it is, day after day, to eat well and get a broad spectrum of all the necessary vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, herbs and other crucial nutrients from their diet in order to maintain vibrant health and avoid 21st-century diseases, particularly cancer which has become so prevalent in our society.
There's so much easily accessible information 'out there' that's it's hard not to be aware of this 'diet dilemma'. Of course, that's not to say that just because someone knows about it, they actually care about what they're shoveling into their bodies, or even that they are prepared to do something about it - such as taking a premium health supplement in conjunction with altering unhealthy lifestyle choices.
As a health-conscious consumer, you know the importantance of being sure that the supplements you trust your health to are all they claim to be and deliver on their marketing promises. Of crucial importance is 'value for the money' because eating well and taking a market leading supplements is certainly not cheap. None of us wants to waste our hard earned cash on ineffective products.
Unfortunately, not many supplements out there make the grade and even fewer offer good to great value for the money. Having worked for a world class nutritional supplement manufacturer, I can tell you that the number of authentic super supplements can be counted on just two hands. Even within this elite group there are tremendous differences in efficacy, quality and value for money.
In every marketplace, you'll find products that are leaders and offer higher value for the money than their competitors. Naturally, the supplement industry is no different. So, do you know what to look for when sizing up and choosing the best?
Cheaper supplements are weak and most struggle to produce even minimal results because they are missing key ingredients. As well, they are made with cheaper ingredients, in extremely small dose amounts, often well below the levels that offer the health benefits established through clinical studies. They also don't comprehensively target all of your organs and systems!
It's crucial to do your homework to ensure you end up with the best product the market has offer!
Professional grade supplements provide a superior ability to limit damage from the production of excessive free radicals in your body. This is one of the main things highlighted in their marketing promotions.
The 'excessive free radicals' issue is only one of the FIVE PRIMARY COMPONENTS OF AGING!
To slow down your aging process to a significant degree and bring it more in tune with what nature originally intended, supplements must also contain specialized (and costly) nutrients which target and address the other 4 fundamental 'aging components', namely:
- DNA Degeneration
It is this aspect of the formula that most qualifies a genuine super supplement!
I estimate that 99% of multi-nutrient health supplements (from the cheap supermarket multivitamins to most self-claimed super versions), only address the free radical component of aging. This is why they make so little headway and users notice no results after several months of use.
So, with all of this in mind, there are 5 important things to consider and address when you are looking for a premium nutritional product.
Is an expensive supplement automatically 'super'?
Does it contain EVERYTHING it promises on the packaging and in the EXACT dose amounts?
Is it's formula able to tackle all five major components of aging?
Does it offer excellent, average or poor value for money?
Are tactical marketing presentations and dishonest suppliers practicing deception to sell to you?
To find out, we need to take a look at some of the science behind supplements and the various ways in which manufacturers can mislead you.
What Ingredients Contribute to a Super Supplement?
Have you ever wondered if your health supplement lacks critical ingredients, thus making it weaker than it's marketing claims?
Did you know that almost all health supplements are made to fit a production budget? That means that since most supplement formulators and biochemists have to work within set cost limitations, they are not able to include all of the key ingredients that their expertise tells them should be there. The formulas they create are nowhere near as strong and effective as what the latest nutritional science recommends.
I can tell you that Most nutritional vitamins/health supplements promise the earth, but fail to deliver any noticeable results. I know from my from my first-hand experience in the industry,
If you're shaking your head and feeling confident that you're using a real super supplement, please note these ingredients:
Turmeric (high potency- 95+%)
L-Glutathione ('Reduced' /low molecular weight form only)
Resveratrol) ('Trans' form only)
Chrysin (men's versions)
These are 9 critical ingredients I picked at random. The reason being is that they are essential ingredients which must absolutely be included in any so-called super food supplement. They are important, highly efficacious (and very expensive) components of a professional grade nutritional health supplement. Despite their cost, they MUST BE THERE!
Are they in your supplement?
Now, let's zoom in on those all-important anti-aging ingredients.
These are specialized ingredients that can tackle excessive free radical production as well as glycation, abnormal methylation and chronic inflammation.
Antioxidants, as most health-savvy people know by now, are used to keep the free radical population within your body to adequate levels so as to minimize the oxidative damage they cause.
Remember above I mentioned that all nutritional health supplements tackle this component of aging.
Cheaper supplements include the well-known vitamin antioxidants - vitamins A, C, E and the trace mineral selenium but all of these are quite weak (and very
The leading multi-ingredient nutritional health supplements, however, do a far better job than their cheaper counterparts by including a number of the more powerful antioxidants like green tea, gingko biloba, alpha lipoic acid, lutein, bilberry and grape extract.
But none of these can compare to an exceptionally potent antioxidant like L-Glutathione.
L-Glutathione is a must ingredient for super supplements!
...it is ineffective in MOST supplements for 2 reasons.
The first is that it has to be included only in the far more expensive 'reduced' form. This is a smaller molecular size as ‘normal’ L-Glutathione will not pass through the intestinal walls into the blood stream. Due to the extreme price of reduced form L-Glutathione it is rarely used in the supplement industry.
Secondly, L-Glutathione must be protected as it passes through the stomach before being released in the upper intestine! This is the only place that L-Glutathione, when taken orally, can be effective.
Therefore, it can only be used in an 'ENTERIC COATED' supplement which protects it from exposure to stomach acid and guarantees its release in the upper intestine. Once again due to price controls, enteric coating is almost never used on multi-ingredient vitamin health supplements.
Use the link at the bottom of this article to see an amazing exception.
Although free radical damage is terrible for your health, glycation is even worse!
It is a complex issue involving the all-important protein molecules in your body. Aldehydes (let's call them 'Glycating Agents' for ease of understanding) can attach to your protein molecules and lead to a nasty process called cross-linking.
Cross-linking creates AGES (Advanced Glycation End-products) which create disastrous results for your health. They produce poisonous chemicals and toxic by-products as well as stimulating free radical production leading to further glycation. They contribute to heart disease and the collapse of collagen leading to WRINKLES.
Collagen loss can also increase the appearance of cellulite on the body. This frustrating condition can be improved through a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Glycation ACCELERATES YOUR AGING and is a catalyst for degenerative disease.
Super supplements can assist you in protecting yourself against glycation and the formation of AGES by including specialized anti-glycation agents in their formula.
The most important one is Carnosine because it attaches to glycating agents and NEUTRALISES them.
It also has the ability to put a protective shield around a protein molecule which already has a glycating agent attached to it. That shield prevents the protein molecule from ‘cross-linking’ with another protein molecule and forming an AGE.
There is no other natural substance that can duplicate the abilities of Carnosine!
Does your supplement contain Carnosine?
It's doubtful as it's a VERY expensive nutrient so it's not very common in the supplement industry. Most manufacturers simply cannot afford to include it.
The generally accepted effective dose rate is 50 – 150mg daily.
As is the case with so many other natural substances, Carnosine performs better when it is synergized with a wide range of other nutrients. It is for this reason that you should not take isolated doses of Carnosine and keep in mind that glycation is only one of the primary components of aging and degenerative disease!
The nutritional vitamin supplement I use includes 149mg of Carnosine in a daily dose. That's one of the key reasons I chose to originally begin trusting my health to it way back in 2000.
Methylation is a natural process in your body!
There are many chemicals in your body that need to be methylated in order to avoid serious health consequences.
A thorough explanation of methylation is too 'deep' for this article so please feel free to research it yourself (and I really recommend that you do.)
To keep things relatively simple and not bore many of you with scientific 'who-ha' let me just say this:
You need to take action to ensure balanced methylation in your body. With age your methylation becomes less efficient or even abnormal resulting in SERIOUS damage to your health and the onset of degenerative disease!
What to do?
Supplement with the nutrients your body needs to balance its methylation processes!
These 3 groups of compounds are what you want:
B Vitamins – B6, B12 and Folic Acid
Tri-Methyl-Glycine (TMG) – also known as 'Betaine'
However, they are not all equal in their levels of efficacy!
SAMe stands head and shoulders above the others as the best methylating agent!
Now, I'm sure you can guess what I'm about to say!
SAMe is another super expensive nutrient that is almost never found in multi-ingredient nutritional health supplements due to its extreme price.
Is it in your supplement?
It's there in mine!
And there's one further reason why you won't find SAMe in other supplements.
Just like the expensive L-Glutathione you read about above, SAMe is another key nutrient which is extremely vulnerable to stomach acid and so must be protected by enteric coating.
You will find supplements out there containing SAMe, particularly those for neurological disorders, that are NOT enteric coated. Beware! This is a clear indication of an amateur and disreputable manufacturer just out to make a quick buck.
My health supplement also contains all the other effective methylating agents:
B vitamins and Folic acid
Methionine and ATP
Chronic inflammation is yet another huge health destroying problem your body has to battle against.
If uncontrolled inflammation will cause mayhem to your health! There are scientists who consider chronic inflammation as the main contributor to age-related health damage.
Excessive inflammation causes toxic chemicals which eat away body tissues leading to heart disease, dementia, arthritis, and diabetes just to mention a few.
As with the other aging issues above inflammation is also not limited to a single thing or process. It is interrelated with these other causes.
NOTHING WORKS IN ISOLATION!
So, as I said above, you cannot take isolated doses of certain nutrients in the hope of just tackling free radical damage, or just glycation or just methylation or just chronic inflammation!
A successful anti-aging and wellness program is based on addressing everything!
There are very few supplements that can do that. The ones that can are the market's true super supplements.
Numerous Omega 3 fish oil supplements promote themselves as the answer to inflammation. Yes, the anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil are certainly of great use in reducing inflammation but their drawback is they address only one component of the much wider picture of inflammation.
One of the very dangerous chemicals associated with chronic inflammation is Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF). TNF actively promotes the degeneration of your brain and nerves! It is activated by a combination of free radicals and AGEs.
To keep the production of TNF as low as possible you need to take in nutrients such as calorie restriction mimics. The best-known one is Resveratrol.
That's another nutrient from that key nutrient list at the top of this article!
Does your supplement contain resveratrol? I hope so but be sure it's in the more expensive 'Trans' form and not in the cheaper 'Cis' form. Due to resveratrol's high price, supplements containing it usually contain inadequate dose amounts and low potencies of around 5 – 10%.
The best anti-inflammation nutrients to work in combination with omega 3 oil in reducing inflammation are:
Alpha Lipoic Acid
OK, so that covers the anti-aging ingredients. Now let's look at other parts of a super supplement formula.
How about powerful medicinal herbs?
Broad spectrum medicinal herbal extracts are vital for super nutrition and complete wellness. Their main role is to assist in safeguarding you against chronic disease. These are powerhouse disease-busting nutrients that you won't get in your everyday diet no matter how good it is.
Look for a good dozen or more standardized herbal extracts in any nutritional health supplement presenting itself as an elite super supplement.
NOTE: ALL medicinal herbal extracts MUST BE STANDARDIZED. This is your safeguard to making sure you actually get the correct amount of the all important active ingredient which the supplier is advertising.
Standardization is the GOLD STANDARD of the industry.
Since non-standardized herbal extracts are SIGNIFICANTLY CHEAPER than standardized ones, suppliers will slip non-standardized extracts into their formulas. Another thing to watch out for is in premium grade multi-ingredient health supplements where the supplement company will slip in a few non-standardized extracts while highlighting the other standardized extracts in their formulas. I've seen this in several of the industry's most well-known (and expensive) premium brands.
Now, one of the chief properties of a super supplement is its ability to power up your immune system.
So, what's the most potent immunity enhancer?
POLYSACCHARIDES – the best sources of which are aloe vera, tea polysaccharides and beta 1-3 glucan.
They're powerful long chain carbohydrate molecules which modulate and improve the biochemical activity of immune system cells.
A real super supplement will contain polysaccharides and back this up with several other well-established immunity nutrients (black cumin, olive leaf, CoQ10, Quercetin, manganese, zinc, beta carotene, vitamins C & E).
Other Key Nutrient Categories
Now for some more super ingredients. Clever marketers of inferior health supplements will not mention these ingredients because they can't afford to include them.
Gender specific support nutrients
Critical gender 'support' nutrients provide men with nutrients important to common male health conditions and likewise women with their gender specific equivalents. Examples of gender specific support nutrients for women include these well established key hormonal precursors which can balance the female hormonal cascade:
- Chaste Berry
Best support nutrients for MEN :
- Beta Sitosterol (Phytosterols)
- Red Clover
Chrysin is a particularly great bioflavonoid and a natural aromatase inhibitor. It helps to inhibit testosterone conversion to estrogen. The other ingredients in this list are the best clinically proven prostate protectors.
Remember, if a natural vitamin supplement markets itself as a type of super supplement, it is crucial that it includes nutrients to target ALL your organs and body systems. This means the supplement has to contain a very wide range of ingredients.
So, look again at your supplement. How many of the above ingredients are there?
My supplement has 97 INGREDIENTS because this is what's necessary to comprehensively and HOLISTICALLY target your entire health and well being.
Contract Manufacturing – No No No
Is your supplement put together by a contract manufacturer? It's highly likely!
Approximately 95% of nutritional vitamin supplements manufactured in the United States are contracted out and this is not want you want for your supplement! Contract manufacturers mostly stock the cheapest of ingredients many of which are extremely ineffective and some completely useless.
Super supplements do not come from contract manufacturing!
It is never a good idea to trust the quality of your supplement to a third party manufacturer. If this happens, control of vital manufacturing components is lost. These components include blending protocols, top notch manufacturing know-how not to mention of course the ingredients themselves.
One of the best ways to tell immediately whether a super supplement is all it's cracked up to be is to look at who has manufactured it. What you want to see is that the supplement company itself has manufactured it and controls every single part of the production cycle.
The foundation of supplement quality depends on the manufacturer independently testing raw ingredients for compliance with their Certificate of Analysis (COA). The ugly truth is however that a lot of manufacturers don't bother with this crucial testing in order to cut costs and increase profits.
The problem is that the incentive is not there for most contract manufacturers to test. They are producing for a third party which means they are in a highly competitive bidding situation.
Contaminated Ingredients - Be Aware
Have you ever considered the possibility that some of the ingredients in your supplement are contaminated because they haven't been tested and certified correctly?
It happens more than you might expect, especially when it comes to natural supplements and herbal extracts! For example some supplements contain small amounts of lead!
This means you should absolutely check the quality assurance measures for the supplement you are using or planning to use. Look at the company's website for information about testing protocols and raw ingredient quality. If there is no clear cut and detailed information on quality assurance, email the company and ask for it.
There is no point gambling with your health, right!
Unless you are completely sure a supplement makes the grade why risk throwing your money away on an inferior product that can't give you what you want from it.
Something else to think about is whether the manufacturer of your supplement checks (or knows to check) for harmful components of ingredients.
Is your supplement affecting your brain's neurochemistry?
Because that what can happen if a supplement manufacturer lacks the necessary manufacturing know-how.
A perfect example of this is that many supplement manufacturers use gingko biloba extract as an ingredient. But how many of them actually check (or know to check) the gingkolic acid levels which affect the neurochemistry of the brain?
And what about 5-HTP, another very popular supplement ingredient? I wonder how many manufacturers know to check the levels of Peak X, a component implicated in an outbreak of Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome some years ago?
Value for Money- How to Work It Out?
One of the key reasons for doing some 'supplement homework' is to be able to determine the value for money it offers. That's because vitamin supplements differ 'light-years' in the value for money they give you.
Now, the cheapest ingredients in supplements are the vitamins and minerals.
So, the first thing to do when working out the value for money a supplement gives you is to check the percentage of vitamins and minerals in the formula.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is an extremely cheap ingredient that manufacturers love to use to fill up their formulas with. Some highly efficacious ingredients, such as L-Glutathione, are EIGHTY times the price of vitamin C (about $15 per KILO!)
When researching super supplements, I discovered that some of the most popular, 'elite' supplements contained a massive 40% just vitamin C!
You may not know that research studies show that if you take more than 400mg of vitamin C at once, it changes to being a pro-oxidant in your body. This means it is CREATING free radicals rather than destroying them! This, in turn, means you are paying for something that actually helps increase premature aging and degenerative disease!
Other common examples of cheap ingredients include magnesium and calcium which some unscrupulous companies sneak in with way over the top dosages.
Yes, you do need a complete spectrum of vitamins and minerals in your supplement (except for iron which is a pro-oxidant) but not in high doses.
Vitamins and minerals primarily work as cofactors as well as filling in whatever is missing from your diet.
Some of the most well-known 'high quality' health/vitamin supplements contain an enormous 70% - 80% vitamin and mineral content! That's a rip off for the expensive price tags they come with.
The best super health supplements, on the other hand, have formulas primarily based on potent phytonutrients, amino acids, medicinal herbs, gender support nutrients, enzymes and other specialty nutrients. Naturally, they also contain a full spectrum of all essential vitamins and minerals but these makeup usually not more than 20% of the formula.
Super Supplement Manufacturing Criteria
Professional supplements are made by using the best professional blending protocols and manufacturing processes with state of the art equipment. Professional grade supplement manufacturers should be accredited with cGMP for dietary supplements by the U.S FDA in order to craft safe, high-quality professional grade supplements.
So, it is crucial that the manufacturer of your supplement hold U.S FDA cGMP Accreditation!
Accredited and Inspected for Your Peace of Mind
Have you checked whether the supplier of your supplement is accredited and inspected?
There are MANY disreputable and dishonest supplement manufacturers who don't care whether their products are effective (or even safe), as long as the money keeps rolling in. Others have better intentions but lack the critical manufacturing know-how it takes to produce a professional grade supplement.
Cost-cutting measures are often used by unscrupulous manufacturers and any technical oversights mean the quality of a supplement rockets downhill fast.
Super supplements are made at facilities which are compliant with US FDA cGMP (current good manufacturing practices).
In June 2007, the US FDA created new GMP for dietary supplement manufacture. And while these are much better than the regulations they supersede they still (at this stage) do not stop a manufacturer from putting out a bad supplement! That's why it is so important to check up on all the other details mentioned in this article.
It is crucial that you check whether the manufacturer of your supplement is US FDA cGMP compliant!
3d Is What You Want !
Is your supplement's manufacturer using the best state-of-the-art equipment to ensure your supplement contains EXACTLY the contents printed on its label?
When it comes to this topic the only thing you need to check on is the blender that is used to mix your supplement's formula together.
What is the most sophisticated blender?
Well, in order to get a PERFECT BLEND, especially when using low dose ingredients of differing densities, a 3D Blender is the best blender available. Pharmaceutical companies use this type of blender because it produces perfect blends with no stratification.
The supplement industry, however, doesn't often use 3D blenders because of their extreme expense. Instead, they use Tumble blenders. If your supplement company uses a 3D blender you have nothing to worry about. This demonstrates a total commitment to quality assurance and professionalism.
So, does your supplement company use a 3D mixer? If they do it will be clearly highlighted on their website that's for sure!
How Many Inactive Ingredients?
The final detail to consider is just how many non-active ingredients are lurking in your supplement.
Have you every wondered about the part on the ingredients label saying "Other Ingredients"?
In the industry, these ingredients are called excipients and they are inactive! They won't help your health but some are necessary to assist the manufacturing process.
The bottom line for excipients is simply this:
The more "other ingredients" your supplement contains, the less value for money you are getting!
Leading health supplements contain only a small amount of excipients.There is no magic number for how many should be there, but, in my opinion, the optimal range is less than 10. This small number definitely leads to manufacturing difficulties and extra expense for the manufacturing company but that is what is necessary to produce a superior natural health supplement product.
Cheaper supplements contain up to 50% excipients! They contain totally unnecessary amounts of fillers, preservatives, and binders.
Only naturally sourced excipients are used the best supplements. You absolutely don't want anything unnatural in yours.
Use the link at the end of this article to visit my website and blog to learn more about excipients and which ones should and shouldn't be in your supplement.
A super supplement should naturally also be free from potential allergens such gluten or dairy.
Taking a super supplement to support your health and adopt a preventative health approach to your life is probably the most important thing you can do for wellness and longevity. This is a good way to ensure you are healthy when you are older.
But as you've learned above genuine super supplements are few and far between. Many supplement companies promote their products as super supplements but a simple evaluation using the criteria I've outlined will reveal that most simply fall far short of the grade.
A real super supplement must not only contain a full range of vitamin and minerals, to top up any nutrient deficiencies you may be experiencing from your regular dietary practices but also go far past this in being able to target every organ and system in your body with the best nutrients that nutritional science has identified to date, particularly potent and expensive flavonoids, carotenoids and herbal extracts.
A super supplement formula will contain a large number of clinically proven effective ingredients (70, 80 90 or more) that come from ALL these nutrient categories:
Calorie Restriction Mimetics
And lastly, a super supplement must have a cutting edge formula which can offer real anti-aging health benefits to slow down the aging process by:
Using Antioxidants to reduce and control your free radical production
Preventing Glycation which leads to Age's
Balancing Methylation for Healthy DNA
Reducing Chronic Inflammation which contributes to degeneration.
- Using specialty bioactives to repair and slow down DNA Degeneration
So, after reading this page - just how SUPER is your health supplement?