What additives are in your supplements? Do you take the time to read the labels or just hunt for the cheapest price? People shop for discounted brands in pharmacies, online, from warehouse suppliers and health food stores, but many of these brands are poorly manufactured and contain harmful additives.
The cheapest supplements generally are synthetic, laboratory-created version of natural nutrients which have little therapeutic activity and often are poorly absorbed. They may contain only a fraction of the active ingredients found in the natural state, or be made from sources which are poorly utilized by human tissues, such as calcium (carbonate) from rocks or shells. Calcium carbonate is not well utilized and may deposit in joints, causing stiffness and swelling. Further, carbonates are often contaminated with heavy metals such as mercury and lead. Poor quality supplements contain fillers, and their synthetic molecules do not bend light correctly (DL forms rather than the D sugars or L amino acids). Benzene and its derivates, the benzoates, are known carcinogens which function as preservatives in many products including soft drinks, packaged foods and supplements. They are added to promote shelf life. The stearates, the most popular of which is magnesium stearate, is added as an anti-caking agent to prevent clogging of factory equipment when vitamin tablets and capsules are being manufactured.
While supplements in health food stores are generally assumed to be of higher quality, many health food brands contain stearates. Magnesium and other stearates are known to damage white blood cells, especially the vital components of immunity called helper T cells. Dr. Ellen Kamhi, formulator for BioBotanica and Nature’s Answer in Hauppage Long Island, recently presented research to the American Herbalists Guild, LI chapter which showed that stearates cause stiffening of the cell membranes of immune (T) cells, limiting their movement and ability to engulf invaders. This means that individuals regularly taking stearate-laden supplements may be actually hampering their immune system’s ability to fight invaders and to maintain vigilance to respond to tumor cell formation. Does this mean you shouldn’t take supplements? NO!! They are the best health insurance that we have, necessary because of the adulteration of our food supply, our farming practices, and to counter the pollution in our environment.
Professional brand supplements, available from clinical nutritionists, and from some chiropractors and naturopaths, are formulated with superior quality control are available without these harmful additives. And as long as Dr. Kamhi is the formulator at Long Island’s Nature’s Answer, which distributes supplements and herbs throughout the world, neither will that company compromise quality for the sake of profit. So read the labels on your supplements, especially package inserts. While you will pay more per bottle for professional brands, their absorption, metabolic utilization and lack of harm to your immune system make the price of professional and quality commercial supplements a wise investment in your health.