The Top Five Most Frequently Asked Questions About Supplements

1. How can I cut down on cost without sacrificing quality? Avoid the “extra” ingredients, such as lipoic acid, enzymes, primrose oil or inositol, to name only a few. These extras add cost, not value. Since they are either worthless or supplied in amounts too low to be of use. Also, avoid the “natural” products; they’re costly and usually provide no added benefit over other supplements. Then purchase bigger or “economy” size bottles when the unit price saves you money, and use the supplements before the expiration date.

2. Are time-release vitamins and chelated minerals better than regular supplements? No. these products are more show than substance. Most time-release supplements dissolve too slowly to be completely absorbed. Taking your multiple in divided doses throughout the day is a better, and less expensive alternative. There is no convincing evidence that chelated or colloidal minerals are any better absorbed or used by the body than other minerals.

3. When’s the best time of day to take a supplement? The time of day is not as important as what you take them with. Most nutrients are best absorbed when taken with meals and taken in divided doses throughout the day. Take a multiple with iron at a different meal than your calcium supplement, since these two minerals compete for absorption.

4. What do the letters USP mean on a supplement label? United States Pharmacopeia or USP is a nongovernmental standard-setting body. This seal of quality means the supplement should dissolve within the digestive tract, is made from pure ingredients and contains the amount of nutrients listed on the label.

5. Can I trust the claims on the label? Usually not. Claims that a product is “complete”, “balanced”, “high potency” or “specially formulated”, contains “extra antioxidants” or is a “multivitamin or multi-mineral” have little to do with the real formulations. Claims that a supplement will cure, treat or even prevent any health condition are more hype than fact.

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