As a compounding pharmacist, my team specializes in creating custom tailored medications for our patients. We have worked very hard for almost 40 years to develop a national reputation for adherence to the highest standards with regards to quality, safety and delivering the most effective medications for our patients. So, what does that have to do with supplement quality? Please read on.
A big part of my job is to perform in-depth clinical consultations for our patients and Professional Supplements are always a significant part of the treatment plan. The end goal is to improve each patient's health, quality of life and prevention or reversal of disease. When a consult patient improves, then our main goal is met- which we refer to as a "positive patient outcome".
With regards to supplement use- three factors insure the anticipated clinical response:
- The right supplement must be chosen- correct formula, dosage of ingredients and quality of those ingredients.
- The practitioner must know the clinically effective dose.
- The patient must adhere to the dosage schedule.
A problem I often encounter is sub-par quality of the supplements used. Patients naturally gravitate to the least expensive supplement available. In the world of supplements, unfortunately, there is a lack of regulation (e.g., FDA) and the supplement industry is full of unethical players. These manufacturers choose cost containment over quality. I often say, "the most expensive supplement is the one that DOES NOT WORK!".
In our pharmacy, the quality of the chemicals and the compounding processes we use make a HUGE clinical difference in the effectiveness of the custom medications we prepare. Likewise, in the supplement industry, quality ingredients, the best manufacturing processes, testing and research may drive up costs but those professional supplement lines stand "head and shoulders" above other cheaper, mass produced lines.
A real example regularly seen in my practice would be Vitamin D3. I order serum testing of D3 levels to make sure our patients are getting the proper therapeutic response. A patient reports they are taking D3 10,000 units per day and when I get the lab result back- their level is a disappointing 59 ng/ml. When I change that same patient to a professional quality supplement like D3 Active or D3 10,000 + K, the level jumps to 90 ng/ml. We experience similar testing results in our patients with DHEA, Pregnenolone,and Alpha Lipoic Acid, just to name a few. Our patients are regularly WOWed by the difference. Sure, the higher quality supplement is more expensive but when it comes to health and quality of life, isn't it worth it?
I urge you to please make your supplement choices based on this knowledge- choose efficacy over price. Your health depends on it!
Jim Hrncir, RPH. Jim is a nationally recognized leader in Integrative Medicine and proponent of Optimum Therapeutic Solutions.