These days, people are becoming more conscious of the importance of health in living a long and happy life. With that knowledge, there is a lot of conflicting information out there on how to eat healthy and using supplements.
Some say "if you eat a healthy diet, supplements are not necessary" but is that true? In reality, it’s nearly impossible to get optimal levels of nutrients through food alone. You can get the basic, minimum required amounts, but not the optimum amounts.
The Journal Of The American Medical Association (JAMA) has stated, “[…] Suboptimal intake of some vitamins, above levels causing classic vitamin deficiency, is a risk factor for chronic diseases […] it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements.” (Read the abstract here.)
Stress, exercise and hectic lifestyles also increases the amount of antioxidants the body needs; the basic RDAs (Recommended Daily Allowance) just aren’t enough. Think of the supplements as insurance against nutritional deficiencies, and a boost to help propel your cells to optimal functional levels. Nothing replaces a healthy, balanced diet filled with fresh, whole foods. And taking supplements doesn't give you a license to eat junk food unrestrained.
The reason people think supplements don’t work is because, truthfully, many of them don’t. The giant bottle of 1,000 daily once-per-day-tablets that you buy the same place you get your tires most likely won’t harm you, but they are also unlikely to be much benefit. Even worse, numerous supplements on the market today aren’t “clean” (e.g. fish oil can be highly contaminated with mercury if not distilled properly.)
My philosophy with supplements is to purchase only from companies who specialize in making them, and are recognized for being experts in their field, because, in my opinion, health is wealth. It's important that the supplements are backed by scientific research. The health and wellness industry is a lucrative, billion dollar industry, which means it's very attractive to entrepreneurs who may have zero knowledge in creating a legitimate, effective product.
I would rather spend a little extra to have something effective and potent, instead of cheaping out on something that doesn’t work. Saving a few extra dollars might feel like you’re making a smart choice, but you’re really just wasting money on a product that falls short. Stop purchasing the cheapest supplements you can find on the clearance rack, and get them from a reputable company that is known for their research & development, and stringent manufacturing processes.
In the long run, investing in high-quality products will actually save you money. Most companies outsource the production of their supplements, so take a look at the label, and do your research. "The Comparative Guide To Nutritional Supplements" is an excellent 3rd party study – you can find it on Amazon for around $20), or you can look online at Consumer Lab.
USANA’s dietary supplements are also tested by NSF International —an independent, nonprofit organization that certifies products to help protect consumers — and HFL Sport Science — one of the world’s premier independent drug surveillance laboratories, to make sure their products have correctly labeled ingredients and do not contain banned substances.
More than 1000 world-class athletes, including the Women’s Tennis Association and the U.S. Ski and Snowboarding Association trust USANA’s products because they know what’s listed on the label is actually what’s in the bottle. Not only that, they are the only company to have what they call an "athlete guarantee", which means they offer up to a 1 million dollar guarantee that an athlete will not test positive for any banned substance included in World Anti-Doping Agency regulations as a result of taking USANA nutritional products. To date, no nutritional supplement company has stepped forward to assume their portion of the liability that a banned substance contamination would create.
Each of USANA’s products carries a Potency Guarantee, ensuring that what is defined on the label is actually contained in the product. Each bottle has the signature of the founder on it because he personally guarantees the quality.
Here are my criteria for choosing supplements: potency, bioavailability, clinically tested for purity and safety, manufactured by a legitimate R&D company, and reasonable price for value.
Keep in mind that supplements may not spoil like fresh produce, but they will gradually lose potency over time. While taking those expired vitamins may not be dangerous, it’s definitely less beneficial. So get in the habit of consuming your dietary supplements regularly as directed on the label to get the most value and benefit.
Technically, supplements that are stored properly in unopened bottles should last at least two years before any loss of potency occurs. Once they are opened, they should hold up for at least one year.
Dietary supplements are regulated and subject to detailed and comprehensive regulations to uphold safety and quality. However, the standard that the FDA holds for manufacturing nutritional supplements and pharmaceuticals are vastly different. Nutritional supplements are regulated with the food standard, which are much less exacting than the standard used for pharmaceuticals, which is because it could mean the difference between life and death for a patient.
USANA operates an FDA-registered facility, following the FDA’s highest possible standard for manufacturers. They voluntarily follow the stringent GMP for pharmaceuticals, which means their dietary supplements are manufactured under the same standards as over-the-counter medications. Formulas developed in USANA’s laboratories use only the highest quality ingredients and are modeled after Good Manufacturing Practices. USANA manufactures most of its products in its own state-of-the-art facilities. To ensure that the formulas are produced consistently, the same process is followed each time manufacturing begins. USANA tracks every manufacturing detail from start to finish — from the verification of raw materials to final testing of finished products.
I’ve chosen USANA as my exclusive product partner because they fit the bill for the criteria I listed above, including a 5-star rating in the Comparative Guide To Nutritional Supplements, pharmaceutical-quality manufacturing standards, excellent customer service, and great prices.
Interesting fact: you’d have to eat 22,000 calories per day and spend more than $33 per day to get the same amount of nutrients found in a daily dose of the USANA CellSentials Multivitamin alone!
My mom has been a USANA partner for over 10 years so I've been taking their supplements since I was a kid. I wasn't very good with swallowing pills when I was young, so I wasn't consuming them consistently. It wasn't until I had an adverse reaction to a cat when I went with my sister and mom to visit my sister's college roommate's family, did I realize what a difference they really make. Now, I wouldn't go a day without them because of the difference in my skin, immune system, energy levels, and overall health & wellbeing.
Do your research and find out what you need. You know your nutritional needs aren’t the same as your friends’ or coworkers’, so why are you buying into the latest “one-size-fits-all” fad you stumbled across while browsing in the grocery store?
Did you know there are health assessments out there designed specifically to help you discover what nutrients your body may be lacking? They even pinpoint habits that might be creating a negative impact on your health and provide feedback on what you can do to turn those habits into positive lifestyle choices.
Those assessments are great, but there’s really nothing more valuable than the insight you can get from a trusted physician. If you’re really curious about what’s going on with your body, pay a visit to your doctor and get some blood work done.