When it comes to supplements, the options are endless and prices variable, with Professional brands being the most expensive. The goal of this article is to educate consumers on what professional products are and will aim to shed some light on how to approach supplementing in an informative manner.
All supplements are not created equal. They differ in the purity of ingredients, the source of ingredients, bioavailability of ingredients and the way in which they are manufactured. Some companies will follow more rigorous protocols to ensure efficacy of the end products. This is what creates major differences amongst supplement companies and the ever so varying price points!
Why I recommend professional products?
1. Source of materials
- Some companies source pure raw materials as opposed to standardized raw materials that may be bound to other substances
2. Manufacturing Processes
- Extra steps can be taken throughout the development process of a supplement to guarantee the most efficacious end product. Certain companies have an in-house laboratory or third-party testing to test the stability, quality, purity and strength of their products. These extra steps are what make some supplements more pricey than others.
3. Added Ingredients
- Some companies go above and beyond to ensure the products have minimal ingredients with fewer binders and fillers. Here are some non-therapeutic ingredients to look out for: aspartame, sugar, corn syrup, food colourings & wheat. This is especially important for those individuals who are more sensitive to certain products. Most professional products are produced for hypoallergenic and sensitive patients.
- Often with professional products, potency is a bit higher. This is the main reason it is recommended to consult a health care practitioner, like your Naturopathic Doctor prior to starting these products. Supplements and medications do interact, particularly if the supplements are higher in dosage. Some are major interactions while others are minor. For example, some supplements if taken together with other medications can make pharmaceuticals less effective. As well, taking high doses of certain supplements for long periods of time can cause adverse effects in the body. This is where a Naturopathic doctor can guide and educate as to what is best.
- Professional brands account for the active forms of vitamins making them more absorbable in the body. For example, iron can be found in many different forms. Ferrous Fumarate is a form of iron that is generally poorly absorbed. A Heme iron that contains vitamin C is the best absorbed in the body. Another example is Vitamin B6 with the active form being Pyridoxal-5’-Phosphate.
It is important to keep in mind that supplements are not a one size fits all kind of matter – sometimes the brands that work for someone else won't be the ones that work best for you! Some conditions require higher potency compared to others. So not everyone needs to be on higher potency expensive products. This is why it is best to first speak to your healthcare provider to see what works best in your individual case. Ideally, when shopping for supplements pick the ones that are the most bioavailable and ones that contain fewer additional ingredients. Supplementation is meant to take an individualistic approach – pick the product and brand that is best suited for your needs.