Active ingredients in supplements have strong biological effects on the body that can cause serious health complications. Nurse and natural health expert Cherry Francis shares her supplement shopping guide so you know what to watch out for.
Finding the Right Brand
People have been taking supplements since the 1940s, but over recent years the industry has skyrocketed. The vitamin and supplement market is currently worth roughly £1.5 billion - according to statistics published by IBIS World - and such a lucrative industry attracts players to the market looking for a quick payout. Many MLMs and supplement pyramid schemes have conducted little research into the safety of their products, or when it is inappropriate to take them. Cherry suggests that customers only consider purchasing supplements from a particular brand if:
- They use third-party laboratory testing for toxins, contaminants and proper dosage with Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) certifications.
- They list their supplements as being GMO-free vitamins and/or using organic ingredients.
- Their products are made from plant-based whole food sources.
What to Avoid
Many lower-end supplement brands create products containing inactive or poorly bioavailable nutrients. Cherry lists some ingredients to steer clear of:
- Magnesium stearate - a toxic anti-caking agent used to stop powdered products from caking or lumping in a container after manufacturing.
- Maltodextrin - the high GI of maltodextrin means it can cause spikes in your blood sugar level, especially if it's consumed in large amounts.
- Artificial food colouring - linked to hives, asthma, ADHD and depression.
- MSG - often referred to as ‘natural flavouring’ and can cause headaches, sweating, nausea and heart palpitations.
- Titanium dioxide - often used as a colourant to give supplements a more appealing look. Studies have linked it to immune system problems, inflammation, DNA damage and kidney toxicity.
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