& Important Facts
As a "lay person" (non-doctor), it was my goal to try to turn much of the scientific mumbo-jumbo the doctors were trying to teach me into something "normal" people could understand (with the expert help and guidance of Drs. Davenport, Martin, Bishop, Miller, Blackford, Bailey, etc.). The following list of "misconceptions" are tidbits that were absolutely contrary to what I was taught as a kid, in high school and college. I felt that getting some of these things that science has proven to be incorrect, invalid, or "old wives tales" to the public would be helpful. In the course of my learning, a lot of "new" information contradicted what educators and doctors taught me as I was growing up. I feel that the following information is both interesting and important if you care about your health and the health of your loved ones.
- The old adage, "You get what you pay for." is NOT always true in the nutritional supplement industry or with pharmaceutical companies! These companies do NOT always offer the best product, quality ingredients, or even usable form of an ingredient even when they are often charging the highest prices. There are ways to easily evaluate this, read on.
- Advil, the popular pain reliever, which I use when the headache (or toothache) is too much to ignore. They have a set of TV commercials claiming that "nothing works better for Arthritis pain than Advil." Well, that may be true if you are comparing Advil to other pain relievers, but the fact of the matter is that treating just the pain isn't good enough and really isn't going to accomplish much in the long-run. What needs to be done is to treat the arthritis itself, doing something to actually help cure or at least lessen its severilty. Once you do that, the pain will naturally be reduced or even eliminated. MD's Choice's Arthrosamine™ product WILL outperform Advil® (and any other ibuprofen based product) because it helps your body treat the problems, not the just the symptoms! It supplies the basic building blocks the body needs, in forms it can readily use, to have healthier joints throughout the body. It's not a "quick fix". It could take 4 to 6 weeks to realize the difference, and serious problems or spinal issues may take as long as 6 months to start getting better. However, Arthrosamine™ can actually help rebuild cartilage, strengthen connective tissues, and improve lubricating fluids, all of which can solve the problem, increase mobility and flexibility, and make the pain go away because the joint areas are healthier!
- Any metallic mineral that is combined with "oxide" is only slightly more useful to your body than licking the side of a rusty metal building! Of course, though the lick is free, it may include other unidentifiable objects, so it really wouldn't be advisable. So, when a company puts iron oxide in their product, they are actually putting RUST in there. How does that make you feel? There is a lot of scientific evidence that has shown that less than 10% of any mineral in an oxide form is actually usable to the human body. Example: 10mg of iron oxide only contains about 1mg of actual Iron, and only a fractional amount of it can be used by the body.
- There are different types, grades and quality (purity) levels of what appears to be exactly the same ingredients. For instance, Glucosamine is available in HCL, N-ACETYL, D-NACETYL, Sulfate NACL form, and in a Sulfate 2KCL forms, the last of which is the higher quality and more usable to the body. In addition, the majority of the clinical research studies done in the last 30 years used Glucosamine SULFATE, not the Glucosamine HCL counterpart that populates retail shelves (over 10 to 1). Furthermore, there are differences within the same compound. It can get very complicated. The easiest analogy I can come up with is gasoline. Everyone understands that there are different types of petroleum (fuel) products, from motor oil to diesel, to kerosene, to regular, to unleaded, to super, to jet fuel. Each has a particular usage and certain benefits when used for the right thing. Each has a different efficiency level. The same is true for nutrients. The manner in which nutrients are created, combined, manufactured, delivered to the body, and used within the body are all different. The professionals at MD's Choice are actively seeking the best forms, the optimum combinations, and the most bioavailable methods to ensure the maximum amount of nutrients are available to the body, to help the body solve either specific problems and to maintain optimum health.
- Calcium is probably the most surprising and easiest mineral to misunderstand. There are many different forms, carbonate, citrate, and chelate being the three most common forms found in supplements (which are discussed in the Why Supplement? article). However, the next most important factor I learned was that calcium requires stomach acid to be freed (on the molecular level) in order to even be used by the body, especially when in a tablet or capsule form. When a company combines calcium with an antacid (like Tums® has done), the benefit is the antacid, NOT the calcium! Sure, there is calcium (carbonate) in those chewable tablets, but there is also ANTACID which reduces the acid levels in your stomach (raising the Ph level) and making it very difficult (if not impossible) to break down any nutrients, much less the calcium. Talk about defying logic and marketing misinformation! There are some prenatal products and osteoporosis advertisements that actually suggest that a pregnant woman should take Tums® for its calcium content. At least one prenatal formula actually includes a roll of Tums® (stating the roll is included for CALCIUM content). Science has proven this, yet many companies either are unaware of these findings or choose to completely disregard them. In the nutritional supplement world, it is truly a "Buyer Beware" and you better try to educate yourself, and seek facts or you are going to be wasting money trying to solve problems or maintain health with products that just aren't doing the job, not to mention the fact that you might actually harm your health because you're not really giving it the nutrients it needs!
- Kidney Stones are NOT caused by too much calcium, like many of us were told. They are actually caused by not having enough calcium in your diet (food and supplementation).
- Most high blood pressure reacts positively to calcium and magnesium supplementation. Under no circumstances should ANYONE stop taking their prescription medication without their doctors knowledge, as their doctor has done many tests and knows the individual patients medical history. However, there are many (hundreds) of studies that show increasing calcium and magnesium intake (in the proper forms) can help the body maintain a healthier state of being and better regulate the blood pressure levels.
- It is impossible for more than 250mg of elemental calcium to be in a single capsule or even compressed tablet that can be swallowed by a normal human being (not counting chewable tablets). This means that all those 500mg (or higher) calcium tablets on the market are not really giving a person that much calcium. So, what actually makes up all those milligrams beyond the 250? See Why Supplement? Also take a look at #10 below to find out if you can determine exactly how much of a nutrient is actually in a supplement.
- I was taught that ulcers were caused by stress, diet, and not enough sleep. I was originally taught wrong! The actual cause of ulcers is an INFECTION! I've also been informed that most cases can be successfully treated with antibiotics and/or probiotics! This is something that a whole lot of people have been taught wrongly for many years. It surprised me, and there is a lot of scientific research that backs up this discovery.
- There are two different ways that the amount of minerals (such as calcium and iron) are listed on bottles:
You ALWAYS want and need to know what the elemental amount (real amount of the minerals) that you will be ingesting is. How do you tell the difference? Well, if the company is dishonest, it is nearly impossible. However, based on the March 1999 FDA labeling regulations, all nutritional supplements are suppose to designate the difference between the two forms. This is a little challenging, but here are some examples that might help:
- In the combined form (no mineral can be delivered to a body in its pure form), which has the name of the mineral and the name of whatever it is combined with listed after the name of the mineral.
- The elemental form (the actual amount of the mineral minus whatever it is combined with).
The differences are subtle, and, until it was pointed out to me, I would have never understood the real world meaning of these subtle differences. Sure, I may have noticed the differences in a label comparison, but I thought it was just a "style thing" different companies did. NOT! It's important and something you, as a consumer, need to pay attention to. Not only is it a real FDA regulation, it is also a major difference science based companies employ to more specifically designate the differences between the forms of ingredients and calculating formula ratios and balances. FORM IS IMPORTANT! Without knowing the form, a person canNOT figure out the actual (elemental) amount of a given ingredient in a product, making it impossible to approximate the amount of the actual mineral that is available to your body for actual use. Therefore, without knowing the form, it is impossible to make educated decisions and ensure you are getting enough of the specific mineral your body needs.
- Combined Form – "Calcium Carbonate.....500mg". Only about 50mg is actually the calcium, approximately 10% of the carbonate version.
- Elemental Form – "Calcium (as carbonate).....500mg". There is actually 500mg of calcium, but it took about 5,000mg of the carbonate to get that elemental amount.
- Not Specified – In the Supplement Facts box it says "Calcium" with nothing but numbers after the name, yet, in the "Other Ingredients" (listed at the bottom of the facts box), it says "Calcium _______" (fill in the blank with the combined form of calcium that supplement uses). In this situation, you really can't tell how much calcium is in the product. Odds are that they listed the total combined amount. In any new nutritional supplement, this violated the March '99 FDA label regulations.
- Not all microorganisms inside your body are bad. There are types of bacteria and yeasts that are not just beneficial but are actually essential for the health of your body. Probiotics are "good" bacteria and yeasts that replace those that are lost when antibiotics are given, a high fever is experienced, or when diarrhea occurs. When used properly, some probiotics can have the same effect as antibiotics, helping you get back on your feet faster and with fewer problems. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut, stimulating the growth of probiotic bacteria, helping them flourish and stay healthy. Prebiotics are less common in supplementation yet still vital to the diet and the body's health. Synbiotics are the combination of probiotics and prebiotics in the same supplement. For more information, visit bugsplus.com.
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is caused by diet, not getting enough sleep, and improper exercise. That is what I was taught, and it is partially true. In fact, chromium and vanadium play a big part in helping your body effectively regulate sugar levels. The Complete Formula has personally helped remove the peaks & valleys out of both my moods and energy levels.
- More people suffer from a lack of stomach acid (achlorohydra) than suffer from too much acid. The symptoms of too little acid can easily be misinterpreted as having too much acid. Supplementing extra acid during a meal can aid in the speed and completeness of digestion. In addition, it can eliminate indigestion, bile raising, and the nauseous feelings that often lead to people using antacids, which may seem to reduce the symptoms but actually perpetuates the problem for most people and merely masks the symptoms. As a child, our stomach Ph level is around 2 (very acidic). As we age, our Ph level rises, becoming more neutral (a Ph of 7 being completely neutral). At age 35 to 65, it is common to have a Ph level of 4 or 5, which not only allows for more indigestion and more difficult digestion, it also makes it a great deal more difficult for us to actually break down the nutrients and absorb what our body really needs. This means that supplementation is even more important for people over 35 and those with digestive problems.
- Folic Acid is a big "buzz-word" in the media and within the medical community. It is vital to having a healthy baby. However, it is a supplement that needs to be taken BEFORE conception AND for the first 6 weeks of the pregnancy. After 6 weeks, folic acid has a great deal less importance to the growing fetus. Some OB/GYNs will tell you that you need a minimum of 1mg of folic acid every day. Keep in mind, though, that nearly all loaves of bread and breakfast cereals are supplemented with folic acid as "standard operating procedure". It also is present in many other normal foods in your diet. That does NOT replace the need for additional supplementation for conception and new pregnacies, but it should help a new mother feel a little more relaxed. Bottom line, if you think you want to conceive, you should be eating right and supplementing with extra vitamins and minerals that can actually be used by your body – and the body you are trying to grow within you. Another little known fact is that, per U.S. federal law, no single dietary supplement can contain more than 800mcg (micrograms) of folic acid without getting “drug status” and falling under drug regulations, which means that it would require approval by the FDA.
- Many doctors don't explain to a new mother that supplementing their diet is necessary beyond the pregnancy. Nursing your baby requires a whole lot of YOUR nutrients. If you aren't supplementing, then your body will literally rob itself to nourish your baby. There are more women that have had 3 or more children suffering from osteoporosis and osteoarthritis than any other group.
- Proper calcium supplementation during pregnancy is vital to the health of the mother. Oh, it probably won't kill you if you don't do it, but it will likely effect your quality of life, if you are lucky enough to live into your 60's, 70's or 80's. When your body is busy gathering the ingredients to make your child, it searches your intake (diet and supplements) for what it needs. When it needs something else, such as calcium (very common and usually under supplemented, especially during pregnancy), it TAKES it from your body!
- Mood swings and PMS are just part of life, and all women have to deal with that. Not! This is another thing that is only fractionally true. Calcium, magnesium, boron, and zinc can definitely have dramatically positive effects on women suffering from such chemical imbalances.
- While the OB/GYN community and general practitioners are absolutely correct in stating that Vitamin D is required to effectively be able to use calcium within the body, they all seem to forget that this is a vitamin that a normal, healthy human body manufactures from sunlight. As little as 15 minutes a week in the sun supplies the body all the Vitamin D it requires. So, unless you stay indoors all the time and never get out in the sun, odds are that your body doesn't require additional Vitamin D supplementation.
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