Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
I have heard that all supplements aren’t created equal. How would you recommend determining whether the pills in a bottle of vitamins or minerals are as potent as the label claims them to be?
A: It is a challenge to determine which supplements are beneficial. The amount of an ingredient listed for a supplement does not always equal the amount of active ingredient present. It is the active ingredient that provides the essential nutrients. Some manufacturers use synthetic substances over pure substances. The quality of ingredients makes a difference in your health. It will take a bit of research to determine the highest quality vitamins and minerals on the market. Keep in mind that supplements are not regulated by the FDA.
I suggest you look at independent lab test reports on vitamin contents. For more information on supplements and finding pharmaceutical grade vitamin supplements visit: www.consumerlab.com/results/index.asp.
Before starting any health regiment, consult with your physician to find out his or her recommendation. In the end, the more nutrients you can get from whole foods, the better off you will be.