Over-the-counter (OTC) supplements are supplements (including vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and enzymes) that you can purchase by popping into your local drug store. You probably take some of these—folic acid, calcium, herbal supplements, cod liver oil, vitamin D, or probiotics, for example.
Many people will grab a multivitamin or a diet pill off the shelf, expecting not only efficacy but safety. And why wouldn’t they? While there are some OTC products that may provide benefits, your best bet in terms of both safety and efficacy is to seek professional-grade supplements developed and tested by quality manufacturers with quality ingredients.
Unlike with many prescription drugs and medications, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not have the authority to examine or scrutinize dietary supplements for any reason, including safety. What this means is that it’s really up to you to do the research necessary before making a purchase. The unfortunate reality is that just because you see a brand all over the place doesn’t mean that what they’re selling is actually any good.
In 2015, a The New York Times article reported that several popular, best-selling vitamin and supplement brands offered up at major chain retailers didn’t even consist of any of the herbal ingredients that were being touted on the labels. So, what did they contain? Fillers, mostly.
According to the report, some of these cheap
fillers had the potential to trigger allergic reactions from people who were
sensitive to those ingredients.
Some of these filler-filled supplements even led to major health issues, like hepatitis. This is because many also contained dangerous contaminates and even toxins.
The fact is—even though lots of people buy them, there are plenty of problems with over-the-counter supplements. It’s hard to know what you’re putting into your body and what sort of effect it’ll have; this is why you must be discerning when choosing what you allow into your wellness routine.
It’s expensive—if not harmful!—to simply grab the cheapest item off the shelf or order a pack of random multivitamins online. To further complicate the issue, many online retailers carry products by sellers who offer filler products and counterfeit supplements.
To be extra safe, it’s best to stay away from over-the-counter supplements designed for sexual enhancement, body building, and weight loss. Those categories of OTC supplements tend to be the most likely to contain dangerous iongredients, according to Catherine Price, author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food, in an article in Popular Science.
This is especially important if you have any serious health conditions, like high blood pressure, blood sugar issues, or an autoimmune disease. It’s also important that you discuss supplement regimens with a practitioner if you’re taking prescription drugs.
In short, if you want to play it safe, it’s best to opt for professional-grade supplements that meet Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations, which are actually enforced by the FDA.
The Low-Down on Professional-Grade Supplements
When supplements are referred to as “pharmaceutical-grade” or “professional-grade,” it means they are the best kind of supplements out there—having gone through rigorous testing and meeting high quality control standards.
BodyLogicMD selects only the highest quality supplements from the nation’s leading science-based manufacturers in the industry; these manufacturers must meet—and exceed—advanced safety and quality standards.
BodyLogicMD supplements come in the bioavailable (or effective) form, which is a quality of material sourcing not found in all supplements. And with BodyLogicMD products, you can also know that what is on the label is what’s in the product—and nothing more. We pride ourselves on consumer-friendly and properly labeled ingredients.
Furthermore, all of the ingredients we use are backed by research, so that what you’re getting is the most potent supplement without any of the possibly problematic ingredients.
The Best Supplements to Take
Now that you know you’ve got to look for safe, top-quality products, which supplements should you actually be taking?
In addition to speaking with a practitioner about remedies and a care plan for your unique health and wellness needs, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting plenty of nutrients from food—since this is how you get your essential vitamins. To ensure you get what you need from food, you need to eat a colorful, well-rounded diet. Elizabeth Ward, writing in the Nutrition Journal, notes that a diet rich in nutrients can reduce the risk of serious illnesses like cancer and heart disease. Here are some of the foods you should strive to eat in order to supply your body with crucial vitamins and minerals:
- Whole Grains
Be sure to steer clear of
empty processed foods, refined grains (focus on complex carbs), and dangerous
added sugars (stick with natural sugars only, like sugars found in fruit).
These products don’t contribute to your health needs; instead, they can cause
further health problems, like chronic conditions.
According to Harvard Health, you’ll want to supplement only if you’re not getting what you need from foods—which many of us don’t, even if we eat well.
Taking a professional-grade multivitamin is a good place to start. According to Dr. Howard Sesso, an epidemiologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, it is especially important for us to focus on getting the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B (especially B9 aka folate)
In the end, taking care of your health is more involved than
simply grabbing a bottle of multivitamins off the drugstore shelf. Be sure that
you’re using only the best active ingredients; after all, you’ve only got one
body. From supplements related to weight loss to blood pressure, probiotics,
and dietary supplements, we’ve got you covered!
Speak with a health and wellness expert within the BodyLogicMD network today about all of your health needs, including a supplement regimen that is both safe and effective.
Dr. Jennifer Landa is Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD and the owner and operator of BodyLogicMD of Orlando. Dr. Landa dedicates her practice to bioidentical hormone therapy, customized nutrition and fitness programs to help women and men resolve menopausal and andropausal symptoms, including weight gain, sexual dysfunction, declining energy levels and stress. As a former gynaecologist, Dr. Landa has always desired to help patients achieve wellness through hormone balance and preventive medicine.