What's all this extra crap in my vitamins?!

Recently I was going through my vitamin cabinet and seeing what random vitamins & minerals, herbs, and amino acids I have. What happens to me when I go into a health food store is similar to what you would imagine happens when a women who loves shoes goes into a shoe store, or a man who loves to work with his hands goes into the tool section in Walmart. You buy things that are on sale, when you don't really need them. So needless to say, I was combining the numerous bottles of the same supplements that I had into one bottle to save space in my small, but humble home.

As I was taking the capsules out and putting them into the other bottle, I was pretty disturbed by my findings.

I had two different brands of L-Lysine, one Sangsters brand, and one from Natural Factors. The two capsules had the same amount of medicinal ingredient in them, but were significantly different sizes!

Sangsters brand is on the bottom, with the Natural Factors brand on the top.
Both contain the same amount of medicinal ingredient, but the Natural Factors capsule is significantly bigger, meaning that there are more fillers and additives in it compared to the smaller Sangsters capsule which has less additives in it.

Hmmm.. Why would they be different sizes if they both have the same thing in them?
Well, most products have some form of filler in them because it makes them cheaper for the producer as well as the consumer. The companies add fillers into their product to lower price, which will then increase sales by the consumers.

Medicinal and non-medicinal ingredients: 

The medicinal ingredients will be the active ingredients in whichever product you are getting, and the non-medicinal ingredients will be the processing agents such as capsule itself, or what they use to bind it (if it's a tablet). Non-medicinal ingredients to name a few, may be magnesium stearate (which is the most common and most difficult to stay away from), rice starch, wheat flour and/or soy lecithin, and those are only a few. Wheat and soy specifically are also common allergens which makes it more difficult for those with specific restrictions to actually use these products.

Is that really needed?

Nope. It is completely unnecessary and deceiving to the consumer.

It is however, a reminder to always look on the ingredients list no matter what you are buying to see if you are really getting your dollar's worth. Sometimes I forget to do so (as you can see from this finding), but it's important to at least always try to remember, because the ingredients list is very important to look at.

It is important to invest into good quality supplements coming from the best sources possible. Look into brands, and even the retailer and seek their outlook on their products. Of course profit is a major factor in business (which is why they add these fillers into the products in the first place), but I believe that quality should be looked at over quantity to satisfy customers and their health needs.

Price is always a factor of course, because let's admit, things can get pretty pricey when you buy supplements and organic food on top of rent, car payments, insurance, and the electricity bill. In order to choose the best quality product and try to choose from the best one that is most friendly to your budget, here are a few tips that may be helpful:
  • Try to get the supplement closest to its natural form as possible. Many multi-vitamin and mineral supplements are now whole food extracted (yay!). Make sure to read the label and find out the source.
  • The brand follows industry standards for quality under Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP).
  • See what products work best for you! We are all different right down to a cellular level. Some brands don't work as well for some people, but may be amazing for others. Sometimes in the supplement line, a little trial and error is needed.
  • Read labels! The companies need to declare all of the processing agents, and it is your right to know what you are getting.
  • It is very difficult (and costly) to get supplements with no fillers added whatsoever. The shorter the non-medicinal ingredients list, the better. If you are on a budget but are still looking for a good quality supplement, try to keep these words in mind: good, better, and best.
    • Good: This may be a product that might be cheaper than the others and might be the closest to your price range. It likely will provide to you what you need, but try to search for other cost efficient brands that still provide you with the nutrient(s) that you're looking for, but with a little more quality. This might come in tablet form.
    • Better: This may have minimal fillers compared to the "good" product, and might come in capsule form which has a higher absorption rate compared to a tablet.
    • Best: This may be organic, whole foods derived, have no fillers at all, and may even be liquid form for optimal absorption.

** I do not endorse Sangsters products, nor Natural Factors products. This is opinion based, and only one example of comparison. Both provide different products which are unique and work for each person as an individual.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I am an RHN-Holistic Nutritionist. The health information contained herein is to share my knowledge and recipes. Any information provided is not intended to treat or cure any disease, or to replace any discussions with a health care provider. You, the reader, are personally responsible for ensuring the safe application of anything described herein. Read the Scope of Practice, as well as the Code of Ethics of an RHN-Holistic Nutritionist.


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