Why Should We Know More About Our Supplements?

Between 51 and 80 percent of the US population uses supplements – vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and herbs – to cure ailments, aid digestion, increase energy, and maintain health.

Here are a few concerns related to supplementation, and we appreciate if you could tell us about your experience using supplements.

  • Contraindications and interactions of the supplements with other substances in food, supplements, and medications should be included on a brief annotation (on a paper or a box).  Although, certain information can be found on the Internet, not everyone is savvy in searching with Google or is using a computer.
  • Date of harvesting or production, and date of expiration should also be included with the supplements as well as with facial and body creams or other cosmetics.

Why such data would help?  Well… if, for example, an herb was harvested in 2008 and expires in 2010, you may choose to use it in the year 2009.  However, herbs and other supplements become much weaker the longer they are kept on a shelf, especially in a lit, room-temperature place.  Their freshness, though, could be preserved in a dark, cool-temperature refrigerator, but such storage is costly.

  • Wild plants vs. farmed (herbs, roots, barks, and berries) information is an important one since the wilds have a higher density of their medicinal properties, vitamins, minerals,  enzymes, etc., compare to the farm-raised.  Among wild plants, those from the mountains are known for their higher potency and the richer properties compare to those harvested in the valleys.
  • Country and Region of the harvested plant is another valuable piece of data.  How could we learn whether a pharmacy does not offer us medicinal herbs coming from the areas adjacent to ones that are polluted, for example, the Chernobyl region of Ukraine where soil may contain radioactive isotopes of half-life of 120 yrs. and much longer?

Besides, we also do not know which plants and herbs are harvested in the regions close or near the large polluted  cities, with high industrial activity, or areas close to airports, chemical plants or oil refineries. Here are a few examples: one is a root harvested from a river bed in a China region heavily involved in chlor-alkali industry, another one is a plant from middle of China with high mercury involvement, and the third is acai berries, very popular and highly commercialized that are grown in Brazil forests of the Amazon-river area with high gold-mining activity that involves mercury use.

Without such information supplements are not just useless, they can even be harmful.



Determination of Mercury in an Assortment of Dietary Supplements Using an Inexpensive Combustion Atomic Absorption Spectrometry Technique

Keith E. Levine, Michael A. Levine, Frank X.Weber, Ye Hu, Jason Perlmutter, and Peter M. Grohse – RTI International, 3040 Cornwallis Road, PO Box 12194, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA

Journal of Automated Methods & Management in Chemistry, 2005 (2005), no. 4, 211–216 – ©2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation



225 thoughts on “Why Should We Know More About Our Supplements?

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