About 42% of the Australian population take vitamins, minerals, and/or supplements in any given 6 month period.
Most people trust that what they are taking is safe and trust the advice of their healthcare practitioner. However, questions are sometimes raised by savvy patients regarding safety and quality, and these questions are not unsubstantiated. At True Medicine we question supplements to ensure what you receive is safe and effective.
So what should you look for when looking for a high quality supplement? We have put together our most frequently asked questions that we as practitioners get from patients on the supplements they have been recommended.
How do I know this product is safe?
Products that are legally sold in Australia have been manufactured to a pharmaceutical standard under Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), and stringent safety and quality regulations are enforced by the Department of Health’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), ensuring that only safe products are available to Australian consumers.
Note: supplements purchased from overseas-based websites will often not be TGA approved or manufactured according to the same standards.
What about fillers and excipients, how do I know what’s in the product I am taking?
There are allowable fillers in widespread use which may include lactose, corn-starch, stearates, and other possible fillers, stabilisers or preservatives to facilitate easier manufacturing.
While unnecessary fillers & excipients are unlikely to cause issues for most people, they may have a detrimental effect on people who have impaired digestion, allergies/sensitivities, or compromised health status. When choosing a supplement, it is recommended to choose from a supplier that goes to extensive lengths to uphold superior standards.
Look for a manufacturer that is 100% transparent with labelling. If the manufacturer can guarantee Full Label Transparency – this means everything in the bottle is listed on the label, (therefore nothing to hide!)
I’m not sure if I trust supplement companies and their marketing claims…
Supplement makers are not legally allowed to make claims that their products treat, diagnose, prevent or cure diseases. The TGA does allow claims that a product affects the body’s structure and/or function, nutritional status, or general health and well being. But the product’s maker needs to supply proof to support all the claims they make.
Again, this rule does not apply to supplements purchased from overseas-based websites.
I am unsure about taking something ‘synthetic’.
There are some products that contain potentially insignificant amounts of nutrients in highly synthetic or un-ideal forms, so it’s important to look for nutrients in the same forms as that which is found in nature. For example, Magnesium might be seen in Citrate, Orotate, Chloride, Lactate, Sulfate, Oxide, or Carbonate forms – are they all the same? No. It pays to do your research to make sure you are choosing a form of Magnesium that is going to be well absorbed and properly utilised by the body.
Can’t I just get my nutrients from food?
Of course, food is the optimal choice for general nutrition. However there are many environmental and physiological factors that may disrupt the absorption of nutrients.
And, there are clinical uses of nutrients that sometimes require doses and forms that far exceed what can be obtained in food.
At True Medicine we use only high-grade Australian TGA-approved supplements made by ethical manufacturers.