Herbs / Vitamins / Drugs / Supplements

Safe Supplements and the Fear of Mad Cow Disease

Were you alarmed by the article regarding supplements in the Sunday LA Times on February 11th? The author attributed a slight dip in supplement sales to a lack of consumer confidence in their efficacy and worry about mad cow disease. I must admit that I was stunned. The danger of mad cow disease is so remote as to be miniscule. However, I can appreciate how scary the condition itself is. I'm sure it's enough to worry many.

Therefore, in this letter, I'd like to address the issue of supplement quality; and, in particular, sources for glandular extracts in the products carried at the RFHC.

First, with regard to quality, this is a real and serious issue. There are very few regulations on labeling in the nutritional supplement industry. There is always the danger that what you purchase may not contain what you think you are paying for. A good example is CoQ10. The CoQ10 we carry is the most biologically active available; and it gets results. I have a paper in my office detailing a study of seven brands of CoQ10 (including the Metagenics brand we carry). None of the products tested contained the amount of CoQ10 listed on the label, except the Metagenics product. Since CoQ10 is so unstable - it's sensitive to light, temperature and air; it also has to be combined with oil in order to be absorbed - it's not surprising that potencies were diminished in the commercial products tested. CoQ10 is also very expensive since the patent is owned by the Japanese. So, some companies pick up poor quality CoQ10 at a lesser price, and then sell it. It looks like a deal, but it has very little biological activity, if any. So, you are essentially wasting your money since you won't be getting the effect you expect. With CoQ10, that's particularly important, since you need it to protect your heart from heart failure. So, how can you, as the consumer, be certain of what you're buying? Your best insurance is purchasing supplements from a health professional who has tested the product for clinical efficacy, like we have at the RFHC.

There is also the issue of what supplements to take. There are literally thousands of products on the market. How do you know what you need? What's right for you? If you are taking products you don't need, you are wasting your funds, and you probably won't notice a dramatic improvement in your health. As you know, at the RFHC, we use blood tests to determine your biochemical individuality, and tailor a supplement program to your unique needs. That way, you maximize your results with the most targeted use of your supplement budget.

Finally, I'd like to address the issue of mad cow disease. The glandulars we use are all safe. Many of the companies use animal products from New Zealand (e.g.: Bezwecken & Professional Complementary Health Formulas). New Zealand has the strictest standards in the world around animal husbandry. All of the animals are raised organically, and the cleanliness of the island's stock is guaranteed by strict importation standards. Others of our suppliers (e.g.: Metagenics) use only the highest grade of certified animal products produced in the US. Nothing that is graded less than AAA is ever used. The United States imposed stringent requirements for feed lot cattle in 1997 (March, 2001 issue of Discover magazine) The stated purpose of the regulations was to prevent the spread of prion-borne diseases like mad cow disease. None of our suppliers use uncertified raw materials, specifically to protect the public from dumping of European meat by-products.

I can't address every supplement in the health food store; I can only vouch for the products we carry at the RFHC (we have almost 1,000 different items). The vast majority of the products at our office have demonstrated clinical efficacy through repeated use with patients, where the results have been confirmed by follow-up blood testing. And, I only deal with companies with the highest ethical standards. So, if you want to feel secure in your supplement needs, the RFHC is a reliable source of high quality, safe products.

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