|Making Informed Decisions when Choosing Supplements
Written by Naturopath Emma Berry
There is a growing trend for consumers to purchase their natural medicine supplements online. Due to the diverse range of supplements that are now available from all around the world, it is not uncommon for individuals to find a supplement over the Internet that may be a cheaper option or more convenient – but is it equal in quality to a practitioner-only supplement?
The fact is Australian natural medicine companies are leaders in manufacturing herbal and nutritional supplements when compared to other countries such as the US, China or elsewhere.
Not all supplements are created equal (far from it!). The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulates natural medicines to ensure the quality, safety and effectiveness of the product. Supplements available online are not regulated by the TGA when coming from other countries, and manufacturing standards are not as stringent in other countries.
There are numerous factors to consider, other countries may:
- Not screen for levels of heavy metals, pesticides or microbial containments.
- Fail to contain levels of nutrients or herbs that are in a therapeutic dose range
- Select a form of the vitamin or mineral that is poorly absorbed
- Contain undisclosed, dangerous ingredients
- Use the wrong herb entirely, not use the active constituent of a herb or may be adulterated with other unknown ingredients
- Contain excipients (ingredients that stabilise a tablet and prolong shelf life) that are harmful to health or reduce the impact of its benefit
- May be easily oxidised, this is a significant concern with particular oils such as CoQ10, vitamin D and fish oils, as it may indeed be detrimental to your health.
- List supplements as ‘foods’ to bypass compulsory testing that would otherwise be performed for the safety of consumers.
Australian regulations insist upon the production of natural medicine supplements to a pharmaceutical standard. The TGA discourage purchases of supplements online as this poses a serious risk to unwell and vulnerable patients.
At Melbourne Natural Medicine Clinic we care about your health and wellbeing, we are professionally trained to responsibly prescribe products that comply with Australian regulatory requirements. Our naturopathic practitioners have access to an extensive range of nutritional and botanical medicines from manufacturers that source and produce high quality products and employ superior ethical standards.
Brands such as Medi-Herb, Metagenics and Orthoplex often surpass Australian standards by incorporating testing regimes that guard against substitution, adulteration and poor quality. They accomplish this by testing materials extensively throughout production:
- Herbal ingredients are sourced from organically grown herbs and analysed prior to formulation to certify that materials contain high levels of the active constituents
- Quality assurance protocols and advanced technology are used to detect microbial levels, pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals and radiation levels to ensure product quality criteria is met
- Nutritional ingredients are tested to ensure correct composition
- The end product is re-tested to confirm active ingredients have survived the manufacturing process
- Measures are taken to ensure storage and handling of herbs protect the fragile active components
To be sure you are taking only the best, not wasting money on unnecessary, ineffective or harmful natural medicine supplements speak to one of our practitioners to take the guess work out of it for you – when it comes to purity, quality, taste, and sustainable sourcing we know our products. After all, this is your health, why take the risk!