Does Supplement Quality Really Matter? • Holtorf Medical Group
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Does Supplement Quality Really Matter?

Does Supplement Quality Really Matter?

It is clear that many view supplements as valuable. Approximately 75 percent of the global population use at least one supplement with a large portion using more. Perhaps the reason for this impressive rate of utilization is that awareness of nutrient deficiency is increasing.

Common substances that are necessary for the body’s well-being such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B and D, folate, zinc, magnesium, iron and others are frequently, at least mildly, deficient in an immense number of the population because the nutritional quality of food has continued to decline due to factors such as soil depletion, chemical-based farming and poor absorption caused by various medications or conditions – learn about the most common nutrient deficiencies here.

Effectively defeating deficiency requires a high-quality supplement that provides the optimal amount of support and necessary nutrients. Understanding what makes a supplement high quality and what to avoid when purchasing a supplement are necessary parts of effective supplementation and greater wellness.

What Is a High-Quality Supplement?

A quality supplement falls into a strictly regulated category. Supplements are divided into three different groups; Pharmaceutical Grade, Food Grade and Feed Grade. Regarding supplements, pharmaceutical grade is optimal. Products in this category boast over 99 percent purity without containing any binders, fillers or dyes.

Components of Quality

In addition to proper grading, high quality supplements are potent, bioavailable and pure. These different factors are integral to the overall effectiveness of a supplement.

Potency refers to the actual amount of a specific ingredient contained in the supplement. Testing for potency is often inconsistent meaning that some brands or batches may have wildly different levels. Fluctuating or irregular doses of supplements often do little to resolve a deficiency and may cause additional damage if the potency is higher than what is printed on the label. Ideally, a chosen supplement has appropriate and accuracy to ensure regular, healthy doses.

The body’s ability to absorb nutrients is partially reliant on the bioavailability of a substance. Some supplements such as magnesium are found in different forms that have unique absorption rates and bioavailability. Depending on the type of supplement, a person may be disappointed with the results because the substance is not being absorbed. Furthermore, nutrients that must be converted before they are usable can limit the nutritional value of a substance.

In contrast, active forms allow for immediate usage and require little effort to absorb. It is generally better to utilize supplements containing the active form of nutrients. For those with dysfunctional absorption or conversion issues, it may be a requirement. Individuals lacking the necessary enzymes or cellular energy required for the conversion process get little to no benefit from the inactive form of many supplements.

Purity of a substance is also critical in dictating its impact on health and individual safety. Contamination often occurs in low quality supplements, which significantly limits their efficacy. In some cases, this can inhibit healthy bodily function and promote the development of other condition.

For example, many omega-3 supplements have the potential to be sourced from fish contaminated with mercury. Consumer Lab found that in 2002, five to ten percent of all supplements contained lead! Both mercury and lead are toxic to the body and ranked in the top three greatest sources of toxicity according to the 2007 Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Long-term ingestion of lead, mercury or other toxins, even in trace amounts, can significantly increase the risk of heart disease and neurological disorders.

The Impact of Low-Quality Supplements

Many people are unaware or do not believe that low-quality supplements do not provide similar nutrition to higher grade options. There are however, major differences in what supplements provide depending on its quality.

While a quality supplement offers the purest form of the substance, a budget supplement may contribute to health issues rather than deter them. Various products substitute the impactful agent advertised by the product with replacement substances, fillers and in some cases potentially toxic compounds.

Studies have found that many over-the-counter supplement brands do not contain everything listed on their label.

One study found that nearly 80 percent of the herbal supplements examined during the course of the study did not contain plants listed on the label! This blatant deception can be harmful to those with sensitivities to other substances or people with a deficiency of the advertised substance.

Furthermore, Consumer Lab has tested over 2,000 different supplements and they report that approximately a quarter of the brands examined were not quality products. It was determined that supplements frequently contain only 10 percent of the source supplement with the remaining 90 percent offering little benefit.

What to Avoid

Fillers and binders used in many supplements may also inhibit absorption. Generally, fillers and binders are used to make the product more aesthetically pleasing or improve pill swallowability.

Each of the following substances are frequent inclusions, which can cause significant dysfunction and promote the development of serious health conditions.

  • Hydrogenated oils
  • Artificial colorants
  • Titanium oxide
  • Powdered rice
  • Houseplants
  • Asparagus
  • Wheat
  • Beans
  • Pine
  • Citrus
  • Primrose
  • Wild Carrots

Although some of these substances may not seem intimidating, their inclusion in supplements dilutes the efficacy of the product and may cause a negative reaction in a person who is sensitive to them.

Save Yourself from Subpar Supplements

Although the bargain pricing for supplements may be enticing, the consumer may be paying a significant price in the future. Using a low-grade supplement can significantly damage bodily function and health!

Being well-informed of the great disparity in nutritional value between different supplement tiers, what type of products to avoid and how high-quality supplements not only provide the richest and purest nutrition but also protect you from harmful substances such as fillers, dyes and toxins will help you avoid the pitfalls of suboptimal supplementation.

For high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade supplements, visit, created and maintained by our very own Dr. Kent Holtorf.


1. How to Find High Quality Supplements. HoltraCeuticals.

2. Top Six Tips for Choosing the Highest Quality Supplements. Natural News.

Does Supplement Quality Really Matter? was last modified: March 21st, 2018 by Holtorf Medical Group



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