Supplements: Be Sure to Read the Labels

In the quest for supplements, individuals generally seek means to bolster their health or compensate for dietary deficiencies. Yet, ensuring that the supplements intended to fortify well-being don’t inadvertently pose risks requires careful consideration.

In a prior installment of this series, we delved into the nature of supplements and key factors to weigh when selecting those best suited to one’s distinctive nutritional requirements.

What Lies Within the Bottle?

Supplements typically offer concentrated doses of specific nutrients. However, ponder this: if the quality of the nutrient is subpar or if harmful chemicals were involved in its production before concentration, what precisely are you ingesting? Assessing the quality of your supplements remains a pivotal aspect we continually emphasize.

Most of what you may find in the likes of Walmart or Target are products that pay little homage wo what they say they are and do on the label. As long as they have a trace of the compound in the container they can say it is that very thing. That is why we advise you to become familiar with the labels and what they say, and what those ingredients that sound like a scientific vocabulary test actually are. Consider going to a store or a supplier that specializes in the type of supplements you are looking to add to your daily intake. Below is what you have to look out for, and make sure it isn’t a part of the contents of the bottle you buy.


When pondering the origins, it’s vital not only to scrutinize the purity of the ingredients but also to consider the source of the nutrients. Is it derived from natural sources? Ideally so! However, could it potentially trigger allergic reactions? Consuming allergens in supplement form equates to ingesting allergens nonetheless, potentially exacerbating inflammation rather than addressing nutritional gaps or needs.

Other Constituents Beneath the “Supplement Facts” section on the label lies another crucial area:

the “Other Ingredients” list. Often overlooked or hastily skimmed, now is not the time for laxity. Many supplements incorporate ingredients that don’t contribute to their nutritional value but can significantly influence their impact on the body. The sources of these “other ingredients” warrant scrutiny.

Fillers: Certain nutrients necessitate minute servings, prompting the inclusion of fillers to bulk up the product, whether to fill capsules or augment powdered formulas. Examples of fillers encompass silica, silica dioxide, rice flour, and microcrystalline cellulose.

Binders: These substances facilitate tablet cohesion and capsule closure. Common binders include calcium phosphate, stearic acid, and vegetable wax.

Artificial Additives: Artificial colors, flavors, and sugars are frequently incorporated into supplements to enhance visual appeal or taste, a trend increasingly observed in gummy formulations, liquids, and chewables.

Capsule Composition: The composition of the carrier capsule merits attention. While some are plant-based, hypromellose or hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) are prevalent, alongside cellulose. Gelatin is commonly utilized for non-vegan options.

The additional additives to be weary of include:

  • Carrageenan as a thickening agent
  • Silicon Dioxide to absorb moisture
  • Potassium Sorbate as a preservative
  • Hydrogenated Oils as a standard filler
  • Stearic Acid as a lubricant in the manufacturing process
  • Microcrystalline Cellulose or refined wood pulp as an emulsifier
  • Citric Acid as a preservative or flavoring
  • Croscarmellose Sodium as a moisture-wicking agent for storage
  • Titanium Dioxide as a whitener for appearance
  • Magnesium Stearate to facilitate smooth production flow
  • Artificial Colors for just the looks of what you are taking

Though these additives may be present in minimal quantities, they contribute to overall quality, purity, and sourcing considerations.

Consider the Whole, Not Just the Parts When perusing vitamin options or considering supplements, it’s imperative to evaluate not only individual nutritional requirements but also how supplements address them. Opting for whole-food, organic choices consistently proves optimal. Many supplement purchases stem from recommendations or impulse buys, necessitating thorough examination of all listed ingredients.

We Approach Supplements Differently For guidance on supporting your unique health needs with pure supplements from reputable sources, consult a reputable supplier, clinic and/or naturopathic practitioner nearest you. Remember, you can ill afford to speculate; we must analyze all that we put into our precious systems.