Supplements can be very confusing. In order to protect your investment, be certain you make an informed decision when purchasing supplements. The following information is important to know:
The key to any nutrient intake, food and supplement alike, is absorption. A quality supplement will be in capsule form, not a hard pressed tablet.
Supplements are NOT regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure bioavailability or absorbability. Supplements are regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USAD). It is worth mentioning that the USDA is the same entity that views the nutritional value of “fresh produce” in January as identical to produce in July. In other words, supplements are NOT closely regulated and the quality can vary widely amongst similar products.
Many well-known supplement brands include ingredients also found in hair dyes, laxatives, herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, fertilizers, cement, glues, and resins. Some of these substances are known (cancer causing) carcinogens, irritants, allergens, and birth defect causing agents. Do your research before purchasing!
There are many options available in all price ranges. If you would like recommendations, we offer superior supplement products in our office. Many of these products offer guaranteed nutrient absorption.
Millions of Americans are taking antioxidant vitamin or mineral supplements for their eye health, but a new study in the journal Ophthalmology warns us that these supplements may or may not be beneficial based on each individual’s genetic makeup.
Based upon the data in this study, it has been found that in some patients, certain eye formulations will actually hasten the progression of their eye disease. Without genetic screening, there is no way for patients to know which supplements to take to slow the progression of their eye disease.
If you have a family history of Age Related Macular Degeneration or have otherwise been told you are at risk for the disease, talk to us about the MaculaRisk PGX genetic testing. With this technology, we can recommend the eye formula that is appropriate for your genetic makeup.
The following are our recommendations for Eye Formula supplements, but again, if you are at risk for Macular Degeneration, please do not begin any supplementation without consulting Dr. Vann.
Omega-3s and Fish Oils
Studies suggest omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent Age Related Macular Degeneration and Dry Eye syndrome. Essential fatty acids may also help decrease eye pressure and reduce the risk of glaucoma. Your body does not produce Omega-3s so they must be consumed and can be found in cold water fish such as Wild Salmon, Sardines, Rainbow Trout, Tuna, and Mackerel or a safe Fish Oil supplement can be taken. Omega-6s, which are very plentiful in our diets, need to be limited for Omega 3s to be properly absorbed and used by our bodies. The ideal ratio is 1 Omega 3 or every 4 Omega 6s. For most Americans the ratio is closer to 1 Omega 3 for every 30 Omega 6s. The easiest and safest way to achieve the proper ratio is through a combination of proper diet and supplementation.
How much should I be taking?
Product labels can be confusing. For instance a 1000mg soft gel refers to the size of the soft gel, not the levels of EPA+DHA. Make sure you read the supplement facts to confirm how much EPA+DHA you are getting.
How to Choose a Fish Oil Supplement
Quality varies widely among fish oil supplements. Use the guidelines below to ensure you are purchasing a high quality product.
- Purity: Purified of mercury, lead, and other toxins
- Freshness: Minimized oxidation for no fishy taste
- Taste: Fishy smell or taste indicates low quality fish oil
- Triglyceride Form: Offers optimal absorption and results
- Third-Party Testing: Ensures quality, freshness, and purity.
Why Flaxseed WON’T substitute for Fish Oil
Flaxseed does contain omega-3s, but plant-based omega 3s (ALA) must be converted to EPA and DHA. Research shows that approximately 5% of ALA converts to EPA and as little as 1% of ALA converts to DHA. In other words, 95% of the flaxseed you consume is ineffective.
Evaluating your Omega-3s
There are primarily two forms of fish oil available; Triglyceride and Ethyl Ester. Learn which one is better and why below:
How to test you Fish Oils
- Check your omega-3 bottle and make sure your fish oil contains at least 300 mg of EPA and 200 mg of DHA per serving for this test. (Note: If dosage is not specified, dispose of them, as this indicates extremely low amounts of EPA and DHA per serving.)
- Fill a Styrofoam bowl or cup (not wax coated) with about half an inch of warm water.
- Puncture 3 fish oil capsules and empty them into the Styrofoam container.
- Place Styrofoam container on a plate and wait 10 minutes.
- Ethyl Ester fish oils will eat through the Styrofoam and significant leakage will be seen on the plate after several minutes.
The following are our recommendations for fish oil supplements:
Ideally we would all consume a perfect diet and have no need for supplementation, but most of us aren’t going to eat twelve pounds of spinach a week. For those of us can use a little help getting the recommended amounts of nutrients, a good quality supplements help take up the slack. Below are our recommendations for general supplementation: