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  • Writer's pictureKD Bryant

Supplementally Speaking

These past few months have been intense with feelings and opinions about Food and Drug Administration approvals, to mask or not mask, to vaccinate or not vaccinate and fifty-eleven other things to keep news and social feeds hot like fish grease. Humans are out here speaking up for what they believe to be right and true.

It's so much information and misinformation going around, it's hard to sort through without getting confused. Then, there's been the dialogue that people shouldn't care about what's in vaccines because they don't know what ingredients are in a lot of stuff that they use and consume such as soaps, shampoos, tattoo ink, makeup, marijuana (insert my side-eye cause we’ve been knowing that it’s some of everything in Mary Jane these days), vitamins and supplements and the list goes on.

I’ve been in prayer trying to figure out how I can add to the conversation in a helpful way because we’re divided over so much now that it feels like we’re still a day late and a dollar short on the real purpose in all of this that we’re going through. What jumped out to me is the idea that people don’t know what’s in their vitamins and supplements.

Boom! Here’s my chance to add something to the conversation for those who can use the information. Last year, I added a few vitamins and supplements to help boost and support our immune systems, in addition to making good dietary choices. As a mom of two kiddos who both have food allergies, it's vital that I read labels. While the FDA may not verify that supplements contain what they say they do or whether they’re free of contamination before they are sold to the public, some third-party groups have stepped in to provide this service. So, knowing which logos to look for on labels can give you a little peace of mind that some form of testing has been done. – For-profit organization. Since its founding in 1999, CL has tested more than 6,600 products, representing over 950 different brands and nearly every type of popular supplement for adults, children, and pets.

NSF International – Not-for-profit organization. This global, independent organization was founded in 1944. Their standards team facilitates development of public health standards, and the organization’s service teams test, audit and certify products and services.

U.L.: You’ve likely seen this label on electronics. This is also a for-profit organization. Their website details that their quality assurance solutions, regulatory compliance testing and global market access programs are designed to help meet consumer and regulatory demands for high-quality dietary supplements. U.L. uses recognized test methods to help meet U.S., Japanese and European standards.

U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) – Nonprofit organization. The USP Dietary Supplement Verification Program is a voluntary program open to manufacturers who wish to have their dietary supplement products tested. USP provides global service and conducts a rigorous testing and auditing process. USP valuates voluntarily submitted products against science-based quality standards – including federally recognized USP–NF standards of quality, purity, potency, performance, and consistency – and FDA current good manufacturing practices.

Visit these websites to learn more and check out the FDA’s dietary and supplements pages for reports on products and ingredients, consumer information and more.

Checking with your doctor is a great place to start before you take anything. Sometimes your pharmacist may know how vitamins and supplements will interact with medications you may be taking as well, so if they’re around, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

We all know that the best way to get the vitamins we need is through our food, especially fruits, grains, and vegetables. So even though nothing is 100 percent guaranteed, we don’t have to be out here all willy-nilly just taking stuff.

No matter where we stand on whether we know or need to know what the ingredients are in things we use and consume, at least we know there are some organizations dedicated to testing to help us decide what’s best for us.

Be good to yourselves and be good to each other.

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