Does Quality Matter When Considering Nutritional Supplements?
The short answer is...yes.
Why shouldn't you buy the cheapest vitamin you can find? Well, for celiacs and the gluten intolerant, one important reason is that you can’t be sure they are gluten free. Of equal importance is that cheaper multivitamin formulations, consequently, have cheaper and less absorbable forms of many of the individual components. It all comes down to chemistry, and molecules matter. Celiacs typically, already have issues with malabsorption, so if anyone needs an easily absorbed, top quality supplement, it is a celiac. Dr. Doherty reviews her patients' supplements every working day. Patients bring big bags of supplements to their appointments for her review. Here are a few pet peeves with some cheaper vitamins:
1) No expiration date?
Missing an expiration date, or having one that extends beyond the shelf-life of some of the product ingredients is a problem. Supplements do go bad, especially oils and probiotics, so if the supplement you are taking doesn’t have an expiration date, or has one that is multiple years into the future, this is a big red flag that the company is more interested in their profits than your health. Many in this category also have minimal or very low quality control processes and standards and aren't manufactured to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) protocols.
2) Many manufacturers produce products only to the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA).
The RDA is the base amount needed to keep you from getting nutrient deficiency diseases, like scurvy and beriberi. It doesn’t take into account the special needs of individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Dr. Doherty tested and refined her formula for a year with celiac patients in her clinic. She found that formulas that look good on paper, don't always work as expected.
3) Most products are not tested for potency and purity.
Product testing accounts for a significant amount of the cost difference between cheaper vitamins and the professional lines. Bacterial and heavy metal contamination are just a few tests performed on Dr. Doherty's supplements, in addition to the added testing that she does for gluten with the University of Nebraska-Food Allergy Research and Resource Program.
What about Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval? Currently nutritional supplements are not evaluated by the FDA. However, the labeling requirements are regulated by the FDA, and all of our products are in compliance. The facility where our supplements are manufactured is state-of-the-art, FDA audited, and GMP-certified (not all manufacturers meet these criteria). For more information: http://www.fda.gov/food/dietarysupplements/default.htm
4) Many formulations are not based on good medical and scientific research – this results in incorrect ingredients and/or incorrect ratios of ingredients.
This is especially important for celiacs. Who designed your vitamin? A doctor with years of instruction in nutritional biochemistry, who is also an educator to other doctors, has over a decade of clinical experience dealing specifically with celiacs and the gluten intolerant, and has celiac disease herself, or someone with a business degree that is just looking to capitalize on the “celiac/gluten-free market”? Many formulas use the cheapest ingredients, where the pills are never broken down. X-ray examination shows some pills intact in the gut and never absorbed. Do your supplements have the state-of-the-art Albion chelated minerals, or are they using the cheapest forms and selling them at a premium?
Another issue to watch out for is where some manufacturers blend ingredients that shouldn't be combined together, thereby compromising the viability of the individual constituents. This is especially true for those that have blended vitamins, probiotics and enzymes together into one pill, but there are, unfortunately, many examples of poor formulation on the market today.
Quality matters. Dr. Doherty designed her supplements based on years of experience with celiacs and those on the gluten-free diet. She chose quality ingredients to maximize absorption, based on science not economics, and refuses to compromise on quality. Since their introduction in 2005, Dr. Doherty chose to sell her products direct, to keep costs down. If you price out other comparable products to our original C-Liac Vitality Packs (dosage, quality, and testing), you will find the cost will easily be over $120 per month.
As Dr. Doherty continually adds new products to her supplement family, rest assured that all will have met her strict standards for quality and testing.
~Sean Doherty, MSc, MS, LAc, DNBAO
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.