The Difference Between Professional & Store-Bought Supplements
A dietary supplement is a product taken by mouth that includes one or more dietary ingredients, such as minerals, vitamins, herbs, amino acids, or botanicals. In essence, a supplement can contain any substance that supplements the diet, hence the name, and while they are most well-known for being available over-the-counter (OTC), supplements can also be professional grade.
Supplements have the potential to significantly improve your well-being when taken correctly, so as practitioners of functional medicine & nutrition in Tulsa and Owasso, OK, we want to clarify what differentiates store-bought supplements from professional supplements.
For those looking for a quick answer regarding the biggest difference between these two types of supplements, here it is: store-bought supplements are not regulated by the government, while professional supplements are.
What does this mean for you? It means that, in the case of store-bought supplements, what the company claims to be true might not be valid. This is because they are not required to have their information verified by the government, so a supplement that claims to contain 300 mg of a particular mineral may actually contain only 150 mg.
Those who look into store-bought supplements often find that, while these products have great marketing that makes significant promises, the supplements cannot always back up their claims.
The Ingredients Matter
We all know that specific vitamins, minerals, and other substances provide certain benefits, but did you know that some vitamins come in multiple forms? Some are synthetic and cheaper to use, which OTC supplements often use, and others are natural (yet pricier), which professional supplements typically use. By using the better form of a vitamin, though, professional supplements ensure that your body gets the most natural and effective form of the vitamin.
For example, vitamin E is available as mixed tocopherols or alpha-tocopherol only. Mixed tocopherols are more expensive, but they also work better, which is why professional supplements typically utilize them.
In addition to the ingredients used in the supplement, another big difference between OTC supplements and professional supplements is the amount used.
This is standard with most professional vs. OTC varieties. For example, when prescription only, ibuprofen was available at 800 mg per pill, but now that it is available as OTC, the concentration per pill has dropped to 200 mg.
The same is true for vitamins and minerals, with store-bought varieties often containing less than professional products do.
While the amount of ingredients in the supplement is important, it is also crucial for the body to be able to absorb the vitamins and minerals; otherwise they are excreted in the stool undigested and unabsorbed. With store-bought supplements, especially those that cram a lot into a single pill, the supplement often travels throughout the entire digestive tract, hardly being absorbed at all by the body.
In comparison, the design of professional supplements allows them to be better absorbed by the body so that you know that the vitamins and minerals supplemented to your body are actually making a difference.
Personalized Supplement Needs
One of the most important differences between OTC supplements and those prescribed by a doctor is that professional supplements are offered based on your individual nutritional needs and deficiencies.
Everyone is different, so even though you may be in the “normal” range for a particular nutrient, you still might not have enough for your body’s specific needs. The functional medicine experts in Owasso, OK, and the integrative medicine practitioners in Tulsa, OK, are well-versed in analyzing individualized nutritional needs to help combat any problem you may be suffering from. Allow our practitioners to help you get the correct nutrient balance through professional supplements that bring the best vitamins and minerals to your body.