Everything, including the food we eat is a supplement to our health. When it comes to the supplements manufactured and sold in a bottle though there is little regulation by the FDA. It is up to us the consumer to determine what clean supplements are.
The FDA’s regulation for supplements falls under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). The main protection to consumers is that manufacturers and distributors of supplements and the ingredients are prohibited from marketing adulterated or misbranded products. If a product is adulterated or misbranded the FDA will take action against the manufacturer.
Before you start exploring supplements it is important to determine which ones you may really need.
Defining Clean Supplements
Although there is no official definition of a clean supplement the collectively accepted definition is a supplement made with simple to understand minimally processed ingredients. The supplement will be free of synthetic ingredients or preservatives, GMO’s, allergens, and gluten.
One of the most difficult to understand is the generic statement of not including allergens. In a supplement this generally means that it is not made with food ingredients such as eggs, peanut, milk, nuts, soy, animal by-products or wheat.
If you have an allergy to a specific food item it is important to research if that product is excluded.
Gluten is a mixture of two proteins in cereal grains, it is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. This item is often listed separately because it can worsen symptoms in someone with celiac disease.
In recent years farmers have been growing genetically modified plants (organism). Some of the modifications made to seeds make them more resistant to pests or disease. There is much debate in the scientific world if these modifications are safe for human consumption. Many supplement manufacturers have heard this concern and have started using non-GMO ingredients for the products.
Synthetics and Preservatives
As consumers have become more concerned with purchasing healthier products, we have learned that synthetics provide no value to our diet and preservatives can have a negative impact on our health.
If you are choosing to live a vegan lifestyle it is important to look for supplements that do not contain certain ingredients like, gelatin, lactose, or lipase. Gelatin is a protein that is obtained from animals to create the gel coating often used for enclosing liquid supplements. Lactose is a sugar that is taken from the milk of mammals. Lipase is an enzyme from the glands of mammals.
It is us the consumer that has driven this movement towards clean supplement labeling. We are driving manufacturers to make products that are minimally processed and labels that are transparent.
Focus your life on eating a well-balanced, whole food, clean diet. You should feel reassured that if you do need to add supplements there are a wide range of companies providing transparent information so you can live your ideal life.