If you’ve ever wondered if you can take the ‘least expensive or cheap brand’ of any given supplement, this post is for you.
It was inspired by a question from a reader – I always appreciate hearing your questions and concerns and I try to address them here on the blog whenever possible.
If you walk away from reading this article and retain just one piece of advice, I hope it’s this… You’ve got to read labels!
Taking the time to read the ingredients on supplements and food (better yet…eat food WITHOUT a label) is essential for your health. You can’t rely on anyone else to do this for you. The FDA does not regulate supplements and you can’t trust all companies to give you high quality ingredients because most of them don’t.
So that’s the most important thing, but with that said, I hope you’ll keep reading because ingredient labels can be hard to read.
If you’ve ever felt like you need an advanced degree in science to decipher what’s in a supplement, I want to give you a cheat sheet. We’re going to use a mineral supplement as an example, because there are a lot of details to a good mineral supplement, but these basics apply across the board.
Are you absorbing what’s in your supplements?There are 4 main types of delivery systems for supplements:
Remember this important point – you’re NOT what you eat; you’re what you digest, absorb, and assimilate.
And these four different delivery systems have different bio-availabilities and assimilation rates. What you’re going for is efficiency (for your body and your wallet!).
You want to be able to take the least amount with the most absorption.
When you take a tablet, you are only absorbing 10-30% MAX. That’s assuming that your digestive system is working at 100%, and no one has perfect digestion.
Capsules are a little better with around 50% absorption.
When you move to a powder or liquid form, absorption rates skyrocket to 98%, because they largely bypass the digestive system and absorb directly into the bloodstream. So you don't need as much to get what you need.
What are the ingredients and where do they come from?
Next, you have to look at the ingredients in your supplement and what they’re made from.
Most companies use the cheapest forms available, often from chemicals or even ROCKS. Yes, rocks. We’ll get to that in a minute.
Let’s look at 2 of the minerals that your body needs supplemented (in addition to what’s in a diet filled with mineral-rich foods), calcium and magnesium.
Most companies use a non-chelatedform of magnesium, which means it’s cheaper and does not get absorbed well in the stomach and small intestine. The absorption rate is much lower than a chelated form such as magnesium citrate, magnesium lactate, or magnesium glycinate.
A quick look at the ingredient list and you’ll see several highly questionable inactive ingredients like soy lecithin, beeswax, tapioca, magnesium stearate, and in the case of chewables, all kinds of junk including artificial sweeteners – yuck!
In Alkamind Daily Minerals, we use the most bio-available form of these minerals. Magnesium glycinate tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and bio-availability and is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency.
Many brands like Tums use calcium carbonate, which in addition to being altogether non-absorbable by about 25% of people, is flat out dangerous. Why?
It doesn't go to the bones, it lands in your joints the walls of your blood vessels, leading to arthritis and blood vessel wall plaque buildup.
It’s also made of limestone rocks! If you take Tums or other calcium carbonate supplements, you’re eating expensive rocks.
Add to that the other inactive ingredients like corn starch, mineral oil, and talc, and you have a combination that should not be allowed anywhere near your body!
Not too mention, you need the acidic environment in your stomach (Hydrochloric Acid, known as HCL, which is good) to be able to ABSORB the calcium.
Here is the CRAZY part – Tums is an antacid! So it is removing the acid in the stomach (which is one of the WORST things you can do – click here to find out why) which will ultimately not allow you to ABSORB the calcium in the first place, so anyone who takes TUMS as a calcium supplement, is literally, wasting their money (and making themselves toxic at the same time).
In Daily Minerals, we use calcium citrate, the most effective, and again, bio-available. And no added junk, I might add.
Are the ingredients in the right ratio?
Even when you find a good supplement with the right kind of ingredients, their ratios need to balance each other.
For instance, many people find value in the magnesium supplement, CALM by Natural Vitality brand. It is made from magnesium citrate without added, gross ingredients, so I like that (in fact, I used to use this supplement before I learned what I am about to say, and therefore, decided to make my own). However, what happens for many people is that it depletes other essential minerals (like calcium, potassium, sodium), because they aren’t taken in proper ratios.
In order to absorb calcium, you must have a calcium to magnesium ratio of 1:1 (as we do with Daily Minerals). Many have MORE calcium, which consumers assume is a good thing, but the skewed ratio prevents you from absorbing the calcium.
Potassium bicarbonate is one of the most powerful neutralizers of acid, and compliments the blend of calcium and magnesium, as not to let any essential mineral get depleted.
Lastly, sodium bicarbonate, the MOST alkaline mineral, is missing in the vast majority of mineral supplements. In fact, when your body is in an acidic state, the stomach, pancreas, and kidneys will create bicarbonate to help neutralize acid. That is the same exact salt we use in Daily Minerals.
Many people get nervous when they see the word ‘Sodium’, however, this is NOT the sodium that you are thinking of. Sodium Chloride, also known as your typical restaurant table salt, is the BAD salt. It is highly processed and bleached, and will raise your blood pressure.
Sodium Bicarbonate is a completely different animal. It is only 28% sodium (remember, the body requires this most important alkaline mineral), and is one of the most powerful minerals you can put into your body.By taking a supplement that delivers high quality minerals every day, you’re going to:
- Sleep better
- Have better muscle recovery from workouts
- Improve mental focus & clarity
- Reduce food cravings
- Alleviate stress and anxiety
- Reduce sugar cravings
So take Alkamind Daily Minerals every night half an hour before bedtime to ensure you’re getting the absolute best quality minerals supplement on the planet. You will sleep better, have less inflammation and acidity, and will wake up feeling refreshed and energized.
You can also take it immediately AFTER your workout (or during) to neutralize the LACTIC ACID.
I also have a scoop when I find my stress levels higher, I take the minerals during the day. They don’t make me sleepy (they help sleep at night because the MINERALS neutralize the acid, so your body doesn’t use energy in the middle of the night to do so, when it SHOULD be in deep REM sleep), and they really help my focus.
Lastly, they are your ultimate savior for a SUGAR CRISIS. Minerals are single handedly responsible for me CRUSHING my life-long addiction to sugar. By simply adding these minerals into my life, the good replaced the bad, and within a few weeks, my cravings disappeared for good!
So, if you were like me, and are always craving pasta, bread, cookies, junk food, and all those empty carbs, you have a MINERAL deficiency. GET OFF YOUR ACID, and get on these minerals, and you will see some awesome changes in your body, your energy, and your health!