Research shows you have only a 2.5% chance of selecting a nutritional product in the marketplace that is both nontoxic and effective. In other words, you have a 97.5% chance of selecting a nutritional product that is either toxic or doesn’t work. This was confirmed in a landmark study reported in the Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association (Winter, 1999). There are many contributing factors advertising hype and toxic ingredients in nutritional products are now commonplace. Herbal experts routinely find the use of the wrong herbal species, ingredients that are old, that have been poorly grown, irradiated, fumigated or contaminated with pesticide/insecticide residues.
Research from one of our manufacturers shows over 60% of the herbs currently used in nutritional products in the U.S. have been either fumigated, irradiated or contain significant pesticide/insecticide residues including many organic herbs. When they first began assaying herbs from many different growers in the U.S. they found widespread contamination of most herbs, including fumigation, irradiation and pesticide/insecticide residues. This was true even of many organic herbs. Most product manufacturers do not test the raw materials used to make their products. They usually accept the Certificate of Analysis from the supplier that usually tests only for harmful bacteria and mold, and rarely tests for toxic contaminants.
An herb’s nutrient content as well as phytochemical properties can vary drastically, depending on its growing and harvesting methods. Most herbs grown in the U.S. are too weak, too toxic or both to offer the full spectrum of benefits typically quoted in the scientific literature, much of which is derived from Europe where herbs are treated with far greater respect and controls than here in America. Depending on the growing and harvesting methods used, a plant can vary in its mineral content by over 900%. Likewise, its phytochemical nutrients can range from very potent with spectacular healing properties to virtually inactive. If an herb is poorly grown, even a concentrate or extract won’t help it yield better results. How the herb is grown is of critical importance. We look for 100% contaminantfree raw materials, mostly from outside the U.S. where nutrients are grown in rich, unspoiled soil with pure water. Back in 1988, Tom Brokaw reported that even by then, there were no uncontaminated drinking water sources left in the U.S. This means virtually all crops, even organic, are watered with contaminated water. Some of the herbs must be gathered from the deep central forests in India to the wilds of the South American rainforests to the pristine mountaintops of China. We look for products that are packaged to preserve their freshness and avoid the routine fumigation at the ports of passage on the way to the U.S.
We try to avoid companies that import herbs and foods in flimsy containers, such as burlap bags, paper and cardboard boxes, which are easily fumigated and contaminated. One importer from India told us that his goods are fumigated 5 times (on average) between India and the U.S.
We look for products that are to designed to target and strengthen a specific organ or gland in the human body made by transporting nutrients critical to the body’s own healing and recovery systems. A great benefit of this targeted approach is that a specific organ complex can be coupled with another agent, such as an antiinfective herb, so that it can be targeted directly to the same organ. As an example of this targeting approach, using a product used to strengthen the heart taken together with an antiinfective herbal complex, the antiinfective nutrients seems to also target the heart. Similarly, any other powerful antiinfective agents could be targeted to desired organ or gland systems.
In using pure, nonanimal digestive enzymes derived from Aspergillus, we search for enzymes that have been ultrapurified and filtered so they are 100% free of fungal residue, which is may be a common problem in other enzyme products and may elicit allergictype reactions. We choose enzymes processed without heat, which ensures the enzymes are fully biologically active over the broadest range of gastrointestinal pH exposure a feature lost in enzyme products extracted with heat.
Although many use calcium products to promote remineralization of bone only, this is not only ineffective if they neglect the tremendous need for alkalization (raising the pH) and supplying trace minerals (see my website for the web page on osteoporosis). In addition, the remineralization of soft tissue (which includes all the body’s organs and glands) is also necessary and does not rely on calcium alone. The keys in mineralization are to provide the minerals in an ionized form and to balance the pH towards alkalinity.
The two go together (mineralization and alkalization) and thus one way to test the body’s mineral reserves is via the pH. Testing both the urine and saliva provide better insights than doing saliva or urine alone. For most people, the tendency is to become acidic. Nearly every metabolic process creates acid, whether it be from breakdown of proteins into amino acids, oils into fatty acids, or carbohydrates into organic acids. Assuming that the average person is acidic and the goal is to increase the pH toward alkalinity, the primary route is to increase the amount of minerals buffers. In order to accomplish this the colon pH has to favor mineral absorption. FOS promotes the colon environment necessary for mineral absorption and thus alkalizing the body. Other choices to improve the body’s pH focus on delivering minerals, reducing oxidative stress, improving acid excretion through the bowels and urine, etc….You can monitor your first morning urine pH to test the effectiveness and the speed of mineral repletion to both your bones and soft tissues.
We have talked about the importance of raw whole foods as a critical component of health. When a product containing isolated vitamin and mineral nutrients is taken long term, it may induce side effects that are difficult to identify and correct. A person taking a formula with isolated vitamins and minerals may receive help at first, but later may begin to react to the imbalance of too much of a specific mineral or vitamin. See my website for the web page of neurotransmitter depletion for an example. We try to use whole food complexes so the food/herb complexes you use are designed to avoid inducing a toxic overdose of isolated vitamins or minerals or a toxic interaction so common when taking isolated vitamin/mineral preparations. Although it may seem that you have to take more pills when you use truly natural supplements, the fact is that whole food contain far more of value than what is on the label.
In the process of tableting or encapsulating, toxic agents such as binders, fillers and flowing agents are often used. When these tablets or capsules are consumed over time, the toxic chemical agents can accumulate and later create serious toxicity and absorption problems. We try to use products that do not contain toxic binders, fillers or flowing agents, and when possible pure vegetable capsules. When an ingredient has special requirements in order to be made stable and packaged feasibly, we choose products that respect the unique physical properties of each nutrient in order to use the most synergistic and beneficial nutrient blends to accomplish this task. In fact, many of the manufacturers we use have patented their research and developments to preserve their full potency as well as enhancing their bioavailability and transport to target tissues.
We believe in full disclosure labeling. To avoid alarming consumers about the use of toxic tableting or encapsulating agents, most manufacturers simply avoid the problem by not listing them on their label. Flowing agents such as talcum powder, a suspected carcinogen (cancercausing agent), are used routinely by most other manufacturers as well as polyvinylpyrolidone, magnesium stearate (a proven immunosuppressive agent), waxes and many other known or suspected carcinogens. Several manufacturers who use these toxic agents in their nutritional products do not to inform their consumers about these hazards. We were shocked when some company representatives informed us, “Don’t worry, everybody does it.”
We strive for labels that honestly list every ingredient used in each product. We look for companies who have no unlisted ingredients. “We won’t recommend it if we won’t take it.” When we chose to use tablets, we avoid companies that process them with heat, high pressure or toxic glues. Although many capsule are 50% better absorbed than a tablet. We try to use products that go even one step further using 100% pure, preservativefree vegetable capsules. Vegetable capsules cost twice as much as gelatin capsules but are 50% better absorbed than a gelatin capsule. In addition, they are free toxic preservatives necessary to preserve gelatin capsules. These are critical considerations for people who take nutritional products on a regular basis.
Almost all manufacturers use talcum powder, a suspect human carcinogen, in their high speed encapsulators to produce encapsulated products. One product representative s told PRL, “You can run most products the best by adding 1 to 2% talcum powder per capsule.” In fact, for many high speed capsule manufacturers, that is exactly what is done. There are a few companies that do not use talc by using new, nontoxic ways to run their products at high speed without talcum powder or other toxic agents. Whenever possible, these are the companies we choose.
Even if a product is “safe,” the vast majority of formulations available today have not been clinically tested. When you use them, you can’t be sure they will work. We clinically test each product. Each proposed new program and product is clinically tested through ongoing feedback with patients. We have no commitment to a specific brand or product. If it doesn’t work, we stop using it. Using actual feedback and other testing means, each product’s ingredients, quality, form and synergism with other ingredients are studied to find what really works.
I wish every product we have available met all of these criteria. Some do not. That is why we often change products or manufacturers to get the highest benefit to risk profile possible. Thanks for your understanding in allowing us to continue our quest to use only the most healthpromoting products available anywhere on earth.