Supplements explained

As a nutritional therapist, patients tell me that they are taking supplements from the local high street shop. It is great that they have identified need for additional supplementation as they understand there are health benefits to vitamins, minerals and herbs.

However, many of these products amount to nothing more in your body than expensive urine. Why? The form of the product is not bioavailable (easily absorbed). E.g., vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, has 3 forms—cyanocobalamin, which is the cheapest to manufacture and thus found in your standard drugstore supplement, has 80% of it immediately excreted by the kidney. The other two forms—hydroxycobalamin and methylcobalamin—have only 5% being immediately excreted.

With supplements you really do get what you pay for. It tends to be the more expensive ones that are more easily absorbed by the body. This is because the more bioavailable forms tend to be natural extracts, which is a more expensive process than creating a man-made form (and less available) in a test tube.

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