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What’s in Your Supplement Ingredients?

What’s in Your Supplement Ingredients?


When it comes to supplements, it’s important to know that not everything is created equal!  Supplements vary to a great degree with respect to quality, purity, and therapeutic implications for the person taking them.  Get the best out of your supplements with the following tips:

Inspect your Supplements for Fillers

Choose supplements with ingredients that are free from harmful dyes, additives, or preservatives.  These ingredients are often used in supplements to increase shelf-life, improve flavor, improve color or texture and prevent mold formation. These dyes, preservatives, fillers, or flavors, however, may affect your body’s health especially if ingested regularly.  Check for them under the ‘Non-Medicinal Ingredients’ on your supplement labels.

Common things to avoid taking long-term on your supplement ingredient list include dyes or colors, magnesium stearate, sodium benzoate, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, titanium dioxide, and talc.

Choose more Bioavailable Ingredients

Look for ingredients that are more readily absorbed into the body and therefore more likely to be bioavailable.  When it comes to supplements bioavailability refers to the amount of a given ingredient that is absorbed into the bloodstream and utilized by the body.  When it comes to bioavailability, there are forms of supplement ingredients that are considered more bioavailable than other forms.  If you’ve ever looked at supplement ingredients, you’ll see that nutrients can come in several different forms.  B12, also known as cobalamin, for example, exists as methylcobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, adenosylcobalamin, and cyanocobalamin.  Cyanocobalamin, which is B12 attached to a cyanide molecule, has to not only get absorbed into the bloodstream but then has to undergo metabolic changes to convert it into methylcobalamin which is the active form of B12 that works on the body’s tissue.  When you see cyanocobalmin in your supplement ingredient list, it’s best to avoid this and look for one that has the more bioavailable form – methylcobalamin.

Here is a shortlist of vitamin and mineral forms that you should choose over others for their bioavailability:

Choose This!

Not That!

B12 aka cobalamin



Folate/Folic Acid

Folate or 5-Methylfolate

Folic Acid


Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium Oxide


Zinc picolinate

Zinc sulfate


Heme Iron or Iron bis-glycinate

Iron sulfate


Choose Ingredients at a Therapeutic Dose that is Right for You

When it comes to health and wellness each person’s therapeutic needs are unique.  A therapeutic dosage is related to the amount or quantity of a substance required to have a desired effect on the body and is dependent on a number of factors including weight, age, gut health, and vitamin status.  It’s not enough to simply take the recommended dosage on a supplement bottle, rather, it is always recommended to consult with a regulated healthcare practitioner, like a Naturopathic Doctor, to prescribe supplements in the correct therapeutic dose for your needs.

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