Are You Getting the Safest, Most Effective Nutritional Supplements for Your Money?

  • By RenewAlliance, Inc.
  • 26 Oct, 2017

Dr. Aron talks about nutrient bioavailability and purity, and why they are important.

How to get the safest and more effective nutritional supplements for your money.

If you are someone who spends your hard-earned money on high-quality organic food and supplements, how do you know if you are getting the absolute best and that they are safe AND effective?

Americans spend more than $14 billion dollars a year on supplements alone.

This means that many of us are looking for ways to improve our health, look younger, prevent illness, and we are willing to spend our hard earned money to do it.

With so many options on the market, some better than others, you want to make the most informed decision for your money and your safety.

In short: The quality of what you put into your system determines your health not just today, but months and years down the line. When you eat healthy foods, take the right supplements, and take care of your body, you are investing in your current and future health.
What is bioavailability?
Bioavailability is how well your body uses the nutrients and supplements that you consume. If the nutrients are not bioavailable, this is literally money being flushed down the drain. Consider the purpose of eating--to extract essential nutrients from food to stay alive and have a great quality of life.
The protein from the meat or tofu is digested and broken down into amino acids that are rearranged into other proteins, enzymes, and tissues.

The egg you had for breakfast is broken down into fatty acids and cholesterol to make cell membranes and hormones like Vitamin D, testosterone, and estrogen.

Those leafy greens in your salad provide vitamins, phytochemicals, and minerals that are used to produce healthy collagen for beautiful skin, blood cells that carry oxygen to your muscles, immune cells that defend your body from intruders, and other tissues that allow you to navigate your environment.
Let’s consider what it takes to USE these nutrients once you’ve had that delicious Sunday morning brunch with your friends. Realize that it takes a lot of work to digest and absorb nutrients, and even when digestion is almost perfect, you are not absorbing 100% of the nutrients you consume.

External Factors That Affect Digestion

1. Digestion: The gastrointestinal tract is technically the outside world. Clean food goes in one end of the tube and dirty food comes out of the other. This is a multi-step process that includes mechanical digestion (e.g. chewing) and chemical digestion (e.g. enzymes that further breakdown food particles into smaller, absorbable forms). There are a lot of steps to this process and any deficiencies in one or more of these steps will affect how well you digest your food.

2. Raw or cooked: Whether food is raw or cooked affects the digestibility and nutrient density of the food we eat. Raw foods generally have more nutrient density but are harder to digest. Cooked foods generally are easier to digest but lose some of the nutrient value or destroys nutrients in the process.

3. Inhibitors and promoters: Certain nutrient combinations can inhibit or promote nutrient absorption. For example, most of us may absorb only 10-20% of the non-heme iron from plant-based foods. If we consume sources of iron with black tea or coffee, this inhibits absorption even further. If we consume iron sources with Vitamin C and our stomachs produce sufficient stomach acid, we absorb more iron.

4. Nutrient forms and quality: Nutrients also come in many different chemical configurations (think different shapes), some more readily absorbed and utilized by the body than others. For example, maybe you take a calcium supplement. There are many forms to choose from--calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium orotate, and others.

5. The Microbiome: There have been recent estimates that the number of gut bacterial cells are equal to or greater than human cells in the human body—about (1.3 trillion bacterial cells to human cells.) There are beneficial, symbiotic bacteria that influence our immune function, affect our mood, and even produce vitamins in forms that may not be available in the foods we eat! We inherit our microbiome from our mother, who inherited it from her mother, and her mother’s mother. However, our microbiome can be disrupted by stress, poor dietary choices, medications, illness, or all of the above.

It is a miracle that all of this is orchestrated and managed subconsciously day after day. But there is more!

There are internal factors that affect how we use and access nutrients.

1. Age: As the human body ages, our ability to absorb or utilize nutrients decreases. Our cellular machinery tends to be less efficient. However, aging is not just the number of years you have been alive, but also how well you take care of yourself during those years.

2. Physical stress: This can range from lifting weights, hiking, surgery, or injury. Your body demands more of the building blocks necessary to repair and regenerate.

3. Emotional stressors: Dealing with a chronically difficult family situation or financial issues can deplete vitamins and minerals and promote inflammation that adds additional burden on our bodies and minds.

4. Chemical stressors: Pollution, excess alcohol, certain medications, or poor dietary habits deplete our nutrient stores even further and prevents cells from functioning properly.

5. Chronic infections: Chronic infections like Lyme’s disease, Epstein-Barr Virus, or Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth can sequester important nutrients and disrupt normal cellular function.

In an ideal world, we would get all of the essential nutrients from our food. However, the food we consume is not as nutrient dense as it once was, we face more stress in our daily lives that creates more demand for these nutrients, and modern living emphasizes speed and convenience over health promotion.

All of these factors mean that many of us need to supplement our diets with high quality nutritional food supplements .

Yet, not all supplements are created equal.
The FDA has different regulations for supplements compared to pharmaceutical drugs. This can result in unscrupulous manufacturers using lower quality ingredients or having looser standards for the amounts of the claimed nutrients in the bottle.

A poor quality supplement can hit the shelf and end up in your home before the FDA is notified or determines a supplement to be ineffective, unsafe, or both.

However, just as there are subpar quality supplements, there are companies dedicated to creating high-quality products.

What to look for in a high-quality supplement?

Even though our bodies have detoxification processes that are always working, these processes can become overwhelmed if the total body burden exceeds what these systems can handle. This is when you begin to see signs of aging skin--wrinkles, saggy skin, and dark spots.

Purity and quality are extremely important. The last thing you want is to add additional body burden from inferior supplements.

Pay attention to the nutritional facts and look out for the full list of ingredients. If your supplements contain preservatives, fillers, toxic metals, or rancid nutrients,  it can do more harm than good in the long run all while costing you a lot of money. Essentially, if you put garbage in, you get garbage out.

The things I look for in a high-quality supplement:

  1. Is it safe and produced with current good manufacturing practices?
  2. Is the supplement effective and in a form that is bioavailable and easily utilized by the body?
  3. Are there artificial sweeteners like sucralose or potentially harmful fillers or preservatives? 
  4. Is there enough of the said nutrient in the right dose to actually make a difference?
  5. Do manufacturers seek third party testing that indicate the manufacturer is going above and beyond the minimum requirements? In case you were wondering, Taut does .
  6. Am I getting the product from a trusted distributor? I hesitate to buy brand-name supplements from unauthorized dealers (e.g. on Amazon.com) because there is no guarantee that the product is being stored in proper temperatures, have been tampered with, or are counterfeit.

When you minimize your exposure to toxins and stressors and provide high quality nutritional building blocks to support healthy tissues, your skin will naturally look younger and more radiant.

Navigating the world of supplements and health products can be overwhelming. Need help tailoring a nutrition and supplement strategy that is right for you?

Reach out to me at aron@aronchoi.com  with the subject “Taut nutrition strategy,” let me know your BIGGEST health challenge, and I will personally reply to your question.  

Dr. Aron Choi - I believe in building health from the ground up. My private practice is in Seattle, WA, and I specialize in working with patients who are dealing with chronic digestive disorders, inflammatory conditions, and immune dysfunction utilizing a combination of botanical medicine and nutrition, lifestyle therapy, and visceral manipulation. After becoming dissatisfied from working in Silicon Valley and after my mom, a retail pharmacist, introduced me to holistic medicine, I decided to pursue a doctorate in naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University. When not pondering the many wonders of the human body and mind, I train for marathons, read books by people smarter than me, and train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Dr Aron - |   www.aronchoi.com   |   www.medium.com/@aronchoi  

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Stress isn’t always a bad thing. A small amount of stress can motivate you to perform at your best and work well under pressure. Chronic stress, however, can take a toll on your appearance, including your hair, skin, and nails. Combined with the UV rays from the sun and pollution, stress creates the perfect recipe for aging skin.

While we all lead hectic, busy lifestyles these days, there are steps you can take to prevent the daily grind from wreaking havoc on your skin. From dehydrated skin to fine lines and wrinkles, there are many conditions that could be cured with the right skincare ingredients. The following are some botanical and herbal extracts that hydrate, repair, and protect your skin, so you can reverse the effects of your hectic lifestyle on your skin.

By RenewAlliance, Inc. 26 Oct, 2017

If you are someone who spends your hard-earned money on high-quality organic food and supplements, how do you know if you are getting the absolute best and that they are safe AND effective?

Americans spend more than $14 billion dollars a year on supplements alone.

This means that many of us are looking for ways to improve our health, look younger, prevent illness, and we are willing to spend our hard earned money to do it.

With so many options on the market, some better than others, you want to make the most informed decision for your money and your safety.

In short: The quality of what you put into your system determines your health not just today, but months and years down the line. When you eat healthy foods, take the right supplements, and take care of your body, you are investing in your current and future health.
By RenewAlliance, Inc. 13 Oct, 2017

It was difficult to spot the difference because you look at your face every morning. You stumble upon an old picture from college or even just five years ago. “My skin used to be so smooth and firm!” “Where did that saggy, extra skin come from underneath my chin?”

Skin issues can be emotionally difficult to deal with. We feel self-conscious when there is a giant, red pimple on our nose or when there are more dark spots and less firmness in our skin. It is the first thing people see and generally, we cannot hide it.

As a teenager, I struggled with acne and later in my twenties, I remember waking up one morning with dry, scaly patches on the bridge of my nose and on my neck. Seemingly overnight, I found myself dealing with moderately severe eczema.

People would ask, “What’s wrong with your neck? Did you get a really bad sunburn.” As much as I tried to convince myself that I was not self-conscious about my skin, these innocent comments from friends and family started to wear down on me.

I would hesitate to wear t-shirts because they exposed my neck, and I did not want to deal with the “innocent” comments or have to explain that I was not contagious. I tried different eczema creams and lotions but this was more than just dry skin.

As much as I disliked going to the doctor, my mom, who is a pharmacist, convinced me to make an appointment with my family physician. My doctor examined my skin and came back after 5 minutes with two tubes of medication—two different forms of topical steroid creams. He said, “Just apply these until the patches go away.”

“How long will I have to use these?”

“Probably off and on for the rest of your life.”

That just did not make any sense to me. This was one of those turning points in my life that started me down the path of looking for answers about what these symptoms mean and how to get to the root cause of the issue rather than just covering up the issue with medications.

Little did I realize, or did my family physician, that my form of eczema (also commonly called atopic dermatitis) was not primarily a skin disease, but rather a sign that my body’s internal environment was out of balance.

My mom was always the one encouraging myself and her customers at the pharmacy to use as few medications as possible. She promoted healthy lifestyle and nutrition because she understood that medications were not the answer to all health problems. You might see why I was inspired to look to a different approach to medicine. My holistic medical education at Bastyr University, an accredited naturopathic medical school, taught me to look at symptoms in the context of whole-body health.

Even if you do not have a skin condition, taking care of your internal environment will keep your skin healthy, radiant, and smooth. 

Let me explain.

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