Pharmaceutical Grade Vitamins: Is there a difference?
For most people buying vitamins is simply a matter of going to the grocery store or pharmacy and picking up a bottle of the least expensive product. We all need to be good stewards of our money. No one is more frugal than I am. In fact, I was guilty of buying the cheapest vitamin I could find because I used to believe that “a vitamin is a vitamin”. I have always had a strong interest in nutrition. For the last 15 years I have studied nutrition and taken hundreds of hours of courses in nutrition. One thing that I have found to be a universal truth about vitamins is: “you get what you pay for” As a patient of this pharmacy you may have noticed that we have expanded our line of “Pharmaceutical Grade Nutritionals” and reduced our line of lesser expensive vitamins.
What does “Pharmaceutical Grade” mean?
Most people do not realize that the FDA does not regulate the Vitamin industry. About the only restriction the FDA has is to mandate that no nutritional product can boast that they cure, treat or improve any disease state, unless it has been proven in a study conducted under the scrutiny of the FDA. Hence, you can be buying a Vitamin E 400 iu that could contain 100 units or none, and the FDA cannot take action against them. I’m not a big fan of the FDA, but they do insure the safety and validity of the drugs we dispense each day. The vitamin lines that we carry such as Metagenics, Xymogen, Douglas Laboratories, Vital Nutrients, Standard Process, Pure Encapsulations, and others are all Pharmaceutical grade companies. Hence, if you buy Vitamin 400 iu, you are getting 400 iu. This is important because many disease states can be improved and even alleviated by using the right nutrient at the correct dose.
Why do they cost more?
These companies spend millions of dollars to build and develop techniques that insure the quality of their products. Each facility meets or exceeds the Good Manufacturing Practices (GNP) criteria as required by the FDA. They use chemicals that have been validated to be pure. The nutrients are picked or harvested at the peak of their potency. The results are that the nutrient that you are taking gives you the best chance to get the results you and your doctor desire. Hence one of my favorite sayings is: “The most expensive vitamin you will ever take is one that doesn’t work”.
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