Back to Basics: Supplement Smarts

March 2015 - Health & Wellness

Supplements provide your body with the nutrients that you may not get strictly through food alone. Some necessary nutrients, like vitamin E for example, are only present in a select number of foods and therefore it can be difficult to get the recommended daily intake without supplementation.

10 Supplement Facts You Need to Know

  1. There are 40 different vitamins and minerals that must be obtained through supplementation or diet, because our bodies are unable to produce them.
  2. Daily, our bodies need at least 100mg of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium chloride, magnesium, and sulfur. We also need trace amounts of iron, iodine, zinc, chromium, selenium, molybdenum, copper, and manganese.
  3. Vitamins and minerals are quite different. Minerals are inorganic, single elements, 16 of which are essential to our bodies. Vitamins are organic molecules that our bodies require as nutrients.
  4. There are fat soluble and water soluble supplements. Vitamins C and B are water soluble and need water to be digested by our bodies. These vitamins play important roles in chemical reactions. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble and must be taken with food to encourage proper digestion. These vitamins are critical for the maintenance and repair of tissue.
  5. Excess water soluble vitamins are excreted in the urine, whereas excess fat soluble vitamins remain in the tissues. Because of this it is important to not exceed the recommended dosage on fat soluble vitamins, as it could lead to oversaturation.
  6. Minerals are important for maintaining water-acid-basic balance, keeping the integrity of bone structure and supporting co-enzyme activity.
  7. Other nutrients, such as essential fatty acids and amino acids are also key in maintaining good health.
  8. Not all supplements are created equal. Quality depends on raw ingredients, manufacturing processes, and formulation.
  9. What’s not in your supplements can be as important as what is! Avoid supplements that have additives like corn, soy, wheat, sugars, and artificial flavours and colours.
  10. Vitamins and supplements are regulated under the Canadian government Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD). Natural Product Numbers (NPNs) are given to supplements that are approved by the government for sale to denote their safety and efficacy.

Dosage & Indications
Some supplements should be taken at specific times of day. Likely, these are fat soluble vitamins that must be taken with food. Other supplements may say take before food and separate from other medications. Regardless, it is best to follow the instructions on the label to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Supplements come in a variety of forms, such as capsules, tablets, and liquids. Capsules tend to be slightly more expensive than tablets because the gel coating is more expensive to manufacture. Tablets tend to be larger and some people find them more difficult to swallow, however tablets are better for supplements with many ingredients, like a multivitamin, because more ingredients can fit within a single tablet. Liquids are easiest to take, but be careful that there are not many additives accompanying the active ingredients. Some manufacturers may add sugar to improve the flavour, which is not preferable.

Why Buy at Nature’s Fare Markets?

Nature’s Fare Markets has one of the best supplement selections in Canada, not to mention our attentive, caring, and knowledgeable vitamin and supplement experts.

  • We stock thousands of different vitamins, minerals, and other supplements. In fact, our stores have the some of the biggest vitamin departments in the country!
  • Our Corporate Purchaser has over 20 years of experience buying natural health products.
  • Each individual product is carefully checked to ensure that it contains only the highest quality raw materials and is manufactured according to strict standards of excellence.
  • We are members of the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) and our Marketing Director sits on the CHFA’s Board of Directors. This means that we have the most up-to-date information regarding supplement standards and regulations.
  • We stock only the most bio-available supplements, meaning your body is able to use the nutrients in the most efficient way.
  • Our Purchasing team participates in tours of supplier’s manufacturing facilities and farms, and is familiar with how many of the products on our shelves are produced. Our employees have even travelled as far as the Amazon Rainforest to see how certain supplements are sustainably sourced and responsibly manufactured.
  • We offer value by providing a number of different supplements for any indication, at a variety of different price ranges, all which maintain the same high quality standards that we promise our customers.
  • Our supplement experts participate in weekly training to keep their knowledge current. Our employees include graduates of the Alive Academy of Natural Health, holistic nutritionists, Reiki massage experts, and more!

The supplement industry in Canada has undergone substantial changes in the last decade. The Canadian government has created the Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products Directorate, which acts as a regulatory guide for the production and sale of natural health products. Under these regulations, supplement producers are obligated to provide greater information regarding their products. Health Canada uses this information to evaluate the supplements’ health claims and efficacy. Once a supplement has been approved for sale, Health Canada issues it a NPN, which signals to the customer that the health claim has been evaluated and approved by Health Canada. The directorate also requires a greater degree of information on the label that guarantees that the ingredients listed on the label are actually present in the bottle. The implementation of these new regulations have made the supplement industry even more accountable and transparent than before.


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