Do You Know What's in Your Vitamins?

Pam Flores @phflores Health Guide
  • Are you among the many that take supplements for osteoporosis?   If so, are you aware that many of the supplements we take are not put through rigorous controls to check for purity of ingredients, foreign substances, contaminants and other dangerous chemicals, as well as the correct amount of ingredients, that is stated on the label?


    If you take vitamins and minerals for your bone loss you are probably taking numerous supplements, like vitamin D, calcium, vitamin K2 and others.  The informed user will check for a USP mark on the bottle which will tell them that the company has tested the ingredients for things that could be harmful or ineffective.

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    What is USP? 


    Products that meet the program's stringent criteria are awarded the distinctive USP Verified Mark for use on labels, packaging, and promotional materials. The Mark makes it easy for customers, healthcare practitioners, and retailers to identify USP Verified products. Seeing the USP Verified Mark on a label indicates that the dietary supplement product inside. 

    • Contains the ingredients listed on the label, in the declared potency and amounts.
    • Does not contain harmful levels of specified contaminants.
    • Will break down and release into the body within a specified amount of time.
    • Has been made according to FDA current Good Manufacturing Practices using sanitary and well-controlled procedures. (U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention 2013).

    Personally, I get most of my calcium through my diet, which is easy for me since I don’t have trouble with dairy products like many do.  However, if I fall below the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for calcium I have to supplement on those occasions.  Vitamin D is much more difficult to get through your diet unless you exist on fatty fish; like sardines, tuna, salmon and fortified juices and foods.


    If my vitamin D supplement doesn’t have the USP mark on the bottle I have no way to know the amount included or whether or not it contains contaminants that could be life threatening.   If you have no idea of the amount or purity of vitamin D, you won’t know if it’s causing harm until your next vitamin D test known as (25 (OH D).  You could easily remain deficient in D or reach the toxic level, since we generally go several months between having this test done.  Also, some insurance companies will only pay for this test once a year, and that is a long time to wait not knowing if you’re in a deficiency or toxic state.


    Vitamin K2, in the MK4 or MK7 form is important for good bone health, but unless you know that you are getting exactly what the manufacturer states, this could be dangerous as well.  Vitamin K2 helps to direct calcium where it needs to go within your body so you don’t accumulate calcium in your arteries and organs where it can cause plaque and calcium build up.


    Since we most likely spend a considerable amount on these products it makes sense to know what you are getting from your supplement.  You want to be a wise consumer and insist on purity of product, so always look for the USP mark on the products you buy.


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    U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention 2013






Published On: November 13, 2013