Supplements: The best at the best price
The best supplements for the best price (2015)
In these tough economic times it is very important to find the best supplements, the ones that can benefit you the most without spending too much money. Every year, I make a list of the most popular and important supplements to our health and the best brands available at the best price. Although this list is very important it is more important to buy exactly what you need and not be misled by false promises of new products.
This list of products will enable you to be a wise informative shopper when filling your supplement needs, but most important is the money you saved by not falling for the advertising in health magazines and not being swayed by morning talk shows that promise the elixir of youth and good health. This is where my clients save the most money; by not falling prey to false advertising because they consult me first for a second opinion.
Omega-3 Fish Oil
There are two excellent omega 3 fish oils available in the health food store; Nutra Sea Fish Oil and Tri Star Omega-3 fish oil. They are both made in Canada by a company called Ocean Nutrition located in Dartmouth Nova Scotia. The formulas are identical as is the taste (both are lemon flavoured).
The Tri Star brand is a lot less expensive and is recommended by Dr. Zoltan Rona, a medical doctor who has opted out of OHIP and treats his patients using traditional as well as alternative medicine. He has created a whole line of supplements that he feels suit the needs of most people and they are very reasonably priced.
Both brands are made from small fish, anchovies, mackerel, sardines and herring and are micro filtered. This guarantees zero contaminates and you get 100% pure fish oil. If you buy the large bottle of the Tri Star brand your savings will be $9 a bottle. If you buy the Tri Star brand they also make an orange flavoured version with 1000 I.U, of Vitamin D and 120 mcg of Vitamin K for the same price; a good choice for the fall and winter months.
If you prefer capsules instead of liquid, then a 75 day supply of the Tri-Star brand is about $20. You can buy the same thing from Natural Factors for the same price but that brand is not enteric coated. This means that you could taste the fish if you burp whereas the Tri-Star brand is enteric coated and dissolves in the upper intestine so there is no chance of burping it up.
This used to be a very expensive product but competition has really driven the price down. Last year Dr. Zoltan Rona’s brand was the best for the price. However this year, Natural Factors has a bonus size of 140 caps of the 100mg CoQ 10 for under $20 dollars. This is the fat soluble version that stays in your body for a minimum of 12 hours. This cost is less than 120 capsules of the 60 mg strength. A really good buy this year is the Natural Factors brand of CoQ10 which comes in a 200mg strength, 140 capsules for $35.99. If you take 2 a day of the 100mg, it would be wise to move up to this product. For those of you who prefer liquids, Naka has come out with a liquid Coq10 which contains 200mg per teaspoonful.
This is a newer version of Coenzyme Q10 that is supposed to be better because Coenzyme Q 10 known as ubiquinone is converted to ubiquinol in your body but it has not been shown that one is better than the other. Ubiquinol was originally marketed by Inno-Vite and 60 of the 100mg capsules cost about $65. Now there is a less expensive version made by Natural Factors which is $20 cheaper than the original for the exact same product. The argument is that ubiquinone, the main ingredient in Coenzyme Q 10, will not be converted to ubiquinol in your body which is the active ingredient. This generally occurs in very old people over the age of 75 years. For the rest of us ordinary Co Q 10 will work.
If you take 100mg of CoQ10 daily along with other antioxidants you may want to consider Nutri-Prevent which contains not only 100mg of CoQ10 but also 100mg of resveratrol, 200mg of alpha lipoic acid, 150mg of quercitin and 500mcg of Vitamin B12 all for $27 for 60 capsules.
More and more people are discovering that they have age related macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma and eye vitamins are becoming very popular. The very best one is made by Natural Factors for Dr.Whittaker and is called Vision Essentials. It has everything you need but you must take 4 capsules a day. A 2 month supply cost about $45 so it is good value as well. If you have macular degeneration this should be your first choice. However if you have less severe eye problems or just want to prevent any future problems, the best product is a brand new one called Vision Supremacy and it is another supplement from Dr.Zoltan Rona. Two a day of these vitamins gives you almost as many nutrients as the Vision Essentials but the cost is only $27 a month.
The best multivitamin you can buy is Greens+ Multi because it contains a full dose of all the greens along with a complete dose of all your antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. When you take this product you do not need extra Vitamin C, extra Calcium or Magnesium, extra Vitamin E or almost anything else. The only thing it does not contain is omega 3 fish oil. The bad news is that is costs about $60 a month. The next best is called Forward Plus made by Dr.Whittaker but it also costs about $60 a month. For people who prefer liquid multis, Naka made a specific one for women and another one just for men and these cost about $30 a month. If you just want a simple multivitamin that contains all the best vitamins and minerals I recommend Sisu Multivitamins Supreme because they have a new modern day formula that includes lutein for the eyes and Vitamin K2 and boron for the bones and it costs only $27 for a four month supply.
At this time of the year we should all be taking at least 2000 units of Vitamin D every day. The brand you buy does not matter because there is only one manufacturer in the whole world, Hoffman La Roche in Switzerland. They actually buy sheepskin and lamb’s wool from Australian sheep because they are more exposed to the sun’s rays because of the thin ozone layer over Australia. In a complicated process they extract the active form of Vitamin D, known as Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. Not only do they supply the whole supplement industry but if you buy cereal, eggs or bread with added Vitamin D it also came from them. The lowest price version is made by Swiss Herbal at $6.29 for 200 tablets. If you like softgels then the Now brand gives you 360 of them for under $15. If you prefer liquids, the most popular one is D- Drops in which each drop contains 1000 units of Vitamin D and the price is about $20. There is a less expensive version made by Tri Star for $18 and this year Natural Factors came out with a Vitamin D3 drop that has 500 doses rather than the 365 doses of D- Drops and it costs only $17.99. No matter whose you buy you will be getting the exact same quality of Vitamin D.
The best Vitamin C is made by Sisu and is known as Ester C. It contains Calcium ascorbate which neutralizes the acidity of Vitamin C giving it a neutral ph and this allows for greater and more rapid absorption into the gut. If acidic preparations bother your stomach then Ester C is for you. However, if you are not bothered by the acidity of Vitamin C, the best product for the best price this year is made by Natural Factors. They have a bonus bottle of 210 tablets of Vitamin C 1000mg which you can buy for $15.29 whereas Ester C costs twice that amount for 150 capsules and they only contain 500mg of Vitamin C.
Many people take both a multivitamin and a B-Complex but if you eat a very healthy diet of at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables you may be able to skip the multi and just take the B complex which gives you energy and relieves stress. One of the better values is made by Quest and it is called Super Stress. This product contains 50mg of each of the B Vitamins and 1000mg of Vitamin C all in one tablet for $18 for a four month supply.
The best value in a B-Complex 50 this year is made by Natural Factors. You get a 210 day supply for about $20. Some people take the B-100 Vitamin Complex and the best one this year is made by Naka, called Nutra B 100, because instead of just having 100mg of all the B vitamins, it contains 500mcg of Vitamin B12, higher than any other B complex.
The original Oregano Oil marketed under the name of Oreganol and distributed by North American Herb and Spice is still the most expensive. It also comes in capsule form (6 drops per capsule) and that is a great advantage for those who cannot stand the horrible taste of this product. Since then, there have been many other companies making competing products and this year your best buy is made by Natural Factors because you get a 30ml bottle which is double the size of all the competitors for $18. No one is even close to that price. They also have oregano oil capsules which are about $10 less than the original Oreganol capsules from North American Spice.
The original product called Greens+ was created by Sam Graci, a Hamilton native and is one of the great supplements for daily use. All the greens you would never eat, wheat grass, barley grass, spirulina etc. all in one dose once a day. However the price keeps going up and up. Most of the competitors are about the same price as Greens+ but two liquid versions, Vital Greens by Naka and Greens by Tri Star cost less than $28 for a month supply and contain all the same ingredients and you do not have to mix and dissolve a powder. This year there is a new one from Organika that comes in a powder form at about $30 for a one month supply.
Calcium Magnesium Products
Before you start supplementing with these products, first look at your diet. If you put milk in your cereal, drink a full glass of milk, a container of yogurt and some cheese you are probably already getting 1000mg of calcium a day. The best value for the money is the Organika brand, but these are large hard-to-swallow tablets. I usually recommend the softgel types and those are made by Now Foods which contain 300mg of calcium and 175 mg of magnesium per softgel. Inno-Vite Cal mag softgels contain 250mg of calcium and 250mg of magnesium but the Now brand is the best value of these two. If you prefer liquids the best product for the money is Nutri Bone made by Naka which is a calcium magnesium supplement that also contains collagen.
Because there is no cure for arthritis, every day someone comers along with a new product that is guaranteed to end your suffering. For years I have watched these products come and go and I am only comfortable recommending products that have been around for a long time. This means that people have been using them for many years with some degree of success and these are the only products I would recommend to other people.
The old standbys are Glucosamine/Chondroitin 900mg capsules which must be taken three times a day and Nutriflex Liquid which is a once a day product. Many people take a collagen product (Genaocol or Nutri Collagen) with these because the collagen helps the tendons and ligaments while the glucosamine mixture helps the cartilage. One of the newer products was recently introduced by Genuine Health, Sam Graci’s company which seems to be helping a lot of people. It is made from the membranes of egg shells and costs about $30 for a month’s supply. This year Nutriflex has improved their formula and now make Nutriflex Supreme which is more effective than the old Nutriflex. Also the same company, Naka, has introduced a very potent form of Circumen, called Nutri Cure. This is especially good for the relief of pain and the dose is only one capsule a day. For those who suffer from inflammatory disease, the newest product is Serrapeptase, an enzyme that reduces inflammation in the body that is very effective as a pain reliever. The dose is two a day and results usually come in about 4 weeks; really good for knees and joints. Unfortunately there is no one individual product I can recommend because different products work for different people.
Although there are many protein supplements on the market, you must use an isolate form for best results. Most of them are made in the US and contain bovine growth hormone and antibiotics because they are made from whey which comes from dairy. Whey isolate from New Zealand is the best because in that country the cattle graze and it is against the law to administer hormones or antibiotics. This year I have 2 really good brands of whey isolate from New Zealand, the Kaizen brand which is pure protein and the Diesel brand which has a bit more protein but also contains branch chain amino acids and L-glutamine. Both are priced at $45 for a 2 pound container. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, Genuine Health make an excellent vegan protein powered at about $35.99 a jug.
This has become a big category since so many people are using magnesium for muscle cramps, as a sleep or relaxation supplement and even for heart health. Although there are some low priced brands out there, the best magnesium is the bisglycinate form. This is because it will not cause diarrhea in high doses like some of the other magnesiums. Once again, Naka is your best value magnesium for the price.
Probiotics or Acidophilus preparations
This has become a huge category because many people use these products on a daily basis. They were originally used for digestive problems and to counter the side-effects of antibiotics, but today many people take a probiotic daily for general health because all the meat and chicken we eat is infused with antibiotics which destroy our normal flora bacteria. If you have a serious condition such as diverticulitis or Crohn’s disease then Bio K Plus is the best product to control this disease. For ordinary digestive problems, Natural Factors makes a 10 billion strength acidophilus which is ideal when taken after each meal to prevent bloating and gas. If you want to take a probiotic daily for health then the Ultra Flora, 50 billion, made by Renew Life is one of the best at about $30 for a one month’s supply. The best one however, is a new product from Naka called Nutri Probiotic. It does not require refrigeration, comes in a 45 billion strength and costs only $27 for 60 capsules.
Many of you have encountered terrible side-effects when purchasing iron preparations from your pharmacy. Bloating, stomach cramps, black stool etc. The health food store has iron preparations in which the iron is extracted from plants and thus there are no side-effects. The original was Floradix made by Salus but now Naka imports a great product called Iron Vital which is also from plants and made by the German company Hubner and it is a lot less expensive than the Floradix and most people say it even tastes better.
When buying a product for male frequent urination caused by an enlarged prostate, there are a few things to consider. If you get infections at the tip of the urethra, then Prostate Perform is the best one because it contains beta sterolins to keep this infection under control. The most important ingredient is Saw Palmetto but most prostate formulas combine the saw palmetto with other products such as stinging nettle, pumpkin seed, zinc and many other ingredients which work well together. The best one for the best price is Prost-Force made by Prairie Naturals, costing about $45 for 150 capsules. However, for a little more, the most effective one we have is a product called Nutri-Prostate made by Naka. It is brand new and contains the latest ingredients to keep you from getting up at night to go to the bathroom.
Saving 100% on Your Supplements
Many of my clients have saved 100% on their supplements because they consulted me first. It could be that this product could interact with their prescription medication or it could interact with another supplement or it may be superfluous; In other words they do not need it at all. It may have been one of those products that promise everything, from stopping aging to boosting your immune system and enhancing your sexual prowess. The only benefit would be to the distributor and not to my clients.
If I needed complicated heart surgery maybe I would go to Dr. Oz because he is such an excellent cardiac surgeon. However when it comes to supplements he is way out of his league. Every day on his show he has to come up with something new and he even allows people on his show to promote expensive products that have little value. It is a business and the majority of his advice about supplements is a far stretch. When he is about to promote a product, I usually get a heads up from the supplier to tell me to stock up because they already know of his recommendation.
The fact is that there are no fat burners that work without exercise. You can only reverse Type 2 diabetes with a good diet and exercise and there really is no such thing as a weight-loss pill. Anybody can lose weight over a short period of time but only a change in life style will keep it off. The Christmas bills are coming in and you need the money to pay those bills. You do not want to waste it on any of the daily fads from Dr. Oz. I said this once before but it deserves repeating; if you watched Dr. Oz every day and did exactly as he said, in about a year you would not be able to get into your house because it was overcrowded with all the supplements you bought on his recommendation.
Naturopaths and Chiropractors
When you go to a naturopath or a chiropractor they may recommend specific supplements which they either sell to you directly or just happen to be in stock at a nearby health food store. What you don’t know is that their recommendation is based on visits from sales representatives, free trips to health conferences and free individual perks like tickets to a sporting event. This is no different than the physician who is “educated” by the sales rep and prescribes specific drugs for you. The companies that frequent naturopaths and chiropractors are Seroyal (Genestra products), Metagenics, Thorne, Vitamost and AOR. They sell products at much higher prices because you, the consumer have to pay for the marketing. For example, a Genestra product called HMF forte ( a probiotic) sells for $60 for 120 capsules. You can buy a very similar product made by Natural Factors for about $20. Metagenics likes to throw in trace amounts of various herbs or minerals thereby making it difficult to find a similar product in the health food store and forcing you back to the naturopath to buy some more. When you consider the high cost of your naturopath’s recommendations and the cost of gas to go there and back you may want to reconsider their recommendations and ask for a similar product at your health food store.
The high price of fuel is here to stay. Because of these higher fuel costs, the price of most products goes up because they have to be delivered. Food has gone up 5 per cent in the past year but no such increase occurred in your income. You have to make cut backs but you should never reduce your health spending. Continue to buy fresh fruits and vegetables because they are extremely important to your health. Continue to buy the supplements you need at the best possible price. If you have to reduce expenses, drive less and stay away from fast food restaurants. Always invest in your health because if you ignore your health it will go away. [print_link]