Nutritional Supplements: Why You Need Them, And How To Choose A Quality Brand

Ladd McNamara, M.D. practiced for more than a decade as a board certified medical doctor before retiring from active practice and entered the wellness arena, where he now is an international speaker, author, and independent associate with a nutritional supplement company inpacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the globe.

Most people are not aware of the tremendous benefits that can be obtained from being As Featured On Ezine Articleson a quality nutritional supplement program.  People have questions about vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and the essential fatty acids;  the most common question, "Why do I even need nutritional supplements?"  However, if you knew what I know about the power of quality supplements, and the differences between various brands, you would NEVER go a day without supplementing your body with the health-promoting nutrients that I personally take. 



  • Understand the Importance of Third-Party Verification and Independent Testing

  • Understand The True Cause of Heart Disease and Why Antioxidants Are Critical

  • Understand How Specific Supplements Can Help Maintain Heart Health



    Do I really need supplements? ...Can't I get everything I need from my food?

    No, not really; and it depends upon how you define "need."  Although many doctors and nutritionist still maintain that we can get everything we need from our diet alone, medical research shows this is not the case.  Also, it depends upon how much you "need" to do what.  Most people think that getting 100% the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) is all that we need, or that it is "enough."  In fact the RDAs were first established by the National Academy of Sciences during World War II (and revised in 1968) to determine the MINIMUM levels deemed necessary to prevent the soldiers from acquiring the classical nutrient deficieny diseases, such as night blindness, beriberi, pelegra, rickets, and scurvy (a disease that claimed the lives of many sailors before the 1800's).  

    It is indeed possible to prevent night blindness, beriberi (a neurological disease), pelegra, scurvy, and rickets by eating 5 to 7 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Is this all you "need," or even want?  Most people are not too concerned about the classical nutrient-deficiency diseases.  People are concerned about the chronic degenerative diseases: heart disease, stroke, atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, lung disease, Alzheimer's disease, autoimmune disorders, osteoporosis, etc.  These diseases are associated with increased oxidative damage, inflammation, and a lack of nutritional supplementation. 

    In addition, due to processed foods, poor eating habits, and the depletion of nutrients in some of our foods, people are getting less than the minimal recommended doses of vitamins and minerals.  Our lifestyle choices, including inadequate nutrient intake has led to the rise of chronic degenerative diseases.

    The RDAs have been updated several times, and have been replaced by the Recommend Daily Intake (RDI).  Also, a new term, "Daily Value" (DV) has entered the lexicon of nutritional science as a means to help us understand what we should attain.  However, medical research shows tremendous health benefits for obtaining vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants above any and all these "recommended" levels and values.  (See the question about the benefits of supplements below.)

    Due to the chronic vitamin, mineral, and omega-3 fatty acid deiciency epidemic in North America, in June 2002 researchers published their conclusions and recommendations in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association that everyone should take vitamin supplements to prevent disease and optimize health.   However, most multi-vitamins contain only 100% the RDAs (or RDIs) of many nutrients.  Although this sounds "healhty," as mentioned above, these are the levels that prevent the classical nutrient deficiency diseases.  These are NOT the levels that can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, lung diseases, Alzheimer's disease, osteoporosis, or slow the aging process. 

    The remaining answers to your questions about nutritional supplements are answered below, but the concept that we can get "everything we need from our food" is absolutely erroneous.  (Also refer to the Wellness Movement page on this website.)  If you want to maintain and optimize your health you MUST supplement.  And, if you are going to supplement, we recommend that you supplement with a proven high-quality brand that truly contains the ingredients that it claims ...such as the brand we recommend.


    Can I harm myself by taking nutritional supplements?  Are they safe?

    Nutritional supplements, i.e., vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and the essential fatty acids are extremely safe.  Not only ARE they safe, they help KEEP you safe and healthy.  They are some of the safest, health-promoting substances you could ever consume.  Certainly, too much of some supplements can be harmful, but this is the case for nearly anything, even water.  It is possible to die from "water intoxication."  Drinking too much water in a short period of time may be fatal.  If this is the case, then should we avoid drinking healthy amounts of water every day?  Of course not.

    It is interesting that the same people (often doctors) who tell you that you need to "be careful about vitamins and minerals because they could harm you if you don't know what you're doing," actually don't know much about vitamins and minerals at all.  In fact, they go to the other extreme, and that is write prescriptions for ailments and tell you not to worry about the side-effects, as they "usually don't happen."   

    Let's look at the difference between the safety of vitamins and minerals vs. the track record of prescription medications, which are doled out daily as if they were completely benign.  In the United States alone, over 100,000 people die each year from prescription medications, mostly taken the way in which they were prescribed.  That is about 275 people dying every day from medications!  That would be like a jumbo jet full of people crashing on a daily basis in the U.S.  If a jumbo jet with 275 people on board were crashing every day do you think there would be an investigation, and a push to stop such madness?  This is happening in the pharmaceutical industry and we all accept it as if there were no alternatives.

    What about vitamins and minerals?  The number of deaths each year in the U.S. from vitamins and/or minerals is around 5, ...and they are mostly among children who have overdosed on iron.  Iron is a component in most children's vitamins.  Most children's vitamins look, and taste like candy.  When their mothers are not looking a child may eat several children's vitamins per day, and before long the child is admitted to the hospital in critical condition.  Iron overload damages the heart and liver.  That is why we recommend a brand in which the supplements for all age groups (adult, teenager, and children) do not contain iron.  That way there could be no accidental overdose.

    Iron is important for the creation of hemoglobin; the oxygen-carrying molecule in red blood cells.  However, it should not be indiscriminantly utilized or taken.  Pregnant women need iron.  Those with a true iron-deficiency anemia need iron.  If a person needs iron they should be followed by their physician to avoid an overdose.

    Regarding vitamins, it is generally felt that the fat soluble vitamins, vitamins A, D, E, and K are the ones most likely to accumulate in the body and cause harm, and the water soluble vitamins, B Complex and C are not a concern.  It is true that at high levels, vitamin A can cause liver problems and birth defects (even before the mother knows she is pregnant).  That is why we use and recommend a brand that contains no vitamin A, but rather a "pro-vitamin A," beta carotene, that is not associated with liver problems and birth defects.  Beta carotene converts to vitamin A within the body at the level the body determines.  Once the appropriate level of vitamin A is attained, the conversion ceases, and the remaining beta carotene acts as a safe antioxidant, protecting cells from oxidative damage.

    An overdose of vitamin D is almost unheard of.  It can be done, but along with vitamin E, there is a vitamin D deficiency epidemic.  Most multivitamins may contain 400 IU of vitamin D or less, when current research is absolutely clear that we should be obtaining 1000 to 2000 IU per day.  The benefits are too numerous and significant to ignore.  The level of vitamin D that one should not exceed would be around 50,000 IU per day.  But, to play it safe, people should keep their intake well under 20,000 IU per day.  The safety margin on vitamin D is wide. 

    Most multivitamins contain 15 to 30 IU of vitamin E, when medical research shows that the true health benefits are achieved with levels of 400 to 800 IU.  Vitamin E does not appear toxic until one consistently takes over 3000 IU per day.  So, again, to play it safe, keep your daily doses below 2000 IU per day.

    Vitamin K is very important for bone mineralization, clotting, and many other functions in the body.  The amount of vitamin K provided in most multi-vitamins is about 30 to 60 micrograms.  There are benefits to obtaining more, 120 to 240 micrograms, all of it being safe.  Osteoporosis may be aided with prescription levels of vitamin K, on the order of 5000 micrograms per day, ...along with calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D.   It's probably best to stay below 10,000 micrograms of vitamin K.  (Those on the blood thinner Coumadin, or warfarin, should consult with their physicians, and keep their supplemental vitamin K intake at 60 micrograms or less.)  

    The point is that most antioxidants (vitamin C, grape seed extract, resveratrol, fish oil, co-enzyme Q10, etc.) have no known toxic levels (other than diarrhea in some cases).  Those supplements that do have established toxic levels are usually much higher than most people would ever obtain, or even think of taking.  One could harm themselves with certain vitamins and minerals, but he would really have to try hard to do it.  If taking a quality, broad spectrum, pharmaceutical-grade vitamin and mineral brand as we recommend, and taking it as recommended on the package, not only is it safe, it is the smartest thing one could take to help maintain health.  This is not the case for many prescriptions.


    Is there really a difference between supplement brands?

    Absolutely.  This is one of the two main messages of this website.  Most people think that "a vitamin is a vitamin," and "just buy the cheapest one available."  Is that how you want to approach your health?  Quality supplements make all the difference in the world to maintaining your health and longevity due to several reasons.  The basics of any supplement is that it must dissolve (disintegrate) within a short period of time (ten minutes or less) within your stomach, then it must be in a formulation that is readily absorbed in the intestines, and thirdly the nutrients must be in a form that is "bio-available," a state that the cells recognize and utilize.  Nutritional supplements are a science, and the manufacturing of these supplements must be approached that way.  This makes all the difference in how the supplements affect your body and cells; the difference between "wasting your money" and TRUE HEALTH!

    Quality manufacturers are few, so here just a few things to look for from your supplement brand:

    Pharmaceutical-grade manufacturing (vs. food-grade):  Most supplements are made to the standards that apply to your pizza: "as long as it doesn't hurt you, it is safe for consumption."  Pharmaceutical-grade GMP (good manufacturing practices) is a standardized process that ensures the quality of the supplements.  This can be verified by third parties (see next section).

    U.S. Pharmocopeia: Make sure the supplement manufacturer adheres to the U.S. Pharmocopeia Standards of Production, that includes dissolution.  If the products cannot dissolve in a timely manner within your stomach they cannot effectively be absorbed.

    100% Potency Guaranteed: It is shocking the number of brands (name brands) that do not contain the amount of ingredients stated on the bottle.  Studies from Yale New Haven Hospital and Tufts University Hospital have shown that many brands not only contain less than the stated amount of ingredients (from 50% of the listed ingredients, down to 0% in some cases), they are also made with the wrong ratios of vitamins and minerals to each other, and are missing some ingredients altogether.  Always look for the guarantee of potency.

    Athlete Guarantee: Most Olympic and professional athletes will not take ANYTHING, let alone supplements, out of fear of being disqualified for banned substances.  The brand that we use and recommend carries a one million dollar guarantee that no banned substances could ever be traced back to their products.  Many Olympic and professional athletes are using our products with confidence, and experiencing noticeable differences in their performances.

    Third-Party Verfication: (see next section).

    Safety: Iron can accumulate in the body and cause heart and liver damage, let alone death.  Health care providers should monitor iron levels and make recommendations.  One should never take iron without the supervision of their health care provider.  Vitamin A can be toxic at higher levels (to the liver) as well as cause birth defects.  Beta carotene is the preferred "pro-vitamin A" supplement, as the body converts beta carotene into vitamin A as the body requires.  These are just two of many supplement facts that quality manufacturers take into account.

    Who is manufacturing the products?  Does the supplier (the distributor) manufacture their own products, or does some huge conglomerate manufacture brand X one day, brand Y another, and brand Z on yet another day?  If the distributor/supplier does not manufacture their own products it is very difficult to maintain quality control (from ingredients to end product distribution).

    Quality Ingredients: Manufacturers of supplements buy their ingredients from suppliers.  Not all suppliers are the same.  Most brands provide ingredients of low quality, low potency, and low purity.  This is very inexpensive, and many manufactures prefer the inexpensive ingredients because they can put their products on the shelf at a low cost and still maintain a high profit margin.  Quality vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant ingredients come with certificates of analysis, and are certified to be potent and pure.  If you don't start with quality ingredients you cannot end up with a quality end product. 


    Is there third-party verification regarding the quality of supplement brands?

    Yes, there is.  And, third-party INDEPENDENT verification regarding the quality of nutritional supplements is critical to your health.  Most people are not taking quality supplements, and therefore are not getting the full benefits for which they are taking them in the first place.  Furthermore, since most people are not taking quality supplements, or supplements that do not contain the amounts stated on the bottle, or purity required for optimal absorption and bio-availability, no significant health improvements are noticed by them or their doctors. 

    On the other hand, many physicians are noticing true health changes in thousands of people who have made quality supplements a part of their daily lives.  However, how does one know if a brand truly is pure, potent, and guaranteed to contain what it states on the bottle?  Is there a guide that helps people compare vaious brands?  Yes! 

    Read about Independent Third-Party Verification of Our Products and the Comparative Guide to Nutrtional Supplements by clicking HERE. 


    Which of the numerous nutrients do I need, and how much should I take? 

    It is certainly prudent for everyone to be on a basic multi-vitamin, mineral, and omega-3 fatty acid supplement program at minimum to help maintain health.  There are certain vitamins and minerals that are ESSENTIAL!  Fish oil (containing omega-3 fatty acids) is also effective in maintaining the health of the heart, cholesterol, brain, breasts, prostate, etc.  There are many other supplements, e.g., antioxidants, such as grape seed extract, resveratrol, co-enzyme Q10, and other natural products that are all quite effective (if all the quality standards apply) in helping to optimize your health.  Many of these supplements come combined, so that there is no need to have 30 to 40 bottles of supplements sitting in your cupboard.  Click here to read about a few specific supplements and how they are useful.

    Everyone should seek the advice of their physician or qualified health professional before starting a nutritional supplement program.  That being said there are several supplements that are commonly used that are both safe and extremely effective in maintaining health, and very few interefere with medications.  (In fact, we should be much more concerned about the negative effects of medications more so than any possible negative effects of nutritional supplements.)  Click here to see a partial list of many nutritional supplements with optimal dose ranges.


    What benefits can I expect by using quality nutritional supplements?

    True health!  That's the bottom line.  Quality nutritional supplements, if taken regularly, in proper doses and balance will help maintain your health and longevity along with a proper diet and exercise program. 

    If you smoked cigarettes you can expect more oxidative damage to the cells and organs throughout your body.  Disease and death are increased and accelerated.  The more you smoke, the longer you smoke, the more the risk of disease and death.  Pretty simple to follow.

    Just as simple to follow is that the proper use, doses, spectrum, and balance of quality nutritional supplements, that work the exact opposite on the cells and organs of your body as cigarettes, will help maintain your health more than you could possibly imagine; and certainly more than you've been told.  With cigarettes you get disease and death mostly caused by oxidative damage.  With nutritional supplements you can expect improvement and maintenance of health from many biological pathways, including the antioxidant effect.

    One word of common sense; nutritional supplements are not a panacea.  They cannot make up for a poor and negligent lifestyle.  One should never expect to have true health simply by taking nutritional supplements.  True health only comes through a combination of proper eating, avoiding toxic substances, regular exercise, and a properly balanced, quality nutritional supplement program.  ALL these components are necessary.  None can be eliminated if you want optimal health.  Even then, there are no guarantees in life.  Disease and death can come at any time no matter what we do.  However, disease and death are less likely, and can be post-poned as long as possible by following the principles of TRUE HEALTH.  That is our message, and our business.


    A Real Business Opportuity in the Wellness Industry: CHANGING LIVES! 

    You can now do what many thousands of people have done:  Take quality, pharmaceutical-grade, full-spectrum nutritional supplements every day to promote your health and the health of your family AND become a representative of the manufacturer of these quality supplements, as well as weight management products and premium skin care products, to improve your financial situation and/or lifestyle.  Take action, your opportunity is here!   

    It is our belief, is our mission to help others live in both happiness and in health.  To get started on the top-rated supplements for your health, or to join our team with this home-based business opportunity please contact us today.


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    See the Following Articles on

    Vitamin E Deficiency: The Untold Epidemic 

    Benefits of Nutritional Supplements:  Reduction in the Risk of Chronic Diseases

    Vitamin D Deficiency:  The Untold Epidemic

    The Cholesterol Conspiracy:  The Truth About Heart Disease and Statin Drugs  

    Lead in Our Food?  Now, THAT is a Heavy Meal!


    The Cholesterol Conspiracy

    2nd Edition by Ladd McNamara, M.D. exposes what the pharmaceutical companies don’t want you to know; that quality nutritional supplements help maintain heart health.

    Power of Cellular Nutrition

    The Power of Cellular Nutrition by Ladd McNamara, M.D. is an international best-selling audio CD on the importance and impact of quality nutritional supplements and the impact they can have on your health.

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