Myth Busting Episode 3 – Are All Supplements Safe?
LAST UPDATED: January 25, 2022
Adam Pivko, Co-Founder of Autumn DNA: Welcome, everybody. mythbuster episode 3, what we’re talking about today are all supplements, are they safe? I’ve been reading a lot on the internet that, you know, some people say supplements aren’t safe, you could take any vitamin, you could take any supplement, and you’re gonna be fine. And I really wanted to talk to an expert and ask some questions. So I brought on Carolyn Brown, and Carolyn, if you don’t mind, would you want to give like a quick intro about yourself?
Carolyn Brown, MS, RD: I’d love to yeah, my name is Carolyn. And I am a registered dietitian and nutritionist with a sort of focus in women’s health and functional and integrative medicine. So we look at food first, and supplements come in second, in my practice, always, and we really want people to feel incredible, and not just sort of average. And so we’re looking to optimize in every area of life.
Are all supplements safe?
Adam: Carolyn, are all supplements safe?
Carolyn: Unfortunately, absolutely not. And I know there are so many options, and we are all marketed to 24/7. And we really need to be careful about what we’re putting into our bodies, because there can be funky ingredients in there that are pretty toxic, or you can be getting crazy high doses of certain nutrients that are way beyond what your body can process. And not to mention, like storage and lighting and things like that really, really matter for by the time things get to the good, how good of a quality there is. So it’s really important that you know what you’re taking, and make sure that you’re getting the top tier supplements.
Does somebody’s lifestyle impact safety?
Adam: does somebody like lifestyle impact, kind of, you know, what supplements might actually be safe for them? Like I imagine when you’re pregnant, or you’re breastfeeding? Or you’re an extreme bodybuilder or an athlete? You know, do your supplements change during those phases?
Carolyn: Absolutely. It’s so important. And I’m so glad that you asked that question, because certainly not everything is safe when you’re pregnant and breastfeeding. In fact, most things aren’t because most things aren’t tested on pregnant or breastfeeding women. So we want to just really, really stick to the basics there and like a great prenatal, probably a couple of other things would be important there. But then when someone’s body building, you know, you want to be supporting those needs to so it really depends on you know, age, gender, and like lifestyle. things too. And even just something as simple as magnesium, not all types of magnesium are created equal. So we want to make sure that someone’s getting what they actually need versus something that magnesium oxide, for example, is going to make you run to the bathroom, if that’s not what you need. And you know, we want to make sure that you’re spending your money in the right way too. And of course, doing something that’s healthy for you.
What about breastfeeding and safety of supplements?
Adam: Because your expertise is also in women’s health. Let’s talk about breastfeeding while on supplements. You know, it seems to be that a lot of people are looking for, you know, a lot of women are either looking for help or looking to increase certain things or, you know, really, there’s a lot of questions around breastfeeding and supplements and vitamins, anything you can generally talk about, I know that
Carolyn: this is definitely this is an area where we do just want to be on the side of safety, of course, and so things that would be generally safe for the rest of the population we definitely watch out for during pregnancy and breastfeeding because it matters for you and the health of your baby too. So we want to make sure that you are feeling great and energized and getting, you know, typically people stay on their prenatal during this. Because it really helps with milk production and also helps with the hormonal fluctuation after giving birth, when many women find that maybe they start losing their hair. And so, we want to really, really be targeting those things. But of course, most importantly doing it really, really safely.
Does age play a factor in safety of supplements?
Adam: Does age play a factor into one, certain supplements or certain vitamins are safe?
Carolyn: Yeah, absolutely. And this is for a number of reasons because of how our bodies are working or biological processes are working. And I think of even like a woman who is in her like childbearing years menstruating versus a woman who’s postmenopausal are going to need different things. And same with you know, as we age with men too, and especially with like nutrient and medication interaction too, which is a really common thing that we really want to pay attention to. So you definitely want to make sure you get the thumbs up on certain supplements if you are on other medications. But this is where I absolutely love that Autumn includes a lifestyle quiz too. So you can include factors like that, and really check things out and make sure you know what you are taking, and make sure that it is approved and going to fit well.
What should people look out for in supplements?
Adam: Going back to the topic of like, you know, really thinking about safety. Is there is there certain clear indicators that are out there on on supplements or that you would give a warning to a patient of yours or a client of yours that you think everybody should know?
Carolyn: Yeah, we really want to make sure that your sourcing is top tier, we don’t want to be wasting money on CVS supplements. You really want to make sure in this case, you are getting what you pay for. So it’s so important that you know the storage is on point and the way that it’s getting delivered to you if something requires refrigeration. That’s really really important, especially when we’re again shelling out some money for this. I also always look at the added ingredients too, unfortunately there is so much junk in certain supplements I see prenatals with red food dye in it, which is a known carcinogen for during during prenatal time. So for the baby like that’s a really really big deal. We want to make sure that what you’re having is the cleanest best version of every single supplement.
Any regulations on the safety of these supplements?
Adam: So with regards to the safety and you’re talking about sourcing and you’re talking about, you know, quality, you’re talking about certain ingredients, who’s out there looking out for the average consumer like it are supplements regulated in the United States.
Carolyn: Unfortunately, not at all, supplements are not regulated at all. So you really are on your own. And this is where you want to look for a company with a scientific or medical advisory board like Autumn. And so federal law doesn’t doesn’t mandate this at all. So that’s something to just really keep in mind and make sure that you are getting, you know, supplements that are third party tested that do heavy metal testing, and ideally their facilities are FDA approved facilities as well.