Because Quality Matters; How to Get the Most Out of Supplementation

Posted on: July 24th, 2019 by Brandon No Comments

When it comes to getting the most nutritional benefit out of natural supplements, there are three main considerations:

1. Quality of the ingredients and manufacturing processes to make the supplement

2. How the supplement is taken

3. How the supplement is stored

When I speak with my patients, I explain that each are important for health. Even a quality supplement, if taken at the wrong time of day or with competing nutrients, will have reduced benefits. Or that same supplement, if stored improperly, can lose its effectiveness and not even last to the expiration date on the bottle. 

Quality supplements

It starts with the quality of the supplement. Oakway Naturals only carries brands whose supplements are tested for purity and potency and who maintain the research standards of the professional-brands. While there are other brands that we may be able to order for you, only the ones that have convinced us of being of the highest quality are sold at Oakway Naturals.

Quality supplements are generally not found in “big box” stores. In 2015, the New York State attorney general’s office accused GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart of selling potentially dangerous herbal supplements. The attorney general found many examples of supplements containing little to none of the supposed active ingredient. Instead, the state found things like powdered garlic and radish. “Fly-by-night” type of operations, like those that commonly appear on Amazon, have been known to sell knock-off products to unsuspecting consumers. These problems are prevalent in the supplement industry; partially because it is not closely-regulated like prescription drugs are.

How a supplement should be taken

Should the supplement be taken with a meal or without? Before bedtime, or upon waking? Can I improve the benefit if I take the supplement with other supplements – or does it not matter? These are all questions that I have gone into detail in a separate article, which can be found by clicking here.

How a supplement should be stored

Because quality is important, there are some simple steps to maintain their full effectiveness from the first tablet out of the bottle to the last. Supplement potency can be maximized with a focus on storage temperature and humidity, preventing light from entering the bottle, and minding the expiration date.

Storage temperature

Certain natural supplements, such as most probiotics, oils, and liquids, need to be stored in the refrigerator to ensure full potency. These products will almost always say “keep refrigerated” or “refrigerate after opening” on the bottle. If not refrigerated, they will lose potency and will not last to the expiration date on the label.

Although there are some “shelf-stable” probiotics, the care shown for the transport and storage of these supplements at many grocery or “super” stores is no different than the care shown for a toilet plunger that you can also purchase at that store. At Oakway Naturals, supplements are sent directly to you from the manufacturer or their chosen distributors (who carefully adhere to the best storage and shipping practices). This ensures they are as fresh and potent as possible. It is for this reason too, that Oakway Naturals will not usually ship probiotics on Friday, and many are shipped with cold packs.

While most supplements do not need to be kept cold, all are best if kept cool. A study from Journal of Dairy Science looked at how storage conditions affected vitamin C in fortified milk. The researchers concluded that low storage temperature is needed to delay the vitamin’s degradation.

Storage humidity

Many supplements contain instructions to store them in a cool, dry place. The reason they mention dryness is to minimize the potentially harmful effects of humidity. It is common for people to store supplements in a cabinet in the bathroom or kitchen, but the high humidity levels (from showering and cooking) in such rooms can degrade the products. According to Purdue University, crystalline substances (which includes some kinds of B vitamins, C vitamins, and other dietary supplements) are susceptible to something called deliquescence — the term for when humidity makes a water-soluble solid dissolve. Storing those supplements in a climate-stable place, such as the office or bedroom, and away from warm, humid environments can help ensure they maintain their effectiveness throughout their life expectancy.

Some people like to keep their supplements in the refrigerator even if the bottle does not say to — thinking that although it’s not necessary, it can’t hurt. Unnecessary refrigeration may introduce harmful moisture to the bottle and its contents. The repeated process of opening the bottle to take out a capsule, allowing room temperature air and humidity to enter the bottle, and then returning it to a cold refrigerator causes moisture to condense inside the bottle.

A simple (but often overlooked) place to start in the battle against humidity is to make sure the bottle’s lid is closed tight after every use. Another way to combat moisture is keeping the silica pack that the manufacturer places in the bottle. Many people toss these packs away, seeing them as a mild nuisance, but silica is a non-toxic, naturally-occurring mineral that holds and absorbs water vapor. Have you ever dropped your cell phone in water and put it in a container of rice to dry it out and save it? A study from International Journal of Audiology compared the drying power of white rice with silica packs and found them to be statistically similar. Using the silica pack to keep your supplements dry is the same concept — so make sure to keep it in the bottle.

Light & storage

In addition to temperature and humidity levels, it is also important to pay attention to how much light your supplements are exposed to. Light exposure accelerates the degradation of vitamins and other supplements and can cause them to lose their effectiveness. A study in Food Chemistry looked at the stability of vitamins A and D3 in fortified soybean oil when being stored in either dark or semi-dark conditions. The oils that were exposed to some light lost about two-and-a-half times more vitamin content than the oil that was kept in the dark.

Some people use daily pill organizers as a tool to help them remember what to take each day. While organization is always good, most daily pill organizers are at least semi-transparent — which allows light to get in and potentially do damage. Supplements should be stored in opaque or dark-colored containers, like the ones the manufacturer puts them in, to ensure maximum lifespan and potency. It is also best to keep supplements in their original bottles so that you can easily reference the supplement facts and recommended dosage. But if you feel you must use a daily pill organizer instead, choose one that seals tightly and keeps out as much light out as possible to ensure the supplement stays viable until the expiration date.

Minding the expiration date

When a supplement reaches its expiration date, it is the last day the manufacturer believes the product will have full potency if it was stored under optimal conditions. If a supplement has been kept in less-than-ideal conditions, the time in which it will maintain full potency may be shorter than the expiration date. Some manufacturers may use preservatives such as artificial colors, BHT, and other additives to push their products’ expiration dates out further than the expiration dates of truly natural supplements. You won’t find those manufacturers at Oakway Naturals, because quality matters to us.

I hope this information shows you the importance of storing your supplements properly and minding their expiration dates, taking supplement at the right time, and purchasing only from reputable brands. Remember that quality matters. If you have any questions regarding the concepts discussed here or anything else, you can reach our customer service team at 888-460-3091 or e-mail them at: customerservice@oakwaynaturals.com.

Until next time, stay healthy!

Yours in health,  

Dr. Gregg Gittins   

www.OakwayNaturals.com


When it comes to getting the most nutritional benefit out of natural supplements, there are three main considerations:

1. Quality of the ingredients and manufacturing processes to make the supplement

2. How the supplement is taken

3. How the supplement is stored

When I speak with my patients, I explain that each are important for health. Even a quality supplement, if taken at the wrong time of day or with competing nutrients, will have reduced benefits. Or that same supplement, if stored improperly, can lose its effectiveness and not even last to the expiration date on the bottle.

Quality supplements
Quality supplements

It starts with the quality of the supplement. Oakway Naturals only carries brands whose supplements are tested for purity and potency and who maintain the research standards of the professional-brands.

Quality supplements are generally not found in “big box” stores. In 2015, the New York State attorney general’s office accused GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart of selling potentially dangerous herbal supplements. The attorney general found many examples of supplements containing little to none of the supposed active ingredient. Instead, the state found things like powdered garlic and radish. “Fly-by-night” type of operations, like those that commonly appear on Amazon, have been known to sell knock-off products to unsuspecting consumers.

How a supplement should be taken and stored
How a supplement should be taken and stored

Should the supplement be taken with a meal or without? Before bedtime, or upon waking? Can I improve the benefit if I take the supplement with other supplements – or does it not matter? These are all questions that I have gone into detail in a separate article, which can be found by clicking here.

Because quality is important, there are some simple steps to maintain their full effectiveness from the first tablet out of the bottle to the last. Supplement potency can be maximized with a focus on storage temperature and humidity, preventing light from entering the bottle, and minding the expiration date.

Storage temperature
Storage temperature

Certain natural supplements, such as most probiotics, oils, and liquids, need to be stored in the refrigerator to ensure full potency. These products will almost always say “keep refrigerated” or “refrigerate after opening” on the bottle. If not refrigerated, they will lose potency and will not last to the expiration date on the label.

Although there are some “shelf-stable” probiotics, the care shown for the transport and storage of these supplements at many grocery or “super” stores is no different than the care shown for a toilet plunger that you can also purchase at that store. At Oakway Naturals, supplements are sent directly to you from the manufacturer or their chosen distributors (who carefully adhere to the best storage and shipping practices). This ensures they are as fresh and potent as possible.

Storage humidity
Storage humidity

Many supplements contain instructions to store them in a cool, dry place. The reason they mention dryness is to minimize the potentially harmful effects of humidity. It is common for people to store supplements in a cabinet in the bathroom or kitchen, but the high humidity levels (from showering and cooking) in such rooms can degrade the products. According to Purdue University, crystalline substances (which includes some kinds of B vitamins, C vitamins, and other dietary supplements) are susceptible to something called deliquescence — the term for when humidity makes a water-soluble solid dissolve. Storing those supplements in a climate-stable place, such as the office or bedroom, and away from warm, humid environments can help ensure they maintain their effectiveness throughout their life expectancy.

Some people like to keep their supplements in the refrigerator even if the bottle does not say to — thinking that although it’s not necessary, it can’t hurt. But unnecessary refrigeration may introduce harmful moisture to the bottle and its contents.

A simple (but often overlooked) place to start in the battle against humidity is to make sure the bottle’s lid is closed tight after every use. Another way to combat moisture is keeping the silica pack that the manufacturer places in the bottle. Have you ever dropped your cell phone in water and put it in a container of rice to dry it out and save it? A study from International Journal of Audiology compared the drying power of white rice with silica packs and found them to be statistically similar. Using the silica pack to keep your supplements dry is the same concept — so make sure to keep it in the bottle.

Light & storage
Light & storage

In addition to temperature and humidity levels, it is also important to pay attention to how much light your supplements are exposed to. Light exposure accelerates the degradation of vitamins and other supplements and can cause them to lose their effectiveness. A study in Food Chemistry looked at the stability of vitamins A and D3 in fortified soybean oil when being stored in either dark or semi-dark conditions. The oils that were exposed to some light lost about two-and-a-half times more vitamin content than the oil that was kept in the dark.

Some people use daily pill organizers as a tool to help them remember what to take each day. While organization is always good, most daily pill organizers are at least semi-transparent — which allows light to get in and potentially do damage. Supplements should be stored in opaque or dark-colored containers, like the ones the manufacturer puts them in, to ensure maximum lifespan and potency. It is also best to keep supplements in their original bottles so that you can easily reference the supplement facts and recommended dosage. But if you feel you must use a daily pill organizer instead, choose one that seals tightly and keeps out as much light out as possible to ensure the supplement stays viable until the expiration date.

Minding the expiration date
Minding the expiration date

When a supplement reaches its expiration date, it is the last day the manufacturer believes the product will have full potency if it was stored under optimal conditions. If a supplement has been kept in less-than-ideal conditions, the time in which it will maintain full potency may be shorter than the expiration date. Some manufacturers may use preservatives such as artificial colors, BHT, and other additives to push their products’ expiration dates out further than the expiration dates of truly natural supplements. You won’t find those manufacturers at Oakway Naturals, because quality matters to us.

This newsletter should help you get the most of your supplement regimen and will hopefully lead to optimal results.

If you have any questions regarding the concepts discussed here or anything else, please feel free to fill out our Ask the Doctor form found at the Doctors Corner.

Yours in health,

Dr. Gregg Gittins

Leave a Reply


*FDA Required Statement: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.