What does quality mean?
You have to make a choice every day when deciding which products you buy. Price, quality and reputation of the company from whom you purchase. Cheap sometimes means a bargain, brand means you can sometimes show off the prestigious name you can afford. What should the choice be when it comes to supplements?
Herbal remedies are there to help with your health. Therefore, cheap doesn't seem appropriate – although value for money for the impact that they have should always be taken into account. Yet, value for money is different from cheap. When it comes to name – Does it represent expertise and care? Does it represent knowledge and commitment to research? If so, then label is important.
So, when it comes to buying your herbal supplements, quality means a name you can trust to complete the research that provides the best product. Quality means the right extraction process, the best delivery system and the right choice of supplier.
What do the experts say?
Listening to the experts is always wise. Here's what they say about choosing supplements:
"It’s not only a question of the best supplements to take, but knowing how to identify which product is safest and most effective." - Dr. Julian Whitaker, Wellness Doctor
"The FDA has established good manufacturing practices (GMPs) for dietary supplements to help ensure their identity, purity, strength, and composition. These GMPs are designed to prevent the inclusion of the wrong ingredient, the addition of too much or too little of an ingredient, the possibility of contamination, and the improper packaging and labeling of a product." - National Institutes of Health
"There are the basics, which everyone should be using, and then there are accessory supplements. The basics are the things that you MUST have in order to stay healthy and also to make any type of lean mass gains. Accessory supplements are things that you can add to your supplement arsenal if you have some extra money." - Bodybuilder.com
It seems that it is a question of safety, purity and which supplement you actually need. This is all excellent advice and underlines the need to find a source of supplements that offers appropriate extraction, pure and genuine products and the advice to help you select the supplements for you. It is good to know that there are GMPs to look for, to help offer some reassurance.
A case study: Tongkat Ali
Tongkat Ali is one of the most popular supplements on the market. It is a testosterone booster, which is sold by many companies on the internet. The websites promise the most amazing experience in your bedroom – some miraculous claims. How can making the right or wrong choice of Tongkat Ali impact on you?
Tongkat Ali can be sourced from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. The best source of the supplement is Indonesia. There are concerns that other sources of Tongkat Ali are contaminated by lead. The indigenous people of Indonesia are used to source and harvest the plant by quality providers, which means the local knowledge is brought to bear on quality. This local knowledge is centuries old, having developed through ancient herbal medicine practices.
Some manufacturers also mix the ingredient with others. Therefore, when purchasing Tongkat Ali it is important to look for the words "pure" as well as "genuine", otherwise you could be wasting your money.
Second: Extraction processes
There are two issues here.
1. What part of the plant?
2. How is the active ingredient extracted from this part of the plant?
The root of Tongkat Ali includes the active ingredient. Some companies sell powdered leaves, which is not correct. The root also needs to be older than 5 years, to include enough active ingredient to have an impact on the user – preferably 10 years old.
Extraction processes need to be through slow heating. It is not enough to just grind up the root.
Third: Delivery method
The active ingredient needs to reach your gut to be effective. Bioavailability means how much of the supplement actually makes it into your bloodstream Also, it is important that the herb is palatable. Some producers sell Tongkat Ali powder and Tongkat Ali tea. It is likely that this means the product will not reach the bloodstream. However, more importantly, maybe, Tongkat Ali is really bitter. This makes it really unpleasant to taste in a powder or a tea. If it isn't bitter then it is not pure or genuine Tongkat Ali.
The best means of delivering Tongkat Ali is through a capsule. This capsule is usually scientifically designed to survive the stomach acid, so that the active ingredient can be released at the point it reaches the lower gut. This means the supplement can make it into the blood stream. This also makes the supplement easy to take, as the capsule hides the bitter taste.
You need to look for a strength of 1:200 in 400mg tablets. This is the most powerful Tongkat Ali on the market, offering you the biggest bang for your buck. There are smaller ratios – which might come cheaper – but you are likely to have to take more to have the impact you want. This is about common sense in terms of what is actually cheap. If you have to take three tablets of a weaker tablet, which might be cheaper, it will end up costing you more because you will have to replenish your supply more often!
Some suppliers will promise an immediate effect. If the supplier of your Tongkat Ali suggests you will have an immediate impact on your night in bed – step back and wonder what they are putting in their product. Well-researched, genuine Tongkat Ali suppliers will make it clear to you that this is a supplement that builds up slowly. As it gradually impacts on your testosterone levels it a) doesn't cause major side effects b) does end in infertility and c) can be taken for an extended period of time.
Quality will emphasize the science behind the supplement. These experts will research the best products, the best delivery modes and the best suppliers. The best Tongkat Ali providers will subject themselves to external compliance, making sure the supplements are safe and effective and help you improve your life.
What does quality mean?