No one ever asked me that before

“No one ever asked me that before!” It’s scary. I hear that comment far too often. It’s scary because the comment is made by salespeople or company representatives who are telling me about their new nutritional supplement products. It’s scary because it tells me that the great majority of health food store owners and managers do not have enough technical knowledge about supplements to ask the right questions.

This most recent instance involved a company introducing their new Liquid Multivitamin supplement. Now, making a good liquid multivitamin is very difficult. There are many reasons for this. One of the biggest problems is stability. When you dissolve the various vitamins and other nutrients in water (liquid), they react with each other. This is basic chemistry. So my first question is always “does the company have stability data showing that the product retains its label claims throughout it’s shelf life?  Can I see that data? Is there an expiration date? How was it determined?

“I don’t know. Nobody ever asked me that question before.”

In this case, as I examined the label, I noticed that the product contains minerals as well as vitamins. This is an even greater problem, as the interaction between certain minerals and vitamins is a well known problem. This is why you usually see companies with two liquid products–one a multivitamin, and the other a multimineral. Or, they will have a multivitamin with no minerals. So I asked how they were able to overcome this problem?

“I don’t know. Nobody ever asked me that question before.”

What they wanted to talk about, instead, was the “whole food” content, and the fancy (if meaningless) buzz word laden proprietary processes that were “unique” to the product, etc. Well, that’s all very nice, but what is really important is purity, potency and efficacy. Do not let yourselves lose sigt of what is really important when you evaluate nutritional supplements. We don’t at Willner Chemists. Somebody has to ask the right questions.

About Don Goldberg

Hello. I am what you might call a Nutritional Pharmacist. After college, I worked in the Pharmaceutical and Nutritional Industry, first in Quality Control, and then in Manufacturing and Product Development. Increasingly, as the years passed, I became more involved with nutritional supplements. I spent many years detailing physicians, herbalists, and homeopaths about nutritional and herbal therapies and products. In 1992, along with my friend Arnie Gitomer, I bought Willner Chemists, a well-established nutritionally oriented pharmacy. For the first time, I had an opportunity to communicate directly with the consumer, the patient, and the customer. I love it. This blog is an additional way for me to extend my personal views and opinions directly to you. You can also hear me on the radio, every Sunday, from 2 to 4 pm on WOR radio in NY (710 AM), or WGKA in Atlanta (920 AM). Or check our website, www.willner.com.
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One Response to No one ever asked me that before

  1. Teresa Staab says:

    I have recently heard from a Dr Mitch, on the radio here, in Florida, that you should not take fish oil on a daily basis. He has been citing studies, stating that taking a fish oil is equivalent to 17 lbs of fish a day Everyone who calls in, seems shocked over these claims he is making, after all we finally got med Dr’s on board with the fish oil, and now he is saying it is bad for us. He is suggesting taking flax instead. What is your comment?

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