In my last post I wrote about the importance of testing vitamin D levels. In fact, what I was really suggesting was that serial lab testing in general should be a vital part of a person’s approach to improving bone health (if it is financially and logistically possible). Testing vitamin D levels is just one (albeit an important one) test that should be almost a yearly ritual. This suggestion was prompted by a recent article in JAMA Internal Medicine that reported on quality control issues of supplement manufacturers.

From my last post I wrote: “Quality control in the supplement industry is certainly a problem. This is why I encourage my patients to have lab tests, and then retest just to make sure that what they are doing nutritionally to improve their health is working. That said, we at OsteoNaturals do everything we can to ensure that what you see on our labels is what you get. Our products are made in an FDA approved and fully GMP compliant facility. The raw materials that go into our products all meet US FDA and Health Canada guidelines and are subject to Certificate of Analysis verification as well as potency, composition, and purity testing. We try very hard to give you excellent products. But I also understand that it can be enticing to purchase cheaper, similar looking products at your local discount store. The nice thing about vitamin D is that it is easy to test whether or not the brand you are using is working. Just ask your doctor to test your 25 hydroxyvitamin D level….just to be sure.”

I in no way was saying that if you take our OsteoNaturals products that you don’t need to test your vitamin D levels. Yes, we try hard to make sure our products are what we say they are…but THEY MAY NOT BE PERFECT! If you take our products you STILL need to test! And not only test for vitamin D levels but also test to see if markers (relevant to bone health) in general are improving. I don’t advocate taking supplements and “hoping for the best.” I have NEVER said that ONLY our supplements will do…there are many other companies out there with GREAT products. Sure I would like you to purchase OsteoNaturals (I wouldn’t have started this company if I didn’t have a passion to help people…that is my number one goal…really!) but my patients know all to well that I REGULARLY recommend products from other companies…Designs for Health, Metagenics…etc….even if our products are similar. And if a person comes in to my office and they are taking a quality product similar to OsteoNaturals, I don’t try to make them switch to ours. I have quite a few patients who remain on OsteoForce, the Designs for Health calcium/magnesium supplement that is similar to our OsteoSustain. I keep them on it because they were already using it before OsteoNaturals was born….OsteoForce is a great product… and if it is working for them…why change? So I can sell a few more bottles of my stuff?…NOT ON YOUR LIFE! (or my life for that matter!)

That said, do I think you should be a little more hesitant about purchasing nutritional supplements from drug stores or discount houses vs paying a bit more for professional line products? Yes. But even when taking professional line products…YOU STILL NEED TO TEST. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.