Supplement ingredient safety
Michael T. Murray, ND
A century and a half ago nearly all food was organically grown (or raised) by individual farmers.
A century and a half ago nearly all food was organically grown (or raised) by individual farmers. Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides didn’t exist. Since that time the automation of food production has made farming a very different industry.
Today our commercial food sources are mired in agricultural chemistry, analytical and scientific testing, endless processing procedures, and economic and political pressures.
Thankfully, in the ongoing search for healthy food and the sustainable use of the environment, organic farming is becoming the new old way to produce health-enhancing foods and herbs.
Safety and potency
Concerned about supplement safety and potency? So, too, are the leading Canadian supplement manufacturers. Even before recent concerns about raw material quality, some forward-thinking dietary supplement manufacturers invested not only in scientific methods to validate their finished products, but also in growing their own organic herbs and fruits for quality control from the ground up.
According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canadian production of medicinal plants is small compared to world production. Here medicinal plants are generally grown on small parcels of land due to the high maintenance and specialized equipment required. Such demands impose a high capital investment on those who wish to cultivate medicinal herbs. Avoiding that financial outlay, more than half the medicinal plants harvested in Canada are sourced from natural, wild locations.
While organic farming is booming in Canada, medicinal herbals have been slower to find a footing as they still require extra care in harvesting, handling, and processing. Eventually, the cultivation of these herbs is likely to increase as farms with nearby extraction facilities can produce the most potent tinctures and extracts from fresh herbs such as ginseng, echinacea, St. John’s wort, and others.
Professionals in the natural health industry, including those who make vitamin and herbal supplements, have a dedicated interest in improving the health of individuals. When a company starts growing its own raw materials, using organic seedlings and farming techniques, and when it adheres to good manufacturing practices, you can be quite sure that you are dealing with people who care about the environment and about you, the consumer.
If you are as concerned about the quality of your supplements as you are about the foods you eat, find out which companies grow their own herbs organically, and your supplement buying choices will be easier.