Episode 30: Vitamins & Supplement Quality. What to Look For + What to Avoid with Jennifer Klotz, RD

Branching off from the conversation we had in episode #022, all about the power of taking a high quality multivitamin versus a “bad” quality one that might actually be harming your health more than it’s actually helping you.

That brief comment really sparked your interest and our inboxes were flooded with the following questions we promise to tackle within this episode:

  • How can I tell if my supplements are actually “high quality”?
  • Which brands can I trust? Which brands should I avoid?
  • How can I tell the difference between “good”
    versus “bad”, and what certifications can I look for?
  • What certifications actually matter?
  • Which added ingredients should I avoid?
  • Is the FDA actually monitoring what’s being sold over the counter?

Available to Listen on:  iTunes  &  Spotify.

Jennifer Klotz, MS, RD is extremely passionate about this topic and very well informed. That being said – we both believe that the information in this episode is imperative to your long term health, especially if you’re taking even one supplement, herb, or vitamin on a regular basis.


Taking a poor quality supplement can actually do more harm than taking nothing at all?

Quality Matters – especially when it comes to the multi billion dollar supplement industry that’s expanding everyday. Just because it’s on the shelf – doesn’t necessarily mean you should trust it.

GOOD NEWS IS – There are quality supplements in this world and it’s not as hard as you think to find them. Read Jennifer’s most recent article & discover THE TOP 4 ADDITIVES AND FILLERS IN VITAMINS YOU SHOULD SKIP TO MAKE SURE YOUR BODY IS ABSORBING YOUR VITAMINS & NOT JUST PEEING THEM OUT.

or keep reading, for the top takeaways from today’s episode:

Is the FDA actually monitoring all of the supplements?

The short answer, is No.

Here’s what they are doing:

They’re monitoring labels and claims – but not to the extent that you believe they are. They’re only monitoring what’s appearing on labels & what companies are claiming they’re product can do. Their ultimate goal is to avoid “miracle promises” and “magic pills”.

here’s what they’re not doing:

They’re NOT ensuring potency or purity, they’re not testing to make sure that what’s on the label is actually inside of the product, & they’re definitely not making sure that the ingredients are sourced from clean sources and are not contaminated by heavy metals and other toxic substances.

So, What can we look for?

Most Importantly, you want to be looking for various Certifications from a third party, listed on the bottle to ensure that proper quality control measures are in place. In other words, companies are investing in you (the consumer) by paying for additional certifications. This shows that they’re at least taking that additional step to verify that their claims are true.


  • GMP or cGMP – aka Good Manufacturing Practices Certification
    • Quality control guaranteed, Ensures the consumer that raw materials are being stored properly and not being exposed to excessive heat or left exposed to air for long periods of time, and that processing techniques are adequate to maintain quality.
  • NSF national sanitation foundation
    • This certification is most important if you’re a competitive athlete, but is still important to the average consumer who cares about purity of the product
    • They analyze the supplement for any contaminants that may show up positive on a screening test for hidden performance enhancing ingredients
  • TGA – aka Therapeutic Goods Administration
    • similar to the GMP certification, this is the certification they use in Australia
  • NPA – aka Natural Products Association
    • Ensures quality control, also known as the first organization to offer a third-party GMP certification program for the manufacturing of dietary supplements and dietary ingredients.
  • USDA Organic & Non GMO Project Verified
    • These do not necessarily mean the supplement is any “better” unless you are concerned about the additional additives such as corn starch, modified food starch, etc
  • Certified Gluten Free
    • Most important if you know that you are allergic, sensitive or intolerant to gluten.


  • Any Artificial Colors 
    • This means the company is typically hiding a rancid or oxidized product and they’re altering the color because the “color is wrong” due to poor processing techniques or poor quality ingredients
    • in Europe, companies are required to add a neon warning label to the product if it contains artificial food colorings
    • Most children’s vitamins in America will include these – look for natural food based colorings instead that might be sourced from turmeric, paprika, beets, chlorophyll, etc.
  • Hydrogenated or “Partially” Hydrogenated Oils
    • Soybean, Canola, Sunflower, Palm oils, etc
    • Also known as – inflammatory trans-fats that have been scientifically linked to heart disease & removed from MOST processed foods in the past decade.
    • Research shows that even the smallest amounts are linked to chronic inflammation and heart disease.
      • If you’re taking a supplement on a daily basis or even multiple times a day, that include this ingredient – you’ll be increasing your exposure to levels that will be doing more harm than good, no matter what the benefit of the supplement is
  • Lead, Mercury, & PCB’s
    • Most commonly found in fish oil supplements and herbal based supplements
    • If buying & consuming fish oil regularly – you want it to be molecularly distilled and/or third party certified to ensure high quality. Otherwise, don’t buy it.
      • The only fish oil supplement brand available over the counter that Jenn recommends is Nordic Naturals
      • What you shouldn’t be taking: cheap, large bottles you can buy in bulk, such as Costco sized “Kirkland brand” or any brand that doesn’t mention where they source their fish from (wild caught is a must).
  • Talc or Magnesium Silicate
    • These are both used as cheap fillers, desiccants, & anti-caking agents
    • Associated with an increased risk of cancer
  • Titanium Dioxide
    • Used for aesthetics purposes to make the supplement a brighter white
    • Associated with lung inflammation, can decrease the immune system
  • Added fibers: such as Cellulose & Inulin
    • You never want to see these as the first ingredient in the additive list, that means they’re making up the majority of the pill with fillers that will inhibit the absorption of the good stuff
  • BHA, BHT, cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), disodium hydrogen phosphate, fructose, shellac, wax, methylcellulose

If we missed something or left you feeling confused about anything … please don’t hesitate to contact us HERE or reach out and send us a direct message on instagram @CriticalConversations

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