Doctor’s Choice: A Steadfast Commitment to Core Values
by Glennis Taylor
We have come a long way since the days of potions and cauldrons…a very long way! We now vibrate in a high-tech age where the supplements we take daily may even be the result of the latest nano-technology. Our ability to extract, concentrate and alter molecular structure is greatly influencing today’s supplement industry. Yet, it was only a few generations ago that the world of science began to connect the food we consume to states of disease.
In 1747, a Scottish naval surgeon, James Lind, discovered that scurvy could be prevented by eating citrus fruits and certain vegetables. In 1881, a Russian surgeon concluded that there are in foods with particular nutrients that promote good health. In the early 1900’s, further studies surfaced that heightened interest in the food and disease connection. Polish born biochemist, Casimir Funk, in 1912, coined the term vit-amine (substances vital for life). In the 1930’s laboratories were able to synthesize a growing number of synthetic vitamins. It was in the 1940’s and 1950’s that vitamin supplements became available to the general population in health Food Stores.
Today, as technical abilities advance, research is accelerating in the field of health and supplements. Closely following the latest data is Dr. Eldon Dahl of Doctor’s Choice Ltd. who has a keen interest the world of health supplements and has a particular interest in the field of anti-aging research. His passion for quality supplements is palpable. Raised in a family that ate ‘all natural’, where all the children remained unvaccinated by choice, and were taken to naturopaths for health issues, he developed an early interest in health. As a naturopathic Doctor himself, and faced with providing the best quality products for his patients, Dr. Dahl founded Doctor’s Choice Ltd. in 1986. He remains dedicated in his mission to provide the best and to reach out and inform people of the challenges that revolve around the supplement industry today.
With such a wealth of knowledge arising daily, one would hope that the supplement industry would keep pace in introducing state of the art formulas that are safe and effective. It is a fast-moving industry that does indeed follow the lead of research. In Canada, the federal government has been, over a period of years, implementing a licensing program designed to regulate the supplement industry. Since February of 2013, all supplements sold have to have an NPN (natural product number). Human studies must be submitted showing the efficacy of all ingredients in a formula before an NPN number will be issued. This program is designed to protect the consumer from ineffective or even dangerous products in the marketplace. However, if a product does receive a license based on submitted research, how are we to know that the products we purchase off the shelf contain the same quality ingredients used in the studies?
Raw ingredients for supplements are purchased from suppliers around the world. Europe and Japan are known for providing premium raw materials. The quality of the raw materials can vary greatly. China has now become a major player in the raw material arena. There is question as to the quality control measures in place in China. People are often and reasonably skeptical of Chinese sourced materials. About 95% of the world’s supply of Vitamin C now comes from China.
I was not aware until chatting with Dr. Dahl that roughly 80% of the highest quality raw ingredients is siphoned off to be purchased by the pharmaceutical industry: used for medicines or research. This leaves the most well intended supplement companies with difficulties accessing the finest quality materials. As the demand for supplements grows, with box stores claiming an ever-growing market share that was once the domain of health food stores, the demand for raw materials is taxed and supplies are harder to get, the prices go up and quality suffers. As the therapeutic value of a supplement is only as good as its raw materials, we naturally question the level of effect received. Dr. Dahl explains that the price for melatonin, for example, can vary from as low as about $200 per kilo to $2300 per kilo. Doctor’s Choice has maintained a relationship with one of the top suppliers of melatonin and produces a premium product. I know that many people comment that upon taking melatonin they have vivid dreams or nightmares and sometimes suffer from feelings of anxiety. This is not an issue, Dr Dahl says, if the best melatonin is used.
Another important aspect of an effective supplement is the blend of ingredients used in its formulation. A synergy of effect from all the ingredients is found in the best of formulas. Much research is necessary to provide the best blend of complementary nutrients in the most therapeutic ratios. Dr. Dahl stresses the importance of this factor. Doctor’s Choice products reflect his diligence in this capacity of blending ingredients to ensure best results for the consumer.
Dr. Dahl comments on the challenges of providing formulas that meet both the government’s guidelines and the need of the consumer for results. The optimum dosage for best therapeutic results may be restricted by government regulations. This makes it difficult to give the consumer a product that is maximally effective. Most supplement providers are wrestling to find innovative ways to work effectively within the parameters dictated. We as consumers must stand strong if we want to have access to supplements that actually work. We must remain educated and aware. We must demand transparency and full disclosure in the industry. We must ask questions of our supplement suppliers such as finding out where are the raw materials sourced from. We must be alert to the regulations that might further restrict our choices. The power is in the consumer, and should be used for the benefit of all of us. We should allow the natural health industry to go back to its original roots where integrity was valued believes Dr. Dahl.
There is more than just ingredients and dosages in a formula that lead to optimal health. We have to look at the other contributors to our well-being. Our attitudes and thoughts as well as our actions, and that deeper place within us, influence how we respond to our healing potential. Given all the tools necessary the body has an amazing capacity to recover. Dr. Dahl believes we need the highest quality natural supplements to offset the lower nutrient value in today’s food and the ever-increasing number of genetically modified foods polluting our world. We have to understand the mind-body connection and honour the body’s voice that we so often ignore. “We must align our bodies” and “become balanced beings”, Dr. Dahl suggests. Health is a multifaceted affair.
When buying your next multivitamin or energy supplement, ask questions and pay close attention to labels and ingredient blends. You want to give yourself the best.
Doctor’s Choice is a wise choice…they believe in “healing the nation one person at a time.” Happy health!
First printed in August 2012, The New Agora magazine.
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