Personal Health in an Age of Extreme Inflation

“Health-conscious individuals are forced to adopt new strategies to maintain wellness in their homes.”

Just about everywhere you look – be it at the gas pumps, at the grocery checkout, online or traditional media – the cost of living seems to be spiralling out of control. In the 12 months ending in June of 2022, consumer prices rose 9.1% To put that in perspective, it is the largest 12 month rise in over 40 years.[1] Many people have been forced make difficult choices between food and other mounting household bills, such as power or gas. In Alberta alone, often touted as one of the wealthiest provinces in Canada, food bank usage increased by 73% from 2019 to 2022.[2] This alarming increase in costs have affected every area of our society, and unfortunately there are no signs of it stopping anytime soon.

For those who are making purchasing decisions for their families, it is becoming more and more difficult to ensure that their hard-earned dollars are having the best possible impact upon their households – especially when it comes to their grocery bills. I am not that old (a relative statement to be sure, but one I feel good about), but I can remember when a $200 grocery shop fed my family for quite awhile. Now, a half-full shopping cart can top $200 easily. The buying power of the average pay cheque has diminished more in the last year than in the many years previous. This reality has a profound affect upon purchasing decisions, and more often than not shoppers are now forced to buy foods that are of lesser quality just to stave off hunger. GMO foods replace those organically grown to a far greater degree. Processed foods become more financially feasible than unprocessed. What happens to the health of a society when good, nutritious food becomes out of reach for most budgets? The answer is obvious – it declines.

Health-conscious individuals are forced to adopt new strategies to maintain wellness in their homes. If the quality of the food they consume decreases, then something must increase to make up the short-fall. High-quality vitamins and minerals can help support health, but the current market is woefully under-represented in this aspect. If you are a regular reader of Doctor’s Corner articles, you know that we are transparent about the general quality of vitamins and minerals available to the consumer in the market place – some “health” products are better left alone if you truly desire good health.

Understand this: you are far better off spending an extra dollar on good quality food than spending a dollar lesser quality vitamins and supplements – they won’t help and may actually even be detrimental to your health! Quality certainly costs more at the checkout counter, but throwing your money away is even more expensive.

The question then becomes what indicators can a consumer observe that denote quality in a vitamin or mineral supplement? Companies who have made big business out of selling sub-par products tend to direct the consumer away from quality inquiries, opting instead for spending million-dollar budgets on impressive marketing campaigns and over-saturating their message in order to position their products as the best options. This “bully marketing” strategy works, and it is well known that if you say something loud enough and long enough, even the one saying will believe it is true. Unfortunately, volume and duration does not make a message true.

Armed with the right knowledge, however, a customer can often discern the quality of a product by reading the label. Knowing what to look for makes a huge difference when interpreting the language used by vitamin and mineral producers when they print their packaging. The following are a couple things that will help you discern quality over flash.

Point of Purchase

Many will not like to hear this, but it needs to be said: the chances of finding a quality health supplement from a “big box” outlet store are very small. While there are shelves and shelves full of products, the brands that are primarily focused on marketing to mass consumption are rarely focused on quality as well. Many of these brands can sell their products for less than what it takes to just create a truly effective formula because of the poor quality/cheap ingredients they use to prepare it. It may take a little investigation, but finding a source of high-quality vitamins and minerals to support a declining diet is well worth it for your health.


Natural VS Synthetic

Many popular brands of vitamins and minerals are derived from synthetic sources. This reduces costs significantly as petroleum waste products can be found in abundance. It also drastically affects the bioavailability of the final product. Synthetic compounds achieve approximately 25 – 30% bioavailability to the cells, whereas products derived from food-based ingredients achieve anywhere from 90-95% bioavailability. This is because the body absorbs nutrients that resemble food far easier that those that do not. Essentially it would take 3X the amount of the synthetic ingredient to equal the effectiveness of the natural ingredient. Unfortunately, that means 3X the harmful fillers and flow agents that often accompany lesser quality products as well. It also means that in order to convert into a compound that the cells can readily use, synthetic products will often rob enzymes from the body that are many times already lacking in the body, causing other health issues.

USP Grade

There are 3 grades by which the quality of an ingredient can be measured. Feed grade, food grade, and USP (United States Pharmacopeia) grade. Feed grade materials are suitable for animal consumption. Food grade materials are suitable for human consumption. USP grade is for ingredients that have proven potency and purity levels set by the United States Pharmacopeia. This “pharmaceutical grade” is the highest standard for ingredients and is used in the creation of drugs. If a vitamin or mineral supplement bears a USP grade badge, it claims to contain the highest quality of ingredients possible. “USP grade” is a great indicator of high quality.

Fermented Amino Acids, Not Extracted

While this quality aspect of an ingredient a little more intuitive, fermentation of amino acids is a more expensive process than chemical extraction and as a result companies who engage in these processes will generally let the consumer know. Fermentation creates a far greater quality product than extraction, producing up to 30 enzymes as opposed to between 3 and 5 enzymes. It is also far “cleaner,” as extraction processes employed by many popular brands often use materials such as duck feathers, human hair or even sewage as starting points. You read that right…

It is an uncomfortable fact that the cost of living rarely goes down. And right now, we are living through one of the greatest inflationary increases in modern history. Quality food is becoming further and further out of reach for the average citizen, and in order maintain a reasonable quality of life personal health strategies must adapt. If you are finding it hard to feed you and your family nutritious foods, then it is highly recommended that you spend the extra dollar on quality vitamins and minerals. Rather than buying cheap products from big name brands that care more about profits then health, do a little research and find the products that actually support your well being. Supporting your health is far more important than supporting a random shareholder’s bottom line.


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