Quality Supplements

How to Choose Quality Supplements with Dr. Andrew Krause

In this episode of The Functional Medicine Radio Show, Dr. Carri’s special guest Dr. Andrew Krause explains how to choose quality supplements.

After an undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Krause studied at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. Since graduating, he has been a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in private practice in Kitchener and Mississauga, Ontario. In addition to his education in Naturopathic Medicine, Dr. Krause is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Sports Nutritionist, and yoga instructor.

In his practice, Dr. Krause works with individuals and teams to improve their health and performance, and lectures across Eastern Canada on the topic of natural health product regulation, sports nutrition, and behavioural psychology. Dr. Krause is also a Senior Account Manager for the Ottawa-based health tech company, Fullscript.

Main Questions Asked:

  • How did you get interested in supplements and natural health products?
  • What makes Canadian supplement regulations different from the US?
  • How do supplements get approved for sale to the general public in Canada?
  • Do the differences in professional grade supplements and pharmaceutical grade supplements mean anything?
  • How do you choose quality supplements for yourself and your patients?

Key Points Made by Dr. Krause:

  • Krause first learned about the natural health industry from the sports side. He worked for a natural health manufacturer for three years which is where he began his deep dive into the industry and what makes it different in Canada and the United States.
  • Supplements are called Natural Health Products in Canada to emphasize the health aspect – the term supplement is pretty vague.
  • Every supplement sold in Canada will have a Natural Product Number or an NPN and getting the NPN is a difficult process that involves verification.
  • In the States, some dietary supplements have no premarket validation before getting on the shelf. Label accuracy in Canada means that the incidence of a product not containing the ingredients on the label is extremely low.
  • The term proprietary blend can disguise the exact dosages on a particular product.
  • Canada also requires the manufacturer to list all non-medicinal ingredients which helps you make informed choices.
  • Canada requires manufacturers to have good manufacturing practices that make sure there is no viral or bacterial contamination, which is not required in the States.
  • If a supplement you are considering doesn’t have any third-party verifications, that’s a sign you should probably avoid that supplement.
  • Natural health claims are allowed in Canada as long as there is proof that has been provided that the claim is true. The level of proof differs based on the claim being made. Specifically, the government is trying to limit the number of people who avoid taking a medication in favor of a supplement.
  • Manufacturing a supplement in Canada requires a site license and referencing the work that the government has already learned. For new health claims, you have to provide more research. Once the claims have been proved, you get the NPN and can sell the product on the market.
  • It’s important to know how a particular brand or product is made in the States because the product quality can vary wildly.
  • It’s almost always better to buy a natural health product in Canada instead of the States as you’re more likely to get the product you are actually paying for.
  • There is no consistent definition of professional or pharmaceutical grade products so it’s often used as a marketing term. Since we don’t really know how to evaluate the quality of a product, we use certain terms to help us make decisions about what to buy. This can leave us vulnerable to terms that don’t mean anything but sound legitimate.
  • Just because a brand creates one product really well doesn’t mean that all their products are the best option. The best product for you depends specifically on your goal and what you need. Do the research on the product and ingredient first and then figure out the delivery method you want.
  • The guideline for buying supplements online is whether or not you can verify the way the product is being stored or shipped. It’s best to go direct to the manufacturer if you can. Having a guarantee about the quality of a product will make a big difference.

Resources Mentioned:

Dr. Krause’s instagram

Fullscript

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