Vitamins. What works and what doesn't? - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Vitamins. What works and what doesn't?

(FOX 19) – There is a lot going out these days when it comes to your health. From energy supplements to vitamins, some work and some don't.

In this day and age, we are inundated with information about nutritional supplements, but some aren't so effective.

The issue is it can be overwhelming for the regular consumer when shopping for vitamins. There are, many times, multiple shelves for one supplement. The most common question would be where to start.

We choose based on what little we know, about what is in each pill, trusting what is on the label. They are regulated by the FDA but the sheer number on the market makes it tough for investigators to check up on all manufacturers.

For the average Joe, it may seem like you need a PhD in chemistry to read some of the supplement labels.

Tucked away in a small lab, Dr. William Obermeyer does some time consuming and expensive work.

"We look at quality of the products, whether it has contaminants, whether it can release properly," said Obermeyer. "So you can actually absorb all the things. Just so the consumers are getting what they think they are paying for."

Obermeyer is the chief researcher at Consumer Lab, a subscription web service that publishes its test results for members. We wanted answers from the doctor. We wanted to know how to make good choices about supplements. Some of his test results are encouraging. "Most of the multi vitamins are good out there."

However, his results were not so encouraging when testing dozens of brands of fish oil. "Overall unfortunately we find at least one out of four don't meet the quality criteria that we have."

Some had too many contaminants; some went rancid, which causes you to burp that nasty fish oil flavor. Some released their contents too early and some too late.

Here is an example: Heart Health Pills were tested to see how long they take to break down in your stomach. One broke down quickly. The other was still intact after five hours of testing.

"Some of the disintegration problems that we've had have been so dramatic that you actually had to take a hammer to a pill a tablet to actually break it apart. So if you have to do that, it will just go through and be what is considered a bed pan bullet. And will go right through you and you will not absorb anything."

This is not dangerous, just a waste of your money. In fact, these researchers have found price means very little. "In many cases the higher the cost doesn't indicate a better quality product."

Ultimately, there is no easy answer. No one brand, he says, consistently rates high. "This is why we developed the website; to give the consumer information about quality product."

The website isn't free, however, talking to your doctor is. Seek the counsel of their physician, pharmacists, and practitioner, to make sure whatever they have to offer is compatible with their current regimen. Because asking good questions never hurt anyone.

Copyright 2011 FOX19. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Frankly