SHARE with everyone who takes over the counter vitamins, minerals and supplements.
1st... did you know that over the counter supplements in the USA must meet quality standards for safety and manufacturing practices, BUT NOT DOSAGE QUALITY?
Yes! ... it is crazy! The DSHEA (Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994) dictates that over the counter supplements be manufactured safely, and clearly list their ingredients, but does not require them to actually meet quality in regards to proper dosage ... i.e. if it says Vitamin D3 1000 IU ... it may be safe and produced in a clean factory... but does it really have 500 IU of vitamin D3 per capsule or 1500 IU?
Numerous medical studies have proven that many supplements used in rheumatology fall way short of the quality of dosage guarantee. Studies looking at DHEA, glucosamine, chondroitin, and vitamin D3, for example, have shown a wide variation in actual quantity quality. In fact, some have even been found to have ZERO of the supplement they say they have in them. Alarmingly, cost did not correlate at all with quality (so don't think if you pay more, you get better). Last year, a study looking at vitamin D3 showed that products ranged from having half of what they said up to 150% of what they say on the bottle (this is a travesty for lupus since most lupus patients are deficient in vitamin D and should take a supplement all their lives in order to help control their lupus better.
So how can you guarantee you get a good quality product? Well, I put myself to the test today, I like to take melatonin when I travel to reset my circadian rhythm for sleep when I cross time zones, and I find it helpful for sleep. So I tried to figure out which melatonin supplements were actually good quality. I shop on http://buff.ly/1G55JbT (so that my buying dollars also go to The Lupus Foundation), and when I search for melatonin, I can see numerous bottles on my screen. Then I can actually view enlarged pictures to read their labels. I looked at many melatonin products, but I could not figure out which I could trust.
After some research, I learned some tricks I'd like to share and save you time (keep this handy for the future and SHARE with others!):
- DO NOT TRUST stamps on the bottles that state "quality assured" or similar. Supplement companies can get this as a "rubber stamp" just by paying money to another company without true verification OR this can simply mean it meets safety and clean manufacturing quality without actual proof of ingredient dosage quality (i.e. having the number of mg of active ingredient as stated). Also, companies can just put this on the bottle as their own quality stamp without involving another organization.
- DO TRUST THE FOLLOWING TWO ORGANIZATIONS (there may be more, but these two seem very reliable for ingredient quality and not simply safety and "natural" quality as many others simply test for):
http://buff.ly/1G55JbU: ConsumerLab independently tests OTC supplements, then reports on their quality as far as what they contain, safety, how well the tablets breakdown for absorption + compares costs! Consider it the "Consumer Reports" of the supplement industry. It costs a little more than $2 a month, but if you take a lot of supplements, it is well worth it! For my melatonin search, I found that "Melatonex" brand was improperly labeled (so avoid!) I found out that Puritan's Pride and Spring Valley were by far the cheapest brands at 4 cents per 3 mg tablet while Natrol brand was a whopping $1.36! This information alone saved me $39 a month! Well worth the $2-3 a month subscription for this quality testing company!
http://buff.ly/1G55H3Q: Supplement companies voluntarily submit their products to USP which then tests their supplements. If high dosage quality is found (it actually contains what it says it contains), then that particular company will get the USP approval. The pros of this over ConsumerLab is that you can look on the USP website for free and find which brands pass the test for their particular supplement. So for Melatonin I found the following: http://buff.ly/1G55H3T so I could simply buy those products and know I am getting the proper amount of melatonin. However, I really like the cost comparison of ConsumerLab better and it was quicker to figure out. However, if you are on a tight budget ... just use the USP site.
So ... do your vitamin and supplement shopping wisely. PLEASE check with your rheumatologist before taking any supplements with lupus as some are dangerous and can make lupus worse (such as Echinacea and anything that "boosts" the immune system.
I hope you found this helpful.
SHARE with anyone who takes supplements and vitamins
by Donald Thomas, MD
photo credit: http://buff.ly/1G55H3U
#lupus #butterfly #hope
SHARE with every person with lupus you know... let's change the meaning of the symbol!
Many lupus organizations, books, and literature show the butterfly as their symbol to represent lupus...
Most people think of the infamous butterfly rash of lupus. But why do we do this? All you have to do is look at the numerous pictures of people suffering from lupus showing their "butterfly rash" on website such as "Lupus and Me" and they look miserable and sick. It is because they are ill and feeling horrible from their lupus. The "butterfly rash" is due to acute cutaneous lupus and occurs in people having a significant flare of their lupus.
I'd recommend accepting the Lupus Congress' use of the butterfly instead:
In Greek Mythology, Pandora was the first woman endowed with many wonderful gifts; one of which was curiosity. She was given a box and told not to open it. She gave into her "gift" of curiosity, opened the box, and was horrified at unleashing all the evils and pestilence, and plagues into the world. (This is similar to the evils and trials bestowed upon the person who faces their problem of lupus.)
After all the evils had escaped into the world, Pandora looked down into the box.....
All that remained was an incredibly beautiful butterfly that would not fly away; instead, the butterful remained with Pandora. The name of the butterfly was ...... HOPE!
This beautiful butterfly reminded her that although she had just witnessed horrible atrocities leashed into the world, that there was always the promise of hope that the future would be better.
Please enjoy this uplifting video from the DC/MD/VA chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America (previously Greater Washington chapter) entitled "Chasing Butterflies".....
Whenever you see the butterfly of lupus.... think of HOPE
Just look at the innocence and beauty of this wonderful girl in the photo... this looks like the face of "Hope"!
By Donald Thomas, MD
Follow me on Twitter @ https://twitter.com/lupuscyclopedia
Follow me at http://www.facebook.com/LupusEncyclopedia . Answers to "What is lupus?" as well as goes into detail about the symptoms (such as rash and arthritis) of lupus and related conditions such as fibromyalgia and Sjögren’s syndrome. Go to www.facebook.com/LupusEncyclopedia , click "LIKE" to get daily tips and facts about learning to live with and fight lupus
photo credit: Kids Party Face of Wheaton, MD http://www.gigmasters.com/Face-Painting/KidsPartyFace
"What is lupus?" is the first topic that The Lupus Encyclopedia answers. It can be found at http://www.amazon.com/The-Lupus-Encyclopedia-Comprehensive-Patients/dp/1421409836/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1388791637&sr=1-1 and Dr. Donald Thomas provides daily tips, facts, and research information about lupus at www.facebook.com/LupusEncyclopedia. The book contains valuable information about all aspects of lupus and its treatment to include practical advice on what to do about fatigue, joint pains, and sleep problems. There is complete information about all of the medications used to treat lupus put into terms that are easy to understand for non-medical people. Complications commonly seen with lupus such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, Sjogren's syndrome, heart attacks, strokes, and cancer prevention are also discussed in detail. The chapters on having a successful pregnancy, how to get disability, and even the use of alternative and complementary medicine are also complete. Go to www.facebook.com/LupusEncyclopedia to get daily tips and facts in order to learn to live with and fight lupus better.
- Baylor College of Medicine1989
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- Uniformed Services University of the Health SciencesAssistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, 1994 - presentTeaches medical students and rheumatology fellows about rheumatologic disorders.
- Arthritis and Pain Associates of Prince Georges CountyRheumatologist, 1998 - presentDr. Thomas cares for patients suffering from rheumatologic conditions. He is board certified in rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine, certified in musculoskeletal ultrasound by the American College of Rheumatology, and is certified as a clinical densitometrist by the International Society of Clinical Densitometry. He enjoys teaching medical students, doctors, patients, and the lay public about rheumatologic conditions.
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