If you’re like most people, you probably take some kind of supplement every day. But have you ever wondered how these supplements are made? Or what ingredients are used to make them? Keep reading to find out about the manufacturing process of supplements and the various ingredients used.
How Supplements Are Made
The manufacturing process of supplements can be difficult to understand because it is not a one-size-fits-all industry. The ingredients and the process used vary depending on the type of supplement being made. However, there are some general steps that all supplement manufacturers tend to follow.
The first step in making any supplement is to extract the active ingredient from the natural source. This could be a plant, mineral, or other organic substance. Once the active ingredient is extracted, it is then purified and concentrated into a pill or powder form. Strict health and safety procedures must be followed in the factory to prevent contamination. To make sure that no harmful contaminants are present in the final product, it must go through rigorous product testing.
After safety testing is complete, the next step is to add any additional ingredients that might be needed for stability or absorption purposes. These additional ingredients could be anything from binders and fillers to lubricants and preservatives. Once all of the ingredients have been added, the supplement is packaged and shipped to retailers across the globe.
Supplement Ingredients and Their Functions
Supplement ingredients can be broken down into several categories: Vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids. Each type of ingredient has a specific function in the body.
Vitamins are organic compounds that the body needs to perform certain functions. There are two types of vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble. The water-soluble vitamins (B-complex and C) dissolve in water and are excreted in the urine if taken in excess. The fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) dissolve in fat and are stored in the liver.
Minerals are inorganic substances that the body also needs to perform certain functions. Minerals can be either essential or nonessential. Essential minerals cannot be made by the body and must be obtained from food or supplements. Nonessential minerals can be made by the body if needed; however, getting them from food or supplements is still recommended for optimal health.
Herbs are plants or plant parts that have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Herbs can be used alone or combined with other herbs to treat various conditions. Herbal remedies usually come as capsules, tablets, tinctures (liquid extracts), powders, or teas.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein molecules. There are 20 different amino acids that can be used to build protein. Nine of these amino acids are essential and must come from food or supplements because the body cannot make them on its own.
Choosing a Good Supplement Brand
When looking for a good supplement brand, it is important to consider the manufacturing process of supplements and the various ingredients used. The most important factor in choosing a good supplement brand is ensuring that the supplements are made in an FDA-registered facility. This means that the supplements have been inspected by the FDA and meet their quality standards. In addition, it is important to look for a brand that uses high-quality ingredients. Some things to look for include:
- Organic ingredients
- No or limited fillers and artificial ingredients
- Ingredients from sustainable sources
- Non-GMO ingredients
Once you have narrowed down your search to brands that use high-quality ingredients, it is important to read the labels and research each ingredient to make sure it is right for you.
Environmental Concerns in Supplement Manufacturing
One of the major concerns with supplement manufacturing is the environmental impact. Many of the ingredients used in supplements—including herbs and botanicals—can be sourced from sustainable resources; however, not all manufacturers make an effort to do so. In addition, some of the packaging materials used for supplements can be harmful to the environment if not recycled properly.
Consumers should educate themselves on how their chosen supplement brand sources its ingredients and recycles its packaging materials to make more environmentally-friendly choices.