When it Comes To Supplements, YES Quality Matters!

When it Comes To Supplements, YES Quality Matters!

by: Elysia Arseneau



[This is Part Eight of the series called My BCB Journey. Click here to see all posts in this series.]


This series, called “My BCB Journey,” puts NutriChem’s Body Chemistry Balancing Test into the spotlight to allow people to look through the eyes of someone who has taken the test, heard the results from a clinician, and received lifestyle recommendations and supplements and tips for eating according to my body’s needs.


In last week’s post, I outlined the seven major ways that my health has improved since I started this journey. They are:

  • Weight loss (11+ lbs as of this writing)
  • More energy
  • No more congestion
  • No more cravings
  • Improved complexion
  • Improved sleep
  • Stronger immune system


Fred - Muffin TopThis week, I hit another weight loss milestone: I fit into my “skinny jeans” once again! I put that in quotation marks because by “skinny jeans” I don’t mean the super-tight style that hugs you all the way down and tucks nicely into boots (although this pair is of that style). Rather, when I say that I fit into my “skinny jeans” again, I mean that I have been keeping a fantastic pair of jeans in my closet, even though I no longer fit into them, with the hopes that I would one day be able to pull them on without yanking, close the button, and not have a muffin top (see image, or read here if you don't know what a "muffin top" is).

Well, this past Saturday, I was indeed able to fit into these jeans once again, after years of being too pudgy to do so. Victory!!!!


This shouldn’t sound as radical as it does


It’s no surprise that having a whole-body analysis is best for getting to the root of a person’s health problems. We have so many unseen and unfelt symptoms that go undetected for so long that by the time a true health issue arises it’s much larger than it would’ve been had we known to stop it in its path.


For example: I have a friend with giant lymph nodes, yet medical doctors have run multiple specific tests that have all come back normal. Another example: one of my family members has had kidney stones multiple times, took ibuprofen daily for generalized aches and pains, is now having gall bladder issues, and still the doctors have found nothing wrong. Things are CLEARLY wrong in both of these cases: but traditional medical professionals spend their time looking for a needle in a haystack in a hit-and-miss approach instead of analyzing the whole haystack to pinpoint the needle.



 traditional medical professionals spend their time looking for a needle in a haystack in a hit-and-miss approach instead of analyzing the whole haystack to pinpoint the needle.


When I started working at NutriChem, I learned about getting a personalized health solution that would be custom-made for me based on the results of my BCB Test, my health and lifestyle questionnaire, and of my conversations with my NutriChem clinician. Here’s how and why my personalized health solution is working for me.


Why I’m seeing and feeling these results


Many (all?) health companies will make claims like “these results are not typical” and “actual results may vary.” This is true for NutriChem too, but with one major caveat: results will certainly vary based on each individual’s body’s needs, but everyone will achieve results. (Read actual testimonies here.) Here’s what’s in my personalized health solution that is getting me these results.


My custom multivitamin contains ingredients that my body was missing. Here are a few of them:

  • vitamin D (my results were in the low end of the normal range, but not optimal)
  • iron (my results were in the low end of the normal range, but not optimal)
  • CoQ10 (helps circulation and blood vessel issues)
  • vitamin B2 (riboflavin – prevents migraine headaches; increases energy levels)
  • vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid – for PMS symptoms; reduces susceptibility to colds and flus)
  • vitamin B6 (P5P – helps with PMS symptoms and menstruation problems)
  • vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin – for boosting mood and energy; decreasing symptoms of depression and allergies)
  • boron (building strong bones and muscles; improving muscle coordination)
  • vitamin C (helps repair tissues in my body; antioxidant)
  • Calcium-HVP-Chelate (for healthy bones, teeth, and blood)
  • choline (liver support; optimal brain function)
  • N-Acetyl-Cysteine (liver support)
  • and more


My custom multivitamin contains ingredients that are helping my physical and emotional “issues” (some of these substances are repeated from the previous list as they’re doing double duty):

  • vitamin B1 (thiamine – boosts the immune system; helps with mood)
  • vitamin B2 (riboflavin – helps maintain healthy hair, skin and nails)
  • vitamin B7 (biotin – to reverse hair loss; helps to break down fats and carbohydrates)
  • inositol (promotes hair growth; helps balance hormones)
  • vitamin E (various forms – antioxidant)
  • L-Carnitine (helps my body to produce energy; brain function)
  • lutein (helps protect my eyes from sunlight damage)
  • vitamin B3 (niacinamide – helps with migraines and circulation)
  • phosphatidylcholine (helps with circulation issues; boosts immune system; precursor for acetylcholine, which is important for memory and other functions)
  • cucumin (the active ingredient from turmeric – decreases inflammation throughout the body)
  • and more


My custom multivitamin is preparing my body for pregnancy (some of these are repeated from the previous lists as they’re doing triple duty):

  • L-Methylfolate (the most absorbable form of folic acid)
  • vitamin B12 (in various forms)
  • vitamin B7 (biotin)
  • iron
  • choline (prevents neural tube defects; optimizes brain activity for lifetime of child)
  • vitamin E (gamma-tocopherol)
  • and more


My custom formula contains 38 ingredients in doses specific to my needs, plus NutriChem's multivitamin/mineral Double Take as a  base.


In addition to my custom formula, my recommended supplements are also supporting my body’s needs:

  • ESTROsmart Plus by Lorna Vanderhaeghe (balances my estrogen-to-progesterone levels, helps to prepare my body for pregnancy, and reduces (and eliminates) menstrual symptoms such as PMS and hormone-related migraines)
  • GLUCOsmart by Lorna Vanderhaeghe (the D-Chiro-inositol it contains helps to lower my DHEA levels; plus, it helps with sugar metabolism, boosts my serotonin levels (the “happy hormone”) and controls my appetite.)
  • magnesium glycinate like Mega Mag(helps with my magnesium deficiency, helps reverse my adrenal fatigue, helps me sleep, and prevents achy joints)
  • fish oil like Pure Premium Fish Oil (helps with the adrenal fatigue, boosts my mood, and helps reverse my scalp issues including dandruff and hair loss)
  • apple cider vinegar (helps with my glucose metabolism issues, and balances my pH levels)


All of this means that my body is working more efficiently to do what it does best when I'm supporting it: it keeps me strong, healthy and happy!




Here’s why quality matters


NutriChem productsIn addition to offering the comprehensive BCB Test and a personalized health solution for each one of its clients who takes the test, NutriChem also sells its own line of safe and effective products that includes vitamins, supplements, skin care products, and protein powders. These products are compounded in Ottawa at the NutriChem Richmond Road location, and are all of the highest quality. (These high quality ingredients are also what's put into our Custom Formulas.)

When it comes to supplements, quality truly does matters: “you get what you pay for” is true. Many people will purchase certain drug store brand supplements expecting incredible and immediate results for a low price, but they are actually getting what they’ve paid for: cheap supplements. The contents of each capsule, pill, and liquid matter.


Here’s an example: did you know that folic acid is not immediately useable in your body? What the body actually needs is folate (vitamin B9), and this is not the same thing as folic acid. Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate, and unless it is converted into methylfolate, the body’s cells cannot use it.


Here is what your body needs to do when you supplement with folic acid, or when you eat a food that is fortified with folic acid:


folate metabolism

(image source unknown)


Pretty complex, isn't it?! This process is extra work for your body and you'll notice that it requires other nutrients to happen (like B2, B6, B12, choline, serine, etc.), so you'd better hope that you have enough of them to allow this process to take place. To add to that, many people (40% of the American population) have a genetic mutation called MTHFR that can inhibit their body’s ability to methylate: this means that taking folic acid is useless for them because they can’t even convert it to the active form (5-MTHF)!


High quality supplements like NutriChem’s contain the most absorbable form of all vitamins and minerals. So instead of using the cheaper folic acid in its formulas, NutriChem uses the more expensive L-Methylfolate (like I have in my custom formula). It also use methylcobalamin for vitamin B12 instead of cobalamin, Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P5P) as the active form of vitamin B6, etc.


This is why high quality supplements cost more: they use higher quality ingredients. But they do it so that you will actually see and feel the difference you expected!


Two anecdotes to prove my point


As a vegetarian, I have been supplementing with a drug store brand B12 supplement for many years, because it was cheap and convenient to pick up. I noticed no discernible difference between the days I took my B12 and the days I forgot to take it. When I first started working at NutriChem (and before my BCB Test), I was having difficulty waking up in the mornings and was getting tired in the afternoons. I asked a colleague for help, and mentioned that I also needed to buy a new B vitamin. She recommended that I switch to AOR's Advanced B Complex: I felt better within the first 4 days!! I had much higher energy that lasted throughout the day, and no more "afternoon tiredness".


Another testimony to poor quality drug store supplements is the fact that customers come into NutriChem complaining that their drug store brand supplement is [insert complaint here]. From constipation and vomiting, to passing entire once-a-day tablets entirely whole (no joke!), we have heard it all at NutriChem about the disastrous effect of low quality supplements.


Find out for yourself


I dare you to look at your supplements’ labels to see exactly what they contain. If you’re a woman reading this, start small: just compare the “folic acid” line of your prenatal or multivitamin. If it only says “folic acid” and/or “folate”, you are NOT getting the methylated, active form. (Trust me: if a company paid the extra money for the higher quality methylated ingredient, they would want you to know!!)


If you’re too engrossed in this blog post to tear your eyes away from the screen long enough to check your supplements, I’ve taken the liberty of finding the ingredients in a few prenatal products sold in Canada. It’s because of certain “big box”, “generic”, “retail brands” that use lower quality ingredients in non-absorbable forms (plus many fillers!) that supplements have gotten a bad reputation. Click each product name or image to go directly to those retailers' websites and see the lists for yourself.


Life Brand Folic Acid
(Non-methylated form of folic acid)

Life Folic Acid




Life Brand Prenatal Algae Omega-3 & Multivitamin
(Non-methylated form of folic acid, plus fillers)

Life Brand Prenatal Algae Omega-3 & Multivitamin


Jamieson Prenatal
(Non-methylated forms of folic acid, B12, and others; fillers; natural flavour? (why) palm tree wax?)

Jamieson Prenatal


Kirkland Signature Prenatal Vitamin (Costco's brand)
(Non-methylated forms of folic acid, B12, and others; fillers; corn starch? (why) polysorbate 80?)

Kirkland Prenatal Multivitamin



Like all things of value, not all supplements are created equal. If you’re looking for a high quality prenatal, call or come to NutriChem to speak with our qualified professionals. We keep up to date with the latest research and we work at a family-owned company that stands behind every product it sells. You could also go to a natural health food store: you will often find higher quality supplements there, but the staff working there might have more generalized knowledge because they carry such a variety of products.


If you are looking to get pregnant soon, NutriChem is hosting a webinar next month. Click the image below to sign up!



NutriChem fertility webinar



If you like staying informed about health issues, tune in every Monday until the end of March to follow “My BCB Journey” to better health!



In Part Nine, I will:

  • outline further improvements with my Custom Multivitamin & Mineral Formula and the Elimination Diet
  • explain the process of re-introducing foods while on the Elimination Diet



For more information about NutriChem’s Nutritional Consultations or to set up an appointment, click here.


For more information about NutriChem’s BCB Test or to set up an appointment, click here.



Missed a post in this series? Catch up here!


[Part One] Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired!

[Part Two] Don’t Just Survive… Thrive!

[Part Three] The Results Are In! Here’s What’s Really Going On

[Part Four] Are We Really What We Eat?

[Part Five] What The Elimination Diet REALLY Looks Like

[Part Six] Optimize Your Health by Balancing Your Body’s Chemistry

[Part Seven] 7 Ways My Health Improved in 1 Month

[Part Eight] When it Comes To Supplements, YES Quality Matters!

[Part Nine]  Is Your Food Making You Miserable?

[Part Ten]  Be Healthy Again / For the First Time!


Well I total agree with this title and idea of post that quality matters here as supplement Can also affect one’s health. I always cross check the supplement and also ask to doctor.


James Aiden

I never knew that about folic acid and the methylated version and how our body can only use it and not folic acid… Thank you for informing us I will def be talking to my doctor about this!


So true about quality supplements! Another great read!


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