Some Assembly Required

FDA photo

Have you ever tried to make a decision with too much information especially when it comes to building something?   Inevitably, the instructions are the most confusing part of the entire project and trying to read them becomes a maddening process.  That’s why I make it a point never to read the directions when “some assembly is required.”  Instead, I look at the picture on the box and hope that I don’t have any parts left over when I’m done.  It works, right?  Okay, it works…some of the time.  Other times I have to humble myself, pull the instruction manual out of the recycle bin and start over.  The same may be true when it comes to the dizzying array of nutritional supplements out there.  It becomes especially hard when we realize that we didn’t come with an instruction manual to guide us in the right direct.  Let’s see if we can take some of the confusion out of obtaining picture perfect health.

Warning Labels

From Monster, Red Bull, Rockstar, and now 5-​​Hour Energy — the FDA warns us that these products are under investigation for claims of injury and death associated with their consumption.  The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulates the dietary (“nutritional supplement” is also used by some but “dietary” is the correct designation) supplement industry.  Each dietary supplement company, however, has the responsibility of making sure what it manufactures or distributes is safe.  They also cannot make false or misleading claims about their products.  Any claims they make must be substantiated with “appropriate evidence” according to the FDA.  The warning here is that dietary supplements do not need FDA approval before they are marketed.  The FDA does have the responsibility to take action against companies whose supplements or products are unsafe.  It also randomly inspects U.S. companies.  However, its authority doesn’t extend beyond our borders.  The influx of overseas ingredients and products has led to an alarming increase in heavy metals, contaminants, pesticides and prescription drugs found in the supplements many are consuming today.   The FDA has found that nearly 200 products contain dangerous ingredients which have the potential of adverse effects including heart attacks, strokes, organ failure and death.  Other companies use substandard ingredients and poor manufacturing practices so you may not be getting what’s on the label and, more alarming, you may be getting ingredients that aren’t even listed.  The bottom line here is “buyer beware.”  Now, that I have you completely rattled, let’s look at better practices that put your health and safety first.

Confusion to Clarity

The supplement industry has exploded in the past several years, largely because people aren’t getting enough nutrition on a daily basis to meet even the age old RDI (Recommended Dietary Intake) which was actually developed back in 1941 to help us guard against rickets and scurvy.  I don’t know about you, but my pirate days are long over so I’d prefer to opt for some higher standards.  Enter the DRI (Dietary Reference Intakes), which was developed in 1997 to focus on optimal levels of vitamins, minerals, macronutrients and phytonutrients required to “sustain optimal health.”   Think you’re getting everything you need in the food you eat every day?  Think again.

  • According to the Center of Disease Control, only 14% of U.S. adults and only 9.5% of teens get the daily recommended fruits and vegetables.
  • The average vegetable in your supermarket today is 5% to 40% lower in key minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium than just 50 years ago. (Source: Journal of HortScience)
  • Modern farming and high consumer demand has resulted in crops harvested faster so they have less time to absorb nutrients.  Fertilizers and other chemicals may also affect nutrient load and quality.
  • In 2002, the Journal of the American Medical Association advised all adults to take a daily multivitamin.
  • Healthy prescription — 72% of physicians use dietary supplements.

Healthy WatchDogs

A good place to start when looking for safer products is with the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association representing supplement manufacturers and ingredient suppliers. Its members produce a significant portion of the supplements marketed in the U. S. and globally.  What’s really cool about the CRN is that their members fully comply with all federal and state regulations as well as voluntary guidelines for manufacturing, marketing and the CRN’s Code of Ethics. (Source: CRNUSA​.org).  Here are some other key elements when making healthier supplement choices:

  • Bioavailability — your body can only use nutrients that are readily absorbed.  Opt for powdered and liquid forms as most pills and capsules have hard outer shells that aren’t as easily broken down.
  • Synergy — can’t we all just get along?  Just like a balanced meal, vitamins and minerals need to be in the right combinations for the best benefit.  Synergism means that when nutrients are put together in the right combinations and quantity, they increase each other’s effectiveness. You know that we need vitamin D to absorb calcium.  We also need vitamin C for greater iron absorption.   The combination of nutrients is extremely complicated so opt for a well-​​balance supplement that includes a synergistic blend of nutrients rather than single ingredient supplements.  Single supplements are like trying to mix your own gasoline.  If you get it wrong, it doesn’t work and may even be harmful.
  • Quality - Look for reputable companies that ensure potency and purity by requiring Certificates of Analysis (represents the nature of the raw material) which guarantee numerous factors including nutritional delivery per serving, pH, vitamin/​mineral composition, quality/​safety guarantee (free of salmonella, yeast mold, e.Coli, pesticides, etc.);  independent laboratory testing;  quality of the manufacturing plants and their location; full compliance with the FDA and current Good Manufacturing Practices and even the more rigorous and stricter international regulatory agency, Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australia.
  • Safety - Go with GRAS which stands for Generally Recognized As Safe.  All dietary/​nutritional supplements must be government approved for use.  Ask the product manufacturer if the ingredients are “GRAS FDA– confirmed,” “GRAS self-​​affirmed,” or “NDI (New Dietary Ingredient) FDA confirmed.”  An ingredient is also considered safe if it has been marketed in the United States before October 15, 1994 according to the FDA. Go to the FDA’s website for more information on GRAS ingredients.

Reap the Rewards

Although it may take some time to read the instructions when it comes to safe and healthy food products and supplements, you are worth the investment, aren’t you?  By making educated choices, the finished project, you, will look great and last a healthier, happier and longer lifetime.  See, I knew you’d turn out to be just like the picture on the box!

Safer Source: Go to: www​.My24kVIP​.com vip code: gold to enjoy discounts on 24KTM (healthy energy/​focus shot) and access an entire line of safe, bioavailable and synergistic supplement blends. Personal note: I enjoy and share this unique line of performance and nutritional supplements because they go way beyond minimum requirements, manufacturing in near pharmaceutical conditions and conducting rigorous microbiological testing for purity, safety and efficacy before and through each step of their U.S. manufacturing process.  I am guaranteed that what’s on the label is always in the can.  For me, it’s the safest food product I consume everyday.

“In everything, give thanks.”

Copyright © 2012 by Christine A.Toriello, all rights reserved.




  1. Thank you Chris Toriello!!!
    Debbra Turnbow-​​Faraci
    Grace Wellness Products, Inc.

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Chris Toriello

Chris is a military spouse and a successful entrepreneur working from home along the beautiful Maine coast. A former mechanical engineer, Chris has a passion for sports and fitness. As a worldwide trainer and nutritional expert, Chris has mentored and coached individuals, families, businesses, non-profit and sports organizations to perform at their peak with optimal nutrition. She also teaches marketing and branding of an elite performance nutrition product line to help others expand their brand and develop a viable passive income stream.

"We also hold the exclusive rights to the world's first epigenetic superfood, Lunasin. Nutritional epigenetics is about to experience explosive growth and we are actively seeking business partners to help us with this massive expansion (the initial business registration fee is waived for all active duty military)." To see what all the excitement is about, contact Chris at, 207.657.6978 or