Vitamins and certifications

So if you take vitamins like me, you probably want to make sure you’re getting a good quality batch before actually purchasing any of your essential nutrients to rely on as they may be deficient in your diet. Well, to much of my demise, it’s not as simple as going out and picking up whatever you see at a first glance like I thought it might be.

In a reasonable world – so my world, the government would regulate and certify all vitamins before being put on the shelves. But that isn’t the case, as you’ll see a fine print on just about every vitamin bottle that says “these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug administration.”

Okay – that’s weird, but is there anyone else doing testing on vitamins if the government usually doesn’t do that? Well, yes. There’s NSF and USP. However, what you’ll come to find out with those is that they’re hardly ever used with most name-brand vitamins. So, for instance, USP is only verifying 3 brands out of thousands that exist solely within the U.S.

So when you go out and buy your stupid vitamins, and there’s no testing that’s been done, what does that really mean?

1. It usually means there might not be an exact dosage of whatever it is they tell you you’re getting. So it may be off by a little, a lot, or there may actually only be insignificant amounts that aren’t doing you any good, yet you paid $10 for good 100% DV dosages.

2. Manufacturing may not have been in a totally safe environment and there may be harmful substances lurking within the pill/tablet/gummy.

3. If their quality is bad, then they will expire faster, meaning they will become less potent over less extensive periods of time.

So please, do yourself a favor and get the certified brands. I go with Nature Made for my needs. But do your research before diving into anything.

Water quality, and how to handle contamination

So a lot of people nowadays believe flouride in the water is bad. Are they wrong? Not really. One of the biggest complaints is that is makes us stupider – and it can. It can reduce the IQ in children by 10, which is pretty significant. Though we don’t know if it can affect adults the same way as it can children – or if it does, if it’s to the same degree, but it’s likely the case that it is.

And that’s just flouride alone – other contaminents can reduce IQ in both children and adults too – including, but not limited to, lead, which is all the craze nowaday. However, what about other contaminents people aren’t really familiar with? It’s common knowledge that significant quantities of lead in the water is bad, but what about Arsenic, Chromium, Iron…? And beyond heavy metals, there’s also the concern of pesticides running into the waterways.

And in some areas, radioactive nuclear waste ends up slipping into our pipes too. Uranium and Radium are amongst the most common. These two elements can cause cancer – and in the right amounts, *will* cause cancer. Uranium is also very bad for your kidneys (but only if you swallow it, of course).

^ How big of a problem is that really though? 170 million Americans have radioactive tap water. “But I don’t drink tap water” – doesn’t matter, are you showering with it? Washing food with it?

And how big of a problem is lead? A lot bigger than you think. 11 major cities in the U.S. have higher levels of lead contamination than Flint Michigan. And in total, for all the cities that have toxic levels of lead in the water, it totals to around 33 (some studies say more, some say less, but it’s doesn’t go far beyond that number usually).

And note, when they say “cities,” they mean actual cities, not local towns or counties.

I’ve only just begin to scratch the surface when it comes to talking about certain contaminants that may be in your water. The reasons for these contaminants being there is a whole ‘nother story, but it’s largely irrelevant and we should leave that sort of thing to the people who can actually do something about this problem since it can vary so widely based on many different factors.

What can you do on your end to make things better? I’d recommend a nice water filter, either for your whole house, or one of those pitcher filters. And I don’t mean and Brita, and I also don’t mean a PUR.

For a whole house filter, use reverse osmosis for the cheapest method. It’s very effective and can get rid of most contaminants you’d come in contact with unless you have some seriously hazardous water.

For pitcher filters, I’d recommend ZeroWarter or MAVEA. MAVEA is a bit more expensive than ZeroWater, but they generally do the same thing and are both very effective. You can buy ZeroWater at your local giant stores like Target and Wal-Mart $15 per filter. How long they last is dependent on your water quality, but a good estimate is that for most people, it will last for about 15 gallons before letting a milligram per kilogram of contamination in the water, which you can measure via the meter they give you.

Do notice though, that while they give you rough estimations on how long it will take based on TDS, not all contaminants are equal and some will wear out the filter easier than others. But if you’ve had your water quality tested, you can generally be sure what is coming through the TDS meter and you can make approximations on that.

Also realize that the TDS meter they give you is totaling everything out in ppm, which is not enough to measure harmful substances of lead, for instance. However, their filters are EPA certified to actually reduce lead down to the safe levels, which means going below 1ppb.

Here’s what a ZeroWater filter can remove from the water:

Another thing: leaving your water sit out is a bad thing. Not dangerous by any means, but it will lower the pH measurably, because all of the gases in the atmosphere accumulate inside of the water, thus making it not as clean as when you first poured it. And what you have your water sitting in is a big deal too – plastics are industrial mysteries in lare part, whereas we can prove the safety of glass. I also wouldn’t trust stainless steel as those have plastic linings to prevent metal from getting in the water, though that isn’t always 100% effective.