What Does Organic Really Mean for Health Supplements?

Choosing organic, all-natural health supplements ensure your body is only receiving the best ingredients and vitamins to fuel you through your day

Organic health supplements in the hands of a pharmacist
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

It only takes one trip to the grocery store or pharmacy for you to see dozens of foods, ingredients, health supplements, and products with the green “organic” label attached. And while we all commonly associate this label with ideas of good health, purity, and even clean, did you ever sit down and do the work to find out what this label actually means?

There are many reasons why some of the top food producers and health supplement companies only use organic ingredients. Organic ingredients, compared to other options, offer more nutritional value and can protect you from consuming harmful chemicals, synthetic growth hormones, and pesticides. Not only can it protect your personal health, but going organic is also beneficial for the environment as it reduces the harmful chemicals we put into our environment.

In general, organic farming practices are also less damaging to the physical environment, as well. Here, we’re taking a closer look into the world of health supplements to determine what “organic” really means for these products. This brief guide can help you then determine if organic products and organic health supplements are right for you.

What does organic really mean?

We can find this common label on almost any type of grocery item or health product. Meats, vegetables, fruits, and even many health supplements wear the organic tag, but what does this designation mean for what you’re about to consume?

Well, the answer is a bit more complicated than you might expect. Different countries and regions have different qualifications for what can be labeled organic or not. In the United States, the organic label is awarded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to the USDA, organic references any foods that are grown and processed according to strict guidelines set at the federal level. These guidelines address a range of factors, such as soil quality, pest and weed control, the inclusion of additives or chemicals, and even down to the animal raising practices.

To produce organic foods, one must try to rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biological-based farming methods to the fullest extent that is deemed possible. For produce specifically, the organic label is used if the fruits or veggies were grown in soil that is not treated with prohibited fertilizes or pesticides for at least three years before the harvest. For your meats, organic means that the animals are raised in humane conditions that closely resemble their natural behaviors and environments, such as free-range cattle. Additionally, these animals must be fed on 100 percent organic feed that is never pumped up with antibiotics or any synthetic growth hormones.

Believe it or not, but even many of the processed foods you consume can be deemed USDA organic. Processed, multi-ingredient food, like your favorite pasta, must contain no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors to earn this label. When a packaging says it is made with organic ingredients, this actually only means that it contains at least 70 percent organically-produced ingredients. The others, then, must be produced without prohibited practices, such as growth hormones or genetic engineering. If a product is made with just some organic ingredients, it won’t bear the well-known “organic” sticker, but it can still be healthier for you than alternative products you’d find.

What are the benefits of using organic ingredients?

In some cases, it just might not seem like that big of a deal—right? Do organic foods and health supplements really make that much of a difference to my overall health when compared to your standard (and often more affordable) alternatives? Well, let’s take a closer look at what the difference between organic and standard products is to help you decide whether organic is the route you want to go with your daily diet.

Here are some of the top reasons why people go organic:

1. Zero antibiotics

In the US, most of our livestock is fed antibiotics to help protect against illness and disease. This, of course, makes it much easier for the ranchers and the farmers to raise a lot of livestock in a closely confined area—where it’s much easier for outbreaks of disease to occur. The FDA limits some antibiotics that can prove harmful, but there are often loopholes that industrial agricultural businesses can get around. Organic ensures your meat will have zero antibiotics.

2. Fewer pesticides

Like antibiotics, pesticides and insecticides are commonly used to protect plants and produce from disease and pests that can quickly wipe out an entire crop yield. But with repeated consumption, these pesticides can become hazardous to your health. Fruits, vegetables, and grains with the organic label are grown without synthetic pesticides or artificial fertilizers, which dramatically reduces the amount of potentially dangerous chemicals you’re consuming.

3. No synthetic hormones

Some livestock may also be injected with synthetic growth hormones that help the animals grow faster, meaning they can pack on more meat for the consumer. These hormones can also artificially encourage milk cows to produce more milk. In humans, however, synthetic hormones have been linked to a potential increase in cancer risk.

4. More healthy fats

Some studies show that organic meats and milk may contain as much as 50 per cent more omega-3 fatty acids than conventional products. Primarily, this difference seems to occur when livestock is raised with a natural, grass-based diet instead of mostly feed. Healthy fats are great for your own health, including overall brain health and improved cardiovascular health.

Conclusion – What Does Organic Really Mean for Health Supplements?

When it comes to the foods and drinks you consume, you of course want only the best for you and your family. That’s why the next time you visit your grocery store or local pharmacy, choosing organic could be a smart move. While we’re all familiar with organic meats and produce, organic health supplements are becoming even more popular in recent years. Choosing an organic, all-natural health supplement will ensure your body is only receiving the best ingredients and vitamins to fuel you through your day.

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