It goes without saying that having access to information is not enough to be well informed. Many people know that our training is provided to pharmacists, doctors, nurses and pharmacy staff. We will also be offering it to naturopaths this fall. Many pharmacists have told us this is the best natural health product training they have seen yet. We already have more than 1,500 professionals trained in Quebec. I will explain to you what the training contains and how it can give you access to higher quality services.
So, for training on the use of Vitoli products I will tell you about:
- Quality issues and the limitations of Canadian regulations
- Some recommendation examples for their use
- Contraindications and potential interactions with medication
Quality issues and the limitations of Canadian regulations
Starting off, at the very beginning of the training, we talk about the Canadian regulations in order to clearly establish their limits. Many health professionals believe that since the implementation of the new regulations, all-natural health products are equivalent. This is completely false! Note that health professionals are ill-equipped to judge the quality of natural products on the market.
The regulations were announced in 2004 and came into effect in 2010. This was the year pharmacies had to withdraw all products that did not have an NPN; Health Canada approval number. The regulations put in place are geared towards risk management: the products on the market are not dangerous, but very often they are completely useless.
Here are 3 important points about the regulations:
- Companies are not obligated to meet either the quality standards or the quantity of ingredients used based on published clinical studies that have demonstrated efficacy. In other words, the products do not necessarily respect scientific knowledge in the field in order to allow effectiveness.
- In 2013, three years after the regulations came into effect, the University of Guelph in Ontario tested 44 products available in the market, from 12 different companies. The findings were disastrous: 66% of the products tested were incorrect. You should know that if a company uses non-standardized plant extracts where no active ingredients are identified (which is the majority of cases), it is possible that it is not the correct extract that is present within the product. The quality controls carried out on raw materials are often not sufficiently thorough enough to identify counterfeit ingredients.
There are many ways to create counterfeit products in different fashions. For example, some turmeric extracts contain lead due to the addition of color by some manufacturers. A recent study also reported serious hepatic risks from certain products containing turmeric, because it was not the correct species of plant. Although the correct species was indicated on the bottle, the product inside contained extracts from the wrong species.
It is possible that the manufacturer simply bought a cheaper extract without doing enough testing to know it was of poor quality and dangerous to health.
- What if the amount of active ingredients used is not known at the very start of the formulation?
- How do you think they determined the required dose? And
- How do you think they know the amount of active ingredients after 3, 4 or even 5 years ?
A lot of businesses are going to be using the average shelf life of 4 or 5 years. We use 2 years in the case of Vitoli products, not because they are unstable, but because we want to offer more effective, higher quality products. In the majority of cases, product stability is assessed on a capsule appearance basis.
It’s not just a Canadian problem:
- A study carried out in China, in 2015, on Traditional Chinese Medicine products containing Rhodiola; 60% of the products evaluated were not the correct plant.
- Another example, an analysis by the Dutch Ministry of Health in 2010 for products containing Ginkgo biloba: 86% of the products were incorrect.
Quite frankly, we shouldn’t consider products made from non-standardized ingredients and note that we are the only company that guarantees that all ingredients are standardized. That is to say, that we know the quantity of active molecules and that this amount is adequate to achieve the intended health benefit.
Some recommendation examples of for their use
In addition to regulation, training on the use of Vitoli products is primarily used to refine recommendations for their use, based on clinical experience and consumer feedback. Here are some examples of advice that pharmacists can recommend to their clients:
- Vitoli Sleep, Vitoli Stress and Anxiety and Vitoli Energy can be used through taking two capsules a day. Seeing that these are very concentrated products, we recommend always trying one capsule first, as this is usually sufficient.
- Vitoli Menopause; pay attention to the frequency and intensity of symptoms. For some women the improvement is very gradual, for others it is very rapid (about 3 days). It also depends on diet, sleep and physical activity.
- For weaning off sleeping pills; it is possible to take Vitoli Sleep concurrently with the reduction of medication in order to obtain a more restful sleep as quickly as possible. We also recommend purchasing a bottle of Vitoli Stress and Anxiety and using it as needed during the day. Withdrawal from sleeping pills very often causes anxiety which can lead to stopping the withdrawal overall.
- The cramps caused by the medication that lowers cholesterol, goes away very quickly when taking Vitoli Cardiovascular.
- Problems with glaucoma or dizziness are treated with the main ingredient in Vitoli Memory and Cognitive Health in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This is to be considered.
Therefore, training allows health professionals to better educate you on the optimal use of products. We also provide them with precise information on potential interactions and contraindications.
Contraindications and potential interactions with medication
Keep in mind, the drug specialists are the pharmacists. It is always important to talk to your pharmacist. Do not rely on what you find on the internet or simply on recommendations given by a company. Be aware that your doctors are not in the best position to educate you on this subject.
We have produced detailed analyzes of potential interactions/contraindications with medication for 6 of the Vitoli products, signed by a pharmacist and revised by our Quebec expert in the field, Mr. Jean-Yves Dionne, who is also a pharmacist (www.jydionne .com).
Our pharmacist who produces these analyzes is a specialized pharmacist with two complete training courses on natural products. 4 to 6 hours are necessary for each of these analyzes. It is easy to understand that your pharmacist at the pharmacy counter does not have 4 to 6 hours free to do such a thorough analysis. That’s why we provide them with these documents free of charge and answer any questions they have when they need support for a given application.
This is important because science is constantly evolving and some potential interactions are either theoretical or less important than others. For example, Vitoli Joints contains the strongest natural anti-inflammatory drug. Normally, people who are allergic to anti-inflammatory drugs are not allergic to Vitoli Joints. It should not increase blood pressure, it will not cause stomach problems if the stomach is not already weakened from the intake of medication, and there is only one surveillance case for anticoagulants, which is that of Coumadin.
So, it is quite possible that if your pharmacist has not completed training on the use of Vitoli products and/or does not have access to the contraindications/potential interactions sheets, that they may have difficulties in answering your questions, as they probably don’t have 4 hours available to delve deep into the analyzes.
We continue to train professionals across Quebec, but the task is colossal. You can ask your pharmacist, doctor, nurse and/or naturopath if they have received training on the use of Vitoli products. It is available on site, through video conference or on a training platform available at their disposal. We also offer specialized training, among others, for doctors, for the withdrawal of sleeping pills and the management of chronic pain.
If necessary, we can contact them for you to offer them more information. We do this regularly for the purpose of product usage as well as for the risk of interactions.
Here are some other articles that may be of interest to you:
- A better understanding of the Vitoli quality
- Natural Products: and what if we told you the truth?
- Variable quality of plant extracts from natural products
- Natural products: we don’t need that?
- Natural products: the opinion of a researcher
- Fransen HP, Pelgrom SM, Stewart-Knox B, de Kaste D, Verhagen H. Assessment of health claims, content, and safety of herbal supplements containing Ginkgo biloba. Food Nutr Res. 2010;54:10.3402/fnr.v54i0.5221. Published 2010 Sep 30. doi:10.3402/fnr.v54i0.5221
- Newmaster, S.G., Grguric, M., Shanmughanandhan, D., Ramalingam, S., Ragupathy, S. 2013. DNA barcoding detects contamination and substitution in North American herbal products. BMC Med. Oct 11;11:222.
- Posadzki P, Watson L, Ernst E. 2013. Contamination and adulteration of herbal medicinal products (HMPs): an overview of systematic reviews. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. Mar;69(3):295-307. Review.
- Prescrire, février 2020. Compléments alimentaires : consommateurs mal protégés !
- Xin, T., Li, X., Yao, H., Lin, Y., Ma, X., Cheng, R., Song, J., Ni, L., Fan, C., Chen, S. 2015. Survey of commercial Rhodiola products revealed species diversity and potential safety issues. Sci Rep. Feb 9;5:8337.