Advice on Nutraceuticals from Gary Kracoff

Gary Kracoff, registered pharmacist and naturopathic doctor

According to the 2017 TABS Analytics 10th Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements (VMS) Study, the explanation for the 20 percent soar in the sale of online VMS from 2016 to 2017 was the successful performance of Amazon. com, the largest Internet retailer in the world, and the brick and mortar online retailers such as Walmart. Among healthcare professionals, the staggering $2.4 billion in 2017 online sales, along with the $13.5 billion in total retail and online U.S. sales volume, has raised notable concern regarding important issues that impact consumers. These range from quality of VMS contents such as GMOs, artificial colors and fillers to hyped online marketing propaganda, misleading information and lack of proper labeling information, as well as added ingredients for long-term stabilization and extended shelf life. An additional concern is for outdated nutraceuticals that are being sold online at reduced prices.

Local healthcare professionals, such as Gary Kracoff, a registered pharmacist and naturopathic doctor at Johnson Compounding & Wellness, in Waltham, generally prefer to recommend nutraceuticals and medical foods as part of a patient’s “big picture” treatment plan to correct deficiencies, manage chronic health conditions and restore health and wellness.

Q. Why do you prefer to recommend nutraceuticals and medical foods?

I trust the manufacturers as well as in their research, processes and testing procedures.

Q. Why are nutraceuticals and medical foods more effective?

A good example is a Metagenics vegan- based powdered supplement that is a medicinal food specifically formulated to help individuals with metabolic syndrome, as a meal replacement or healthy snack for post surgery, or for individuals that are having difficulties digesting food. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions—increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels—that occur together, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. A well-formulated medical food has the added nutrients that help the body start balancing these issues while the individual is integrating necessary lifestyle changes.

Q. Why should readers be cautious about “good deals” on online supplements?

Although there are some companies selling high quality supplements online, individuals who get “real good deals” are generally buying products that are out of date. The consumer likely doesn’t know where to look for the expiration date that has often been removed. Consumers should be aware that online companies, carrying well-known supplements brands, which they sell at big discounts, are sometimes even unaware that they could be selling counterfeit or outdated products, simply because they are not an authorized retailer.

Unfortunately, there are so many phenomenal online marketing campaigns touting great products that promise cures for arthritis, diabetes, weight loss, memory loss and other health challenges. They promise a greater quality of life for the consumer and ship the first bottle at no cost other than shipping and handling. The consumer gives their credit card number and is signed on for a monthly auto-ship and informed that they can discontinue future shipments at any time. What they discover is a different reality—it’s nearly impossible to cancel. The shipments keep coming and the credit card continues to be charged.

Q. What is the best strategy for using supplements and nutraceuticals?

There is much to learn about supplements and nutraceuticals, which is why healthcare professionals agree that self-diagnosis and self-treatment is a problem. Without the guidance of a professional health practitioner, proper testing and a strategy for correcting undetected deficiencies and imbalances with a proper diet and lifestyle changes, more serious problems may develop.

For more information on nutraceuticals, contact Gary Kracoff at Johnson Compounding & Wellness, 577 Main St., Waltham. Call 781- 893-3870 or visit

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