How supplements measure up. Micrograms, Milligrams, and Grams

Many people, including doctors, get the wrong measurement indicator with the wrong supplement. We hope this post starts to clarify the confusion for you. The most common measurement units used for supplements are milligrams and micrograms.

Mcg is the abbreviation for Microgram (you may see μg used in place of mcg, especially in Europe), there are 1000 mcgs in 1 Milligram

and

Mg is the abbreviation for Milligram, there are 1000 mgs in 1 Gram

That alone can be confusing, but then add the fact that 2 different brands could have the same potency, but one might be using mcgs and the other mgs.

Micrograms to Milligrams

Look at Biotin in the B Vitamin family, popular for healthy hair and nail support. The most common effective dosage of Biotin is between 1 and 5 mgs, but remember, if labeled in mcgs, this can look like something a lot higher or different. For example, if it says 500 mcgs, it would actually only be .5 or ½ of a mg.

B 12 and folic acid are also measured and labeled in mcgs – micrograms. Typical therapeutic dosage is also between 1000 and 5000 mcgs, which would actually be between 1 and 5 mgs, just like Biotin.

The main thing is to not let all of the zeros throw you off, and pay attention to the unit of measurement after the zeros when comparing two similar products.

Keep thinking along these lines when looking at proprietary blends. Imagine a list of 20+ super fruits veggies and other ingredients, and the whole list gives you a measurement listed in the thousands (lots of zeros) of micrograms or even milligrams. This can look impressive at first glance, but may actually only amount to very little nutritional value.

Weight vs. Activity

When it comes to Grams, Mgs, and Mcgs, one VERY important thing to remember is that this is measuring the weight of an ingredient(s), NOT the activity. This becomes an important distinction when purchasing enzymes. NEVER purchase an enzyme product measured in these units. Enzymes have their own system or units of measurement standards that should be adhered to by good companies.

When purchasing a supplement and you see that it says 1000 mgs on the front of the bottle, always turn the bottle around and look at the supplement facts panel. Many times the 1000 mgs on the front is not representing the full picture. Based on the assumption that 1000 mgs is exactly what you were looking for in that particular product, the profile in the supplement facts panel may or may not actually meet your expectations. This is common in fish oil and other essential fatty acid formulas. The measurement found on the front of the bottle is often just measuring the weight of the capsule or serving.

Photo credit: abc.net.au

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