Beta Carotene, and vitamins A, D, and E are all supplements measured in IUs, or international units. MG stands for milligram, as we learned in a previous post. The basic difference between mgs and other units of measurements used in pharmaceutical drugs and supplements is that mgs measure weight or mass on planet earth, and IU’s measure biological activity.
The precise definition of one IU differs from substance to substance and is established by international agreement. IU’s goal is to measure activity and effect on the body regardless of the body’s mass. IU values have been set arbitrarily over the years by researchers commissioned by the World Health Organization therefore, keep in mind that 1000 IUs in vitamin A, Beta Carotene, D or E, cannot be compared equally.
We now know that most supplements will be measured by weight or activity. This becomes very important to keep in mind when it comes to purchasing Enzymes, which have yet another unit of measurement to learn about in a future post.