Have you been taking health supplements? One thing’s for sure: you’re not alone. Around 2/3 of adults and 1/3 of children consume at least one vitamin/mineral product from day to day. But fact is, not all health supplements are as trustworthy as you’d wish they were. Some don’t contain the ingredients listed on their labels, while other do contain the ingredients but in lower, less significant amounts. In short, you have to be careful when choosing the supplements you take.
Here are the most important considerations you should make before buying a health supplement product:
Scan the label.
Reading the label is always the first step, because it is your window to what’s inside. It gives you a picture of what the quality of the supplement is like.
Check for certification.
First off, look for “USP” or United States Pharmacopeia. Now under this, you should find “GNP” or Good Manufacturing Practices. If a product is both USP and GNP-certified, it means that it has satisfied FDA regulations and has been tested bottle to bottle for consistency.
Know the price.
Cost and quality are often correlated, although still, that doesn’t make the cheapest the best. USP and GNP certifications cost a good amount of money, so not all supplement manufacturers will invest in third-party certification. One reason a higher-quality product is more expensive is that the manufacturer spent more money on quality control processes and equipment. But again, while the cheapest isn’t necessarily the best, neither is the highest-priced.
See what other ingredients are in the product.
Good quality health supplements don’ have more than five items on their ingredient list. If you see more, be wary. As well, avoid anything with artificial flavors, colors, added sugars and dyes.
Watch out for potential allergens.
Many people are allergic to foods like wheat, seafood, dairy and peanuts. A high quality supplement’s label will include a list of allergens that are not found in the product.
Choose your source wisely.
Aside from inspecting the product itself, you should also choose a good source when buying it. For example, if you’re buying online, make sure to research the background of the website before you actually place an order. Go through customer reviews,but to ensure credibility, don’t veer away from reputable consumer websites. If you’re buying offline, choose a store that is likely to stock fresh and guaranteed authentic products. There could be a difference between a supplement you purchased from a dedicated health shop, and one you got from a hair salon whose owner happens to sell random supplements as a sideline.
Finally, don’t hesitate to spend time learning about the different products available to you, and the best places where you can get them. It’s always good to compare prices, but don’t choose a product on price alone.