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. Unfortunately, not all health supplements are as honest as you’d want them to be. Some contain ingredients in much lower, less significant amounts than what their labels show, while others don’t even contain those ingredients at all. The short of it is, you have to put a lot of care into choosing which supplements to take.
Here are five helpful tips you can keep in mind when 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 an idea about the quality of the supplement.
Look for certification.
First off, look for “USP” or United States Pharmacopeia. Below this, you’re supposed to find “GNP” or Good Manufacturing Practices. Products that are USP and GNP-certified have met FDA regulations, indicating that the brand has been tested for consistency from bottle to bottle.
Know the price.
Cost and quality are often correlated, although still, that doesn’t make the cheapest the best. Obviously, certification requires a good amount of money, and not all supplement makers want to make that investment. One reason a higher-quality product is more expensive is that the manufacturer spent more money on quality control processes and equipment. But of course, while the cheapest isn’t always the best you can find, neither is the priciest.
See what other ingredients are in the product.
Good quality health supplements don’ have more than five items on their ingredient list. If there’s more, be careful. In addition, avoid anything that has colors, dyes, artificial flavors and added sugars.
Look out for possible allergens.
A lot of people are allergic to peanuts, seafood, wheat, dairy and other types of food. On the label of a high quality supplement, there will be a list of allergens it is free from.
Pick a good source.
Aside from the product itself, you should also take time to assess the quality of the source. For example, if you’re buying online, make sure to research the background of the website before you actually place an order. Read reviews but stick to independent third-party websites to ensure credibility. If you’re buying offline, pick a store that will probably have the freshest authentic products. There can be a huge difference between a product purchased from a dedicated health shop and one from a convenience store.
Finally, spend time knowing about the different products available to you, and where you can get them best. It’s always good to compare prices, but don’t choose a product on price alone.