There’s no doubt that taking supplements is becoming more and more important for maintaining optimal health. The main reason is, they help replenish any nutrient deficiency and support the function of the body. Thanks to the fast-paced lifestyle, most people don’t eat truly healthy and organically grown food but rely mostly on fast and highly processed foods. When the daily diet is not providing the needed nutrients, taking supplements is a must. Supplements are the easiest and most convenient way to replenish the right amount of daily nutrients needed for optimal body functioning and well-being.
However, not all supplements are made equal nor right for you. So, you need to know how to choose the best natural supplements for your health. Here are the things you should consider when buying supplements.
The Supplement(s) You Need
The first thing every person should know before buying supplements is what are their needs. To find out this, you should consult with your doctor, who will examine you and then suggest which supplements you need. This usually depends on factors such as age, medical condition, and your diet.
For instance, older people are more likely to develop osteoporosis, so doctors can suggest taking vitamin D. Similarly, if you are pregnant, you will need certain nutrients, such as folic acid, to ensure the healthy development of the fetus. And, if you are following a certain diet, such as veganism, or simply don’t eat foods that are rich in a certain nutrient, you might have a nutrient deficiency. In that case, your doctor will tell you which nutrient(s) you are missing and will suggest taking them.
The Quality of the Product
It’s a fact that not all supplements are equal. That depends on their manufacturer, manufacturing conditions, the ingredients used to make the product, and similar. In order to find out whether a certain product is of good quality, you need to do some research. Thanks to the internet, researching the manufacturer and any information related to the process and product is easy. So, use your Google skills to find out more about the product. Make sure you look for:
- Manufacturer’s transparency – the manufacturer provides information on all of the ingredients used in the product, certification programs, the source of their ingredients, and the way they have been grown.
- Manufacturer’s reputation – you can easily find out what other consumers are saying about a certain company just by checking their social media profiles and customer reviews on sites like Amazon or health forums.
- Manufacturer’s website – it can tell you a lot about the manufacturer. So, make sure you check the “About Us” page, the customer service options, and guarantee. There should also be information about the production, products, and the ingredients they use.
- Certificates and seals – good quality supplements will have at least one of the following certificates and seals:
- Third-party quality assurance organizations, such as NSF International, ConsumerLab.com, and U.S. Pharmacopeia
- Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Facility
- Certificate of Analysis (COA)
- USDA Organic
- Certified B Corporation
- Non-GMO Project Verified
- Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO)
The Label and the Third-party Lab Results
Apart from checking for certificates and seals, you should check the product’s label. It’s because the label shows the contents of the supplement, their concentration, and other relevant additional information. So, when reading the label, make sure you not only check the main ingredients and their concentration but also the “other ingredients” (e.g. binders, colors, flavors), the dosage, expiration date, precautions, full disclosure, and patented ingredients (if any).
But, the label isn’t the only thing that you should check. In fact, once you read it, you should compare it with the product’s third-party lab results. If there isn’t anything like that, don’t buy the product because those results show whether or not the things on the label are correct.
As with everything, the price plays a great role in determining the quality of a product. Therefore, cheap supplements are probably not quality and safe to use, whereas the more expensive ones are usually of good quality and safe. Nonetheless, pricy doesn’t mean quality. So, if you have found some expensive supplements, you should first check all the things mentioned above before choosing one.
When choosing supplements, make sure you avoid those who are sold as “private label brands”. It’s because those brands create generic supplements which can be sold by any company, just by buying the rights. Also, stay away from “cure-it-all” supplements because there’s no pill that can treat everything. If possible, choose a supplement in its active form. This way, you will ensure its full absorption. And, when you finally choose your supplement(s), notify your doctor. They will check the possible side effects and whether or not the supplement is right for you and will tell you the dosage and how to take it.