Have you been taking health supplements? One thing’s for sure: you’re not alone. About 66% of adults and 33% of children take at least one vitamin and mineral product daily. But truth is, not all health supplements are exactly as they claim 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. 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:
Review the label.
Reviewing the label always the first thing to do because it’s your clue to what’s inside. It gives you an idea about the quality of the supplement.
Look for certification.
First and foremost, see if you can find any “USP”or United States Pharmacopeia written somewhere. Below this, you’re supposed to find “GNP” or Good Manufacturing Practices. A product certified by both USP and GNP is one that has met all FDA regulations, and has been approved for consistency bottle to bottle.
Look at the price.
In many cases, cost and quality correlate, although the cheapest is not automatically the best. USP and GNP certifications cost a good amount of money, so not all supplement manufacturers will invest in third-party certification. Among the reasons behind a high-quality product being higher in cost is that the company allots a bigger budget for quality control. 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 there’s more, be careful. Also stay away from artificial flavors, added sugars, dyes and colors.
Watch out for potential allergens.
Some common types of food that a lot of people are allergic to are seafood, peanuts, wheat and dairy. 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. Read customer reviews, but stick to reputable third-party consumer websites for 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. Do compare prices, but don’t choose strictly on cost.