Supplements can be a great addition to a healthy diet. However, knowing what to look for when purchasing supplements is important.
With limited regulation, it’s difficult to tell which supplements are high quality and which may be a waste of money or even dangerous. With this in mind, here are five key factors to consider before you buy supplements.
Do Your Research
The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplements like drugs, so it is important to research specific products and manufacturers. A quick search on the FDA website can unearth any safety advisories issued against a supplement or its maker.
Looking for third-party certifications, such as seals from NSF International, UL, USP, Informed Choice, or Banned Substances Control Group. These can indicate that the company is reputable and carries high-quality products.
It’s important to be cautious of supplements that claim to have drug-like effects or promise miraculous results. These types of products are often adulterated with prescription drugs, which is against the law. Furthermore, some supplements may interact with certain medications or cause negative reactions, so it’s recommended to read customer reviews like ASEA Evaluations before deciding.
Look For Third-Party Testing
When buying supplements, it is important to look for third-party testing. This helps ensure the supplement is safe and contains what it says on the label. It also helps keep manufacturers accountable as they are held to higher standards. Companies prioritizing third-party testing will usually display it on their website or product packaging.
This testing will typically include checking for Identity, Potency, and Purity. It will also look at how the ingredients interact with each other and ensure that they are free of harmful substances. Supplement manufacturers can voluntarily submit their products for testing by third-party organizations such as NSF, Informed Choice, and USP. They will then display a certification badge on their product labels indicating their approval.
Look For a Reputable Company
The FDA doesn’t regulate dietary supplements like drugs, so there’s no guarantee that any given supplement will be safe or effective. That means it’s up to the consumer to do their homework and find a trustworthy company.
A good place to start is looking for a company with third-party testing. Several private organizations offer these services, and they can help ensure that a supplement is free of contaminants and contains the amount of ingredients listed on its label. However, this process can add cost to a product, making it difficult for some manufacturers to absorb these costs.
Additionally, look for companies that offer various products and form factors. Some supplements are better absorbed in certain forms than others, which can impact your results.
Look For a Good Price
The FDA loosely regulates dietary supplements and doesn’t undergo a rigorous approval process like prescription drugs, so there is some risk that products may be mislabeled or contain ingredients you need clarification on. To help weed out low-quality brands, look for the label’s Supplement Facts panel to identify vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other dietary ingredients. In addition, look for a reputable company that has been around for a long time. Although longevity doesn’t guarantee quality, it suggests that the company intends to stick around and stand behind its products.
Also, check the company’s website for information about its manufacturing practices, third-party testing, and certifications.
Look For Animal Testing
Despite the many alternatives available for human testing, animal testing remains critical to our ability to achieve life-changing discoveries through modern medicines and vaccines. In addition, animals allow researchers to study the complex biochemical processes that occur inside humans.
Supplements can prevent nutritional gaps, aid in replenishing stores of essential vitamins and minerals, or offer therapeutic support (complementing medications). However, some supplements are sold with unsubstantiated claims to treat, cure, or reduce the risk of specific diseases or conditions.
Because supplements are fairly poorly regulated, it is important to look for third-party verification of labels. This will ensure that you are getting what you paid for. Additionally, it is important to look for supplements free of common allergens like gluten or dairy if you have food allergies.