Eating healthy is an excellent aspiration, but even the most diligent need a little something extra to get all the nutrients you need. Supplements, such as fish oil, herbs, and multivitamins, can be a great way to fill in the chinks in your diet. Whether you’re researching before purchase or standing in the supplements aisle, here’s a few pointers.
Price doesn't equal quality
Prices vary depending on package size, brand, and more. More expensive supplements are not necessarily better quality. If you’re trying to get healthy on a limited budget, check unit prices between sizes and brands, while also keeping other factors, such as efficacy, other ingredients, and where the supplement is made in mind.
Check credible publications for evidence it works
Look for scientific studies published in credible publications, or call the manufacturer and ask them for published studies that back up their claims. Also ask how they ensure that the ingredients listed on the bottle are actually in the bottle (quality control). Spend time researching different brands before you buy.
Be wary of claims on the label
A money-back guarantee is nice, allowing you to get your money back if you feel the supplement isn't working for you. But be wary of claims such as being all natural, as many supplements do not have to undergo any testing by the FDA or other organizations that would be able to confirm that. Be particularly cautious of those supplements that claim to "cure" anything — it may be able to help regulate symptoms, but it's not likely to cure a disease. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Look for where it was made
Look for supplements made in the U.S. Those made outside the country are usually not regulated, and they could contain toxic ingredients that could not only not help you, but could actively harm you instead.
Check the label for endorsement
Look for brands that have a seal from US Pharmacopeia, Consumer Lab, NSF International, or Underwriters Laboratory. These seals confirm that the supplement contains the ingredients it says it does, and that there aren't any potentially harmful ingredients in it, either.
Choosing the right supplement requires research, time, and attention to detail. Choosing the wrong supplement can cause more problems. Take the time to be thorough so you can buy and use your supplement with confidence.
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