9 Ways to Make Sure You’re Buying the Best Supplement on the Shelf

Supplement all that good food and excercise

As many fitness enthusiasts know, you can work out incredibly hard, eat healthily, and do everything right, but still see room for improvement. This is where supplements come in. Supplements are a way to overcome a body’s natural deficiencies in areas such as amino acids, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, or some other vital nutrient. For those of us who like to work out and stay in shape, supplements are a way to help us attain our performance goals and to achieve the look we want.

The problem, though, is there are so many supplements on the market, how does one go about finding the right supplement? The following is a short list of tips to help you navigate the complex world of supplements and help you find the right supplement for you.

Check Out The Company

It only seems natural to check out the company who is trying to sell you the supplements before you do anything else. Do they have a website? See if they share results of their research. There’s something a bit suspicious about a company asking you to put something in your body that isn’t willing to show you the research they’ve done to prove it is both safe and effective. Check out their reviews on third-party sites. Also, make sure if you are purchasing them from an online reseller that they are authentic.

Look For Certification

Check on the bottle to ensure that the product has been certified by a third party organization such as USP (United States Pharmacopeia) or NSF (National Sanitation Foundation). Certification will assure potency, purity, strength, and how well the product will dissolve in your body.

Check The Price

Sometimes the cheapest product isn’t always the best. Quality products, not to mention certification from one of the above organizations, costs money. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many manufacturers sometimes opt for lower quality ingredients, or even skip certification, in their attempt to save money.

Check Out the Ingredients

By reading the label, you can see exactly what ingredients are included in the product. The quality of raw materials is essential to the ability of the body to absorb and process them. If your body can’t absorb the supplement, then the supplement is doing you no good.

Check The Daily Values

First of all, it is essential to know that Daily Values are not the same as the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of a nutrient. The RDA is based upon your individual factors such as age or gender. The Daily Value will be listed as a percentage. You want to get a supplement that contains about 100% of the Daily Value, not a very large amount like 4000%. In some cases, a nutrient can actually be toxic at this dose and should be avoided. In this case, more of a good thing is, in fact, a bad thing.

Review the Other Ingredients

There shouldn’t be more than five ingredients in any given supplement. This is unnecessary and can hinder the absorption and processing of the supplement in your body. This is especially true of things like added sugars or artificial flavors and colors. Dyes should also be avoided. Likewise, look on the label to see if there are any allergens in the supplement. Many people are allergic to peanuts, wheat, or seafood. A supplement should mention what allergens it does not contain on the label.

Avoid Exaggerations

Supplements are not prescription medications. There is no such thing as a “pharmacy strength” supplement. Supplements that contain such claims on the label might actually be perfectly good supplements. They also might be charging a premium for a claim that, quite frankly, is not true.

Look At the Expiration Date

Vitamin and minerals lose potency over time. Taking expired supplements can often be completely ineffective and expensive. You should also store your supplements in a cool, dry place. The medicine cabinet and refrigerator are bad places to store supplements as they can develop moisture which will, in turn, decrease the effectiveness of the supplement.

Check With Your Doctor

Finally, always check with your doctor about any supplements you are taking or planning to take. We all have our own specific medical histories, and not all supplements are right for everyone. In addition, supplements which may be perfectly harmless on their own can sometimes interact with a medication to produce unpleasant, even dangerous, side effects.

If you are already a fitness buff, you are probably already in the habit of reading the labels on your food. If you are planning to start – or if you already take – a supplement, it is essential to apply the same principals. Read your labels. Know who is making the supplement, know that a third party is overseeing its production, and make sure the quality of raw materials is up to the standard you apply to the food you eat.

 

References:

5 Things to Look for in Buying Supplements | University Hospitals

The Top 4 Things to Look for When Buying Nutritional Supplements | Sanesco

8 Questions To Ask When Finding The Best Supplement Manufacturer | Biovation Labs

Vitamins and Supplements: What to Look For, What to Run From | Everyday Health