Are you looking for a supplement to improve your health? It's important to make sure that the supplement you choose is safe and effective. To help you make an informed decision, here is a guide on how to identify legitimate supplements.
Look for the USP or ConsumerLab label. This label indicates that the product contains the ingredients listed in the indicated concentration and is not contaminated with any other substances, such as heavy metals or microbes.
Determine if you actually need the supplement. Don't rely on your friend, mother-in-law, online advertising, or flashy headlines for recommendations. Instead, get a blood test to determine if you need a supplement. If you do need more of a nutrient, try to get it from food sources first.
Be wary of supplements that seem too good to be true. Credible supplements should have peer-reviewed scientific literature that supports their use and effectiveness. Make sure that the recommended dosage is backed by science and has been analysed in supporting studies. Don't fall for megadoses - more isn't always better.
Look for third-party verification on the jar. Many supplements are certified by the US Pharmacopea (Convention) or NSF International, external organizations that test supplements to determine if what appears on the label is actually in the bottle and if the product does not contain high levels of contaminants, such as heavy metals.
Look for third-party verification online. To ensure that your level of contamination is the lowest, buy organic herbal supplements to ensure that harmful pesticides aren't included in the supplement.
Look for information about the origin of their herbs and buy products from big, well-known brands.
Choose single-ingredient supplements whenever possible. Supplements that contain a single ingredient are more likely to contain the amount of the active ingredient advertised on the label and less likely to have high levels of contamination. Avoid supplements with “patented” blends since they don't have to indicate the amount of any ingredient on their labels.
Look for products with 100 percent natural on the product label. The Organic Consumer Organization recommends looking for products that contain 100 percent plant-based or 100 percent animal-based products on the product label.
Look for third-party certification.
Vitamin and mineral supplements are subject to fairly limited regulation by the FDA. To ensure safety and accuracy, look for supplements that have been certified by a third-party testing organization. Finally, talk to your doctor before taking any new supplement, especially if you're pregnant or breastfeeding or taking medications. Some supplements can have unintended negative consequences when combined with certain medications, foods, and alcohol.