When it comes to vitamins and supplements, it's essential to make sure you're getting the real deal. Fake supplements can contain dangerous contaminants, and even if they don't, they may not contain the ingredients listed on the label. To guarantee you're getting a quality product, there are a few steps you can take. First, look for the USP or ConsumerLab label.
The USP (U. S. Pharmacopea) is an external organization that tests supplements to make sure they contain the ingredients listed on the label and are not contaminated with any other substances, such as heavy metals or microbes. If a supplement has been verified by the USP or ConsumerLab, you can be sure it's safe and effective.
It's also important to make sure you actually need the supplement. Don't rely on your friends, family, or online advertising for recommendations - instead, get a blood test to determine if you require more of a certain nutrient. If so, try to get it in food form first if possible. If dietary or lifestyle changes aren't possible, consider adding that specific supplement. When selecting a supplement, look for one that has peer-reviewed scientific literature that supports its use and effectiveness.
Make sure the recommended dosage is backed by science as well. If it isn't, it's probably too good to be true. It's also essential to buy supplements from a reliable source. Large domestic brands are better at quality control than small one-off companies because they can afford it. Look for third-party verification on the jar - many supplements are certified by the USP or NSF International (National Sanitation Foundation).If you're buying herbal supplements, look for third-party verification online and buy organic products to ensure they don't contain harmful pesticides.
Many trusted companies provide information about the origin of their herbs and are proud to share it. Finally, choose single-ingredient supplements whenever possible. Supplements that contain a single ingredient are more likely to contain the amount of the ingredient advertised on the label and less likely to have high levels of contamination. The Vitamin Shoppe family of brands is one example of a reputable source for quality supplements. Their products undergo 320 rigorous quality control measures and independent and external laboratories verify the purity and potency of their ingredients.