Did you know that more than 4 out of 5 American adults take vitamins or supplements? According to an online survey conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association, 86% of Americans take supplements or vitamins. Yet, only 24% of this number received tests indicating they have a nutritional deficiency. That means many people are either taking supplements for the wrong reasons or taking the wrong supplements all the same. Just knowing that supplements are helpful is not enough reason to make a supplement purchase decision. So, how do you determine which supplements are for you? And do you need them in the first place? In this article, we will discuss ways to help you choose the right dietary supplements for you.
Determine Whether You Need Them
Whether you have a documented nutritional deficiency or not, you can get the nutrients you need from a natural diet. However, there are instances where your doctor may recommend supplements to treat specific health issues, such as treating anemia with iron supplements. The supplement manufacturing industry is also working on producing supplements that the body can quickly absorb to promote general wellness. Research your supplement needs and enquire from a doctor about the supplements you should take, how long you will take them, and the amount. Have a clear goal in mind and know what your body needs. Remember, you cannot use supplements to prevent illnesses as there is no supporting evidence.
More is Not Always Better
There is a reason why medicine is given in doses. Taking a bigger bottle of supplements doesn’t mean you have a better nutritional balance. Similarly, buying an expensive bottle doesn’t always equate to a better product. When it comes to supplements, it’s imperative to decide what you really want and get only what you need. When you walk into the supplement store, you will find many options that can easily confuse you.
For instance, when getting a vitamin D supplement, you walk into a store and find different brands, some with single bottles of vitamin D contents and others containing vitamin D, iron, and calcium in a single bottle. It’s almost apparent you’re likely to buy the second bottle because it contains a variety of supplements. What you don’t know is that the Vitamin D in this bottle may not be adequate to boost your vitamin D needs, and the iron and calcium minerals may not be helpful.
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Understand How Supplements Are Regulated
Supplement regulation is a little different compared to food and drug regulation. The supplement manufacturer must register their facility with the FDA, but they don’t need to obtain approval to sell their supplements. While supplement effectiveness cannot be graded, the FDA requires supplement manufacturers to follow good manufacturing practices for dietary supplements under the FDA’s 21 CFR 111 regulation. Manufacturers must label their products accurately and report serious adverse effects associated with product use.
Buy from Licensed Established Brands
Buy from trusted brands and only buy your supplements from a health food store or drug store where you can ask for advice from an experienced person. A large drug store with a good reputation will focus on getting high-quality products from big companies, reducing the chances of buying counterfeit products. Make sure the manufacturers of the products are registered by the FDA. If you’re buying online, evaluate the site before making a purchase. Great supplement companies offer helpful advice, contact information, address, and any details you might need to make a purchase or complain. They are transparent and informative with sound knowledge about their product ingredients and manufacturing process.
Read the Label
Natural doesn’t always mean safe. Always read the label to know the ingredients used in your supplement before buying. Supplements should be clearly labeled and contain all the information a user needs, such as the product’s name, the content amount, the name of the manufacturer, ingredients, and nutritional contents. Manufacturers have mastered the words to use to get you hooked to their product. So don’t go for a product just because it is labeled “natural.” If a label sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Talk to Your Healthcare Provider Before Buying Supplements
Don’t forget to seek advice from your health care professional. If your doctor puts you on supplements, they’re likely to give you the name and brand of supplement to get. If they don’t, it’s better to ask before buying any supplement. If you’re under treatment, always seek advice from your doctor before taking certain supplements, as some vitamins and supplements have been found to decrease the effectiveness of common medications such as insulin and warfarin.