Besides speaking with your doctor, here are a few things that you can do to pick the right supplements:
It’s important that you do your research before using any supplements. The Internet is a great tool that can help you easily separate the helpful products from the harmful ones. Just be sure to look for information on reputable websites—don’t simply rely on the manufacturer’s information.
Look up ingredients
For example, plant-based supplements contain healthy antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances; however, you must be certain that the ingredients contained in the bottle are from the parts of the plant that are known to be most helpful.
If the specific part of the plant that contains the nutrient is not the one listed in the label, this may affect the efficacy of the supplement. You should also determine whether supplements are natural or synthetic, because synthetic supplements may not be readily absorbed.
Remember that quantity matters
While the quality of a supplement plays a role in potency and absorbability, the dosage of the supplement will determine whether it’s having a therapeutic effect. So check the labels out to ensure that you’re getting the recommended daily amount of key vitamins and minerals.
Skip “miracle” supplements
If supplements claim to cure a disease or purport to keep you healthy by preventing many diseases, avoid them! If you come across any supplement that sounds too good to be true and positions itself as a magic pill, don’t fall for it.
Choose additive-free supplements
First, try to find a dietary supplement that is additive-free. Many supplement manufacturers use additives like magnesium stearate and stearic acid during the manufacturing process. These additives help speed up the manufacturing process and production volume.
While these additives may be helpful in speeding up production, they have absolutely no health benefits to you, and they are, in fact, potentially harmful to both the immune system and the cardiovascular system.
Try to find a brand that leaves out additives. Many commercial brands of supplements actually contain fillers that are suspected of having harmful health effects. READ YOUR INGREDIENT LABEL- especially OTHER INGREDIENTS. If you see words such as Butylated Hydroxytoluene; FD&C Blue No. 2; FD&C Red No. 40 ; FD&C Yellow No. 6 ; Polysorbate 80; Sodium Benzoate; leave it on the shelf and choose another brand.
Choose supplement formulas that have been tested
One should choose supplements with formulas and dosages that are based in human clinical trials or testing. A human clinical trial is considered the gold standard to measure the effectiveness of any dietary supplement. Don’t just choose a supplement that you think will help you.
Choose a manufacturer that only uses the highest quality ingredients
It is important to choose a product whose manufacturer spares no expense in sourcing and testing the raw materials and ingredients for their product. The highest quality ingredients are usually sourced from the United States, Europe, and South America.
A good manufacturer will test all of their ingredients in a laboratory for identity, strength, purity, and composition before they use them in their formulations. A product that simply says “pure” or “high quality” is not good enough without documented testing to back it up.
Search for a brand that is sold by the manufacturer
Did you know that many supplement companies do not make their own products? Many dietary supplements are actually produced and manufactured by a third-party. It is worth it to search for a brand or product that is manufactured by the same company that is selling it to you. More importantly, a brand or product that is being produced in a G.M.P. (Good Manufacturing Practices) certified facility as outlined by the
The bottom line is, try to find a dietary supplement that has a manufacturer that controls every aspect of the quality of the product, as this will set them apart from the rest. A brand or product that is being sold to you by the same company that is manufacturing it will have a higher commitment to quality, as it is their integrity and very name that is at risk, not some third-party.
Choose supplements that reveal the source of ingredients
Note how the ingredients are listed in the Supplement Facts panel of the product and make sure each ingredient is stating its source. The “source” is the information that is listed within the parenthesis after the ingredient. For example, if you are searching for a multivitamin, see if the vitamins and minerals listed are co-enzymated or not. Generally, co-enzymated ingredients have a much higher absorption rate than non-co-enzymated.
Choose clearly focused formulas
Superior brands and products that are out in the market will include brands that feature formulas designed to provide nutritional benefits with a clear focus. For example, a complete multivitamin that is specifically designed for men or for women is preferred as different genders have different nutritional needs.
Superior brands will also have condition-specific formulas to help their customers deal with specific problems like cardiovascular issues and joint pain. A superior brand or product will not make it complicated for you to understand what you are buying. A clear formula, stating its exact benefits is what you want to be looking for.
Seals of Approval
Some organizations offer “seals of approval” for products that pass their evaluation requirements. Many of these organizations are reputable, but a few are simply rubber stamps for a fee. However, virtually all of them require manufacturers to pay thousands of dollars per year to use their seal on products and in advertising, and smaller, less well-heeled companies may not be able to afford the fee even though they deserve the seal.
Seals of approval from Consumerlab.com, the Natural Products Association (NPA), the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), and others are indicative that the products are the best supplements to take. However, the absence of such a seal is no reflection on quality, either good or bad.
Always look for an expiration date. While some nutrients, such as calcium and other minerals, maintain their potency for several years, others like vitamins B and C have a significantly shorter shelf life. The FDA doesn’t require expiration dates on supplement bottles, so many companies don’t provide them
Label Red Flags
Look for “red flags” on labels—sugar, artificial coloring and flavoring, preservatives, and additives such as shellac, chlorine and other chemicals should be avoided.
Supplement drug interactions
If you are taking any prescription drugs, its important to check with your physician before taking any supplements. For example, if you are taking Coumadin, or any other blood thinner, and you also take an herb such as ginger or ginkgo biloba, your blood may get too “thin”.