What to Look For When Purchasing Supplements

What to Look For When Purchasing Supplements

What to Look For When Purchasing Supplements

What to Look For When Purchasing Supplements

When you enter the supplement aisle at the drug store, you see an enormous array of products that promise to improve any ailment you can imagine. You probably already know that supplements aren’t necessarily easy pathways to perfect health - you still need adequate nutrition, exercise, and sleep! However, you do expect any supplements you do take to be safe to consume. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Research suggests that supplements are not as safe as you might think. Because they are subject to little to no regulatory oversight from the FDA, supplement manufacturers are not required to prove a product’s safety - or efficacy - before it goes to market. There are plenty of safe supplements out there - you just have to know how to sort through the other ones to avoid sketchy ingredients and choose the most reliable, trusted brands. 

Do Your Research

As with anything you consume, it’s important to do your research - and to choose reliable, verified sources for your research. You can read supplement fact sheets from National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements to get any information you might want on a given supplement. You should also stay on top of any warnings or recall alerts from the FDA. 

Shop Selectively

When you’re choosing a supplement, it pays to be choosy. Be skeptical of supplements that claim to fix certain problems - think weight loss, exercise, and sexual enhancement. Several weight loss supplements have actually been found to contain sibutramine, an amphetamine-like drug that is banned in the United States, Asia, and Europe. Read the ingredient labels on your supplements and choose products with as many whole ingredients as possible. Don’t bargain-hunt; shop at reputable places of business, as these establishments tend to be more selective about what they stock. They will also act faster to pull recalled products. Do your research when shopping to make sure you are purchasing quality products. 

Consult Experts

Your doctor and your pharmacist will be more up-to-date on supplements and their effectiveness than anyone else in your life. Your pharmacist can alert you to any potential side effects or drug interventions and your doctor can advise you on which supplements are safe and effective.