For many consumers, factors such as price and branding primarily influence their choice of supplements.
For example, some feel that quality packaging guarantees product quality. Others choose a certain brand just because the name has a nice ring to it, or because these are the most endorsed.
Some look for products that are within their budget; others think that the more expensive the product is, the better its quality.
How about you? How do you choose which supplement to buy?
These past few years, it has been more challenging to choose supplements because there are just so many brands on the market today. Reports show that there are now more than 90,000 products sold in the United States alone, which means finding the right supplement can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack.
What makes it even more confusing is that all these products claim to be the best in the market.
To help you make wise and informed decisions for your health, we have compiled a list of tips from the experts. Before we discuss each tip, however, let us answer some important questions.
What Exactly is a Supplement?
First of all, supplements are not food. Some people feel that these products can replace a good diet and a healthy lifestyle, but nothing can be further from the truth.
Research shows that supplements and a healthy lifestyle go hand in hand. No matter how great your supplement is, if you don’t live a healthy lifestyle, your health will still suffer.
When Do You Need to Supplement?
Supplements are necessary when eating good food is simply not enough.
For example, women who are trying to conceive or are pregnant need to supplement their diet with folate to reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy.
People who are on a strict vegan diet would also need supplementation to make up for their iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies. Those who have food allergies or intolerance would need calcium supplements. In all these cases, supplementation is a must.
That does not mean, however, that you cannot take supplements if you do not have serious nutrition deficiencies.
For example, an increasing number of consumers take supplementation primarily because they feel that they are not getting enough nutrients from the food that they eat. If that is your case, supplements can help you nourish your body with the necessary level of nutrients so it can function normally.
However, you need to be careful with the products you do choose to take in regularly, especially if you already have an existing medical condition.
Remember, there are thousands of supplements on the market that promise to help you stay healthy. It is up to you to identify which among the thousands can sufficiently address your health requirements.
To help you do that, let us discuss six things that you should look for when buying supplements online.
Choosing the Best Supplement
Tip # 1: Look for quality supplements
The first thing that you need to understand as a consumer is that when it comes to your health, you shouldn’t just settle for anything. You have to do your research and check for product quality.
Resist the urge to buy a certain product just because a friend or a family member said it worked for them. Remember, each person has a unique set of health requirements. What worked for others may not necessarily work for you, so do not base your decisions solely on what other people say.
When in doubt, remember that it is always better to be safe than sorry. New brands can promise exciting health results, but it is always the wisest course to go for the brands that have been around the longest.
Tip # 2: Consider your health requirements
Supplements, in general, promote health and wellbeing. However, different products can come with different ingredients to address various health concerns. So, before you decide on a certain product, you should first know what your health requirements are.
For example, are you supplementing to treat a particular health condition? If so, your doctor may advise you to take a specific supplement over a specific length of time.
Tip # 3: Consult your healthcare practitioner
A lot of consumers take supplements without consulting their doctors or dietitians, and this has resulted in unnecessary complications.
Patients under medication who take supplements without the approval of their healthcare practitioner often experience negative effects. Supplements, even those with natural ingredients, can react with the medicines you are currently taking, so be very careful with your product choice.
Tip # 4: Check the ingredients
Supplements generally come in two types: natural supplements and synthetic supplements. Both types can bring positive effects to your body, depending on your nutritional needs.
Natural supplements, as their name implies, contain organic ingredients. Experts recommend this over their synthetic counterparts for people who are only taking supplements to boost their immunity.
Synthetic supplements, on the other hand, are those with ingredients that scientists have produced in the laboratory. Individuals who take this usually do so to address specific medical issues.
Some products indicate that they have extra ingredients. If that is the case, do a double check on these ingredients. More often than not, they only add to the cost and nothing more. If you are unsure about the ingredients, consult your doctor about the product.
Tip # 5: Check the label
It is always important to check the label before buying a product. For example, if you are a vegan, you would want to make sure that the product you choose is vegan as well by looking for indications that the product is 100% plant-based.
Also, check for certifications from the U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International, or other relevant agencies that could guarantee the quality of the product.
Another thing that you should keep in mind is that supplements become less effective over time. To ensure that the product can give you optimum results, always check the expiration date on the label.
Tip # 6: Beware of outrageous product claims
Supplements can do a lot of good to your body. They can help stabilize your immune system, improve the quality of your sleep, reduce stress, boost energy, promote weight loss, and improve digestion, among others.
Some products, however, promise more. Some even claim to be miracle cures to chronic illnesses.
Resist the urge to purchase products just because they claim amazing health benefits. Remember: If a product makes claims that sound too good to be true, then it most probably is. Before you believe anything, do your research. What do the experts have to say about the product? What proofs do the manufacturers have to back their claims?
What Experts Choose
Experts generally opt for the following when it comes to supplements:
Fish oil is rich in Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), fatty acids that are essential to the brain and heart.
Oily fish such as mackerel and salmon usually contain high doses of these essential fatty acids. Unfortunately, we do not always get enough of these from our food, which is why supplementation is our best alternative.
When choosing a fish oil supplement, choose the one with the highest level of EPA and DHA as well as certifications of purity and sustainability.
Magnesium plays a huge role in many important body processes such as food metabolism and fat and protein synthesis. Researchers have found that magnesium can help boost a person’s mood, making it ideal for people suffering from depression.
Increasing magnesium levels in the body can also help those who suffer from Type II diabetes, with research showing how magnesium can help reduce insulin resistance as well as regulate blood sugar levels. Individuals who take magnesium supplements also report that it is helping them sleep better.
Foods rich in magnesium include green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, seafood, and legumes.
It is also available in supplement form. It is important to note, however, that magnesium can react with certain drugs. Again, make sure to consult your doctor before deciding to take magnesium as a supplement.
Scientific research proves that gut health can directly impact your overall wellbeing. We naturally have at least 1,000 different types of bacteria lining our digestive tract. These bacteria work to break down the food that we eat as well as helps our bodies absorb nutrients.
They also help boost immunity and can even prevent colon cancer. However, antibiotics and poor lifestyle choices can kill off these good bacteria, and this can lead to problems. T
aking probiotics can, therefore, help you take good care of your gut health as well as your immune system.
If you are wondering where to get these good bacteria, kombucha, kefir, yogurt, miso, tempeh, and sauerkraut are good sources of that. You can also choose to take supplementation in capsule, tablet, or powder form.
Vitamin D is crucial to the formation of healthy bones and teeth. It is also a key component to regulate insulin levels as well as keep our immune system, nervous system, and cardiovascular system functioning normally. A deficiency in this vitamin can lead to serious medical conditions such as diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases. It can also lead to certain types of cancer, especially breast, prostate, and colon cancers.
Our bodies do not naturally produce Vitamin D, but we could develop sufficient amounts of it when we get exposed to the sun. For those who frequently stay indoors or those who usually go out veiled, however, this could be a problem. If that is the case for you, consider taking Vitamin D to make up for the deficiency.
Like vitamin D, vitamin C is also crucial for our bodies to function normally. Not only is it a powerful component of your immune system, but vitamin C is also an antioxidant that can help you combat chronic diseases. Because of this, a lot of experts consider Vitamin C as the primary cure for many diseases.
The problem is that our bodies cannot produce this essential vitamin. So, we need to consume foods that are rich in vitamin C. Citrus fruits and vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli are all good sources of this vitamin. Taking natural Vitamin C supplements can also help boost your immunity as well as improve your skin complexion.
Most people can get a sufficient amount of protein from the food they eat. This is not much of a problem since protein is available from both vegetables and meat. Athletes, however, may consider taking protein supplements to support intense physical activities.
The same is true for gym enthusiasts since protein plays a huge role in muscle building and fat loss.
Research findings support this claim with data showing how protein works to promote weight loss by boosting a person’s metabolism rate and reducing their appetite for food.
A Final Precaution
A lot of consumers think that it is okay to take more than the recommended dose for a certain product. But do high doses make a supplement more effective? No. On the contrary, research shows that this could be harmful. For example, excessive levels of minerals as well as vitamins A, D, E, and K can lead to a toxic buildup in the body.
When choosing the best supplement online, remember to follow the six tips that this article has outlined. Supplement companies can claim anything just to sell their products, so be very cautious. Do your research well, and always consider what your health requires.
Your health is your responsibility, so do not forget to make informed decisions and consult with your healthcare professional before choosing which supplement to take. Also, keep in mind that although supplements can help you boost your health, they also have their limitations.
They cannot perform miracle cures and they cannot replace a good diet and a healthy lifestyle.
The bottom line is this: the best supplement is the one that addresses your specific health needs. Other people may speak about their experiences with a particular product, but the choice will ultimately be up to you.