5 Ways to Know if You Can Trust Your Supplement
For almost every health problem you might have, you can find a supplement that claims to help your issue. Unfortunately, many of these supplements are actually ineffective. The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplements like medication, so they may not work. In fact, they may even be actively harmful.
Because so many supplements are problematic, you need to do a little research instead of blindly believing claims about a supplements safety and effectiveness. Follow these tips to make sure you can actually trust your supplement.
Read the Ingredient List
The first step when looking at any supplement should be checking out the ingredient list. Of course it is helpful to double check that an item contains the ingredient you are looking for, but the most important thing should be seeing what else the supplement contains. If the item has a long list of completely unnecessary ingredients, you might need to be concerned. These could be cheap fillers that the manufacturer has added to cut costs. In some cases, these types of additives may be harmful. Remember that the ingredients are listed in order of volume, so you should be particularly concerned if the first few items on the list are completely unnecessary.
Learn How the Supplement is Made
Check the product’s label to find the manufacturer, and then look into this manufacturer a little more. Keep in mind that a U.S.-based company may be buying their supplements from an overseas factory, so you might need to do a little digging to find the true manufacturer. Once you know who this is, check into the process for this manufacturer.
In general, it is best to stick to supplements that were made in the United States by a manufacturer following GMP regulations. This is a set of procedures designed to insure that any pharmaceutical product is made in a safe manner. Manufacturers must provide documented proof that they are following the process to qualify.
Check for Quality Testing
One of the scariest things about supplements is that many brands are fraudulent. Many of the supplements found in the nation’s largest retail stores are either contaminated or do not contain the herbs that the label lists. To make sure that your supplement contains what it says it does, you need to select brands that do quality testing.
As part of its dietary supplement current good manufacturing practices, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that to ensure the quality of the finished product, manufacturers are responsible for establishing specifications for identity, purity, strength, and composition related to components of dietary supplements.
That is, of course, if a supplement goes through the process of getting FDA approved. The United States Pharmacopeia does have a voluntary quality-testing program that they provide. Products with the official USP seal on them have undergone this testing. You can also check with other programs like NSF International or ConsumerLab to see what is contained in products.
Look Out for Synthetics
A big problem with supplements is that they may list healthy sounding ingredients in the title without actually containing the product. This is a problem because supplements are only effective when made from the right types of herbs or plants that were properly processed. The wrong processing method may strip away the effectiveness of the item, or untrustworthy supplements might not even contain what they claim to have.
For example, a tincture claiming to be a calming lavender supplement might actually just be sugar water with artificial lavender flavoring that has no relaxing properties. Always make sure that the supplement has the ingredient you need, and see if it was processed through drying, pressing, extraction, or other methods.
See How Your Body Reacts
No matter how much research you do on a supplement, there is always a small chance that the company is fraudulently making claims that are not true. Therefore, it is important to go slowly with supplements and see how your body reacts. Take a supplement once and wait a little while to see if you are allergic to it. If you do not have a reaction, then you can slowly increase the amount you take to a recommended dosage.
Discontinue use immediately if you experience negative effects, and consider halting use if you do not notice any positive effects either.
By taking the time to actually learn about a supplement, you can figure out if it is a trustworthy product or not. A good supplement should be produced with strict manufacturing regulations, undergo quality testing before being available to the public, and actually help your health problems. Though finding quality supplements can be time consuming, it is worth the effort. The right nutritional supplements can improve your health instead of making it worse.
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