Picking a dietary supplement is not a choice to be taken lightly. In recent years the U.S. Attorney General has unveiled several egregious practices of some supplement manufacturers. Now a days it is up to us as consumers to conduct our due diligence and pick the right dietary supplement. Here are a few tips that have helped me in the past:
Keep in mind the main purpose of a Dietary Supplement
Dietary supplements are intended to supplement our diets, but not to replace important foods, or cure or treat any illness. While sometimes our body needs more nutrients some of these nutrients may interact with other substances or it may be too much of a nutrient and your body may not like it. Always think about your total diet: What do you eat on regular basis? What type of activities do you do? Talk to your health care practitioner, if you are taking any over the counter (OTC) medications or drugs ask him or her if taking a supplement can interact with your medication or cause any adverse effects.
Do your research before you buy anything
Once you have talked to your health care provider and evaluated your overall diet and level of activity, you will probably arrive at a conclusion. Now you know exactly what you need — but hold your horses don’t sprint to the store. First, Google the ingredient that you are looking for and find reputable manufacturers that produce this product. Pick at least three different manufacturers, so you can compare them.
Read the label!!!
Read the ingredient list: The FDA’s new supplement labels require that manufacturers must list all of the ingredients in the product. From the label, you will know the quantity per nutrient per serving and the daily value. Take into account what are you eating and if you need a supplement for a particular nutrient. Review the warning and contraindications on the label to see if the supplement interacts with your current OTC or drugs, and check with your healthcare provider. It is safer to use products that give you no more than the recommended daily allowance.
Additionally, look for the expiration date as most dietary supplement ingredients become less potent over time. So, pick ones that have a longer shelf life. Finally, check for the storage conditions and make sure you follow the instructions, as you don’t want your product going stale. Then, go to the supplement company’s website review the information presented and see if you have any questions. If you do, call them and feel free to ask them anything that comes to mind. Under FDA regulations manufacturers must answer any concerns that you have about their products. Be careful, don’t let them suck you into buying something until you have compared all of them…stick with your plan!
Once you’ve completed the steps above, the moment of truth has come. It’s time to compare all of the contenders and pick a winner. Follow your healthcare provider’s advice and weigh all of the information presented. Remember which company gave you the most valuable information and answered all of your questions. Likely that company will be there to guide you through any more questions that you will have down the road. If you have some tips to share with us send us an email or share on Facebook. We look forward to hearing from you!