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How to Shop for Supplements

The most important question to ask is.. “Why do I need this supplement?” and “Is it suitable for me?”

Think about what you normally eat (your preferred diet) and what it may be lacking. Remember, the word supplement means just that, a product meant to supplement your food. A well chosen supplement can be beneficial under some circumstances, especially if your diet is limited. However, if you’re healthy and eat a good balance of healthful foods, supplements won’t help you much.

photo credit - pacherbs.com

photo credit – pacherbs.com

Some supplements are contraindicated during pregnancy or lactation so for the ladies, you should always consult your doctor. Also, some supplements sometimes interfere with the action of medicines. Some slow blood clotting, which is a concern if surgery is planned.

To a great extent, you’ll need to rely on your own understanding of diet and nutrition to make your selection. And you must rely on the supplement manufacturer for the product’s safety, its purity and cleanliness, and the label’s accuracy.

Choose Quality and FDA approved supplements (it should state on label behind)

A quality company will not promise miracles on its website, in catalogues, in commercials or advertisements, or in in-store promotions. Promises to make you thinner, younger, increase bust size etc, should raise a red flag. A quality company will not manipulate statistics or distort research findings in an attempt to mislead you. A quality company will take care with its labels, print materials, and web information.

Confirm Supplement ingredients

You can easily check online if the product is legit. Pharmaceutical researchers also report findings on supplement label accuracy; a search on PubMed (www.nlm.nih. gov/) can lead you to this information.

Look for the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) logo (USP verification mark) on supplement labels. The mark certifies that the USP has found the ingredients consistent with those stated on the label.

Choose Freshness

Check the expiry date, and look for the newest looking bottle. Don’t buy anything faded or kept near the sunlight. Choose a store where turnover is likely to be quick. Supplements should be displayed away from direct sunlight, bright lights, or nearby heat sources, because heat ages many supplements. Expiration dates can also give you a clue regarding freshness.

Info is King

How easily can you obtain information about the product? Look for a phone number on the label so you can call with questions or to report side effects. On Web sites, look for a domestic address and phone number, in addition to an e-mail contact. Does a knowledgeable company representative respond to your questions, or is the only person available one who reads a scripted response?
If you’re shopping online but are uncertain the supplement is right for you, check the Web retailer’s return policy.

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