There are a lot of vitamin and mineral supplements available all around the world, and it is increasingly difficult to make proper decisions on which ones to take. Do you follow your friends’ advice? Do you read up blogs? Do you rely on your doctor who in turn has to rely on his/her medicine dealers?
The good thing about the internet is that it is now easier to verify and countercheck advertisers’ claims. You can check forums, check blogs, and consult licensed practitioners online. The internet has certainly democratized how information is mined.
What should you look for when wanting to verify if your supplements are safe? Here are some tips that can help you determine whether a supplement is legitimate or bogus:
1. The presence of tampered and uncertified seals
One of the most visible signs of bogus nutritional supplements is when it has any or all of the following: the lack of certified seals, tampered seals, and the presence of uncertified seals.
If the supplement does not have any of these Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved seals: Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Certificate of Analysis (COA), NSF International, US Pharmacopeia, Consumer Lab, and Informed Choice, then you should have every reason to be concerned. These seals provide assurance that your supplements are manufactured in high-quality laboratories, and are distributed through high-standard channels. So, if the supplement does not have any of these, why should you consider buying it?
If supplement manufacturers cannot afford or rather, do not want to prioritize to have these agencies check for the quality of their products, how can you trust them with your health?
You should be sure, too, that these seals are authentic. Some manufacturers have been banned for life getting caught for selling products with fake seals on them. It is easy to check the authenticity of these seals, and to do this, look at the agency’s website and type in the name of the product. You will get the information that you need for approved products, yet nothing will show for those with fake seals.
With the use of advanced technologies, it is now easier for bogus manufacturers to print fake seals. Be conscientious and do your research, too.
2. Ingredients listed are vague
Nutritional supplements often contain so many ingredients with names you struggle even to pronounce. It may be easy to put so much trust in these supplements, but you have to do your research when reading through the blend. Green tea extract is a common mix of weight loss products. However, some manufacturers deliberately miss out indicating that the green tea extract is impure and is thus combined with other derivatives.
If a label says, “L-Carnitine,” or “Porcine,” do your research and make sure the manufacturer is obtaining them from natural and organic sources.
If unsure, you must consult your trusted doctor and herbalist for they can provide the best advice. You can even choose to buy from manufacturers that are members of international organic societies so you can be sure that your supplements are sourced from safe producers.
3. You can’t locate the expiry date label
The problem with many bogus supplement manufacturers is that they either print out the expiry date superbly small, or they choose to kick out the expiry date label altogether. When a tag is deliberately put out of sight, then you should take every precaution and see this as a red flag.
You can check on your country’s food and drug administration if the manufacturer is in the agency’s “good” terms. If there have been reports against it, then you should steer away from any of this company’s products.
Taking nutritional supplements can be helpful for you; but when the wrong supplements are taken, you may end up with more health problems that can be harder to cure. You should then be watchful of the supplements that you take. Do not just get drawn by advertising gimmicks. Be accountable for your health.