Wellness

6 Things to Pay Close Attention to When Choosing a Health Supplement

Choosing a health supplement is no easy task. Similar to any major decision you make in your lifetime, picking the best and safest health supplement for you requires careful thought and ample time of scouring the internet before you can arrive at your most informed decision.
04/22/2016 08:53am ET | Updated April 23, 2017

Choosing a health supplement is no easy task. Similar to any major decision you make in your lifetime, picking the best and safest health supplement for you requires careful thought and ample time of scouring the internet before you can arrive at your most informed decision. This is of course on top of consulting your doctor. So to make this tedious task easier for you (and to help you distinguish the difference between genuinely healthy supplements and fraudulent ones), here are six important things you should pay close attention to.

1. Check the ingredients.

When reading the nutritional information label, look closely at the type of ingredients that the supplement is comprised of. You want something that contains ingredients which can be easily absorbed by your body and less of those which you'll have a hard time absorbing (like oxides and chlorides). You also want to steer away from supplements that have artificial colors or flavors, hydrogenated oils, and unnecessary sucrose (sugar).

2. Look to see if there are "proprietary formulas" present in the supplement.

While health companies are required to provide their customers with the supplements' ingredient label, they can still avoid being transparent in one way: by hiding behind "proprietary formulas." Manufacturers cite "proprietary formulas" so they can prevent stating the amount and concentration of certain ingredients for fear that their competitors will copy their formulation. Or it could also be because some of the ingredients in the formulation aren't beneficial to you at all. It's hard to distinguish which is which so do your research and use your best judgment.

3. Always check the label before consuming anything.

This one is self-explanatory. Always check the label of supplements to gain a better understanding of what you're putting in your body. That's especially true if you're prone to allergies or taking steady doses of medication

4. Look at the percentage of purity.

Since supplements are derived from a natural source, sometimes the source alone doesn't adequately provide all of the benefits it aims to give. When this happens, the desired chemical needs to be extracted to achieve the purest possible product. With that said, the supplement's label should clearly state its percentage purity so consumers can easily identify how pure it is.

5. Find independent research studies.

Going to the website of the manufacturer won't help you that much when evaluating how effective the supplements are. You'd hardly find manufacturers that will say something bad about their product. Thus, you'll be better off searching for independent studies in case the company you want to buy the supplements from doesn't reference any outside research. If there isn't any independent study about the supplement, then maybe it's because it's not even worth your attention and money.

6. Evaluate the company's reputation.

While Facebook likes can be bought, you'll know the supplement company is worth trusting when you see that it has a loyal customer base and recommendations from established health professionals.

Finding time to research and learn about what supplement you should not take (and what you should take) will not only save your money; it can also save your life. So don't make hasty decisions when it comes to buying a health supplement. Protect yourself by doing your homework and using this guide when making a decision.

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