Factors to consider when picking a nutritional supplement. Safety considerations that can guide you when purchasing a dietary supplement. How to determine which nutritional Supplement is ideal for you and your body.
Nutritional supplements come in many forms and serve different purposes.
Besides vitamins, dietary supplements include minerals, herbs, other botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and various components.
These supplements are packaged in various formats, such as pills, capsules, candies, powders, beverages, and energy bars.
Vitamins D and B12, minerals like calcium and iron, herbs like echinacea and garlic, and goods like glucosamine, probiotics, and fish oils are all common supplements.
With such a rich cache of products to choose from, how do you safely ensure that your choices are the best for your needs?
While the manufacturer is legally bound to attach a Supplement Facts label to products sold as dietary supplements, you must consider some additional safety considerations.
The Supplement Facts label lists the product’s active components, the dosage per serving, and other substances, including fillers, binders, and flavors. The manufacturer recommends the serving size, but your healthcare professional may determine that a different amount is better for you.
Below are some additional safety considerations you should consider when purchasing nutritional supplements.
1. Beware of the rules governing the Supplement.
Granted, the rules and regulations governing dietary supplements may not be as strict and elaborate as those governing pharmaceutical drugs.
Nonetheless, some rules apply to dietary supplements and foods.
Although manufacturers must register their facilities with the FDA, they are not compelled to wait for FDA permission before producing or distributing products.
However, the FDA imposes stringent guidelines on producers of dietary supplements. The FDA’s 21 CFR 111 regulation mandates that all dietary supplement producers, distributors, and packagers adhere to GMPs for nutritional supplements.
The manufacturer must verify the accuracy of all product label claims, and any severe adverse events connected to the use of these goods in the US must be reported.
Through the Safety Reporting Portal, consumers can report adverse incidents. Whenever in doubt, it is wise to check whether any negative warnings and reports have been made about a particular product.
The FDA oversees reported adverse events after a supplement enters the market (and takes necessary action, such as ordering a product recall). It controls product labels and packaging literature.
Meanwhile, the FTC oversees product advertising to ensure its accuracy.
2. Product description
Knowing what a product contains Vis a Vis any allergens you may be prone to is another vital safety tool.
Also, you need to be aware that products that are contaminated (intentionally or not) or degraded (deliberately tampered with or not) may pose a real risk.
Many of the botanical substances used in the production of supplements come from different parts of the world.
Consumers may unwittingly consume supplements contaminated with toxic quantities of substances, including lead, arsenic, mercury, pesticides, microbiological pollutants, bacteria, fungi, and mold, among other dangerous residues, if these ingredients are not handled and evaluated by the manufacturer properly.
However, most dietary supplement manufacturers work very hard to ensure the quality and safety of their products.
Nonetheless, to safeguard yourself against counterfeit or compromised products, it is best to stick to reputable dietary supplement producers and suppliers.
A supplement is deemed adulterated “if it has been manufactured, packed, or held under conditions that do not comply with current good manufacturing practice rules.” That is the definition given by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).
Another source for the most recent information on supplement safety is the FDA Consumer Updates page.
3. Informing your medics
Any nutritional supplements you take should be disclosed to your healthcare providers.
That includes your doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and dietitians. They can assist you in deciding whether any supplements if any, may be beneficial for you.
Keep a detailed record of all the medications and dietary supplements you consume.
You can print and complete the “My Dietary Supplement and Medicine Record” form at home from the Office of Dietary Supplements website. Note the brand, dosage, frequency of use, and purpose for each product.
You can show your healthcare providers this record to discuss what is best for your general health. They may also advise you on whether your supplement supplier is dependable or not.
More importantly, speak with your doctor before using dietary supplements to treat a medical condition.
Similarly, get your doctor’s approval before substituting or combining dietary supplements with prescribed medications.
Discuss any supplements you take with your healthcare professional if you are having surgery of any kind.
4. Buy from a brand that is transparent about the origin of its materials.
Pick a company that can track the origin of its materials.
The completeness of the information available at each stage of the supply chain is referred to as traceability.
Supply chain traceability is frequently kept behind closed doors, whether protecting raw material sources from competitors or hiding a defective raw material from the consumer.
For herbal and botanical supplements, a lack of traceability can be problematic.
Many companies that provide nutritional supplements are starting to avoid utilizing proprietary blends to win more customers’ trust.
Customers have a right to know what’s in their supplements.
Transparency includes having prominent labels and speaking honestly and openly with customers about the brand’s goods.
Some trustworthy businesses even have experts on staff who can respond to your inquiries regarding any of our items.
5. Place a higher premium on independently tested products
Most of the time, brands will independently test all of their completed goods and raw materials before pitching the results to customers.
However, it is more prudent to rely on information about third-party supplement testing on independent websites.
You could be sure that the brand evaluation would be transparent and free from bias in this way. Independent labs verify the products and raise awareness of tainted products and their warning signs.