All over the world, many adults and children are taking nutritional supplements every day. Apart from vitamins, nutritional supplements are made from herbs, minerals, and many other ingredients. With many forms of supplements such as tablets, powders, gummies, capsules, and drinks along with numerous claimed health benefits, it can be overwhelming to choose which types of supplements you need and which brands to go with.
Whether you are aiming to proactively improve your health or trying to lower your risk of certain illnesses, here are 6 key things you should know before you start taking nutritional supplements.
1. SOME SUPPLEMENTS ARE NOT STRICTLY REGULATED
In contrast to pharmaceutical drugs, dietary supplements and nutritional supplements are not regulated as strictly. This means that supplements available on the market are not subjected to strict clinical trials, and so the purity and effectiveness as claimed in marketing materials are not highly guaranteed. To make sure that you are buying pure, safe, and effective supplements, you should look for verification from a trusted third party on the label of the product. For instance, trusted organizations such as the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention and the NSF International conduct tests on different supplements to identify whether or not a product is pure and free from contaminants. Aside from third-party verification, you can opt for single-ingredient supplements as these supplements with only one ingredient are more likely to contain the correct amount as displayed on the label. This will help to reduce your risks of having a supplement with a high level of contaminants.
2. THE BENEFITS OF SOME SUPPLEMENTS ARE UNPROVEN
Before you start taking supplements, it is important to ask yourself whether you actually need a supplement or not. Despite your friends or online advertising campaigns trying to persuade you that you need nutritional supplements to be healthy, these recommendations are not always based on anything. If you want to be certain, it is highly recommended that you take proper tests such as a blood test to determine your current nutritional needs. Based on your test results, a doctor or professional healthcare provider will consult you on whether or not you need additional vitamins, substances, or minerals. Aside from supplements, doctors can also advise you on getting nutrients from food first before adding a recommended supplement.
3. SOME SUPPLEMENTS CAN CAUSE ISSUES
If you are planning on taking nutritional supplements whilst taking other medications, or you are currently pregnant or breastfeeding, you are highly advised to consult with your doctor beforehand. Since supplements can react with prescription medications in some cases, having a consultation with your doctor can ensure your safety in the long run. For instance, women who are pregnant or nursing children should be extra cautious when taking supplements that have not been tested under scientific conditions. Whilst nutritional supplements are unlikely to pose health risks for you in most cases, you should always be cautious with anything you put into your system.
4. IT IS IMPORTANT TO GET YOUR SUPPLEMENTS FROM REPUTABLE SOURCES
As supplements are not regulated as strictly as other pharmaceutical drugs, there are companies that do not take quality control seriously. This is especially true with smaller brands as they cannot afford quality control measurements like large brands. Therefore, if you are looking for new supplements, you should prioritize purchasing supplements from a trusted and reliable source to ensure that you get good-quality and contaminant-free supplements. With products from a reliable seller, you can buy supplements that are not only professional-grade but also cost-effective.
5.YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CHECK THE SUPPORTING SCIENCE BEHIND YOUR SUPPLEMENTS
There is a good rule when it comes to supplements: if you come across a supplement that seems too good to be true, the chances are that the advertised supplement is falsely claimed. Keep in mind that supplements with good credibility should have scientific support such as peer-reviewed literature to support their claims and the product’s effectiveness.
6. TAKING NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS DOES NOT EQUAL HEALTHY LIVING
When it comes to having a healthy balance of vitamins and minerals inside our body, it can be tricky. Our bodies can wonderfully absorb and get the nutrients they need from a balanced diet. Even though in some cases, taking nutritional supplements is the most feasible way to ensure a good balance of nutrients and prevent certain diseases, we should always remember that taking additional supplements does not replace the need for a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Supplements can be found everywhere and we are all bombarded with recommendations from friends and online articles. It can be difficult at times to know which supplements are right for you. Keep these 6 key things in mind before purchasing or taking new supplements.