Shouldn’t I be suspicious of dietary supplements?
In general, dietary supplements are safe and will not harm you, if taken as directed. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements and the claims that they can make in advertising. And while many supplements may look like pills, the FDA categorizes supplements as foods, not drugs. Nevertheless, it’s important to be a wise consumer. Here are some tips that will help you avoid common pitfalls.
Consult the Experts
First, schedule an appointment with your general practitioner or family doctor—it’s been too long since your last checkup, anyway. Your doctor knows your health history and can give you recommendations based on your age, gender and other health conditions. Also, interview the salespeople at your local health food store and see what supplements they take, which are most popular, and which offer the greatest value on the dollar.
Use Common Sense to Evaluate the Supplement
It’s easy to spot gimmicky products that make unsubstantiated claims. Ask yourself, “Is this product backed by scientific research? Is it endorsed by health professionals? Will they give you your money back if you’re dissatisfied? Plus, the FDA states that dietary supplements can only claim to help the body function better; they can’t claim to treat any diseases or medical conditions, so watch out for illegal marketing.
Decide on a Quality Level
You’re probably wondering if generic supplements are just as good as the expensive brands. The truth is that generics will get you the rock-bottom recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals, but they aren’t nearly as effective as the higher-end brands, and they tend to be full of fillers and made from synthetics. Instead of buying generic, save money on a combo supplement (see below).
Save Money with Combo-Supplements
Find a supplement that combines a variety of nutrients into one. This way, you aren’t paying for each nutrient separately. Plus, it’s much easier than keeping track of a dozen or more supplements. Athletic Greens is a good example of a highly effective green superfood supplement that provides a wide variety of nutrients.
Avoid tablets and capsules
When possible, take supplements in powdered or beverage form. Tablets and capsules make it more difficult for the body to absorb the nutrients the supplement contains. Plus, the heat produced as your body tries to break down the pills can interfere with your ability to absorb the nutrients, and they end up simply passing through your body without helping you at all.
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