As a nutritionist, I'm often asked about supplements and how to choose the right one. It can be really overwhelming to navigate the aisles of supplements and vitamins, especially when there are so many options available.
In this blog post, I'll share my top tips on how to choose the right supplement for you.
5 Things You Need to Consider Before Taking Any Supplement:
Talk to your healthcare provider: Before taking any supplement, it's essential to talk to your healthcare provider. Some supplements can interact with medications or have side effects that you need to be aware of.
Ask yourself whether you even need this: Are you just wasting your money? Are you already getting enough from your diet? As a Nutritionist I am a big advocate of a food first approach. If you have a balanced diet, you probably do not need to take any supplements at all. For an evaluation of your current diet and health needs click here. I can support you in choosing a supplement or advise whether you even need one.
Consider your health goals: What health goals are you trying to achieve? Do you have a deficiency in a particular vitamin or mineral?
Check the dosage: Make sure to check the dosage of the supplement. Taking too much of a supplement can be harmful, and taking too little may not provide any benefits.
What's the difference between cheap and expensive vitamins?
Price doesn't always indicate the quality of the supplement. Some cheaper supplements may contain the same ingredients as expensive ones. However, more expensive supplements may use higher quality ingredients or have undergone additional testing.
Does where you buy your supplements matter?
Yes! Where you buy your supplements matters because the quality and safety of supplements can vary greatly depending on where you purchase them from. One example of a place you may want to avoid purchasing supplements from is Amazon. While Amazon may offer a wide variety of supplements at seemingly low prices, there are several reasons why buying supplements from this retailer may not be the best option for you.
Firstly, when you purchase supplements from Amazon, you may be buying from third-party sellers who may not be reputable or knowledgeable about the products they are selling. This can lead to purchasing products that might be counterfeit, expired, or even dangerous.
Additionally, Amazon's product listings are often not vetted for accuracy, meaning that the ingredients and dosages listed on the product page may not be accurate or reliable.
Furthermore, purchasing supplements from Amazon may make it difficult to track down the original source of the product, which can be important in the event of a recall or safety issue.
In addition to the concerns with Amazon, the laws and regulations around supplements also vary between countries. In the UK, supplements are regulated as food products, which means they are subject to food safety laws and regulations. However, the regulations around supplements in the UK are not same as other countries. Dosage and ingredients may differ from country to country. Meaning you may buy a supplement from Amazon that is different from another country with a varying dosage or banned ingredient.
Does brand matter in supplements?
The brand of a supplement can matter, the same as when considering an expensive or cheaper product. Look for reputable brands that have been certified by third-party organisations. These brands have undergone rigorous testing and are more likely to contain what they claim to have.
How to pick a high-quality supplement:
Look for certifications: When picking a high-quality supplement in the UK, look for certifications from third-party organisations such as the EFSA, MHRA, FSA, GMP, or BRCGS. These certifications ensure that the supplement has been manufactured and packaged in a safe and hygienic manner and that the ingredients are accurately labelled and meet certain standards for quality and safety.
Read the label: Read the label to ensure that the supplement contains the ingredients and dosages listed.
Check what form of vitamin they have included in the supplement: The type of vitamin used in a supplement matters because different forms of a vitamin can have different effects on the body's absorption and utilisation of the nutrient. For example, n the case of vitamin D, there are two main types: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D3 is the more bioavailable form of vitamin D, meaning it is better absorbed and utilised by the body compared to vitamin D2. So when picking a Vitamin D supplement, always check to see if it comes in the form of Vitamin D3
Check the expiration date: Make sure to check the expiration date of the supplement.
Avoid supplements with unnecessary ingredients: Bulking agents are often added to supplements to help with the manufacturing process and to ensure that the supplement is easier to handle and package. These agents can also help to improve the texture and consistency of the supplement, making it easier to swallow and more pleasant to take. Examples of bulking agents that are commonly used in supplements include cellulose, maltodextrin, and magnesium stearate. These agents are often added in small amounts and are generally considered safe for consumption.
Don't rely on supplements alone: Remember, supplements should not replace a balanced diet and can often be unnecessary. They should be used to supplement a healthy diet and lifestyle.
So, when choosing the right supplement can be a daunting task, but by following these tips, you can make an informed decision. Remember to talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplement, keep in mind the regulations around supplements in your country or region and always look for reputable brands that have been certified by third-party organisations.
If you need further support in finding a supplement suited to you or wonder if you are taking a supplement unnecessarily contact me here.
Thanks for reading.
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