Strolling down the supplement aisle can be very confusing. With so many options, it is difficult to know what’s your best option.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, more than ½ of Americans take a dietary supplement.
Generally speaking, the risk of a nutrient deficiency is much greater than the risk of overdosing. Having said that, no single nutrient should be consumed in a mega dose. Supplements have the potential to fill nutrient gaps, however, a pill can never replace healthy eating.
The following are some helpful tips on choosing the right one for your needs.
Look for a supplement labeled:
US Pharacopeia (USP)
Consumer Lab Seal
These seals verify that the product actually contains the ingredients that the label says it does and that it does not have any potentially harmful ingredients.
There are certain individuals who should avoid supplements. These groups include:
Pregnant/Breastfeeding women (other than daily prenatal vitamin/mineral supplements)
Individuals taking medications, diuretics, cancer patients, blood thinners, aspirin, steroids, and drugs that affect the immune system.
Those who are having surgery as some products may lead to bleeding or other complications.
*If you fall within any of these groups, consult with your physician.
Look for a therapeutic dose
Some supplement formulations may look impressive as they either contain a lot of nutrients, with some in very low quantities or others in excessive amounts. Neither one of these options is beneficial. In general, choose a supplement that provides approximately 100% of the daily value (DV) for most nutrients in the product. Keep in mind that certain nutrients, such as calcium and magnesium are rarely included at 100% because the pill would be too large to swallow.
What are ‘other ingredients’?
Many supplements will contain binders, coatings, colorings, and/or flavorings to bind the supplement or to add flavoring. This may include sugar, artificial colors/flavors, and preservatives. Buyer beware! Check the fine print.
Look for additional research
Some supplement companies will have independent third parties do research on their behalf. This is a great sign that there was thought and research into creating a healthy supplement. Choose a company that puts more money into research and development as opposed to their marketing.
Don’t overdo it
Avoid mega dosing. Large doses can be toxic. Realize that there can be too much of a good thing.
Check out www.Labdoor.com
This is an independent company that tests supplements for harmful ingredients or contaminants.