The supplement industry generates over 120 billion dollars a year and continues to grow due to the increasing interest in health and wellness products. Unfortunately, these supplements we look to for improving our health are not regulated by the FDA for their efficacy on health claims or accuracy & purity of ingredients. So what does this mean for you as a consumer? It means the government has made it your responsibility to avoid wasting money on “gimmick” supplements. The tough part is – there’s plenty of them on the market today!
People are naturally driven to “quick fix” health solutions and often look to supplements for more than just supplementation, but rather as a solution to weight loss, increasing energy, building muscle, recovering, etc…just to name a few. The makers of these supplements know this truth and focus their marketing campaigns intently. With the ability to put whatever ingredients they want in their supplements and make any claims they like on their effectiveness, it’s easy for supplement makers to cut corners and embellish or lie about their products to reduce costs and make more profit; however, with a little education on what to look for you can avoid buying these gimmick supplements and ensure you’re spending your money on a good quality product.
3 Keys to Identifying a Good Quality Supplement
- Research the Company
There are hundreds of new supplements hitting the market each year because health trends change every year. Many supplement companies specifically manufacture and market products that are currently trending in the marketplace. Once the trend passes, they discontinue marketing the product and move on to manufacturing and marketing the next trendy supplement. Make sure you research the company’s history before you buy. How long has the company been in business? How many other products do they manufacture? Are there any negative reviews of the company or their products? How do they rate with the Better Business Bureau? In general, reputable supplement companies have an established history with their products.
- Research the Product
Though the FDA does not test health supplements for accuracy and purity of ingredients, they do monitor facilities. Make sure that the company is manufacturing their product in FDA approved facilities (and certainly facilities located in the USA). Also, look up the ingredients of the product itself. Are the ingredients typically viewed as “filler” type ingredients that don’t do much? Are they the right ingredients? For example, Glucosamine is very common and effective for joint pain. However, there are two types of Glucosamine – Glucosamine HCL and Glucosamine Sulfate. One is shown to be highly effective, and one is not. Make sure you’re choosing the right one! Also, is there any research on the ingredients themselves? Lots of products have a revolutionary ingredient, but what does the scientific community say? For instance, Flexcin’s key ingredient, Cetyl Myristoleate (CM8) was discovered by an NIH researcher, has multiple patents for the treatment of arthritis, and has been proven effective in clinical studies.
- Research the Claims
Luckily, the FDA does strictly enforce that a supplement company cannot market a product to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent diseases; however, that doesn’t mean that they cannot make false claims about their effectiveness towards improving health or a general symptom. Make sure when you research the effectiveness of a supplement’s ingredients towards its claims that you use a non-biased source for information. Many supplement companies’ setup websites that are specifically designed to draw traffic when someone uses a search engine to research their main active ingredients. These sites are solely for the purpose of promoting their product and most of the time the sites will not at all look like they’re affiliated with the supplement maker. If you want un-biased information, make sure you use noncommercial sites (e.g. NIH, FDA, USDA, etc…) rather than depending on information from a seller or blogger. Also, research if the claims of the supplement’s active ingredients are backed by any clinical studies or in a peer reviewed journal such as PubMed.
You can be a savvy supplement shopper and user if you put in the time to research the company and product before you buy. Make sure you use un-biased internet sources to find your information and if you suspect the company or product is illegitimate, it probably is. Legitimate supplement makers will proudly show the clinical research that backs their claims and have a good history of reviews from their users.
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