Considerations When Buying Nutritional Supplements

As the number of nutritional supplement brands increase, it is becoming more and more difficult for the lay user to determine what might work and what won’t work. As the nutritional supplements manufacturing industry is not fully regulated by the Food and Drug Administration the onus is on the user to look for the product which is of the highest quality.

The packaging of vitamins and other nutritional supplements may often look the same, but when you look closely you will find important variations in the wording on the labels. When you see terms such as “guaranteed quality, meets standards for uniformity, tested by an independent lab, etc”, then you are probably looking at a product of superior quality. You may also see “USP Verified” on the packaging. USP is a non-profit organization called US Pharmacopia; they test and approve these types of products. Another key to high quality nutritional supplements is words such as “all natural” and “bioavailable” which indicates the ingredients can be easily absorbed into the body and not wasted. Take particular note of the expiration date, if there is no date marked then you will be wise to look for one which is dated.

The nutritional supplements manufacturing industry is forthcoming with recommendations for the use of their products. In many cases people can derive benefit from a single multi-vitamin rather than taking a number of single vitamin tablets. Of course there are exceptions and that is why the individual vitamins are readily available, there are people who have conditions which stop them from taking iron for example, there are other cases when a heavy dose of calcium is recommended. When you decide to take nutritional supplements and you harbor doubts, talk to your doctor and take his advice.

Although a more expensive supplement may not necessarily mean it is of superior quality, it may mean that the dosage is such that you can get away with one tablet a day rather than four or five. Always check the labels of these products and look for the recommended dosage and potency. Buying and taking multi-vitamins rarely poses any problem but there are supplements that may interfere with prescription drugs which are also being taken. Err on the side of caution when taking nutritional supplements and do not hesitate to talk to your doctor.


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