Has this ever happened to you?
You spend money on health supplements that look great, only to feel no different. Or maybe you feel you could benefit from taking supplements but you don’t know which ones to get or where to get them?
Or perhaps you’re afraid that you might order a poor-quality supplement that actually worsens your health? That’s why it’s important to know how to buy health supplements safely online.
The global supplement market is growing fast. In fact, it’s forecasted to reach a value of $216.3 billion by 2026. Health supplements can be effective if you know which ones to choose.
By following these 10 top tips for buying health supplements online, you can be sure you’re getting a safe and effective product.
1. Understand What You Need
Let’s face it, there are many different types of supplements.
The truth is that everyone is unique and therefore everyone’s supplement needs are different. Before you start looking for supplements to buy, you should have a clear idea of what it is you need.
If you have a specific health condition, such as anemia or osteoporosis, you should speak with your healthcare provider. They will be able to advise you on exactly what supplements you need.
If you want to take supplements for general health reasons, then you should still do some research on what you need. Do you often get colds? You may need a good multivitamin combined with extra vitamin C.
While vitamins and mineral supplements are important for most people to boost nutrient levels, don’t rely on supplements alone. You should also consider changing your diet to include more nutritious, whole foods.
2. If You’re Unsure Ask a Nutritionist
If you have a specific health condition, you should always consult your primary healthcare provider. However, if you want to take supplements for other reasons, such as boosting your energy levels or building more muscle, consider seeking the advice of a qualified nutritionist.
Nutritionists are generally thought of as ‘alternative’ practitioners, but they have a wealth of knowledge about supplements and specific nutrients. During your consultation, a nutritionist will ask you about your current state of health, medical history, and any medications you’re taking.
They will also ask you about your health goals and what you want to achieve by taking supplements. Once they understand your motives, they can advise you on what to take, dosage, and the best brands.
3. Avoid Any Interactions and Antagonisms
Supplements can interact with medications and they can also interact with other supplements. That’s why it’s important to know about any potential conflicts that may occur.
For example, iron is more effective when taken with vitamin C because vitamin C increases iron absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. The B group of vitamins work together so supplementing only one of them is usually suboptimal. Instead, you should take a B-complex which includes all of the B vitamins.
If you’re on any specific medications, be sure to talk to your doctor before starting a supplement plan. For example, he may suggest you not to supplement with omega-3 fatty acids if you’re on blood-thinning medication.
4. Avoid Cheap Supplements
When it comes to health supplements, you get what you pay for. Cheap supplements are likely to be ineffective and are a waste of money.
Often times poor quality supplements will be disguised with attractive labels and clever marketing. Phrases like ‘high potency’ are often used. It sounds good but it has little meaning.
Cheap, poor quality supplements often provide less of the active ingredient than higher quality supplements. This means you would end up spending the same, if not more, money in the long run, to get an equivalent dose.
When it comes to multivitamins and minerals, poor quality brands often supply the nutrient in the wrong form or a less bioavailable form. If a vitamin or mineral isn’t in the right form, it may not be absorbed by your body.
So, if you’re planning on starting a supplement program, don’t cheap out! It’s better not to do it at all than to use poor quality supplements.
5. Read the Label
You can’t only rely on the product title and description when buying health supplements online. You have to read the product label as well.
Ignore the marketing hype on the front and focus your attention on the ingredients list and facts chart instead. First, look for any relevant certifications such as USP (United States Pharmacopeia).
Next, check the complete ingredients list to make sure it contains what you need. You should also check how much of each nutrient it contains. You will know how much is adequate after chatting with your nutritionist.
You also want to check for any undesirable ingredients. This includes stuff like artificial sweeteners and bulking agents. Finally, check the product expiration date. If it doesn’t have one, discount it.
6. Choose Reputable Brands
Do some research on reputable supplement brands or ask your nutritionist’s advice. Some brands produce higher quality supplements than others. Check the brand’s website and reviews of their products.
If people online have good things to say about their products, then they’re likely to be good quality. Check how long the brand has been around. If they’ve been around for years and have a loyal customer base, then it’s likely a good brand.
Do a search online for reputable supplement websites. For example, if you’re looking for a good quality hair vitamin product, www.sugarbearhair.com is a solid choice.
Reputable brands will conduct regular quality assessments on their products. This way you know you’re getting a pure supplement that isn’t contaminated with any unhealthy substances.
7. Check Customer Reviews
Checking the reviews for a supplement will help you decide whether it’s a good option or not. Positive reviews will give you peace of mind that you’re buying the correct supplement. Negative reviews are a warning sign that it’s time to keep looking.
Checking online customer reviews will also help you avoid any potential scams or poor quality supplements. Reviews are the ultimate test to decide whether a supplement is worth buying or not.
8. Avoid Unhealthy Additives and GMOs
Common supplement additives include coloring agents, bulking agents, sweeteners, thickeners, and stabilizers. Try to buy supplements with as little additives as possible. That means finding supplements that contain only the nutrients that you want.
Lots of supplement companies will try to bulk up their products by using special bulking agents. This gives you the illusion that you’re getting more when in actual fact most of it is useless.
Do some research or ask your nutritionist about harmful additives to look out for. If you spot any of these on the supplement label, perhaps consider another brand. Most additives are not good for long-term health.
Sweeteners are also sometimes added to health supplements. If you’re looking for a protein supplement or a powdered blend, chances are it contains a sweetener of some kind. This isn’t always a bad thing as it makes it more palatable.
However, if you do choose a product with a sweetener, make sure it’s a natural one like stevia or xylitol.
Some health supplements are made from genetically modified foods. For example, vitamin C is often extracted from GMO corn. For optimal health and safety, try to avoid GMO products if you can.
9. One Supplement At a Time
Unless your nutritionist tells you otherwise, you may want to start with a single supplement before adding in others.
So instead of starting a heavy regime of four to five supplements, pick just one to start. This way, it’ll be easier to assess the impact of each supplement. By slowly introducing new supplements, you can better monitor your body for any changes or reactions.
Health supplements often have a detoxifying effect on the body. This can cause unpleasant symptoms such as headaches and moodiness. By starting with one supplement and slowly introducing others, you can better control and mitigate these kinds of effects.
10. Multi-Ingredient Supplements May Be Too Weak
Many health supplements contain more than one ingredient. While it’s nice and convenient to get all your nutrients from one supplement, this is not always optimal.
Supplements with multiple ingredients often provide low levels of each nutrient. For example, if you want to supplement a specific vitamin or mineral, getting it as part of a multivitamin/multimineral might not be enough.
Consider vitamin C. As part of a multivitamin, you’ll only get around 100-200mg. This is a lot less than the 1000-2000mg daily dose that many alternative health experts recommend.
Supplement companies often try to cram as many nutrients into their products as possible. This way they can market them to a broader audience. The result is a supplement that’s ineffective.
For these reasons, it’s better to take more supplements containing one or two nutrients, than one supplement with 10-20.
Buy Your Health Supplements Safely
Good quality health supplements can transform your health and boost your nutrition. Avoid cheap supplements and always read customer reviews before parting with your money.
By choosing a reputable brand that doesn’t stuff their supplements full of additives, you can be sure to get a quality product. And if you’re unsure about anything, consulting a nutritionist is the best thing to do.
Now you’re fully prepared to buy health supplements safely online!
For more helpful health and lifestyle tips, be sure to check out the Health and Living section of our website.