Using supplements to enhance your health and wellbeing, weight loss or sports performance is quite common, but what happens if you purchase supplements that are fake or otherwise ineffective? Dietary supplements are everywhere these days; you’ll find a whole aisle dedicated to them at the grocery store, drug store, and even convenience stores, and there are plenty of different options to choose from.
Single nutrients, multivitamins, minerals, fatty acids, weight loss aids, muscle builders, antioxidants, extracts, and even some energy drinks and protein powders fall under the dietary supplement umbrella. And when you turn to the internet, there is an even larger range of products available; you can get them from popular selling sites like Amazon or from eCommerce stores dedicated to a certain range or supplement type.
So, how do you know which ones to buy – and more importantly, how do you know that the supplements you’re ordering online are safe to take?
It’s not always easy; supplements are regulated to some degree by the FDA, but it’s down to the manufacturers to make sure that they are supplying safe products. So, with more supplements than ever before now available to purchase online, being a smart shopper has never been more important.
We’ve put together some top tips for finding and buying the right supplements for you safely online.
Know Why and If You Need Them:
First of all, it’s important to determine if you actually need a certain supplement, and why. Dietary supplements are typically used in order to ensure that you are getting an adequate intake of a certain nutrient, and a lot of the time, a multivitamin pill will do the job just fine. However, there are times when certain supplements can be used to help treat specific health issues or help you work towards a goal, like vitamin D or calcium supplements for strong bones, taking iron for anemia, or taking testosterone supplements to help you build muscle and boost your energy.
In cases like this, it’s likely that your doctor has already recommended a certain supplement to you, given you information on how much you will need to take, and has perhaps given some suggestions and recommendations around particular brands.
If you suspect that you may have health reasons to take a specific supplement or want to start taking certain supplements in order to meet health and fitness goals, the best thing to do is have a conversation with your doctor, who can help you make sure that you are choosing the right option for you.
Always Read the Label:
While it might not be possible to read the physical label of a supplement bottle when you are purchasing them online, any good eCommerce website will include details of ingredients and other important information in the product description. If this information is not readily available to you before you decide to purchase a supplement product online, this is usually a red flag and a big sign that this particular site is probably best avoided.
Make sure that you know what the labels mean and understand which ingredients you should be looking for when considering a certain supplement. Ingredients that are all-natural, such as those in the testosterone supplement TestoGen, should always be favored. TestoGen contains only ingredients that are 100% natural and pure, with no side effects. As a general rule, if a supplement is promising to do something that sounds just too good to be true, it probably is.
Avoid Extra Ingredients and Mega Doses:
Imagine you want to start taking vitamin C supplements, so you go online to look for a suitable product. Chances are, you’re going to find not just a bottle of vitamin C, but others that contain immune-supporting herbs, other with extra minerals, and more. But are these additional ingredients actually helpful?
While they might certainly be marketed as the best choice and seem like a good idea at the time, the fact is that the more ingredients a supplement contains, the higher your chance of dealing with an unwanted side effect. Start with just the mineral or vitamin that you are interested in taking and avoid buying more than you need or opting for a product that includes extras just because it claims to be so much better; chances are it’s probably not.
Stick to Respected Brands:
Online shopping is great because it gives you the best chance of shopping around and looking for cheaper alternatives no matter what you are buying. But when it comes to dietary supplements, paying less for cheaper, lesser-known brands might not always be the best idea. Stick to well-known and respected brands that you have seen on the shelves for years and know that they have been around for a long time. Look for products that carry labels to show that they have been certified by an organization such as NSF International, ConsumerLabs, or the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention. While these certifications will not completely guarantee that a product is going to be safe or effective, they do indicate that it has undergone quality testing.
Evaluate the Website Before You Buy:
Searching the web for dietary supplements will bring up a huge range of different websites, from official supplement brand sites and trusted retailers to sites where you can get supplements at a discount, and then there are the websites that sell products that are completely ineffective or even worse.
Websites that promise cures for diseases, massive weight loss in a short space of time, or another claim that just seems far too unrealistic are probably red flags and best steered clear of. Instead, look for sites that offer sound, current, and up-to-date information on the supplements that they sell, including scientific research references where applicable.
The site should be secure and provide easy access to contact information and you should have no problem finding out more about the company should you wish to.
Another step to take when buying supplements online is to look for trusted reviews to give you a better idea of what to expect not only of the supplement itself but also the company that you are buying it from.
Amazon is a good choice since customers can leave genuine reviews on each product, allowing you to get an honest opinion of the supplement and what you can expect it to do, although it’s worth bearing in mind that different supplements might work differently for you depending on your specific health or fitness needs.
When it comes to verifying a supplier or manufacturer, third-party review websites like TrustPilot are an ideal place to start; they allow you to get a feel for what to expect from an online supplement selling site through the eyes of the customers who have bought from there before.
Reading some reviews will quickly allow you to figure out whether a site is genuine and provides good products and customer service, or whether it’s likely to rip you off or worse, send you a product that isn’t safe to use.
Ask for Recommendations:
Finally, a good way to make sure that you are being steered in the right direction when it comes to buying dietary supplements online is to ask for recommendations from people that you trust. If you are interested in buying a supplement for improving your fitness, for example, asking around at your gym can be a good idea since people are more likely to provide recommendations of products that they trust since they’ve had good results themselves in the past.
A professional such as a personal trainer might also be a good source for recommendations since they are likely to have done a lot of research into the best supplements for fitness and can help you choose a good one depending on your personal fitness goals. And if you want to take a dietary supplement to improve your health or ease the symptoms of lacking in a certain vitamin or mineral, the best person to speak to is your doctor. They will be able to run tests to determine which nutrients you are going to benefit from supplementing the most, and exactly how much of the supplement you will need before recommending trusted brands from a medical point of view.
Bear in mind that even the safest and most effective of supplements can cause undesirable side effects when they interact with other medications, so if you are currently on any prescribed drugs this is another big reason to book an appointment with your doctor before deciding on the right supplement for you.
Online shopping is becoming a popular method of getting dietary supplements for fitness, health, and improved performance. With a huge range of brands and supplement types to choose from, you can be guaranteed that going online is likely to turn up the right kind of supplement for your needs. However, when buying online, you may be at a higher risk of ending up with a supplement that is unsafe or ineffective.
Always look for natural ingredients, read reviews, and stick with well-known