Healthier heart, pain-free joints, complete nutrition - supplement and vitamin companies boast lots of benefits. How do you know if the supplements you get in a retail store are guaranteed to be safe and effective? Jacob Wolf, a naturopathic provider at Lake Health, shares his expertise on choosing nutritional supplements.
How do you determine quality?
The nutritional supplement industry has exploded over the last decade. More people than ever are looking for high-quality vitamins, minerals and herbal products both in stores and online. Carefully reading supplement labels and researching products before you purchase can help guide you to high-quality supplements. When faced with so many choices, here are a few things to watch for:
- What is the main ingredient? Sometimes the main ingredient is not what you expect.
- What inactive ingredients are in the product? Many top-selling vitamins include talc, artificial sweeteners, artificial coloring and preservatives.
- Does the label list specific nutrient forms and amounts? For example, a label that says “Magnesium” is less clear than “Magnesium citrate 200mg” and “Turmeric” is better defined as “Turmeric root standardized to 95% curcuminoids.”
- What is the dose? Manufacturers can’t fit a large variety of nutrients into a one-a-day multivitamin. Yet, most people don’t want to take a handful of capsules to get all the supplements they want. Try to find a balance and be sure to account for the doses you're consuming with other supplements.
- How is the supplement available? Capsules typically break down easier than tablets and can be absorbed better. Liquids and chews are convenient, but often have added sweeteners and flavoring. Be sure to read the ingredients.
- Is it pure? Look for a statement about manufacturing and testing processes on the bottle or the company website.
Who can help you choose the right supplements?
If you're not sure about the quality of your products, consider consulting with a member of the Lake Health Integrative Medicine team. This office carries many high-quality supplement brands that are sold only through health care providers. Naturopathic providers like Jacob Wolf, ND, LAc, Dipl OM, can help you optimize your nutritional supplements and evaluate the quality of products that you're adding to your diet. Working with an expert also helps ensure you're taking the right products for your unique nutritional needs and goals, and avoid any potential medication interactions.
Jacob is currently accepting new patients who are seeking non-prescription alternatives, including supplements, herbs and homeopathic products. Learn more.