Earlier this year, a New York Times article explained how the New York State Attorney General in the U.S. accused major retailers of fraudulently labeling several of their supplements. Some of these supplements include ginseng, gingko biloba, St. John’s wort, valerian root and more.
It was also found that some of these stores weren’t including all of the additives to their supplements on the ingredient list! Such a practice is concerning, especially with many people taking supplements to be sure they are getting all they need from their diets.
More than half of U.S. adults take supplements, and nearly a third of the population in the UK and Australia do so. Our bodies and diets change over time, and often it may be necessary to take in supplement form what we can’t get from food, but need to work at their highest level.
Navigating the Confusing Shelves
The world of supplements can seem confusing at first. The shelves at retail shops carrying nutritional products are overloaded with everything from vitamin A to zinc. Just taking a look at the supplement section feels overwhelming! Each product has different formulations, with different doses and percentages on the label.
Some Helpful Tips
The most important tip we can offer is to try to get enough nutrients from foods first rather than relying on supplements. As sometimes that is not always possible, here are some basic tips to help you navigate the complicated world of supplements:
- The reputation of the brand manufacturer, their suppliers, and their record of quality are helpful, but most important is what is actually in the supplement.
- Buy drugs at drug shops and health foods at health food shops.
- Do your research. To benefit optimally from a supplement, there’s a specific dosage for a specific person, at specific frequencies and durations.
- Read the labels carefully. Choose a supplement based on your research and not just what the label says.
- Looking for a particular nutrient? Add the following phrases to your Google search: “most bio available” or “most absorbable form.”
- Seek out a natural health care practitioner that can make the best recommendations for you.
When it comes to giving your body all that it needs to reach optimal health, give us a call to see how we might be able to help!