Almost 80% of US adults are taking supplements. Meanwhile, another 98% take vitamins and minerals to supplement their diet. Though over 170 million adults are taking supplements, many don’t know how to safely shop online.Here are 10 supplement-shopping mistakes you need to avoid.
By understanding these common errors, you can plan for a safe, effective shopping experience. Otherwise, you might fall victim to a hack or fraud. With so many fraudulent shops online, you want to make sure you’re choosing a reputable supplement website. Otherwise, you could buy a supplement full of harmful fillers. Keep reading to discover the 10 mistakes you need to dodge. Start shopping smarter than ever with this helpful guide today!
Buying at Random
Many people make assumptions about the supplements they need. Why are you shopping for supplements? Do you have a deficiency, or are you looking for supplements for fitness? Take the time to research what you need before you find a reputable supplement website. Otherwise, you could buy supplements that won’t do anything to support your health goals.
If you’re not sure what you need, schedule an appointment with your general physician. Ask if they can complete a blood work test to search for any supplement deficiencies.
During your appointment, let your doctor know if you’re experiencing any symptoms. For example, you might feel depressed, tired, or notice hair loss. These are all signs of potential vitamin D deficiency. About 1 billion people worldwide have low vitamin D levels. Staying indoors, having dark skin, being overweight, and being elderly could put you at risk.
Is your hair falling out? You might want to consider SugarBearHair. Your doctor will help you recognize which lifestyle factors are putting you at risk for a deficiency. Once your blood test results come in, your doctor can help you develop a supplement plan.
During Your Appointment
Don’t rely entirely on your blood work to determine which supplements you need. Before the appointment, keep a record of everything you eat and drink for a week. Your doctor can review your record to determine if vitamins and minerals are missing from your diet.
Your family history could indicate which supplements you need, too.
For example, do you have a family history of certain health conditions, like osteoporosis? In that case, your doctor might recommend you take calcium and vitamin D for your bone health.
Do your lifestyle choices put you at risk for a deficiency? Is working out every day causing muscle fatigue? In that case, you’ll need certain supplements for fitness.
Do you plan on making a lifestyle change? For example, someone who plans on becoming pregnant will need certain supplements for fetal development.
During your appointment, make sure to ask your doctor questions. Their answers can help you avoid common supplement-shopping mistakes.
These questions can include:
- What daily dosage do I need for each supplement?
- Can any of these supplements cause side effects?
- What time of day should I take these supplements?
- Should I take these on an empty stomach?
- Are these safe to take while pregnant or nursing?
Your supplement plan is unique to your lifestyle and body’s needs. Visiting a doctor will ensure you get a strong start before you start supplement shopping.
Not Understanding Interactions
Some supplements can interact with foods, other supplements, and medications you’re taking. Don’t forget to talk to your doctor about potential interactions before you leave their office. Otherwise, you could make supplement-shopping mistakes that might risk your overall health.
Many people focus only on the benefits when choosing which supplements to take. It’s important to review the side effects, too. How will the supplements on your list interact with anything else you digest?
What about any lifestyle changes you’re making?
For example, you shouldn’t take omega-3 vitamins if you have surgery scheduled. Otherwise, bleeding is a potential risk. Did your doctor prescribe a blood thinner for you to take? Make sure you’re not taking vitamin K as well. Otherwise, your blood could clot.
There are some supplements you’ll need to take with water instead of juice or milk. Other supplements you’ll need to take with food or on an empty stomach. Your doctor can help you develop a plan for how to take your supplements.
Not Knowing the Dose
What’s the daily recommended daily intake (DRI) for each supplement you need? Your DRI can differ from someone else’s based on your age, gender, and health status.
As you start reading labels on products, make a note of the dose. You don’t want to buy supplements that go over your DRI. Otherwise, you might need to buy a pill cutter as well.
Taking too much of a supplement could impact your health. Talk to your doctor about your health goals to determine the DRI you need for each.
Failing to Read the Label
Many shoppers rush to buy what they need without reading the label.
First, ignore the flashy marketing visuals and language. Don’t believe everything you read on labels of products. Skip over information that seems too good to be true to focus on what matters.
For example, you want to make sure you’re getting supplements that meet high quality standards. Look for certifications from the NSF International, ConsumerLab.com, and United States Pharmacopeia. These certifications indicate the product meets manufacturing standards.
Does the product mention any medical research? Does it name the potential side effects? Don’t forget to look for an expiration date, a list of ingredients, and the manufacturer’s contact information. If this information is missing, choose a brand that’s more transparent.
Ignoring the Website
You can learn a lot about the supplements you’re buying by looking at the website. First, make sure the website is secure. Look for “HTTPS” in front of the domain name. This indicates the website has an SSL certificate and is secure for purchases.
Otherwise, you could trust a website that’s vulnerable to hackers with your personal information. You don’t want to make a payment to a website that isn’t secure. If a website is making outlandish claims about their “cure-all supplements,” keep searching.
A reputable supplement website will remain honest and transparent about their products. Look for medical research and professional references that back up any claims they make.
Does the website provide contact information? Is there someone you can call with your questions? If not, look for another website.
Not Choosing the Best Brands
Americans spend over $30 billion every year buying dietary supplements. You want to make sure your money is going to the best products.
Look for a brand that’s lasted over the years. A long-lasting company has likely gained the respect of their customers.
To make sure you’re choosing the best brands, visit the United States Pharmacopeia website. USP has a directory of trustworthy supplement companies you can choose from. Starting your search from this list can help you potentially avoid supplement-shopping mistakes. Make sure to look for any brands with a long list of recalls. You can check the FDA website for alerts as well.
Failing to Read Reviews
If you want to learn more about a brand or supplement, look for online customer reviews. These reviews are written by consumers just like you, looking for the best products. You can learn from their mistakes to avoid making your own.
Reading reviews will help you learn which brands and supplements to avoid. Try to read reviews from a few different resources. That way, you can make sure to avoid bias. For example, reading reviews from a supplement company’s website will probably give you a list of hand-picked, positive reviews.
You can check the company’s Better Business Bureau and Google My Business listing. Check Supplement Reviews as well. This website doesn’t allow manufacturing companies to post reviews of their own. Protein Daily is an ideal resource if you’re looking for supplements for fitness.
Skipping Comparison Shopping
As you work to avoid supplement-shopping mistakes, it’s important to complete thorough research. You’ll likely come across a few different companies during your search. Comparison shopping will help you find the best among the bunch.
First, make sure to look for a return policy. Does the company make any outlandish claims or guarantees? Do they provide special offers?
Make sure the company operates in the US. They should provide a list of safety standards. If you can’t find the information you need, look for a customer service number. If a company doesn’t provide contact information, keep searching.
Not Reviewing Ingredients
Don’t forget to review the labels on products for their ingredients! There are a few you’ll want to avoid, including bitter orange, contaminated l-tryptophan, kava, and chromium. Review the FDA’s list of tainted products, too. Reviewing the ingredients list will help you avoid adverse effects like liver damage.
During your search, you’ll likely hear about a few different “health” trends. Remember, you don’t have to believe everything you read. Instead, make sure there’s proof of every claim.
Determine the source of the evidence. Was a trial conducted by a professional team? Can you read the report? Make sure to do your due diligence and research everything before you make a purchase.
Otherwise, you could end up buying supplements that don’t do as they claim.
Shop Smart Online: 10 Supplement Shopping Mistakes to Avoid
Don’t rush to buy the first supplements you come across. Instead, make sure to avoid these 10 supplement-shopping mistakes during your search. With these tips, you can buy the best products with peace of mind! The right supplement plan can support your lifestyle and health goals.
Looking for more helpful self-care and health tips? Explore our latest health posts for more informative guides.