Taking daily vitamins and supplements is important. Studies show that basic nutrients can improve everything from markers of aging and heart disease to memory and mood. The right supplement can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. But, not all vitamins and supplements are the same. It is important to do your homework before making a purchase. And remember, you often get what you pay for. If you’re looking for high quality supplements, it may cost you more, but isn’t the investment in your health worth it?
To help you make an informed decision, here are our top tips to remember when purchasing vitamins and supplements:
- Beware of trendy, fad nutrients - Every few months, another “miracle” product hits the headlines. Typically, the studies cited are either too small to be useful, too brief or they raise more questions than they answer, requiring further research. Let the dust settle so to speak before running out to try the latest and greatest.
- Watch out for “fillers” (unnecessary ingredients like dyes, chemical coatings, and sugar) – It’s important to read the fine print on labels. Watch out for these key words – they’re unnecessary and should be avoided:
- Sugars (any ingredient ending in “-ose” is a sugar)
- Ask questions - Nutraceutical (vitamins and supplements) companies usually have websites and toll-free phone numbers. If you have questions about a product, don’t hesitate to call and ask.
- Follow product instructions - Most supplements are more easily absorbed when taken with or immediately following a meal, but it’s not true for all. So, be sure to read the instructions for specific information. For example, taking vitamin E without food may reduce absorption.
- Give it time – Some supplements, such as digestive enzymes, produce results fairly quickly. But other nutrients require time to reach therapeutic levels in your body, sometimes as long as 4 to 6 weeks. Be patient while your body heals. It will be worth it.
- Store it properly - Supplements need to be stored in a cool, dry environment away from direct sunlight. The refrigerator or cupboards are good choices, but the kitchen counter is not. As with any medication, watch for expiration dates.
- Price point – Being a bargain hunter is great, but not when it comes to supplements. The cheapest vitamins are usually inexpensive for a reason, such as synthetic ingredients, lots of fillers, or other potentially harmful or unnecessary ingredients.