Courtesy of StatePoint
The supplement industry is booming, with more than four in five Americans taking vitamins or supplements, according to a recent Harris Poll on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association. Despite their popularity, the FDA doesn’t test the effectiveness, safety, or quality of supplements or their ingredients.
To help you navigate this largely unregulated industry, NovaFerrum, a leading manufacturer of iron supplements for children and adults whose products have been clinically proven safe, effective, and well tolerated, offers the following primer:
Where it comes from is almost as important as what’s in it. Manufacturers can cut corners by working with lower-quality global suppliers or operating in places that require little oversight. Look for products sourced and manufactured in the United States.
There is wide variation in the amount of active ingredients in each supplement. Some iron supplements, for example, contain only slightly more iron than a glass of tap water. Make sure you get what you’re paying for. On the other hand, taking too high a dosage can be dangerous. Know the Tolerable Upper Intake Level or UL (the maximum amount you can ingest without negative side effects) of each supplement you take.
Truthful product claims
Don’t be fooled by product claims not backed by third parties. The “certified gluten-free” symbol on food packaging means stringent steps were followed to prevent gluten cross-contamination and that the food has been independently tested by a third party. Similarly, many products are listed as vegan, kosher, and halal, but smart consumers know to look for those that are vegan-verified and Etimad Halal or Kosher certified.
The right ingredients
While organic is a good thing when you buy vegetables, when it comes to products that require a shelf-life, this might not be the best approach. Some popular “all-natural” supplements have been recalled due to bacterial contamination. Without some level of preservative, harmful bacteria can grow in liquid supplements and make users seriously ill.
The supplement industry has experienced several lawsuits and recalls for issues related to ineffectiveness and adverse reactions. Do your homework.
Don’t trust your family’s health to a formula cooked up in a kitchen sink. Seek scientifically proven solutions based on years of pharmaceutical and health care experience and recommended by licensed medical professionals. Choose only supplements that have voluntarily undergone full-scale, multi-year clinical trials to prove that they’re safe, effective, and well-tolerated.
Look for infant and children’s products that taste good enough that they’ll take them. The pediatric drops and chewable tablets from come in flavors like chocolate and raspberry grape. Also, when it comes to iron supplements, stick with formulations that reduce iron-related gastrointestinal side effects often experienced by people of all ages.
What you put into your body impacts your health in myriad ways, so choosing a supplement is essentially making a medical decision. Don’t rely on slick advertising. Always get your doctor’s counsel.