10 Safety Tips for Buying Supplements Online for Beginners
10 Safety Tips for Buying Supplements Online for Beginners
Part of getting the right supplements is knowing where you get them from. Here are safety tips for those buying supplements online for the first time.
About 77% of Americans consume dietary supplements. However, not all supplements are made equally! If you’re buying supplements online for the first time, you need to consider where you’re getting them from.
Otherwise, a low-quality supplement might not provide the desired effect. As a result, you’ll end up wasting money. Beyond that, however, buying the wrong supplements could impact your health.
Here are 10 safety tips for buying supplements online. With these tips, you can find what you need without getting duped. Start your search with these 10 easy tips today!
1. Know What You Need
No two people need the same exact list of supplements at the same dose. Before you start shopping around, it’s important to consider your supplements plan.
First, consider visiting a doctor or dietitian. Have them complete a blood test to determine which supplements you need. Taking certain vitamins and supplements can benefit your overall quality of life.
For example, you might have a vitamin B-12 deficiency that’s draining you of some much-needed energy!
It’s important to determine which vitamins and minerals you’re missing from your diet. That way, you don’t purchase unnecessary supplements. After all, you want your supplement plan to benefit your health, not hinder it.
Before your doctor’s appointment, tack what you eat and drink for a week. You can have your doctor review your notes during your appointment. They might recognize you’re not eating enough of a food that contains certain vitamins.
Your nutritional needs can also depend on your:
- Daily routine
- Family history of medical conditions
- Risk of developing certain medical problems
Your doctor can pinpoint which vitamins you need per your lifestyle. For example, let’s say you plan on getting pregnant. Your doctor will likely suggest that you start taking folic acid to improve your baby’s development.
Are you at risk of developing osteoporosis? If so, your doctor might recommend vitamin D and calcium for strong bones.
Let your doctor know if you’re experiencing any new symptoms, too. For example, you might experience daily fatigue or have insomnia. Your doctor can suggest supplements based on the symptoms you’re experiencing.
Speaking with a doctor or a registered dietician can help you before you even head online!
Questions to Ask
Take advantage of your doctor’s expertise! Here are a few questions to ask during your appointment:
- Are these supplements safe to take while I’m pregnant or nursing?
- Can these supplements cause side effects?
- What dosage do I need?
- How often should I take this supplement?
- Will these supplements interact with food or medications?
Remember, no two patients are alike. The information you find online might not apply to your health needs. Speaking with a doctor can save you time and grief.
2. Avoid Conflicts
Do you already have a list of vitamins and supplements you want to take? Before you do, make sure to review this list with your doctor. In some cases, taking certain supplements and prescription medications can put your health at risk.
When buying supplements online, you’re likely to focus more on the benefits than side effects. Without a medical degree, you might not know that certain supplements can interact with others.
For example, let’s say you’re taking a blood thinner. In that case, it’s important you don’t add vitamin K to your routine. Too much vitamin K paired with a blood thinner could cause your blood to clot.
Do you have a surgery scheduled in the future? You’ll want to stop taking omega-3 vitamins. Omegas could put you at risk of bleeding.
Remember, your diet plays a part in the supplements you need, too.
For example, you need to take some vitamins with food and others on an empty stomach. When taking iron, make sure to take it with water. Otherwise, the calcium in milk could conflict with the iron supplement.
Discuss dosages with your doctor, too. They can determine the daily recommended intake (DRI) you need based on your age and gender. A health condition could change your DRI, too.
Your doctor will consider your current health, future health goals, and potential outcomes to help you develop a plan. Their experience and expertise can also fill the gaps in your research and keep you safe.
3. Check the Label
Americans spend over $30 billion a year on dietary supplements. Despite how often we buy supplements, many people neglect reading product labels before making a purchase.
Most labels are designed to attract buyers. While manufacturers have to follow specific guidelines about making health claims, you still can’t believe everything you read.
If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
Look away from the marketing claims and focus on the supplement facts chart instead. Make sure to read the descriptions to make sure you’re getting the best-possible quality, too.
First, look for certifications from:
- United States Pharmacopeia (USP)
- NSF International
Certifications from these organizations don’t guarantee the product is safe or effective. Rather, these certifications mean the products meet proper manufacturing standards. They also contain the ingredients listed on the bottle.
Products with these certifications also avoid harmful contamination levels.
While you’re reading product labels, make sure to look for:
- The name of the supplement
- The manufacturer’s contact information
- A complete list of the ingredients
- Information on how much of a nutrient is in the supplement
- Any mention of medical research
- Adverse effects
Make sure the product has an expiration date, too. If it doesn’t, keep looking.
4. Know the Dose
Make a note of the DRI you need for each supplement as you start searching. If a supplement’s DRI is above and beyond, keep searching. Look for a supplement that suits your dose.
Many supplements include extra ingredients. While those might sound enticing, extra ingredients can cause unwanted effects. Instead, focus on what you need.
Make sure to avoid taking more than your DRI. Otherwise, taking too much can cause harmful effects, too.
5. Choose the Best Brands
Some brands have existed a lot longer than others. When exploring different types of supplements, make sure to prioritize respectable brands.
You can visit the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements to learn more about each supplement. During your research, look for any warnings or recall alerts from the FDA, too.
If you notice a brand has a lot of recalls, make a note to avoid them.
Otherwise, you can check the USP website. They have a directory of participating supplement companies you can explore. Choosing a brand from the USP list can give you peace of mind that you’re choosing a top brand.
6. Study the Site
Before buying supplements online, make sure to consider the site you’re shopping from. You’ll likely come across official manufacturers alongside cheap rated sites. Some websites sell products that contain fillers.
In other words, the products are useless.
Make sure to avoid websites that make outlandish claims. For example, they might promise a cure for a disease or a weight-loss cure-all.
Instead, look for websites that are transparent about their products. They should provide helpful, relevant information. If they make any medical claims, look for references and medical research to back it up.
These websites should also provide easy access to contact information. If you can’t find someone to speak, keep searching.
7. Check Reviews
If you want real peace of mind when shopping online, turn to the people who shopped before you. Websites with online reviews can help you recognize which products to steer clear from. These consumers can provide you with stories about their own experiences when using certain supplements.
Consumer reviews can also help you avoid scams or harmful products.
Make sure to check out Supplement Reviews during your research. This website contains consumer reviews of supplements. Anyone related to the manufacturing company can’t post—meaning you’re only hearing from people like you.
You can also check a site called Protein Daily for reviews. This site is ideal if you’re looking for supplements for athletic performance.
It’s important to remain cautious while you’re exploring websites with online reviews. Some are fake. If they’re focused on promoting a product, chances are they’re affiliated with a manufacturing company.
In that case, keep looking.
8. Compare Different Retailers
During your search, you’ll come across different retailers. Here are a few tips that can help you avoid scams:
- Choose companies that operate in the US or list their safety standards
- Check the site’s offers
- Make sure the company offers a guarantee
- Look for a return policy
Don’t forget to check for a customer service number. You can speak to a rep if you have any questions or concerns.
9. Avoid Certain Ingredients
As you shop online, there are a few ingredients you should avoid. These include:
- Contaminated L-tryptophan
- Bitter orange
These ingredients could cause liver damage, heart attacks, and other adverse effects. Make sure to check the FDA’s list of tainted products while you’re at it.
10. Remain Selective
When shopping online, it’s always important to manage your expectations. Many companies are focused on promoting their own products. Instead of trusting everything you read, complete your own research.
That way, you can manage your expectations and avoid getting duped.
Healthy and Happy: 10 Safety Tips for Buying Supplements Online
Shop smart! With these 10 tips for buying supplements online, you can find the supplements you need without worry. Make smarter decisions for your health and happiness with these tips.
Are you searching for supplements? Visit our online store today!