Multivitamins popped by children, weight loss aids taken by adults. A huge swath of the population is taking dietary health supplements.
You can find them lining the shelves of your local grocery store; you can hear celebrities touting their benefits when you turn on the TV. Those desiring convenience can purchase their supplements online without having to move from the couch.
Here’s the problem.
Supplements aren’t regulated with the same intensity as medicines. This is an especially important point for people who buy health supplements online. You can easily buy supplements from someone in another country, someone who won’t be subject to the same laws protecting you in the states.
So how can you stay safe? We have some advice.
1. Scrutinize the Label
You want to know exactly what you’re consuming. Read the ingredient label of every supplement you’re thinking about buying and don’t be swayed by over-enthusiastic health claims. Miracle cures don’t exist.
If you’re buying your supplements from a foreign company, you need to be even more diligent. Look up the manufacturer’s contact information.
The right supplement can be extremely beneficial for your health. Just know what you’re getting into before you start taking anything.
2. Choose the Right Brand
Some brands are a lot more reliable than others. You could harm yourself by taking shoddy supplements, so be wary of trusting a brand that you haven’t heard of before. There are multiple independent certification laboratories. A stamp of approval by the NSF international or the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention doesn’t guarantee quality but it helps.
If you’re thinking about trying out a new brand that hasn’t been certified, read customer reviews. Be suspicious if there are nothing but glowing recommendations. The supplement world is cutthroat; review sites are cluttered with fake reviews written by company employees.
3. Study the Site
Modern snake oil salesmen have migrated to the internet. There are tons of high-quality supplements available online but there’s also a lot of garbage. Some unscrupulous people lie about what they’re selling, knowing that there’s a good chance the customer won’t be able to tell the difference.
Evaluating a website’s trustworthiness can be tricky. Look at their contact page. Do they have a real address? A phone number? Search the company name on Google and see what comes up.
Ready to Buy?
Buying your supplements online can save you a lot of hassle. If you’re searching for something slightly rare or expensive, or if you want to compare prices, you might have to drive to multiple stores.
Just remember to be smart. If it’s marketed as a wonder drug, it’s probably not worth your money. At best you’ll be mildly inconvenienced because you purchased a dud, at worst you’ll damage your health.
You can also speak to your doctor or pharmacist about any supplements you plan on taking. Not only will you get the benefit of their professional opinion, you can get recommendations about where to go online.