The use of dietary supplements has been increasing amongst adults in America. A survey by the CDC showed that the use of supplements has increased from 48.4% from 2007-2008 to 56.1% in 2017-2018. Supplements have usually been seen as a quick and easy way to augment a person’s daily nutrient intake. However, supplements are not regulated by the FDA or any other medical body.
That means that manufacturers don’t need to prove that their supplement actually works, only that it’s safe to use. It’s easy, therefore, for unscrupulous manufacturers to create and sell fake supplements. It’s quite a common scam, and even Amazon had to warn consumers that a fake version of the supplement Align had been sold to customers.
So, with all these fake supplements floating around, how do you tell which are real and which are fake? Here are some useful tips to make sure that what you’re buying is the real deal and not just a bottle of snake oil.
Do Your Research
Make sure to thoroughly research the supplements you want to buy. It’s probably best to stick to established brands with known track records. But if you want to try something a little off the beaten path, see if you can find any online reviews from reputable sources. For example, checking out sandiegohealth.org’s review of Mind Lab Pro is a great way to find out for yourself the pros and cons of buying Mind Lab Pro, rather than just going in blind and hoping for the best.
Getting recommendations from friends and family will also help. But take those with a pinch of salt. Unless they’re a qualified nutritionist, their opinion might not be based on hard facts and science.
If It’s Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is
There’s a supplement on the market for almost every conceivable type of ailment. Many of these often promise instant fixes and quick cures. Ignore these claims. The more outlandish the benefits, the higher the likelihood of the supplement being fake. Because manufacturers don’t actually have to prove what they’re selling, they can say anything they want about their products, even if they know it’s not true. Legitimate manufacturers will have more sedate and reasonable sounding claims.
Have a healthy amount of skepticism when you browse through the supplement section of your favorite health food store. Common sense is your best defense against people trying to scam you out of your hard-earned money.
Check The Packaging
Just like banknotes, real supplement bottles have several identifying features that aim to prevent counterfeiting by making it easy to spot a fake. When you buy a bottle of supplements, check the label, the seal, the nutritional info, and the company logo to make sure everything is above board. You’d be surprised how many fake supplements don’t even take the time to make sure everything is spelled right. Real products go through countless rounds of vetting and checking before they go to market. Typos, wrong words, or missing information is a sure sign that the supplement isn’t from a trustworthy source.
Go Directly to the Manufacturer
If you’re buying something from a third-party seller, always check directly with the manufacturer on the product specifications. This will help you sieve out fake supplements that are branded with real company logos. Check the company website to confirm that they do in fact carry the product that you’re trying to buy. If the product isn’t there, it might be worth holding off on your purchase for a few days while you get in touch. The company itself will probably be grateful that you brought an illegal rip-off to their notice.
Talk to Your Doctor
Before you start taking anything, it’s always advisable to check with your doctor on how it might affect you. Especially since your doctor will probably be able to tell whether a supplement is real or not. Everyone is built different and reacts differently to things. Even legitimate supplements can have ingredients that will be harmful to you. Fake supplements often contain harmful chemicals and toxins that can end up causing a lot more damage. Make sure to protect your own health by checking in with someone who knows better.
These days, people are busier than ever and unfortunately, health always seems to come last on our list of priorities. It’s no surprise that health supplements are becoming more and more popular. However, do remember that they are just an extra source of nutrition and should not be your main source of healthy vitamins and minerals. Supplements alone are not enough to sustain your health. Make sure that you’re eating them in conjunction with a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise. Supplements can be a helpful and effective way of getting nutrients. But they aren’t, and shouldn’t be, your main meal.