The number of retailers selling bogus supplements is increasing. Often, these products are contaminated with rice, wheat and other unlisted ingredients.

In fact, plenty of supplements readily available to the public have been tested and proven not to contain the herbs and other essential nutrients advertised on their labels.

So now is the perfect time to treat each supplement as a full-time discipline that requires constant surveillance and objective review. Here are five ways to become an educated consumer when choosing which supplements to take.

1. Look for a quality verification seal

It is imperative that when searching for a supplement, you must check for quality verification seals. Today, there are many different seals you can see on supplement bottles. These seals indicate that the supplement contains every ingredient reported on the label.

A Chromadex Quality Verification Seal, for instance, means that the product has met specifications for ingredient identity, microbials, heavy metals and contaminants. Moreover, it indicates that the supplement has been third-party tested and verified for consistency and quality.

Products that bear quality verified seals will guarantee consumers that the product has been manufactured in line with the FDA Good Manufacturing Practices. Bear in mind that companies like Chromadex have existed to ensure the safety of different products by providing reference standards to laboratories for testing. Their main aim is to improve the user’s health and well-being.

2. Revisit your medicine cabinet annually

You must take supplements that you and your doctor trust. This means that before taking any supplement, inform your doctor about it. This is crucial if you are taking prescription medications. These drugs can interact with one another, which can make one drug less effective, increase the action of the other drug, or cause unexpected side effects.

Make sure that you know the reasons behind taking any supplement and the benefits of each. Remember that unless you really need it, don’t take more pills. Deciding whether the supplement works or not will come down to looking at a multitude of evidence. Often, this depends on your benefit-versus-risk scenario.

3. Opt for single-ingredient supplements

Consumers often get in trouble when they buy supplements with multiple ingredients, which include those that weren’t used in clinical studies. According to experts, this process will dilute the active ingredient, making it less effective.

Moreover, your liver may find it too difficult to metabolize this product. A multivitamin, however, is an exception to this rule.

4. Be aware of the crucial factors to look for in a supplement

There is no ideal supplement, but there are certain factors you must look for in a product, which can be reported on the supplement’s website or packaging. These include:

  • Safe for mental health
  • Quality-control testing employed
  • No artificial coloring, flavoring, fragrances, hormones, sugar or artificial sweeteners and preservatives
  • Biodegradable and BPA-free container
  • Safe for children and during pregnancy
  • Tested for heavy metals, yeast and mold, and total bacterial count

Moreover, the supplement fact panel on its label must be in a readable font and size. This way, you won’t misread things all the time.

5. Blood tests are on a case-by-case basis

You will need a blood test when your doctor suspects that you have a deficiency in vitamin B12, iron, magnesium or potassium. Magnesium and vitamin B12 testing is a standard if you have been taking acid reflux medications for a long time. On the other hand, iron blood testing for anemia is always necessary for women experiencing fatigue because of excessive blood loss from menstruation.

When the blood tests reveal some deficiencies, ask your doctor if correcting them will have a beneficial result. Remember that improving a blood test does not necessarily mean improving your overall health and well-being.

To get the most out of the supplements you are currently taking, you must be an educated consumer. This means being aware of what is in your supplements, knowing what vitamins you should take, and making sure that the product has been tested and verified by a reputable third-party testing lab, like Chromadex!


Frank L. Jaksch Jr. is the Chief Executive Officer and a co-founder of ChromaDex. He oversees research, strategy and operations for the Company with a focus on scientific and novel products for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical markets. Mr. Jaksch earned a B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from Valparaiso University.

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