When you’re looking to achieve something regarding your health and fitness, chances are you’ll at some point come across supplements.
These things are everywhere and there’s more than enough to choose from. They all have different purposes and more ingredients than a hot pot. It’s a hard industry to understand, and even harder to make any decisions on.
I’m not going to talk about what supplements you should and shouldn’t take. That’s a can of worms I don’t want to open. I will however, give you some advice on what to look out for when shopping for supplements.
The main ones that I looked into were diet pills and fat burners, and I noticed a lot of problems when it came to comparing them. Here’s some things I think you’ll find useful.
Ignore the Marketing. Check the Label.
When you’re shopping around online, the main thing that you’ll notice is that the packaging on most of these supplements look great.
Don’t let that fool you. That has nothing to do with what’s actually in the products. When I’m looking for a supplement objectively there are only two things I pay attention to:
- The Ingredients
- How Many Servings a Day It Has
Do not be swayed by any other factors before you’ve considered those areas.
It doesn’t matter what celebrity is vouching for it, or what bodybuilder says what about it – they can’t argue against the science.
See the ingredients and do some independent research on what’s in the product. A good resource I like to use is examine.com the content is fast, effective and complete with up-to-date studies.
They’re a great place to start and they break down the information easy enough. Start there.
Avoid Proprietary Blends
If you’re not sure what a ‘proprietary blend’ is, don’t worry. I’ll explain it all now.
A proprietary blend is a supplement formula that the manufacturer wishes to keep secret. By law, they must disclose what ingredients they are using in their supplement, but they don’t have to tell you the exact dosages.
This is a problem for you, the consumer. It may seem like the manufacturer is protecting their product, but it is you who is putting it in their body. You want it to work, and you also want to make sure that the ingredients in it are appropriately dosed.
By hiding their dosages in a proprietary blend, you may get a supplement from a manufacturer which is:
- Have Potential Side Effects
- Misrepresenting their ingredients
- Putting you at risk
This is not limited to smaller independent supplement brands either. The big boys do this too. Keep yourself aware of what they’re doing, and always check the label.
cGMP Approved Is A MUST!
When it comes to supplements, you need to be aware that no matter what they say, they’re not FDA approved. They’re not drugs, they’re dietary aids.
In doing so, the entire supplement industry is not as regulated as it should be. However, there are measures you can take to ensure that you’re getting the safest possible form of the supplements you’re looking for – by making sure they’re cGMP approved.
cGMP is the ‘Current Goods Manufacturing Proccess’ which is how the FDA likes things to be produced under. You can’t get the supplement itself approved, but you can get the facility that makes it approved.
When researching a supplement, find out where the company produces their supplements and if they have the cGMP rating. This is important. Most companies will have that approval right there on the bottle – it’s a good selling point for those that know.
However, if they don’t, there could be a reason for it. Make sure you check out the full reason why they wouldn’t want to be shouting about that. Chances are they don’t have the certification.
Always do your research first.
How much do they believe in what they’re selling?
This is a great question to ask yourself when looking at supplements. The market is huge for these things at the moment, and a lot of companies want a piece of the action.
That means that there are a lot of companies out there that are pumping out product without much care or research behind them. You can tell a lot about how a company feels about their product by the amount of after-care they have set up.
A good way to spot this is if they offer a money-back guarantee. This is essentially a legal clause that says if you’re not satisfied with the results of the supplement, the supplier will give you your money back.
This is a great testament to the effects of a product if this is offered. It shows that the company believes so much that the supplement will work that they will pay you back if it doesn’t.
Money-back guarantees minimize your risk when buying a supplement, and also show that the makers care about your results. This is something that you should be on the lookout for.
In conclusion I think there are several factors when looking at supplements that you should consider before making any purchases.
Here’s a quick checklist:
- Are they in a proprietary blend?
- Do the ingredients have studies backing them?
- Are there any side effect risks?
- Did they make their product in a cGMP approved facility?
- Do they offer a money-back guarantee?
I’m just scratching the surface here on things you need to look out for, but I feel like these are good general questions to ask yourself before making any purchases.
Best of luck, and happy supplementing!