7 Tips on Buying Supplements Online Safely for Beginners
76% of Americans take dietary supplements. That’s more than 170 million people. Taking supplements can improve medical conditions and even help you reach your goals for fitness. Now, more than ever, consumers are turning to the internet to buy the products they need. Buying supplements online is a great way to try new products at a price you can afford.
But not all supplements are created equal. How do you know whether the products you buy online are safe?
Keep reading for our top 7 tips for buying supplements online safely for those just starting out.
1. Understand What Supplements You Need
Before you start looking into buying supplements online, you need to know what it is you’re looking for.
There are a ton of dietary supplements on the market because each person has unique dietary needs. Even if two people are looking for the same supplement, they might not need the same dose.
You’ll have a much easier time looking for supplements online if you have a solid understanding of the different types of supplements and which are right for your needs.
Some supplements will only benefit you if you have an actual deficiency. On the other hand, some can be safely taken and benefit just about everybody.
2. Talk to Your Doctor or Dietitian
The best way to determine what supplements are right for you is to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.
If you’re one of the many people who could benefit from taking dietary supplements, your doctor can easily pinpoint which ones you need by doing a blood test. Bloodwork can clearly show where your diet isn’t cutting it when it comes to key vitamins and nutrients.
Nutritional deficiencies are a lot more common than people think. They can also cause serious issues that interfere with daily life. If you aren’t feeling 100% or are looking to boost your performance, a trip to the doctor is in order.
If you’re interested in taking supplements that enhance athletic performance, you should make sure it’s safe to do so, especially if you have any health concerns. Which types of supplements you can benefit from will depend on a number of individual factors such as your diet, your lifestyle, your family history, and your risk of complications.
3. Know What to Ask
To get the most out of your consultation with your healthcare provider, you should come prepared with a list of questions. Time with your doctor is precious and if you prepare sufficiently you can take advantage of their expertise.
Here are just a few questions you should be prepared to ask your doctor:
- What side effects might these supplements cause?
- What dose should I take?
- How often should I take these supplements?
- Will these supplements interact with any food or other medications?
- Are there any other considerations based on my health goals?
It’s important to remember that you are a unique individual. What you read online might not apply to your particular circumstances or mesh with your healthcare needs. You can stay safe and get the most from your supplements by speaking with your doctor before shopping online.
4. Choose the Right Dose
After talking to your healthcare provider, you should know what your daily recommended intake (DRI) is for each supplement you are looking for.
You don’t want to go above and beyond when it comes to dosage. More is not necessarily better. Your body can’t use more than a certain dosage and the extra can actually be more harmful than helpful.
You should also be wary of extra ingredients. Stick to the ingredients you know you need. Added ingredients can cause effects you don’t want.
5. Learn to Read Labels
As a consumer, you should be in the habit of reading the labels of food and dietary products before buying. Unfortunately, labels can be confusing, oftentimes on purpose. With a little research and effort, you can easily learn to interpret the information on product labels to make sure you get what you’re paying for.
Labels are designed to entice consumers, but not everything you read is going to be true. As is often the case, if a claim seems too good to be true, it probably is.
The best way to analyze supplement labels is to disregard marketing claims from the manufacturer and focus on the facts. Always check for an expiration date, if applicable.
Here are some basic facts to look out for on supplement product labels:
- Supplement name
- List of ingredients
- Dosage of each nutrient
- Relevant medical research
- Manufacturer’s contact info
- Potential side effects
You should also look for product certifications. Certifying organizations for dietary supplements include:
- United States Pharmacopeia (USP)
- NSF International
While these organizations can’t guarantee that a supplement is effective or even safe, they do guarantee that the product’s manufacturer met certain standards and that the ingredients listed on the label are included as promised. You can also be sure that these supplements don’t contain harmful levels of contaminants.
6. Choose a Reputable Brand
When you start looking into buying supplements online, you’ll probably be overwhelmed by the number of options.
There are a number of ways to narrow down your options but the first thing you should do is search for reputable brands. Shopping online for supplements offers an unmatched level of convenience, especially considering the current state of the world. But not all supplements are created equal.
You want to look for official manufacturers and avoid places that sell cheap products that contain fillers. Generally, brands that have been around longer are more likely to be reputable. Take the time to do your research before buying from a brand.
You can find information about supplements on the website for the National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements. Here, you can also find information about warnings and recalls by the FDA. You’ll want to avoid brands that have a pattern of recalling their products.
You can also find information about supplement manufacturers that participate in dietary supplement verification through The United States Pharmacopeia (USP). The USP verifies that dietary supplements contain the ingredients listed on their label and that the amounts and potencies are accurate.
As a consumer, this information can help assure you that you are getting what you expect from your supplements.
If a brand makes claims that seem too good to be true, they probably are. Brands worth your time and money will have websites that contain valuable, honest information about their products and the results you can expect. These brands will have links to trustworthy sources such as legitimate medical resources to support their claims about their products.
It’s best to choose a brand that has easy to find contact information. Brands that are trustworthy will have no problem connecting you with a real person who can help.
7. Do Your Research
Online reviews are a great way to learn from the experience of others before making a purchase. You can learn more about products’ success stories as well as what products to avoid.
Look for testimonials from happy customers on manufacturers’ websites. Look for stories from other consumers that include successful use of the products.
Online customer reviews can also help you avoid websites that are just scams or products that could harm you. Keep an eye out for fake reviews. If a review seems overly promotional of a supplement, there’s a good chance the reviewer is affiliated with the product’s manufacturer. The best reviews are written by real consumers and are not influenced by the supplement’s manufacturer.
When it comes to checking out reputable supplement websites, look for a customer service phone number. You can contact the company directly to learn more about their products and offers. Check their website for current promotions, a return policy, and a satisfaction guarantee before buying.
Finally, look for companies that operate in the United States or provide a list of their safety standards.
Buying Supplements Online Without the Hassle
Buying supplements online can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Our blog is the best place to find the latest research as well as helpful articles to help you reach your goals for fitness.
We only recommend the best reputable supplement websites.
If you’re considering taking supplements, don’t hesitate! Start enjoying the benefits of giving your body the fuel it needs to perform today.