10 Ways to Make Sure Your Supplements are Quality

Background

You will find a lot of supplements in today’s market. But, do you know accurately which supplements are quality? When you don’t have the knowledge like a biologist, a chemist, a nutritionist, or a clinical researcher may have, certainly, it will be very difficult for you to know if the supplements that you are going to consume are quality or not. You can’t say whether they are helpful or even contain what they say on the label.

There has already been a lot of research on this issue over the last few decades and, based on that knowledge, we have come to you with the following 10 tips to help you tell if the supplements are quality. By reading the suggested 10 tips, it will be easier for you to find which brand you should trust to give you the benefits you need. You will also know whether it–

  • Contains single ingredients, multiple ingredients, or proprietary blends.
  • Includes vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, or phytonutrients.
  • Focuses on general health or targets a specific area like brain, heart, or joint health.

1. Look for Quality Assurance

To tell the supplements are free from contamination and are accurately labeled, first, look for a product manufactured at a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facility because it must comply with high standards, the same standards mandated by the US Food and Drug Administration for pharmaceutical manufacturers.(1)
If the manufacturer has a Certificate of Analysis (COA) for each ingredient, it means that the raw material is tested by an independent lab and deemed to be contaminant-free. (2)
The product to be certified by a respected third-party quality assurance organization is also another good sign. Look for supplements that are with these quality assurance organizations or their seals. Here are the most common organizations that certify nutritionals.

2. Look for therapeutic dosages

Therapeutic dosage is the minimum amount of a nutrient necessary to provide any real benefit.
With single-ingredient supplements, the amount contained in a serving should be clearly stated on the label, whereas in a multi-ingredient supplement such as a multivitamin, different nutrients should be labeled separately. But, supplements, containing several ingredients combined in a proprietary blend and formulas, are required to reveal only the ingredients in the formula and the total amount of all combined ingredients. Look for supplements that contain ingredients that work synergistically (where each ingredient enhances the benefit of the others) and make sure they are developed by knowledgeable researchers that can prove the science behind their synergistic combinations.
For instance, the absorption of turmeric supplements is greatly enhanced by the addition of a compound found in black pepper. 

3. Look for "Other Ingredients" on the label

It is required by law to list all inactive ingredients in supplements.(3)
Some are required to hold the supplement together and allow it to be easily swallowed. But, others are needless and unhealthy additives. Look for an expiration date on the label or the bottom of the bottle.
You may also find other advisory statements on the label such as “free of soy,” “contains shellfish,” or “keep out of reach of children.” While online shopping, be wary of any product that doesn’t have a copy of its full label on its website, listing all active and inactive ingredients. Again some brands discuss (and show) only key ingredients. As a result, you can’t know exactly what is in their product until you have a bottle in your hand.

4. Look for Ingredients Proven to Work

Here are a few reputable third-party sources where you can always go to see if there are any proven benefits for a particular vitamin, mineral, herb, amino acid, or other natural substance:

The above mentioned sites will also help you to be sure of the supplement containing the optimal form of its active ingredient(s). For example, vitamin B12 supplements commonly contain cyanocobalamin which is not well absorbed but produces a small amount of cyanide in the body. The highest quality forms of vitamin B12 are methylcobalamin or adenosylcobalamin.

5. Beware of Private Label Supplements

Nowadays, many marketers who rarely have expertise in nutritional supplements are doing business of supplements as private label brands.  Actually, anyone with a couple grand can buy the rights to market and sell these pre-made formulas with their custom logo on it. Typically these are low quality supplements that the manufacturers are unable to sell so they rely on selling to “hopeful entrepreneurs” looking for an entry. As they certainly have a useful place in the market for small businesses, we would advise caution.
So, how can you tell if the supplements are disreputable private label products? Though it is difficult, there may have some signs to watch out for, such as inclusion of a website that has no phone number or physical address, does not allow guarantee or returns, or makes outlandish claims of cure, relief or industry standing. For instance, a surprising number of brands claim that their supplement is #1 in the market for treating such-and-such a condition. 

6. Cost vs Value

You can pay as much or as little for supplements as you want. But remember, look for a company that puts more money into the research and development (R&D) of safe and effective products, instead of marketing. There are some companies who discuss their R&D on their websites — this is a good sign.
Buying supplements from multi-level marketing companies can be at one extreme or the other. If you are purchasing supplements, make sure that you are buying from a company that solely focuses on supplements, and is not relying on their brand reputation with their other products to sell supplements. Some examples of quality MLM supplement companies would be Usana, Shaklee, and Ariix. Buying from these companies usually comes with a premium price tag, but you can be sure that re-marketing wouldn’t work well if people didn’t get results. Also, you have the opportunity to help those in your community make a living rather than the money going to large marketing corporations.
You will find that most nutritional supplements may be of mediocre quality, some may be worthless (or even dangerous), and only a few will stand out as excellent. 
Also watch out for patented supplements such as cognizin citicholine, a variation of CDP-choline. Their website makes no comparison to standard CDP-choline, but still sell their product for 10x the cost. So it would be important to look at their proof that their innovation is actually far superior to the alternative when looking to get the best deal.
Last note on this topic, is to avoid buying anything from China. As they might be offering supplements for cheap, but more often than not, they try to sell the supplements to other countries that are too contaminated to sell in their own country.

7. Herbal Remedies: Plant extracts vs. Whole Herbs

While buying herbal supplements both standardized extracts and whole herbs have valid positions of argument in favor of them.
Those in favor of standardized extracts point out that it’s impossible to know how effective an herbal remedy is unless it contains standardized active ingredients. An herbal remedy with standardized ingredients contains a specific assayed percentage of what is thought to be the active ingredient in the herb.
On the other hand, traditional herbalists prefer the use of whole herbs, also called full spectrum extracts. An example of a supplement that works very well in it’s full spectrum form is CBD oil. With full spectrum extracts, there is thought to be greater benefit from the synergistic effects of the hundreds of phytonutrients contained in the herb itself.
An important suggestion is, when buying herbal supplements and remedies, buy from a reputable company with a strong background in herbal medicine that takes quality control seriously. In 2015, it was discovered that herbal supplements sold by Walmart, Target, Walgreens, and GNC contained very little of the amount listed on the label.(4)
Besides being worthless, these products were also potentially dangerous, especially to people with allergies.

8. Avoid Supplements that May be Unsafe

While buying herbal supplements both standardized extracts and whole herbs have valid positions of argument in favor of them.
Those in favor of standardized extracts point out that it’s impossible to know how effective an herbal remedy is unless it contains standardized active ingredients. An herbal remedy with standardized ingredients contains a specific assayed percentage of what is thought to be the active ingredient in the herb.
On the other hand, traditional herbalists prefer the use of whole herbs, also called full spectrum extracts. With full spectrum extracts, there is thought to be greater benefit from the synergistic effects of the hundreds of phytonutrients contained in the herb itself.
An important suggestion is, when buying herbal supplements and remedies, buy from a reputable company with a strong background in herbal medicine that takes quality control seriously. In 2015, it was discovered that herbal supplements sold by Walmart, Target, Walgreens, and GNC contained very little of the amount listed on the label.(4)
Besides being worthless, these products were also potentially dangerous, especially to people with allergies.

9. Company Reputation

This is the most important consideration of all.
While making a buying decision, look for what others are saying, but be cautious and critical. A good way to know what customers think of a product is to check out social media sites like Facebook, retail outlets like Amazon, or health forums. Observe the recommendations and reviews you see are not legitimate. However, unfortunately, it is often seen that positive reviews can be bought on Facebook and Amazon. Are the reviews and comments from verified customers of the product? (Look for the Verified Purchase label.) So, be prudent while judging the comments.
Do a Google search and just skim through the results. If you have reason to be suspicious, search for “class action suit” and the name of the company or the supplement in question. Currently, a search for “Procera AVH class action suit” reveals that a class action suit was filed against this popular brain supplement for making false claims. (7)

Also check out the company website and look for

  • Professional impression of the website.
  • Read the “about us” page to know their credentials. Are there any scientists, herbalists, doctors, or researchers on board? Is there a physical location listed? There should be.
  • Check out the customer service options.
  • What is the guarantee system?

 

  • GMP production facility, R&D department, or Certificate of Analysis.

 

  • Mission statement or a written commitment to customers.

10. Look at the Independent Lab Results

Last of all, you can use independent research labs to do much of your due diligence for you. Labdoor.com buys popular brand supplements off the shelf and then sends them to an FDA-registered laboratory for analysis. Each supplement is tested for label accuracy, product purity, nutritional value, ingredient safety, and projected efficacy.
Just create an account and access their reports for free. Labdoor.com lets you sort their results by both “highest quality” and “best value” — a nice feature that calculates cost per serving for you.

Conclusion

Just by doing some homework and using a little common sense, you can turn the time you spend into a boon for your health and wallet. The above 10 points will help you to tell if the supplements are quality. Keeping that in mind, we have good news for you. We recommend you “THRIIV”  the strongest cognitive enhancement supplement which meets all the above 10 points evaluation checklist. You can learn more about how THRIIV compares to similar supplements here.