As of 2020, research shows that 73% of adults in the United States are taking some dietary supplements. They are extremely popular, and many people believe they can make a real difference. However, do you really know what’s inside these little pills?
The slogans “natural” and “organic” on the supplements’ labels might be misleading. They encourage customers to buy the products by assuring their richness in vitamins and minerals. However, even though the tags propose health, plenty of those can still cause side effects and even lead to severe health problems. So, before you pop your next set of vitamins, look beneath the surface to see what your products truly contain.
What Are Natural Supplements?
To start, you need to understand what natural supplements are. You need to know the difference between a natural supplement and a synthetic one and know why you should choose the former.
Natural supplements aim to provide you with the nutrients that you should naturally get from your diet. However, they should not replace the nutritious ingredients you are eating but rather support the variety of whole foods you ingest. These are vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibers, and oils that you usually find in different components of your meals, so the source of a supplement’s ingredients should always be food-based or herb-based. Thus, their labels should be short and closer to what you eat for breakfast rather than to the periodic table.
Synthetic supplements, on the other hand, are full of chemicals and artificial ingredients. Most healthy people, in fact, don’t need them. The biggest issue with synthetic supplements is that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does not fully control what can be found in those little, artificially colored pills, so they may contain more ingredients than are listed. Consequently, you might not even know that you are taking substances that, instead of supporting your health are contributing to your problems.
How to Be Sure of What I Am Buying?
Before buying any dietary supplement, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They can determine if the herbs that you find in a given product are really the ones that can improve your health. Moreover, remember that some products can’t be combined, so be sure to ask if the herb in your chosen supplement interferes with the medications you take.
Furthermore, you should always read reviews of the products you want to buy and check if their source is reliable. For example, if you’re going to take a natural probiotic with weight loss in mind, conduct proper research first. Then, if you find the one that consists of natural ingredients, check how it has impacted other people. For instance, you can read Provitalize reviews and check if you want to influence your body in the same way as reported by others.
How to Read Labels?
Most importantly, always check the label of a product you buy. The list of ingredients should be free of any additives that contribute to the preservation, texture, color, or taste of a pill rather than your health. For instance, beware of substances like titanium dioxide that are used to make the pills white. Artificial colors in your vitamins don’t make you any better and can even be cancerogenic.
Ideally, you should look for single-ingredient supplements. Always choose the supplement that is not filled with any additional substances that can actually decrease the supplement’s effectiveness instead of improving your health. For example, if you want to supplement yourself with magnesium, look for a product that contains only magnesium, not other fillers that aren’t necessary.
While reading the labels, always look for whole foods. It means that if you want to supplement yourself with vitamin C, your product should contain powdered fruits, not the sheer “vitamin C.” If you don’t see any foods on the label, your supplement is probably synthetic. And the same goes for herbs – if you take pills that are meant to be herb-based, identify the herb’s name in the ingredients list in the first place.
Taking natural supplements might be beneficial, but you need to be aware of what’s just on the surface. Make sure to carefully check the information listed on the label and know what you’re really taking. Always check the side effects of any product you buy and ensure that it’s safe for you.
Remember that the most beneficial natural supplements can be found in foods by following a healthy diet. If your recent blood test shows that you lack a specific nutrient, enrich your meals with foods that gives you the daily dose; decide on supplements only when a doctor or dietician recommends it. It’s always safer, as it ensures your safety and the desired results. Never replace a balanced diet with supplementation, and be a conscious consumer that knows what the word “natural” written on the label actually means.
Have more questions! Let me help you! With my Master’s in Nutrition, I’ve studied all sorts of supplements and herbs and take many myself! I can help you come up with a plan that will be most beneficial for you – so contact me today!