From a recent survey, it is reported that 63% of Americans take some kind of daily vitamin or supplement. When asked why they started taking them, most responded that they saw some kind of advertisement of the benefits and thought they needed it. Vitamins and supplements can definitely be beneficial in ones diet however, it is important to talk to a health professional or heavily do your research before you decide if and what you should be taking. Just as important it is to make sure you are taking dietary supplements that are right for you, knowing the quality and dosage is just as crucial. Earlier this year the New York State Attorney General accused major retailers of fraudulently labeling several of their supplements. It was also found that some of these stores were not including all of the additives to their supplements on the ingredient list. Such a practice is concerning, especially with many people taking supplements to be sure they are getting all they need from their diets. The world of supplements can seem confusing at first. The shelves at retail shops carrying nutritional products are overloaded with everything from vitamin A to Zinc. Just taking a look at the supplement section feels overwhelming, some stores having numerous aisles of them. Each product has different formulations, with different doses and percentages on the label. If you are considering taking a supplement or are currently taking some, there are some important tips to consider to make sure what you are taking is actually of benefit and not just a waste of your money.

The reputation of the manufacturer, their suppliers, and their record of quality are helpful, but most important is what is actually in the supplement. If you are looking for a particular supplement, make sure to take a look at the ingredients. If you are researching on the Internet, search for things like “most bio available” or “most absorbable form”. Like most things, you get what you pay for. Vitamins can be full of additives and other fillers, which decrease the quality of the vitamin and allows the retailer to sell it for much cheaper. If you see numerous types of a particular supplement on the shelf, typically the higher priced one is going to be better quality.

Do your research. To benefit optimally from a supplement, there’s a specific dosage for a specific person, at specific frequencies and durations.

Choose a supplement based on your research and not just what the label says. The labels are the selling point for the manufacturer; everything will probably sound good to the potential buyer. The FDA does not require a warning label on most supplements so it is important to make sure what you are going to start taking does not interfere with any current medications or conditions you have.
Most importantly, when possible it is always best to get your nutrients from actual food instead of supplement form. When in doubt, seek out health care practitioner that can make the best recommendations for you.

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