Supplements or Dietary supplements includes vitamins, minerals, fibers, fatty acids, amino acids, Ayurvedic herbs and digestive enzymes and are available in several forms and in thousands of brands. It could be daunting to choose a supplement. That is why we are sharing 10 tips to help you choose the best supplement.
As per our research around 22% people in India consume supplements in one or the other form. the most commonly consumer supplements in India are Multivitamin, Calcium, Iron, Zinc and Cod Liver Oil. You may require a specific type of supplemental to fulfill your nutritional deficiency on the basis of your metabolic, physiological, pathological and nutritional requirements of the body. Your need could be completely different to any other individual. Therefore one needs to choose the supplement very carefully.
We will address this question on which supplements you need in several other articles in future. In this articles we will list 10 tips to help you choose the best supplement
The Top 10 tips to help you choose the best supplement
- Made in a GMP or Pharmaceuticals Grade factory: Do buy a supplement that is made in a pharmaceutical grade, FDA approved facility. These facilities adhere to higher quality control from the raw material stage to the finished product. Good manufacturing practices(GMP) are the practices required in order to conform to the guidelines recommended by agencies that control authorization and licensing for manufacture and sale of food, drug products, and active pharmaceutical products. These guidelines provide minimum requirements that a pharmaceutical or a food product manufacturer must meet to assure that the products are of high quality and do not pose any risk to the consumer or public.
- Reputed Brand: Do your research thoroughly to identify reputed brands. Several reputed brands ensure that the products they manufacture are of the highest quality.
- Formulation of Nutrient: Supplements come in several formulations and not all are good or bio-available. Research well and identify best forms of a nutrient. For every type of nutrient you must look for the most bio-available or absorb-able form. As people are price conscious most of the supplement manufacturer will try to sell you cheaper less absorb-able form of nutrients. For example:
|Nutrient||Cheaper- Less Bio-available form||Good Bio-available form|
|Zinc||Zinc Oxide||Zinc Picolinate|
|Calcium||Calcium Carbonate||Calcium Citrate|
|Magnesium||Magnesium Oxide||1. Magnesium Citrate Malate|
2. Magnesium Sulphate [Epsom Salt]
|Vitamin C||Ascorbic Acid||1. Sodium Ascorbate|
2. Liposomal Vitamin C
To make it easier for you to understand the above please keep the following in mind when you are choosing:
- Mineral supplement: Minerals in their elemental form are not readily absorbed by our body therefore most absorb-able mineral formulations come in amino acid or chelated form, so that our body readily absorb them. In the above example Calcium Citrate and Magnesium Citrate Malate are in chelated form of amino acid Citrate or Citrate-Malate.
- Vitamin Supplement: Vitamins supplements are often highly acidic in nature and are quite hard on people with sensitive stomach. Therefore when choosing Vitamin A or Vitamin C supplement always use buffered Vitamins versions. In the above example Sodium Ascorbate is the buffered version of vitamin C. Other form of Buffered Vitamin C are magnesium, calcium and potassium. Buffered version of Vitamins can be taken in larger dosage and are gentler on the body, can be taken without stomach upset and provides a longer term benefit.
- Dosage Level: Nutritional requirement are not same for everyone and it depends on several factors such as: Nutrient requirement depends on several factors such as
- Nutrient deficiency in the body
- Health concerns
- Toxic exposure levels
- Type of food being consumed
- Quality of food intake
Therefore once you have finalized the supplement formulation, identify what will be the optimal dosage for you to achieve requisite benefits. Many a times manufacturer enlist all the right ingredients but they do not list quantity of each ingredient or even if they list quantity of each formulation, they do not specify elemental value. Avoid such supplements as you will never be sure of what you are receiving. for example if you are taking 1250mg of Calcium Carbonate, it means you are getting only 500mg of elemental calcium which is just 40% of the actual tablet you are consuming.
- Avoid Fillers: Be very careful about what you are buying, you might end up buying a supplement with unnecessary fillers like Cellulose. Cellulose is a filler and has no therapeutic value so if you see it, be sure what you are buying.
- Avoid Allergens: Most of the people are allergic to things like wheat, soy, gluten, casein and many other things, however they are not aware of their allergy issues. If your supplement carries such allergens, chances of lower absorption are quite likely. Therefore ensure that manufacturer of your supplements certifies that it is FREE OF common allergens and are made in facility that does not process such allergens.
- Free of Heavy Metal: In some Supplements such as Cod Liver Oil, fish oil, herbal supplements and ayurvedic supplements heavy metals are quite frequently found. Therefore ensure that your supplement manufacturer certifies that it is free of heavy metals.
- Expiration Dates: Be sure about expiration date of the supplement you are choosing for yourself. Some supplements (such as minerals like Calcium) lasts longer and have long expiry dates. Therefore for such supplements you can buy larger quantity and keep it for long. However Vitamins does not last longer and therefore always choose smaller quantity for it.
- Avoid artificial flavours, colours, preservatives: Always avoid supplements with artificial flavours, colour, preservatives etc.
- Form of supplement: Always check the form of supplement. If you are buying for a kid, you might have to go for liquid or powder supplement so that they can easily swallow. Sometimes supplements are too big to consume, in such cases you better buy a smaller quantity tablet or capsule.