Consumer Smarts - How to find the best nutritional supplements
I’m frequently amazed by the questions I get about nutritional supplements. Some of them are dazzlingly complex, causing me to haul out a reference book before I can answer. Others are… well, they are the kind of questions people feel silly asking-the ones everyone wants to know but doesn’t want to ask.
Without good information, it’s hard to know which products have teeth and which ones fall short. Here are some things to look for when choosing nutritional supplements…and some things to look out for.
Look Out For:
Outlandish Claims. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A good recent example of this relates to companies marketing products for sexual health. While you can support healthy sexual function (very successfully, in fact), there is NO product scientifically proven to increase penis size. Genetically, you are who you are, and no supplement is going to change that. What certain nutritional supplements can do is help increase the amount of blood flow to the penis, creating a fuller, stronger and longer-lasting erection, allowing you and your partner to enjoy a more satisfying sex life. But no "structural" changes, folks.
Misrepresentations. Dietary supplements are NOT prescription drugs and must be clearly labeled as dietary supplements. All supplement advertising is also required to carry the phrase, "These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease." Drugs and dietary supplements are governed very differently, and should not be treated as if they’re interchangeable.
Overpromises. Watch out for the phrase, "100% safe." While most supplement ingredients are safe when used as directed, nothing is 100% safe for 100% of the population. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist before trying a new type of supplement, especially if you have pre-existing health concerns. An ethical company will encourage you to work with, not around or against, your doctor.
Product ingredient lists and levels. Companies are legally required to display all ingredient information for any nutritional supplement. Products without ingredient lists can range from ineffective to dangerous…simply because we don’t know what on earth they contain. If a company won’t tell you clearly, don’t use their product.
Research or scientific backup. Never take an herb or other supplement just because it’s trendy. Nutritional supplements should be based on sound scientific knowledge and long-term traditional use.
Guarantee. A money-back guarantee is your assurance that you can try a supplement with no risk.
It also shows that the company stands behind their products in every way possible. Some companies imply that they have a guarantee, but do not. Always read the fine print!
Hopefully, knowing a few of these “insider tips” will help you know what questions to ask, and what you can expect in return. With a few tools, we all have the ability to make educated decisions about our own health.
Women's lives are filled to the brim. In addition to taking care of ourselves, many of us take care of families too. Then just when the kids go out on their own, we become responsible for the special needs of aging parents.
So how can we busy women make time for our own health and fitness? Fortunately, it's the type of multi-tasking juggling act that women are especially good at!
The reluctance of men to ask directions on the highway is legendary. We appear to have the same reluctance when it comes to asking directions about our health. Men, in general, are less likely than women to visit the doctor for a regular check-up.
As a medical doctor myself, I know the importance of improving and maintaining your health as you age.