Nearly 80% of all Americans are now taking dietary supplements. Not every supplement available online is safe, though. Before you start buying health supplements online, it pays to do your research.
Otherwise, you could buy products full of harmful fillers. Instead of accomplishing your health goals, these supplements could do more harm than good.
Here are the seven tips you need to shop safely online. These tips on buying supplements online safely for beginners can help you avoid a scam. Instead, you can find the supplements you need to improve your long-term health.
Don’t become the victim of an online scam! Become a savvy shopper with these easy tips today.
1. Schedule a Doctor’s Appointment
Don’t rush to start buying health supplements online without scheduling an appointment with your doctor first. Otherwise, you might start taking supplements you don’t need. Different types of supplements can interact with the medications you’re taking, too.
Instead, schedule an appointment with a doctor or dietitian. Ask them for a blood test to search for any vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Your doctor will help you determine what supplements you need to add to your routine.
Let your doctor know about any symptoms you’ve started experiencing, too.
For example, have you started feeling sluggish lately? It’s possible you’re suffering from a vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Are you at-risk for a serious medical condition? Your doctor might recommend a specific regimen based on your lifestyle.
Track everything you eat and drink during the week before your appointment. It’s possible your diet is impacting your overall health, too. For example, vegans and vegetarians are usually deficient in vitamin B-12.
Talk to your doctor about your diet, routine, and family history. They’ll help you determine the vitamins and minerals you need.
Talk to your doctor about any medications you’re currently taking, too. Will your medication interact with any of the supplements on your list? You don’t want to start taking supplements that will have a negative impact on your long-term health.
For example, you shouldn’t pair a blood thinner with vitamin K. Having too much vitamin K could cause your blood to clot.
Do you have surgery coming up? Avoid adding omega-3 fatty acids to your supplement plan. Otherwise, your risk of bleeding could increase.
Your diet could cause conflicts with certain supplements, too. For example, you shouldn’t take iron with milk. Otherwise, the calcium in the milk could cause an interaction.
During your appointment, don’t hesitate to ask questions. The information you glean from your doctor can help while you’re buying health supplements online.
For example, what side effects should you anticipate from each supplement? How much of each supplement do you need daily? How often should you take each supplement on your list?
Can the doctor recommend any good online supplement stores?
Asking these questions now can help you avoid problems in the future.
2. Read the Product Labels
Once you’ve visited the doctor, you can start researching different types of supplements online.
As you come across different online supplement stores, do your due diligence. Start by reading the labels on products.
Avoid any products that make outlandish marketing promises. If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Instead, stick to the facts.
Look for products that have certifications from:
- United States Pharmacopeia (USP)
- NSF International
These certifications indicate the product was made using proper manufacturing standards.
Look for the name of each supplement on the label. Make sure the name of the product matches your doctor’s recommendation. How much of that nutrient is within the supplement?
Does it meet your daily recommended intake (DRI)? You can learn how to determine the proper dosage for tianeptine here.
Then, look for a complete list of ingredients. Check the product for an expiration date, too.
3. Research the Brand
As you explore different online supplement stores, pay attention to the brands available. Some brands have existed longer than others. It’s important to choose brands that already have a strong reputation.
You can check the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. There, you can learn more about each brand. Look for any recall alerts and warnings from the FDA, too.
Avoid any brands that have a lot of recalls.
Check the USP website as well. They have a list of participating supplement companies you can choose from.
4. Identify Reputable Websites
Before buying health supplements online, take a look at the website. You can recognize scams from reputable companies based on the site.
For example, do you see “HTTPS” in front of the domain name? Only make purchases on websites that have SSL certificates. Only websites with “HTTPS” are safe to buy from.
Otherwise, someone could steal your private information.
Does the website make outlandish “cure-all” claims? Avoid companies that fail to remain upfront and honest with their customers.
5. Read Customer Reviews
You can learn more about different online supplement stores by reading reviews from consumers just like you. Check out the website’s Better Business Bureau and Google My Business listing. You can also check Protein Daily and Supplement Reviews.
Read a handful of reviews for each brand on your list. Reading these reviews can help you avoid potential scams.
6. Comparison Shop
As you start narrowing down your options, take the time to comparison shop. Don’t make your decision solely on prices alone. Instead, make sure to choose brands you can trust.
Does the company offer a return policy? Do they follow safety standards? Can you contact someone if you have questions?
If not, scratch that company off your list.
7. Know What to Avoid
As you read the labels on products, take a moment to look at the ingredients. Avoid products that contain bitter orange, kava, or chromium. These dangerous ingredients could impact your long-term health.
Check the FDA’s tainted products list. This directory can help you determine which products to avoid.
Buying Health Supplements Online: 7 Tips for Smarter Shopping
Don’t rush to start buying health supplements online. Instead, use these seven tips to narrow down your options. With these tips, you can avoid scams or potentially dangerous products.
Start searching for the different types of supplements you need using these tips today.
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