One of the dangers of buying supplements online is that some might be fake or unsafe. Lack of FDA regulations continues to create a room for deceptive products. That means you’re always a prey of supplements frauds that can risk your health or cause death.
But that doesn’t mean buying supplements safely online is a bad idea. You’re more likely to find better prices, variety, and credible brands. The digital world can help you find the right supplements if you know how to navigate it. Here is how to buy supplements online for beginners.
Be Clear on What You Need
With the many types of supplements available, it can be tricky choosing the right one. Most medical professionals recommend seeking a doctor’s advice before buying vitamins and supplements.
Let the doctor do a blood test or assess your health and nutritional status. Based on your diet, age, or health, the doctor can tell the ingredients suitable for your health.
For instance, for tiredness, or muscle aches, doctors may suggest Vitamin D supplements. For better heart health, you may need to take omega-3 supplements.
The point is everyone has unique health problems. The suggested benefits in popular supplement brands may not suit your needs. A doctor can save you money, time, and help you buy supplements safely.
Use Credible Research Sources
Buying supplements online means you will come across a lot of related information. This can be helpful, but the challenge is verifying the authenticity of any info.
If you want to buy supplements safely, check out these websites, and organizations;
- Office of Dietary Supplements provides information on dietary supplements, ingredients, and safety
- Keep an eye on the latest updates, regulations, or warnings from the Food and Drugs Administration
- The National Library of Medicine Dietary Supplements Labels Database stores ingredient information about over 4000 dietary supplements
- Use MedlinePlus to learn about supplements’ effectiveness, dosage, and drug interactions
Use Online Customer Reviews but Don’t Trust them entirely
Another way to buy supplements safely online is to rely on the reviews of previous customers. 84% of the people who buy online trust reviews as much as friends’ recommendations.
Most customers provide honest and genuine stories about their experiences using certain supplements. These reviews can help you avoid fake or ineffective products.
Some of the best review sites include the supplements review and protein daily. The websites collect reviews from genuine customers and also spotlight the bogus companies.
But use online customer reviews with a lot of caution. Some companies may create self-reviews while planting negative reviews on competitors. Be sure to take your time when trying to spot fake reviews to catch subtle red flags.
Read the Labels
To increase the chances of buying supplements safely, confirm the sellers’ claims on the labels. They should be reasonable, accurate and not exaggerative.
It would be best if the ingredients information is clear and understandable. In short, the labeling should provide proof that the company cares about your safety.
Avoid claims that seem too good to be true and use discernment. The Food and Drug Administration recommends avoiding supplements that claim to treat serious diseases, tackle memory loss or boost sexual performance.
Labels for supplement products should also contain warnings or cautions. That way, you can know whether the supplement suits your requirements and if the brand is honest.
A supplements’ label should also list the ingredients to guide customers. Always read the ingredients carefully because some may use chemical names. For instance, a seller can list vitamin A as beta-carotene. If you’re buying from an online pharmacy, you’re likely to have fewer problems decoding the ingredients.
Unless you’re buying from popular supplements brands, always confirm certifications. Responsible and known third parties certify credible supplements. Because of weak regulations, this can be one surest way of buying supplements safely.
Usually, certification organizations assess the supplement’s standard, quality, potency, purity, and composition. The certified supplement may have a mark of approval from the certification bodies. That way, buyers can be confident their supplement meets industry and health standards.
Check certifications or seals from the following bodies when reviewing types of supplements:
- NSF International
- United States Pharmacopeia (USP)
Buy Popular Supplement Brands
At a market size of $123.28 billion, the supplements industry is truly vast. That means millions of brands selling different types of supplements. In that case, the best way to avoid guesswork is to buy from popular supplement brands.
Popular supplement brands have earned themselves a good reputation. In most cases, they’ll sell genuine supplements to enjoy positive publicity. A famous brand is also likely to be cautious about ingredients that may ruin their name.
Comparison shopping allows you to find the best sellers from your list. Supplement vendors have different practices and policies. You always want to buy from the one who can meet most of your needs.
Compare their websites and see which seller seems professional. Avoid websites that over-promise or lack evidence of medical facts or claims. The websites should also have clear contact information and address.
Avoid Harmful Ingredients
Sometimes supplements may contain dangerous ingredients. Research shows that 23,000 people end up in emergency rooms due to unregulated herbal and nutritional products. Many deaths have also been reported as a result.
The ingredients can be life-threatening if you’ve existing medical conditions. Overconsuming or overdosage can trigger harmful ingredients. Some of the ingredients may also interact with drugs to cause serious complications.
That means you must put a lot of effort into reviewing the seller and the ingredients. Avoid ingredients such as kava, chromium or bitter orange. Look into FDA lists of hazardous supplements that may contain hidden ingredients.
Buy Supplements Safely Online
Shopping online for supplements may be convenient but it may also come with many risks. You’re ever exposed to scams and fake supplements. The only way you can stay safe is to do enough background work before buying.
Use these tips to avoid potential scams and buy supplements safely online. For more tips and tricks, check out our blog.