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Home / Blog / How to Take Nutritional Supplements Safely and Wisely
How to Take Nutritional Supplements Safely and Wisely
While prescription drugs certainly have their safety issues, nutritional supplements do too. They’re not perfect either. And unfortunately, some of the health claims made aren’t necessarily true. Natural supplements manufacturers get treated like they’re making a food by the FDA, which means they don’t have to show their products are safe or effective before selling them.
So what should you do to make sure you only consume supplements safely?
Follow this list:
Check for An Official Seal Certifying Safety
The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) has a noticeable blue-and-yellow seal it stamps on natural supplements it’s verified for safety. You may also see a seal from NSF International or ConsumerLab.com
Become a Smart Label Reader
Before you get to the ingredients, make sure the label has the name, address, and phone number of the supplement’s manufacturer. Then, you can check the ingredients and the serving size.You should also look for the tolerable upper intake level (UL). This number represents the total amount of that supplement you should get from all sources of food you eat. If you stay below that number, then you’re likely going to easily remain safe.
If the supplement you’re examining doesn’t have a UL, then do your research online (but only from reliable sources). Check research studies published in scientific journals, others on the National Institutes of Health, or other credible organizations. They’ll generally have very similar ranges of maximum doses you should not exceed.
How Realistic Do the Claims Sound?
If a label has claims that sound amazing, they’re probably not true for most people. A small percentage may experience the extreme benefits promised. But most won’t.Avoid labels with incredible claims. Stick with ones that sound realistic and reasonable.
Technically, it’s illegal to make outrageous claims on food labels. However, the FDA sometimes gets overwhelmed with supplements, so they don’t always do a perfect job of regulating their marketing.
Take Your Doctor’s Opinion Into Consideration
Remember, doctors don’t know everything. They’re opinion isn’t necessarily final or perfect. But they may be aware of serious side effects or interactions with prescriptions that you’re not aware of.
So, you’re wise to consider their opinion in your decision-making process. They may also know alternative natural supplements that have lower chances of side effects, while still providing you with the benefits you want.
When you exercise caution and good judgment, you protect yourself against the most serious risks. That way, you can ensure you’ll get the benefits you want, while still retaining control of the decision about your health.