If you’re looking to boost your health and energy levels, you’ve probably looked online for supplements and supplement information.
But here’s the unfortunate reality: buying supplements isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. Sure, the internet is filled with sites selling different vitamins and minerals, but that doesn’t make them safe or effective.
Supplements get a reputation for being all natural and totally healthy—and for the most part, it’s true—but the kind of supplement you buy, and where you buy it from, matters.
That’s because not all supplements are created equal. In a largely unregulated market, it pays to opt for supplements that meet rigorous testing standards to make sure that you’re actually getting what it says on the bottle. And it’s important that you talk with a doctor in addition to having all of this knowledge in your arsenal before buying supplements online.
Nutrition & Supplementation: Here’s the Scoop
When it comes to vitamins, you probably mostly hear about how vitamin C is good for the common cold, but it’s much more complex than that. In order for your body to not only survive but function, you need multiple vitamins. These include vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12.
According to the National Institutes of Health, most of the vitamins you need should come from the foods you eat. That means that if your diet is not that great, you may not be getting all the vitamins you need, and that can have major consequences.
To start, you’ll want to eat lots of healthy, clean, colorful foods, including:
- Veggies and greens (especially dark greens)
- Oily fish
- Lean meats
According to Elizabeth Ward writing in the Nutrition Journal, the American diet bears little resemblance to what experts recommend for healthy eating—specifically when it comes to getting an array of vitamins and minerals from naturally sourced foods such as fruits, low-fat dairy products, vegetables, and whole grains. She also says that unaddressed micronutrient deficiencies could lead to a more serious medical condition like cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
Eager to eat better? Some of the most vitamin and nutrient-dense food out there includes:
- Sweet potatoes
- Egg yolk
- Dark chocolate
Here’s a list of healthy foods from Harvard Health, along with which vitamins and minerals they provide. It’s worth getting some of these foods into your diet in addition to adding supplements for whatever you may be missing.
The most important thing is that you avoid empty calories and processed foods—foods with tons of added sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, and anything with artificial ingredients like preservatives and colorants.
Are You Getting Enough Vitamins?
Even people who eat well could be at risk for vitamin deficiency. In fact, if you’re living in a cloudy area that rarely gets any sunlight, you may be deficient in vitamin D. If you live with a chronic disease, like celiac disease, or if you have other absorption issues, you may have vitamin deficiencies.
The tricky issue here is that you may not know you’re deficient.
According to Tricia L. Psota, PhD, RDN, nutrient deficiencies can negatively impact a number of crucial operations in your body that include digestion, growth, and many more.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, it’s important that you speak with a doctor or a health and wellness expert within the BodyLogicMD network. You don’t have to live with vitamin deficiency!
Should You Start Taking Supplements—And Are They Safe?
If you have a vitamin deficiency or if you simply want to make sure your body is healthy and strong, you may turn to a supplement. Vitamins are naturally occurring substances found in the foods you eat, while a supplement is created in a lab. They’re not meant to replace your diet, though! You should always eat well first. Supplements are meant to fill in the gaps.
While many supplements are made in a lab, some are from whole foods, which come straight from dehydrated foods, for example. Supplements can range from omega-3 fatty acids (like fish oil) to workout supplements to supplements for joint pain. There are supplements to cover just about every health and wellness need, and they come in plenty of forms: pills, powders, liquids, capsules, and tablets.
Supplemental vitamins are extremely popular, and you may even be tempted to snag several bottles of them for cheap at the drugstore or online. But supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, which means that you’re putting your trust into the manufacturer and the brand.
Supplements aren’t considered drugs, so they aren’t put through the strict safety and effectiveness requirement that the FDA puts drugs through.
In fact, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 did not categorize supplements under drugs but rather as food, putting supplements under different regulations than medicine.
Because supplement sales are so popular (and so potentially risky), the European Commission (EC) has begun moving toward a control on supplements.
Because of this, the kind of supplements you buy—and where you get them—makes all the difference. Sure, budget supplements seem tempting. After all, it seems like a cheap way to care for your health! However, those cheap costs can come at a price.
In 2015, a scary (and illuminating) report in the The New York Times found that many of the most popular, best-selling vitamin brands in several major retailers were using fillers in their products. Some of the products didn’t even contain what the labels promised.
The report noted that four out of five best-selling store brand herbal supplements didn’t even contain one of the herbs that were being touted on the bottle; instead, they were chock full of cheap fillers. Even worse, some of those cheap fillers had the potential to trigger allergic reactions to people sensitive to those ingredients.
According to the American College of Healthcare Sciences, there are some things you should be on the lookout for in your supplements, and they include artificial colors and flavors, hydrogenated oils, lead, mercury, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), talc or magnesium silicate, and titanium dioxide.
When it comes to making a vitamin, there are many steps in the process, according to How Products Are Made, and they do have a quality check. However, many brands provide the green-light on these ingredients, fillers, and additives. That’s why you need to shop for trusted brands who use only the safest and most effective forms of supplements.
Here’s what you need to be cognizant of when purchasing supplements online.
Avoid Budget Supplements, Dubious Retailers, & Products That Make Hefty Claims
You’ll want to refrain from buying supplements that claim to work better than drugs, that claim to cure a disease, that are advertised through mass emails, that are marketed in a foreign language, or that claim they are a legal alliterative to anabolic steroids.
Additionally, stay away from cheap, too-good-to-be-true vitamins when ordering supplements online. Just because it’s a bargain doesn’t make it a steal. In fact, you could be getting a fake supplement or a product that is simply unsafe.
According to Jill Carnahan, MD, online sellers aren’t all trustworthy. Furthermore, products purchased from online retailers aren’t coming straight from the manufacturer. Instead, they just sit in warehouses with zero regard to climate control or even expiration dates. Whatever amount of money you may save ordering supplements online goes right out the window when a product doesn’t work or, worse, actually hurts you and possibly leads to a more serious medical condition.
As Carnahan also mentions, a Forbes article found 25 percent of the marketplace on a leading website included Chinese knockoff vitamins. If you’re already using your money to purchase health products anyway, why wouldn’t you want to spend a little more to make sure that the products you are about to receive will actually work and not harm you?
Shop Professional-Grade Supplements Only
You’ll want to get to know the brand, which should only offer “pharmaceutical-grade” or “professional-grade” supplements.
How does it work for BodyLogicMD? All BodyLogicMD manufacturer partners must abide by the Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations that are enforced by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Our partners pride themselves on creating products that are evidence-based through published, peer-reviewed clinical trials.
BodyLogicMD uses only the highest quality ingredients and only the most potent forms. This way, what you’re getting is both safe and effective. BodyLogicMD supplements are made with superior raw materials—a quality of material sourcing not found in all supplements. Whether you’re looking for nutritional supplements, dietary supplements, health supplements, or something else, BodyLogicMD has what you need.
And if you have any questions, you can always speak with a BodyLogicMD representative or affiliated practitioner. That’s a level of service you can’t expect from just any supplement brand.
The most important thing is that you get medical advice and clearance from your health care provider, and that you work with a practitioner who understands your unique health and wellness needs. Depending on your health or any chronic conditions you may have, certain supplements may not be safe for you or may interfere with medications.
The health and wellness experts within the BodyLogicMD network are here to discuss any supplement-related questions you may have. Your health is important, and that’s why we carry products with the utmost care for effectiveness, safety, and quality.
Dr. Jennifer Landa is Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD and the owner and operator of BodyLogicMD of Orlando. Dr. Landa dedicates her practice to bioidentical hormone therapy, customized nutrition and fitness programs to help women and men resolve menopausal and andropausal symptoms, including weight gain, sexual dysfunction, declining energy levels and stress. As a former gynaecologist, Dr. Landa has always desired to help patients achieve wellness through hormone balance and preventive medicine.