I — and many of my readers — are using dietary supplements. We're not necessarily talking about multivitamin or calcium pills here, but also nootropics, testosterone boosters, and pre-workout supplements.
Many of these supplements are so-called natural — which usually means they're made of herbs. Obviously, many of these are bullshit, with little or no scientifically proven effect — but how can you tell?
In this article, I'll give you some tips for how you can determine which natural supplements hold water, and which are scams.
It's important to be realistic when shopping around. Yes, some ads portray amazing stories, but this doesn't mean that the product really works that well — or that you will see the same level of success.
A good example here is iron. Iron can help prevent anemia – but iron has never been proven to prevent any major diseases. When you're shopping around, do your due diligence and read on third party sites (like Janetfiteness, or the Office of Dietary Supplements (National Institutes of Health).
When reviewing health products here, we do our very best to make sure that the science behind the supplement checks out. We're doing this by referencing peer-reviewed studies, and actually testing the products ourselves.
Read what it says on the tin
Any legit supplement manufacturer will carry a label with the name of the herbs, a complete list of ingredients, serving size, amount and other relevant manufacturer information. If this isn't the case, and the manufacturer isn't disclosing active ingredients, that's a major red flag.
Buy from a trusted manufacturer
I highly recommend that you check out the company behind the product. BBB used to be a good source to check out companies, but now you can actually buy a good rating there, so they've lost their credibility with me. However, make sure that the company discloses their business name and information on the website, and search to see what kind of company they are.
Are they a US registered company? How long have they been in business? What kind of listings are you getting when you're googling their name?
These are questions you should ask yourself before buying.
Buy from the source if possible
I always say that the best place to buy supplements is from the source. It's usually way cheaper than going through third-party sites, and you know you get the real product. If you can't buy it from the source, go through a trusted retailer such as Amazon.
Here at our site we always link to the official manufacturer website unless stated otherwise.
Featured photograph by Dennis Collette, Flickr CC