Dietary SupplementsGeneral

10 Errors in Supplement Shopping and How to Avoid Them

A guy shopping for supplements

Did you know that almost 60 percent of adults over 20 use supplements? They can add a lot of nutrition to your diet, but they can also wreak havoc.

When you’re not purchasing the proper supplements, it can do a lot of different things to your body. Sometimes, the supplement simply won’t work, but other times it can lead to negative side effects. Either way, you’re wasting time and money.

Luckily, we’re here to help you learn to avoid these mistakes. Read on to learn 10 errors in supplement shopping and how you can avoid them.

1. Buying the Cheapest

In a lot of cases, you get what you pay for. It’s tempting to grab discount supplements off the shelves or to purchase whatever’s on clearance when you’re shopping online, but this can actually cause a lot of harm.

You might think supplements cost a lot, but you’re paying for quality ingredients to help your health rather than hinder it. It’s important to research the products you’re looking to purchase before making your final decision.

2. Not Reading the Label

There are a few things you can look for to learn more about the supplement you’re purchasing.

First, a USP label means the organization has verified the product, and that there aren’t going to be any substances like heavy metal or microbes inside to contaminate it. These labels can be hard to come by, however, so the next best thing you can do is search for supplements created in the United States.

A lot of products contain synthetic ingredients that work to keep the cost cheap, but they also keep the quality low. They’re designed to mimic the real thing, but your body can tell the difference. Some countries will use these products over whole ingredients, and it can be hard to tell.

With the guidelines the US has in place, purchasing domestically is going to likely be your safest bet. That doesn’t mean contaminants and synthetics aren’t present, though, which is why it’s important to read the label before purchasing.

3. Failing to Speak With Your Doctor

Before you buy dietary supplements, it’s a great idea to reach out to your doctor for a blood test. It’s going to help you learn what your current vitamin and hormone levels are, and it can even help you avoid complications from vitamin toxicity.

From there, your doctor is going to be able to help you choose the supplements that are right for you, and they might even be able to recommend specific brands that work with your diet and lifestyle.

4. Purchasing From Sketchy Websites

Purchasing from sketchy websites is always a bad idea, but it’s especially bad when it comes to your supplements. Not only can they include some of the sketchy ingredients we talked about earlier, but they can also pose as a different company and you’d never even know it.

It’s important to ensure you’re purchasing only from a reputable online supplement store, like Wilson Supplements.

An easy way to search out reputable supplement websites is by looking for a “contact us” section and checking their customer reviews. If you can find honest reviews and an easy way to get in touch with the company, then they’re usually trustworthy.

If they prove difficult to contact, however, it’s best to just move on.

5. Poor Sourcing

Before you purchase any supplements, it’s a good idea to check out where they’re sourced from. If you’re on a website and you’re having trouble finding their sourcing information, that could point to them having something to hide.

Ideally, you’re going to look for organic and ethically-harvested products. They might also have their quality assurance measures posted along with purity tests and equipment cleaning measures.

Not every website is going to be this thorough, but if you find a company that is, then you’ll find that you can trust them and their product.

6. Misunderstanding Interactions

You might not know it, but some supplements can interact with the foods you consume, other supplements, or even medications you’re taking. That’s why speaking with your physician and asking questions is so important.

It’s as simple as asking about the potential interactions you could be facing before you leave your appointment. If you choose to ignore this step, you take a chance at risking your overall health.

It’s easy to look at the positive changes that supplements can bring to your life, but it’s important to also look at the side effects they can cause. Here are a few questions you can ask your physician:

  • How will these supplements interact with anything else you digest?
  • Will they fit with any lifestyle changes you’d like to make?
  • If you’re vegan or plant-based, do these follow those guidelines?

The point here is to ensure the supplements you choose to take follow your lifestyle, not the one your doctor builds for you. While you should definitely work with the advice they give you (especially if your health depends on it), it’s important to choose supplements that are going to benefit your quality of life instead of making it harder.

7. Not Knowing the Dose

This conversation should start with your doctor. What’s the daily recommended intake for each of the supplements they’re recommending? This answer can change with age, which is why it’s important to know the amount that you need, not what the bottle says.

As you start researching, it’s important to note how big of a dose comes in each caplet. It’s important to not go over your daily recommended intake, and some supplements can make that easy to do. In some cases, you’ll find that a pill cutter is sufficient to help you take your recommended dose.

Remember, though, too much of a certain supplement can have an impact on your overall health.

8. Choosing Based on Price

We touched on why purchasing the cheapest supplements can be problematic, but it’s also a bad idea to pick your supplement based on its overall price. A lot of the time, the most expensive isn’t going to necessarily mean the best product.

To be safe, you should conduct thorough research on all the other elements in this list alongside the price for each of your supplements. You might find that a supplement priced somewhere in the middle range is more effective than one that’s expensive and comes with unnecessary luxury.

Now, if you want the most expensive supplement because you like the packaging and it meets your needs, then you should definitely go for it. In some cases, if you’re forgetful about taking your supplements, small things like enjoying picking up the bottle can make you remember to take it each morning.

Bottom line: keep the price as a factor, but don’t base your entire purchase around that one thing.

9. Ignoring the Reviews

If you want to learn more about a brand and its supplements, it’s important to turn to online customer reviews. 

You can turn to resources like the Better Business Bureau or Google My Business listings to start and then turn to the manufacturer’s website. These two places don’t allow businesses to post their own reviews, so you’re going to find the most unbiased opinions.

Reading reviews is going to help you learn which brands to avoid, and which to research more. These reviews are usually written by consumers, and you can usually be sure they’re trustworthy. Sometimes brands will pay reviewers to try their product, but those details are going to be disclosed in the reviews.

10. Skipping Comparison Shopping

Once you’ve read a few reviews, you’re going to need to dive into comparison shopping. This step is arguably the most important, as you’re likely to come across a few different companies during your research. Comparing is going to help you narrow down your options, and then select the one that’s best for you.

When you’re comparing, be sure to look for things like their return policy, customer service information, safety standards, and any of the other things we’ve already covered. If you can’t find any of what we’ve covered, then it’s best to just move on.

Don’t Make These Errors in Supplement Shopping

Now that we’ve gone over a few of the most common errors in supplement shopping, it’s time for you to be on the lookout. If you’re shopping online, it can feel difficult to find reputable and trustworthy resources, but it isn’t impossible. Remember to research any company you’re looking to purchase from and ask your physician if you’re worried.

For more on the latest in health and lifestyle, check out the rest of our website.

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