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Tips on how to identify the quality of a supplement

From generic grocery stores to elite health stores supplements are easily accessible and you can buy basically anything in a pill or powder form. With the vast range of high and low cost supplements on the market, to the unaware eye it is extremely difficult to make an educated decision on what brand to buy and what is of sound quality.

So how do you know what is worth buying? With this in mind, here are a few tips to help you better identify the quality of a supplement to avoid wasting your money and protect your health.

Where should I buy supplements?

Try not to buy grocery and generic store brands. These are usually much cheaper but are of poor quality. Places such as independant health stores or health practitioners usually sell higher quality products.

What ingredients should I avoid?

Avoid brands that contain more than two fillers, binding agents, flow enhancers, colourants, sweeetners or preservatives.

These are explained below:

Fillers: are substances that are included in pill and capsuled supplements that help add bulk to the supplement so that the capsule doesn´t appear half full.

Binding agents: bind all the ingredients together.

Flow enhancers: are used due to the manufacturing process in order to avoid clogging up the machines.

Colourants & sweeteners: help make a supplement look or taste more appealing to a consumer.

Examples of the above include:

  • Cellulose

  • Gelatin

  • Magnesium stearate

  • Stearic acid

  • Carrageenan

  • Silicon dioxide

  • Titaniu dioxide

  • Artificial colours and flavourants

  • Aspartame

  • Acesulfame

It is also best to avoid supplements containing any E-numbers (this should be seen under the ingredients).

What should I look out for on the bottle?

Avoid brands that only show the amounts of the main ingredients and not a full ingredients list. This suggests that there are added extra that may be undesirable to a consumer. It is your right as a consumer to know exactly what you are putting in your mouth.

Always be wary of where the supplements come from. Most countries in the EU are well regulated.

If you are an athlete or competing in any sporting events, you should ALWAYS ensure the supplement is sport checked. Sport checked means that the batch of supplements has been tested by a sport accredited lab for any contaminations, especially those on the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) list of banned substances in sport. This is identified by the appearance of a small logo on the bottle.

Examples of these logos include:

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