Why you should care what’s in your supplements

An view of a bowl of yogurt and fruit from above showing a woman's hand holding Nutrilite supplements from the Women's Pack.

In our quest to find the best, most nutritious foods for ourselves and our families, many shoppers have become more like detectives.

They carefully read ingredient lists, take note of where items were made and, if they are buying from local farmers markets, they often get to know the growers behind the food.

Shouldn’t we be just as curious when it comes to our nutritional supplements? Recent studies have shown that more than half of all adults in the United States are taking one or more nutritional supplements that have not been recommended to them by their doctors.

They’re buying them online or over the counter, trying to make the best decisions they can for their health. But this raises an issue: What do we know about the quality of those supplements?

A scientist's hand holds a Nutrilite supplement bottle and the expiration date is visible on the bottom of it.

Are supplements regulated?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a different oversight structure for supplements than it does for pharmaceuticals.

Unlike drug products that must be proven safe and effective for their intended use before marketing, there are no provisions in the law for the FDA to “approve” dietary supplements for safety or effectiveness before they reach the consumer.

The FDA does set standards for Good Manufacturing Practices, or GMP, for supplement makers to serve as guidelines when it comes to ingredient purity and strength. But dietary supplement manufacturers do not have to get the agency’s approval before producing or selling these products.

Beware of claims too good to be true

Given this less stringent regulation, some supplement labels have broad claims that may not be true or not backed by scientific evidence. Health experts say to watch out for these red flags:

  • Products that claim they can diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases.
  • Supplements advertised as “all natural” but not backed by information about specific ingredients.
  • Any supplement label with claims that sound too good to be true.

A researcher at NSF tests Nutrilite products.

Independent testing

Some supplement companies use independent testing organizations to verify the quality of their ingredients and products, such as U.S. Pharmacopeia and NSF International.

These third-party testers are set up to ensure the supplements were manufactured properly, that they contain the ingredients listed on their labels, and that they do not have harmful levels of contaminants.

Nutritional supplements created by Nutrilite™, the world’s top-selling brand of vitamins and dietary supplements*, carry the blue and white NSF certified seal. Being vetted by the NSF’s independent testing labs means Nutrilite supplements have been through a rigorous process to certify the safety of the products.

Traceability in supplements

Because nutritional supplements are not regulated in the same way medications are, it’s important to learn about the quality standards of the manufacturer. You want to buy from trusted companies that use third-party testing to evaluate their products, and those who have a long history of transparency when it comes to their ingredients.

As consumers, it is important to know where the ingredients in our supplements are coming from. With that information, we can make the best decisions and feel good about the products we are buying for ourselves and our families.

Crews at the Nutrilite certified organic farm in Mexico harvest dried chia for Nutrilite supplements.

Nutrilite practices traceability, transparency

Nutrilite scientists and farmers have a long history of providing traceability for their supplements. They keep in-depth records documenting every step of planting, growing, harvesting and processing for each botanical ingredient used to make their products – from who sowed the seeds on which farm, to when the plants were picked.

“Every one of our botanicals goes through an extensive nine-step traceability process unique to Nutrilite,” Sam Kilgore, manager of Supplier Quality Development at Amway. “We test, re-test and test again to make sure each and every product is safe for you and your family. With all our products, we ensure the presence of good things and the absence of bad things.”

From reading labels to looking for proof of independent testing and traceability, there is a lot that goes into picking the best nutritional supplements for you and your family. Make sure you are selecting products that make you feel confident you’re making the right choice for your nutrition.

To learn more about Nutrilite products, visit amway.com.

*Source: Euromonitor

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