More than half of Americans take an over-the-counter vitamin or dietary supplement, but many may not realize that the quality of these products can vary widely. Since supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration like other medications, not all of them are quality products. When choosing a vitamin or other supplement, independent verification can help ensure quality.
A recent study in the “Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine” found that the amount of actual melatonin in 71% of supplements is off by 10%, which means the labels of many melatonin substances do not accurately reflect the amount of melatonin contained in the pill. . The study also revealed that the amount of melatonin in single pot pills can vary by 465%. This incident illustrates the value of verification, which confirms that what is on the label is what is in the bottle.
Quality measuresHere are some of the characteristics to consider when evaluating the quality of a dietary supplement:
• Positive identification: Some products on the market do not contain the ingredients listed on the label. Independent third-party testing can confirm that what’s on the label is in the bottle.
• Potency: It is crucial that the ingredients are present in sufficient quantity. Too little may have no effect on your health, while too much may be harmful.
• Purity: Undesirable ingredients can have a negative effect on health. Examples may include heavy metals, mold or mildew, and chemicals from pesticides.
• Performance: A pill or tablet must dissolve properly, otherwise the ingredients cannot be absorbed by the body. In this case, it is more likely to pass through your system without any effect on your health.
Another example is saw palmetto extract, a supplement commonly used to support prostate health and help reduce frequent urination. Studies indicate that not all saw palmetto products are the same. Differences in purity, potency, and quality among the various saw palmetto products available are thought to affect the usefulness of these supplements.
“As with any supplement, a consumer should look for the most reliable option,” said Ed Wyszumiala, manager of the dietary supplement verification program at the US Pharmacopeia (USP). “Only consistent, quality saw palmetto extracts have been shown to be effective based on clinical research. Therefore, consumers looking for a quality dietary supplement can feel confident choosing products with verification by a third parties, such as Flomentum, the only saw palmetto extract supplement that has been independently verified by the USP.
How to incorporate supplements into a healthy daily routine
Following a few simple guidelines can make it easier to include supplements in your daily routine.
1. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any supplements, as they may interact with your prescription medications.
2. Check with the manufacturer to make sure it’s a reputable company that adheres to good manufacturing practices and doesn’t seem to get frequent consumer complaints.
3. Avoid companies that make questionable claims about curing disease and do your research on the science behind the products.
4. Follow label directions carefully to take the supplement exactly as intended.
Independent third-party testing can confirm that what’s on the label is in the bottle.