Here’s the good news: “You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a high quality supplement, you just have to be a savvy consumer,” says Paula Gardiner, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of family medicine at Boston University Medical Center. A few expert tips:
Do your research: Visit consumerlab.com, and search for the brand or general type you’re looking to buy. “This site conducts independent testing on supplements and tests them for efficacy and quality,” says Rakel.
Look for quality seals on the label: The USP (US Pharmacopeia) seal and the NSF (NSF International) seal mean that the supplement has gone through independent, third party testing, is safe and contains what it claims. “Anything with either of these seals means it’s a high quality product,” says Gardiner.
Consider “whole food” supplements: “When you eat real food, hundreds of chemicals are working synergistically together,” says Gardiner. These supplements try to mimic that effect as closely as possible with a more concentrated formula, rather than just providing the specific vitamin or compound. Are they more effective? The research isn’t there yet, but some experts are hopeful: “They’re put together with more of a natural balance, so I recommend them to patients, ” says Nancy Lonsdorf, M.D., an Ayurvedic doctor and author of “The Ageless Woman: Natural Health and Beauty After Forty with Maharishi Ayurveda.”
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