What is the first thing that pops-up in your mind when you hear the words Dietary supplements?
- Health? Nutrition? Fitness? Prevention? Expenses?
And what is the first thing that pops-up in your mind when you hear the word Medicines?
- Doctors, hospitals, pharmacies? Illness and expenses?
So, the conclusion is obvious. While you take medicines only when you are sick, the dietary supplements can be taken for prevention and tonus, or to supplement yourself with missing nutrients.
There are some simple basic tips for you in order to choose smartly the supplements you need. The label is the guide to help you choose. If the label doesn’t give you the full information you need, this is not the quality supplement you are looking for.
Do you know what label information is important for you?
How to read the labels?
Here are 6 important things to have in mind when choosing dietary supplements.
- CALCULATE THE ACTIVITY
- QUALITY CERTIFICATES
- MIND THE PRICE
Do you really need Dietary supplements?
Well, nowadays the food is depleted from quality nutrients (in the general case), we are exposed to stress and pollution more than any other time in human history and so on. But let me spare all these facts you already know and are tired of hearing all the time.
I gladly live in exactly this highly technological era and I am not against this modern way of life. Which does not mean I suggest you to go in the village and grow your own organic food. Like most of the people I like the city and the social life that happens within. I like the 24/7 supermarkets but I choose smartly. And least but not last, I like science and technological progress and I take advantage of all that the Modern world offers. One such thing is the possibility to have some really beneficial dietary supplements on my kitchen shelf (yes, I keep them next to my sugar and salt jars, as I think of the supplements as another type of special food).
Dietary supplements are different types and quality
What makes me angry in this field is how badly informed are most of my friends when talking about dietary supplements – most of them believe all these are just chemistry! It just isn’t the truth.
Dietary supplements can be:
- vitamins (you all know them);
- herbals (completely natural biologically active phytochemicals from plants and herbs);
- minerals (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, etc);
- nutritional additives (protein blends, essential amino acids, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, etc);
- probiotics/prebiotics (beneficial microorganism /bacteria and yeast/ generally for your digestive system, etc); – I may miss some category, but the above are most used.
Quality and Effectiveness
It is clear for everyone that if you want to experience the beneficial effect of the supplementation, you should aim for high quality. There are a few signs that will help you pick up the better dietary supplement.
What you don’t know about Dietary supplements?
Well, there are a lot of things I don’t know either.
But what I do know about their quality is that:
Vitamins are not expensive as these are relatively easy to be produced. That’s why generally speaking there are no cons. But you have to shop smart – check the Activity Units of the vitamins you purchase. E.g. Vitamin D3 is sold in 1000 IU and 10000 IU at the same price. Tip: You need to take the more concentrated one.
Herbals – this is the magic flora of the Nature. When I think about herbs, I imagine sage, forest and … magic. The sage can make a tea (decoction) or tincture to extract the active substances (and probably will cast a spell over it (; ). Nowadays, with the modern technology we can extract the biologically-active phytochemicals in hundreds of times more concentrated extract than the sage’s tea. I personally use a lot of herbal supplements. What I like most is the Ginkgo-Hypericum synergy for better sleep and memory and I confirm it works! Of course, I choose smartly and always prefer a manufacturer that:
- Uses wild-grown herbs (they grow stronger and cleaner than the cultivated ones and the effect is stronger).
- Standardizes the extract to the active substance.
- Declares clearly on the label WHAT is the active substance and how much mg (or %) of it are in the supplement.
- E.g. the active substance that do the magic in the extract from Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s wort) is called hypericin, so I look for supplements that declare on the label how much mg (or %) of hypericin there are per capsule.
- Herbals are more expensive than Vitamins because the manufacturing process is much more complicated. They need to gather the wild herbs from the nature, they need to wait the herbs to dry in shade, to process the herbs so that the concentrated herbal extract is gained, etc. A 1 kg of good herbal extract should be made out of 20-30 kg of DRIED herbs! And the phyto-therapeutic effect is worth it!
Minerals – just today I’ve received some mineral salts. I will let you know my opinion later on.
For nutrition, probiotics and digestive enzymes I will share my observation in another letter.
Regarding Marketing Strategy in the dietary supplements field, I can tell you one thing: Make your own research and choose a good and honest manufacturer brand based on the tips I share with you here.
Dietary supplements or Medicines?
Modern Medicine is one of the greatest achievements of mankind, unquestionable. It actually saves lives. Here, I would like to talk more about dietary supplements as these are a little bit frowned upon. Do not underestimate the power of high quality, properly chosen supplements. Combined with a healthy lifestyle, they can actually prevent you from getting sick. The dietary supplements are unquestionably effective but less regulated so it is up to you to be informed and make the better choice.