When done right, nutritional supplements can dramatically impact your health and quality of life, even if you’re already dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s when it comes to your diet. That’s because, while a diet rich in whole foods should provide you with all the nutrients you need, there’s a whole host of modern-day environmental and lifestyle issues that prevent that from happening.
Factors such as current commercial agriculture techniques leave soil deficient in important minerals, causing the food grown in this soil to share the same mineral deficiencies. Also, many foods are shipped long distances and are stored for long periods of time, both of which cause the depletion of vitamins in these foods, including the important B-complex and C vitamins. Furthermore, many fruits and veggies are genetically bred to improve visual appeal and crop yields, not nutritional value. And lastly, increasing levels of environmental pollution in our air, water, and food cause our bodies to use more nutrients than normal to detoxify and eliminate harmful substances. This is especially true of the antioxidant vitamins, some of which include vitamins A, C, and E.
So how do you pick a supplement? Here are five simple steps you should follow next time you’re at your local health store.
- Read the label. This is the first thing you should do. The label is an important source of information, as it will give you an idea of the quality of the supplement.
- Look for certification. Check for USP (United States Pharmacopeia) certification, and under that, look for GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certification. These indicate the strength, purity, and potency of the product, and how it will dissolve in your body. USP and GMP-certified products meet the FDA regulations for dietary supplements, which indicates they’re tested for consistency between each bottle.
- Check the price tag. USP and GMP certifications cost companies money, so not every supplement company invests in third-party certification. Do yourself a solid and spend a little more on your supplements.
- No more than five. Review the ingredients to make sure there aren’t more than five (with recognizable names – you shouldn’t have to use a dictionary to look them up). Some multi-vitamins list as many as 20 added ingredients from sugar to bad oils – it’s a lot of what you don’t need and far too little of what you do.
- Check for possible allergens. A high-quality supplement will list what allergens it is free from on the bottle. When purchasing a vitamin, look for those that don’t contain soy, wheat, corn, or dairy. These items are highly toxic and can cause systemic and gut inflammation, which blocks the absorption of any nutrients in the vitamin.
It’s important that you choose high-quality supplements, so do your research. Quality ingredients, efficacious doses, and even company integrity go a long way when it comes to the stuff you put in your body. At ClubSport, we carry Designs for Health products, a trusted source for research-backed nutritional products of superior quality designed by healthcare professionals.
Before you go out shopping for supplements next time, speak to your local ClubSport nutrition coach and use our nutritional infographic below. Each supplement listed below can be purchased online or may be available for purchase in your club’s pro shop or spa boutique.