You can buy diet supplements online at several different websites.
Usually, online supplements stores cost less than regular supplements stores even though you have to pay shipping.
However, knowing whether or not an online supplement store is safe from hackers or if the products will be delivered properly can be worrisome.
Knowing exactly what’s in your supplements is important before you take them.
A law that was made in 1994 by Congress decided that supplements were unlike pharmaceuticals and therefore did not need to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration before hitting the shelves.
On top of that, they do not have to be tested for safety!
Are supplements safe to buy online?
That depends on what you’re worried about when purchasing online. If you’re worried about having your credit card compromised than you need to make sure there’s a secure checkout process.
Many websites use the VeriSign seal, which is a system online stores use to maintain safety for their customers.
Whether or not supplements are actually safe doesn’t so much depend on the online site, but more on the supplement and it’s ingredients. Since the Food and Drug Administration approval is not needed for supplements there are some concerns with the general safety.
Most products have in them what the label indicates. However, there are those occasions when this isn’t true and a product with contaminants slips through the cracks.
What should you know before purchasing supplements?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the Food and Drug Administration regulations are there to ensure customers that herbal supplements will meet certain quality standards. The Food and Drug Administration will also intervene and take dangerous supplements off the shelf.
However, there is no guarantee that certain supplements are safe for everyone. The following are things to keep in mind.
Many supplements, herbal and manufactured, contain active ingredients. These ingredients can have risks that most wouldn’t expect.
For example, if a person is taking prescription medicine and decides to take a supplement alongside the prescription, the side effects could be substantial and life threatening.
The producers and manufacturers of supplements don’t need the Food and Drug Administration approval before putting their product out on shelves. Manufacturers can also claim that their product helps with certain ailments or can produce certain results as long as they have research that supports the claims.
However, they do have to provide a disclaimer that the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t evaluated this claim.
Manufacturers do have to following some safe practices called “good manufacturing practices” or GMPs. This ensures that supplements are produced and processed consistently and also meets quality standards. What this does is to keep harsh contaminants out (lead for example) and also makes sure that good ingredients are included in the right amounts.
The Food and Drug Administration is theoretically responsible for the safety of each supplement that goes on the market. They are definitely responsible for monitoring them.
Once a product is determined to be unsafe the Food and Drug Administration can go after the distributor or manufacturer. The FDA also can remove the products from shelves and issue warnings to consumers.
What information is provided for supplements?
There are requirements for supplements and their labels for consumers. The Food and Drug Administration does insist that manufacturers list certain information on their products.
The name of the supplement must be on the label. Along with this the Food and Drug Administration requires that the name of the manufacturer or distributor along with their address.
There also needs to be a complete list of all ingredients. You’ll usually find this in a facts panel for the supplement. Along with the list of ingredients there needs to be serving size information and amount of ingredients.
What should I do before taking a supplement?
With any supplement it’s important to understand what you’re taking. Do the research and check what’s in the actual supplement. If you don’t understand certain aspects of the label or can’t find information on an ingredient then seek out help.
Checking with your doctor or pharmacist is always a great idea, especially if you have any underlying illnesses or are taking medications. Making sure that any given supplement will not react badly with your body is a huge concern when adding something new.
Along with taking supplements for better health it’s also important to follow a good diet and exercise program.