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How can you tell if a supplement brand is good one?

Discussion in 'Drug and supplement treatments' started by Sasha, Apr 1, 2024.

  1. Sasha

    Sasha Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    There are some scary studies on how supplements often don't contain any of the main ingredient listed on the label - or worse, are adulterated with harmful stuff, including nasty drugs.

    How can we tell which brands or products we can trust? I need to buy a supplement and the online marketplace is full of brands I've never heard of.
     
    alktipping, Nellie, Kitty and 2 others like this.
  2. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    A very good question! If you're in the UK Solgar is a trusted brand, every health food shop i ever been in in last 40 yrs has recommended them as pure & quality ingredients. Not cheap though (lol perhaps that the reason they recommend them!!)
    But i would love to know how you can assess it properly. They really should be regulated better.
     
    EzzieD, Wits_End, alktipping and 3 others like this.
  3. Jaybee00

    Jaybee00 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  4. Sasha

    Sasha Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I've often used Solgar on the basis that they're in health food shops in the UK but of course that just means I've trusted that the shops have some mechanism for knowing that Solgar is good, and as you say, it would be great to know on what basis the shops would be trying to do that!
     
    alktipping and Kitty like this.
  5. Sasha

    Sasha Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This is a bit shocking!

    If the company is providing the samples, what's to stop them sending samples containing genuine stuff while selling dodgy stuff? This seems insane.
     
    Joan Crawford, alktipping and Kitty like this.
  6. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I've often consulted VeryWell, it is useful.

    For major brands it would probably be too much of a business risk to deliberately split production between tested and non-tested batches. I guess there are sometimes compromises made due to supply issues, but it takes a lot of work and a lot of money to build a brand, and companies know how easily a hard-won image can be damaged. I only use a couple of supplements, but I stick to major European brands and rely on that potential for reputational harm to be as sure as I can that they're roughly what they say they are!
     
  7. Sasha

    Sasha Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This is what I find I often rely on but lately I've been looking for things that the big brands aren't producing, and so I don't have that shortcut.
     
  8. shak8

    shak8 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Location:
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    In the USA, if supplements have the certified USP label, then at least the ingredients should be what the label says and from standard reputable sources (whatever that means these days).

    Mostly that means the major, best-selling brands have the USP designation.

    Here's the USP.org site

    https://www.usp.org/dietary-supplements-herbal-medicines
     
    alktipping, Mij, Kitty and 1 other person like this.
  9. DigitalDrifter

    DigitalDrifter Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    892
    Do you mind me asking what are you using these supplements to treat exactly? Because if it's ME then I'd save your money if I were you.
     
    alktipping and Kitty like this.
  10. Sasha

    Sasha Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    No, it's not ME.
     
    alktipping and Kitty like this.
  11. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Location:
    UK
    B12 deficiency, plus low vitamin D if I don't supplement.

    (I might have the world's best skin type for vitamin D production, but it also means you get sunburn in England in March!)
     
  12. Creekside

    Creekside Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    957
    Easy: take it and see if you get better or worse. Of course, for contaminants such as heavy metals, it can take a long time to tell that damage--possibly irreversible--has been done. So, while this is the most accurate technique for determining whether is a product is good or bad for you, it has some obvious flaws.

    I think sales volume is one way to judge quality. The higher the volume, the more likely for problems to be discovered by someone. Supplements or herbal remedies sold by an independent hole-in-the-wall shop has a much easier time of getting away with poor quality control or blatant adulteration. Low capital investment means they can risk the loss, and shut down and move before the authorities arrive. So, should you trust that small-volume premium brand with great claims of quality (ingredients hand-picked by Nepalese monks!!), or a brand sold at Walmart (lowest bidder)? Maybe a brand with high volume but not known for buying from lowest bidders?

    Ideally, the government would do random testing (from store shelves or mail order) and provide a web site with the results.
     
    alktipping likes this.
  13. Sasha

    Sasha Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    3,778
    Location:
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    Apparently some adulterated supplements contain drugs that will make people feel tons better (euphoric, even) while being terribly dangerous.

    As you say!

    I think sales volume is one way to judge quality... Low capital investment means they can risk the loss[/quote]

    This is a thing that stops me buying from small providers.

    You'd think that governments would shut down companies and jail directors who sell adulterated stuff but fines can be tiny compared with profits, apparently...
     
    alktipping likes this.
  14. Tia

    Tia Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I find the Better You vitamin D spray is good in case that's what you're looking for. No way of measuring that but seems to help. Other than that, I don't take anything.

    I know from past experience that it's quite difficult to work out what brands are good because the big brands will spend a lot of money persuading naturopaths, nutritionists etc. that they are good. I think some of them even offer financial incentives to practitioners.
     
  15. Arnie Pye

    Arnie Pye Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I don't have any proof but I've often bought Swanson supplements and found them to be good.
     
  16. Sasha

    Sasha Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thanks, folks. What I'm picking up is that we don't know of any good regulatory control here!
     
    alktipping and Trish like this.
  17. Creekside

    Creekside Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    957
    I haven't had any complaints about Swanson brand either, but that doesn't mean that they didn't have heavy metals, rat poop, or whatever else. I don't worry too much about it, since I haven't taken any supplements in quantities large enough to make a difference. Since most of my experiments showed no beneficial effect after a week or so, I didn't continue taking them.

    I expect some people suffer worse health harm by worrying about contamination than from actual contamination.
     

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