Expert Nutrition

How To Find Quality Supplements

When purchasing a nutritional supplement we suggest you look for quality supplements that are safe and give you the nutrition that you require. For this reason we have developed a checklist of factors that you should consider when buying supplements. You might even like to print this page and discuss the content with whomever you are buying the supplement from to ensure you’re getting a good deal.

Remember nutritional supplements are designed to supplement a healthy diet and not replacement it, so always aim to eat a healthy diet for best results.

What should I be taking?
A quality multivitamin and a good fish oil supplement is generally all you need. If you’re a healthy individual that eats well don’t fall into the trap of buying 10 different vitamin supplements in an attempt to prevent different ailments. Instead look for a quality multivitamin that has everything you need and combine it with a good fish oil (or omega 3).

On the advice of a treating professional if you have a specific pathology extra supplementation may be required. For example if you have joint problems you may take a quality multivitamin + quality fish oil + a glucosamine supplement.

Is the product delivered in a single dose?
More isn’t necessarily better, many people believe that because one brand has more active ingredient than another, it must be the better option. It is important to realise that the body can only absorb so much in a single dose, so big doses quite often mean a lot of waste. It makes more sense then to buy a supplement that you would take 2-3 times a day as there is a better chance of it being absorbed. Also large doses of certain ingredients can lead to toxicity.

Does the supplement contain toxic ingredients?
Not only should we be looking for a quality supplement but also a safe supplement. In particular retinol (vitamin A) and iron can accumulate to toxicity within the body having a negative impact on our health and therefore we should be cautious of supplements that contain these ingredients. Supplements that contain vitamin A should do so in the form of "beta carotene" to eliminate the possibility of toxicity. We personally do not recommend that people take any supplements that contain iron unless specifically recommended by there doctor, refer to the page on iron for more information.

Does the supplement contain beneficial nutrient ratios?
The nutritionally quality of the supplement is always better then the quantity. For example a 1500mg fish oil tablet is not necessarily better than one that is only 1000mg. It's not the size of the capsule that is important but instead the amount of active ingredients (ie the omega 3's EPA + DHA).

Are the nutrient ratios consistent with what the research has told us to be beneficial? For more specific information please follow the links to the chapters on vitamins and minerals.

Are the ingredients provided in the most bioavailable form?
Mineral salts are not as easily absorbed as chelated minerals or minerals bound to an organic carrier. Therefore if you are looking to purchase a mineral supplement, look for mineral ingredients that come in the form of chelated minerals as these are the most accessible to the body and therefore are better quality supplements. The exception is iodine, which is best absorbed in the form of iodised salts.

How are the supplements manufactured?
Companies that use pharmaceutical manufacturing standards will generally manufacture higher quality supplements than those manufactured at the basic food standard which is all that is required by law. Definitely stay clear of any lotions or potions that look as if they were made in the back shed as both the quality and safety may be compromised.

Are the supplements listed in the Physicians Desktop Reference (PDR) or Mims?
The PDR is a book that doctors use when prescribing medications (Mims is the Australian equivalent). Supplements that are found listed these publications meet stringent safety criteria are generally of better quality as there is some research to support their use.

Is the company publicly traded or transparent about their manufacturing processes?
The benefit of purchasing from a publicly traded company is that they are regularly audited and because they are transparent they have nothing to hide. Also anyone in the general public can find out all the information they need about the company including manufacturing standards, where they get there ingredients etc. If the company is not publicly traded, then all of this information remains behind closed doors.

Does the supplement sound like a miracle pill?
If so, don’t waste your money, although there are some high quality nutritional supplements on the market there are no miracle pills so if it sounds too good to be true, it probably will be.

On this page we have only briefly discuss some important criteria that should be considered when looking for a quality supplement. In the coming month’s expert-nutrition will go into more detail on each of these topics, so come back and see us on a regular basis as this site continues to grow and we provide you with quality information you can trust.

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