SPORTS SUPPLEMENTS ARE POPULAR AMONG GYM USERS. WITH HUNDREDS OF CHOICES OUT THERE, HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR AND WHAT TO AVOID?
Use this checklist to help you choose your supplements wisely:
1. BUY FROM A COMPANY YOU TRUST
A brand that’s been around for a while is likely to have invested in product quality and manufacturing processes. The health claims made on the packaging are currently covered by EU legislation, but there are still plenty of brands that promote ingredients that aren’t approved.
For peace of mind, you can get accurate and balanced information on supplements from the Health and Food Supplements Information Service.
2. BUY FROM RETAILERS YOU TRUST
Reputable retailers have often already done their own independent analysis of supplements, saving you the work. Many also hire specifically-trained associates who can answer any of your questions and help you make decisions over which supplements are right for you.
3. READ REVIEWS AND RATINGS
Who doesn’t love reading other people’s opinions of a product? Take note of any consumer reviews and ratings on the retailer’s or manufacturer’s website to give you some confidence in your decision-making.
Some manufacturers also offer free supplement samples. They may be advertised on their own or the retailer’s website or given away at fitness events, or you can use contact forms on their websites to ask them for a free sample.
4. ARE THERE THIRD-PARTY TRUST LABELS?
To ensure the supplement you’re taking is of high-quality, look for quality-assurance marks on the label, such as THR. These are only given once the product has passed rigorous tests.
If there’s a particular supplement you want to check out, it might be worth looking on Consumer Lab, which lab-tests various supplements. Or, you can even ask the manufacturer to send you a certificate of analysis to confirm the product contains what it says on the label.
5. CAN YOU CONTACT CUSTOMER SERVICE?
A freephone number with real people to speak to is always a good indication that the company has invested in its products. Alternatively, many companies outsource their supplement production, meaning we’re unable to contact them directly, so be on the alert for this.
6. ARE THERE CLINICAL STUDIES?
Wild claims are often made of sports supplements. So look for clinical studies on the label or website to back them up. Alternatively, search on sites such as PubMed.com and Google Scholar, which will give you results to help you properly assess a product.