If you’ve landed here, you’re probably entering the convoluted world of supplement shopping. Why the heck is it so overwhelming? Well, for starters, the FDA does not regulate dietary supplements, so there are countless products to choose from.
Plus, under U.S. law, dietary supplements cannot claim to treat or cure disease, and any health claims must be backed by strong scientific evidence demonstrating a link between a specific condition and a food substance.
That’s why it’s super important to do your research and practice careful label reading.
Also, before you plummet further down that consumer rabbit hole, we’ve got some essential tips. So, grab your glasses because we’re going to learn…
How to Read Supplement Labels
The Supplement Facts Panel
Think of this as your nutritional roadmap. It will help you know what’s inside the supplement and how it aligns with your health goals. The supplement facts label provides important info regarding the ingredients, serving size, number of servings, and nutritional value of the supplement. You’ll also see what type of supplement it is, i.e., capsules, tablets, chewables. Plus, the label features the Percent of Daily Value. This is based on the estimated needs of someone who’s on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Keep in mind that ingredients are listed in order of predominance, with those that are present in the highest amounts listed first. What are the active ingredients, and equally important, are there unnecessary additives, sweeteners, preservatives, and fillers in the formula? Some additives are commonly used to increase the shelf life, help bind ingredients, or improve the consistency of the product. Best practice suggests you avoid supplements that contain a long list of additives.
According to Healthline.com, to ensure you’re getting a high-quality supplement, look for products that provide a certificate of analysis (COA), have undergone third-party testing, and are certified by organizations like USP or NSF International.
This is where things can get confusing, as some terms are used interchangeably. According to the FDA, “natural” and “all-natural” refer to formulas with no artificial ingredients. These terms are not strictly enforced, so you must do your due diligence and check for synthetic sweeteners, flavors, and colors. Certified organic products typically have a green seal with the USDA logo on the packaging. Other products may also be GMO-free or non-GMO, meaning that they’re produced sans genetically modified ingredients. Those with any allergies should be extra careful readers. Food allergens that are required to be disclosed include dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, soy, wheat, and peanuts.
According to CNET, the FDA does not require expiration dates on supplements but does require that if one is listed, it be supported by specific data. However, they have not yet defined what data is required, and as a result, many supplement labels will not include an expiration date. If you do see an expiration date on a supplement label, this is the date through which the manufacturer warrants the rest of the label to be accurate. In other words, the supplement's effectiveness is not guaranteed after expiration.
Supplements aren’t cheap, so it’s essential to make wise choices. There may be some trial and error to find what works best for you. Not only is Zenwise a transparent company, but we also have a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all our products. For more commonsense info, head to our guide for finding the best gut health supplement.
At Zenwise, we pride ourselves on providing effective formulations that address multiple digestive health needs. In fact, we are the only top 25 digestive health company to offer a supplement, Digestive Enzymes, that combines probiotics, prebiotics, and enzymes in one easy-to-swallow capsule.
We don’t stop there; this and other formulations include natural herbal ingredients to support digestive health and target common gut upsets, such as gas, bloating, and occasional indigestion.
Have more questions about digestive health supplementation? Our Customer Service Team can’t wait to help! We’re available to answer your questions seven days a week at email@example.com or M-F from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (800) 940-1972.