5. Check the color of your capsule or tablet. Are you taking supplements that are bright pink, shocking purple, brilliant blue, neon yellow, or florescent green? Ask yourself, and the company, what makes those so bright? It is more than likely an artificial color or dye. Companies do this to make their pills look more appealing. This is counter-productive when you are purchasing products under the assumption you are putting health supportive ingredients into your body. Your goal is to eliminate harmful chemicals and unnecessary ingredients from your diet. There is no place for FD&C RED #3, FD&C BLUE #1, FD&C Yellow #6, and so on, in a quality supplement! These dyes are toxic substances, so much so that the European Union has placed regulations on labeling products that contain them. So far, the United States does not require this.
6. Read the “other” ingredients at the bottom of the supplement facts panel of any brand you buy or consider buying. These are binders, fillers, and flow agents (which are used to help pills and ingredients move through the filling machines). Some of the most common ones have studies on how they negatively impact your body. The best companies go the extra mile to not use them even though it costs them more time and money to do so.
7. Beware of enteric coatings. Enteric coating is a barrier applied to oral medication and supplements that controls the location in the digestive system where it is absorbed. They may not be necessary, and not all of them are created equal. Again, inquire with any company that uses this. Ask them what they are using, why, and where to find studies on safety and efficacy of the raw material.
8. Notice proprietary blends. Proprietary blends are typically used for a couple of reasons: (1) to prevent the competition from copying their formula exactly, and (2) to hide the fact the formula contains very little of the active ingredients listed on the bottle. Although this does not make proprietary blends a bad thing across the board, they are abused in the supplement industry to make things look more amazing than they actually are. Look at the total mg of the blend, the higher the better. Even though the ingredients in the blend should be listed in order from most to least, you still won’t know the exact amount of each ingredient that you are getting or what you are really paying for. Proprietary blends are best used as an addition to the main formula ingredients as a “supporting cast”.
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