How To Choose The Best Health Supplements For Me?
If you asked yourself this question and wonder How you Can Know whether a Specific Supplement is Good for you and How you can Evaluate the quality of a nutritional Supplement, you are not alone.
When we search for a good health supplement, a multivitamin pill or something to help us with our mental wellness, to help give us more energy, dissolve brainfog, lift our mood, help us to feel calmer, to sleep better or to manage stress, we often are not sure how to know if a supplement before us is good for us or a waste of money.
It is often very hard for a layperson to evaluate the quality of supplements, and there is a lot of conflicting information out there.
This whole website is designed to be a good source of information to help you make a better choice for you, but here are the most important questions that anyone should ask themselves BEFORE spending your hear-earned and scarce money on any vitamin or supplement, especially when the goal is to improve your mental health and brain health, two crucial areas of wellbeing..
Our reviews (coming up) will help to answer some of those questions, but others are a very individual choice and depend on your individual situation.
In this article and the related checklist (click here to download) you will find a list of the questions to ask yourself (or your healthcare provider) before buying dietary supplements.
Answer these questions each time when considering adding a nutritional/food supplement - if the answers are satisfactory, it is most likely a good quality supplement for you at this time in your life.
3 Pro Tips for Starting a New Health Supplement
Tip 1: Start one at a time
Never start several pills/supplement at the same time. If any side effects occur, you won't know which one it was. Wait for at least 3 days before adding the next supplement.
Tip 2: Increase slowly to the final dosage
If you are aiming for a final dosage of 2, 3 or 4 pills daily, start with one pill a day and then slowly work your way up to the final dosage and watch for potential side effects.
Tips 3: Track potential side effects
Download our "Supplement Side Effects Tracking Sheet and Testing Template" to keep track of what you are taking and what you plan to take.
Questions to ask before choosing your best health supplement
- Do you know why you want or need to supplement with this product at this time?
- What is the purpose - why you want to take this supplement - what do you want to achieve with it?
- Is it a reputable brand (regarding additives, impurities and general quality)? (see our list of Top 10 supplement Brands/Websites for Your Country)
- Does this supplement product contain the correct chemical form for your purpose (whether that be absorption into the bloodstream, passage through the blood-brain-barrier or a local effect e.g. on skin or gut)? "Natural" products or products derived from naturally occurring plants or animals are not always better.
- Are there any issues about where the supplement ingredients are sourced (e.g. sustainability, does it harm species that may be soon extinct, does the production negatively impact the environment or humans who aid in production etc)
- Are there any reasons why you shouldn't take this supplement because of your individual situation? (contraindications)
- Are you aware of the potential side effects?
- Does the supplement contain any substances you are allergic to (or that are known to commonly cause allergies or sensitivities)?
- Do you know what dosage would be best for you, given your nutritional and bio-individual needs? (Enough but not too much)
- Are you currently already taking supplements that contain the same or similar ingredients?
- Are you taking medications that could interfere with the supplements or vice versa?
- Do you know when (at which time in the day) you should take this supplement? (Once daily or more often, with or without certain foods, with or without other supplements or medications)?
- Do you know how fast you can expect to see a result?
- Could there be a risk of toxicity?
- Does the product contain fillers or additives that may be harmful (e.g. added sugars or colorants in liquid preparation or gummies for kids)?
- Could there be a risk of long-term harmful side effects?
- Are there possible withdrawal symptoms when stopping this supplement after long-term use?
- is there a risk to take this supplement at certain times in your life (e.g. during childhood, pregnancy or lactation - or as a senior)?
- Is there a risk to taking this supplement when you already have a chronic health condition (e.g. kidney or liver disease)?
- Does this supplement antagonize the effect of another supplement (and either render it ineffective or cause deficiency symptoms)?
- Do you have any health conditions that could interfere with absorption or metabolization of the supplement?
- Is the price comparable to similar supplements on the market?
- Did you talk with a knowledgeable person about taking this supplement (and no, the health food store clerk doesn't qualify)
- If someone recommended a specific supplement, did they tell you why you should choose that one over all others (although it is okay to make money from selling supplements if you proved education, this should not be hidden from you. Ask providers if they have a financial interest in selling a particularly expensive supplement and why a less expensive one is not as good in their opinion) - if not, get a second opinion
- Does the supplement you consider fit in your overall nutrition, lifestyle and supplement plan at this time in your life?
- Did you consider alternative options?
It is important to do your due diligence when choosing your best health supplements or considering taking any supplement or starting a new product.
If you have questions, talk to us about getting your own individual supplement plan.