Pretty much everyone you know takes supplements. Your mum, nine of your mates and Cheryle from accounts has cupboard space dedicated to their supplements. In fact, a survey says that as much as 86% of Americans take supplements, but just because everyone is taking a particular supplement, doesn’t mean you need to jump on board. It’s safer and better to do your supplement shopping using a set of clever criteria that will enhance your health and the achievement of your goals. Here’s what you should look for when your credit card is in the hand.



You don’t necessarily have to shun a new start up supplement, because it hasn’t been in the game for very long. However, it’s wise to investigate their pedigree before you part with your money. There aren’t as many barriers to entry for the supplement market as you might imagine, and the regulators can be slow to catch up to the sellers of snake oil. Rather go with a company you trust and believe in.



You’re paying for a particular ingredient, not fillers and other nasties. Cheaper doesn’t always mean lower quality. However, it’s wise to choose a company that’ has gone above and beyond industry standards by participating in third party certification and testing to verify the quality of products. A seal like the Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG) Certified Quality seal conducts annual testing to verify ingredient identity and label claims meet specifications and checks for heavy metals, microbiological agents, pesticides, and solvents and illegal drugs.



You want enough of an ingredient for it to do what it says on the tin. You want enough of the key ingredients for it to create the desired positive effects. How can you tell? It can be tricky but make sure you look for a supplement company that complies with audits to verify that they follow Current Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Many companies simply make up GMP seals when manufacturers have not been through an actual audit. Make sure there is a company behind a GMP seal to make sure it is legitimate. BSCG offers a Certified GMP certification program to manufacturers and brands that want to demonstrate compliance.



If you’re taking any form of prescription medicine, first check with your doctor whether you can safely take a dietary supplement. All that wonderful caffeine in your pre-workout may derail the positive impacts of your heart medication. Everyone is unique so be smart about it. Part of this is being able to trust what’s in your supplements and ensure they are free of any undeclared ingredients, illegal drugs, or banned substances in sport. The BSCG Certified Drug Free third-party certification program offers the best protection in the industry against undeclared banned substances.



Read a product’s marketing claims carefully. When a supplement says it “may” or “could” help with a particular ailment, those aren’t dead set outcomes, which is a good thing. Thanks to FDA regulations manufacturers can’t claim that their product cures, treats or reduces your risks of a disease or condition, unless there has been very comprehensive research that says it does. Stick with products that are backed by science and third party certified to give your body the best quality.


Safe and tested

In today’s world many products sold as supplements can make you fail a drug test, which can be catastrophic for anyone in sports, military, first responder or other workplace environment. Some of these have ingredients on the label that are illegal or banned. Others may simply be contaminated by poor ingredients or below standard manufacturing. Make sure your supplements are third party certified by a company like BSCG. The BSCG Certified Drug Free program provides the best protection in the industry against drugs on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List as well as other prescription, over the counter, and illicit drugs not banned in sport.



The more open and transparent a company is, the better off you’ll be in the end. Look for products that go the extra mile and participate in third-party certifications that review quality control, GMP compliance, or test for banned substances. BSCG’s suite of third-party certification programs including Certified Quality, Certified GMP and Certified Drug Free are available to help consumers make better choices and showcase brands that are committed to quality. If a brand doesn’t have information on their site on quality and testing consider looking elsewhere. Make sure there is clear contact information on a product package in case you have any issues, if it is missing don’t use that product.


Trust is the main ingredient you should look for when buying any supplement, never a knee jerk purchase off the internet because it was super cheap. Look out for these seven elements when choosing supplements and treat yourself with respect so that you’ll be rewarded by years of positive results from making good supplement decisions.