Quality control

Whenever we make a serious investment – in a house or flat, or a new car – we naturally spend a large amount of time checking that we have the best possible information available because we want to make a good choice. It’s our money at stake, after all.

So if you are thinking about investing in the highly precious commodity that is your own body, and planning to use nutritional supplements to support yourself, surely the same principle applies – perhaps even more so!

Quality is essential. Just as the quality of the food we choose to eat is paramount, anything else we take into our bodies should be subject to the same careful consideration.

There are many nutritional supplements available. This has become one of the fastest-growing areas of healthcare, and consequently a plethora of different products, with a wide range of quality and effectiveness, are on the market. How can you choose between them? What kind of questions should you be actively asking?

Perhaps the first aspect to check is whether information about the source of the ingredients, the research and development that went into them and the way the supplements are produced is available from the manufacturer. It’s always better to find a supplement manufacturer who is open and transparent about the formulations they use.

Ideally no artificial colours, flavours, fragrances or preservatives should be in the formula.

The methodology of creating the supplements is also important. How have the supplements been produced? Cold production, for example, helps retain the potency of key enzymes and vitamins that might otherwise be damaged, if not destroyed, by the use of heat during the production process, reducing nutritional benefits.

It’s also worth understanding a little bit about how all the ingredients in supplements are held together. Usually this is done using a filler to bind the ingredients together – most often this is artificial, simply there to allow the supplement to take on a convenient form. But some manufacturers use fillers with a formula involving herbs, plant enzymes and phytonutrients – chemicals that occur naturally in plants – which actively supports the body in assimilating the core ingredients.

Purity is equally critical. Ideally no artificial colours, flavours, fragrances or preservatives should be in the formula – and it’s always good to check that there is rigorous screening to remove any pollutants, pesticides, herbicides and impurities like mercury or lead.

The information should be available online – if the manufacturer shares it in a way which is straightforward and that any non-specialist can understand, you can be reassured about the quality of their supplements

If you’re thinking about taking supplements, you can also find websites that test and compare them – or you may choose to talk to a healthcare professional such as a dietician or nutritionist if you have access to one, as they will also be able to give you additional advice.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Once you are happy about the quality of the nutritional supplements you select, you will be empowered, knowing that you have made another informed, positive decision to improve your all-round wellbeing.