We know at a time like this you are probably thinking about immunity, staying healthy, and preventative medicine. We usually talk about navigating the vitamin aisle, but these days you might not be making the trek to the store unless you absolutely have to. While shopping for supplements in stores can be overwhelming, foraging on the internet is a whole new ballgame. We’re here to help guide you, with tips and tricks to keep in mind when you are shopping for supplements online. (You can also check out Nurse Suzie's video on this topic here).
The key is in the ingredients
When it comes to ingredients, there is a wide variety of raw materials that suppliers can choose from. Unfortunately, the FDA does not regulate the supplement industry, which means that companies can make claims that are false, or choose not to disclose certain products or materials that they use. You want to be extra careful when choosing a company to buy from online, and you can do this by reading the information they do provide on the product’s packaging. When deciphering the ingredients label, here is what to look out for:
This is a mark that indicates the quality of the company’s manufacturing practices. If they are GMP certified, that means they use quality raw materials, comply with any regulations, and routinely test their products to ensure their quality.
This certification means that the product was made with 95%-100% organic ingredients. However, organic doesn’t always mean better when it comes to supplements. It can be hard to find supplements that are naturally organic compounds if they are a naturally inorganic substance.
The point of taking supplements is to give your body the vitamins, minerals, probiotics, prebiotics, fiber, and antioxidants that you might not be getting from your diet alone. You don’t need vitamins that are full of dehydrated vegetables, or a lot of other extra “stuff”. Stick to the simple options.
You want to look for supplements that use organic rice powder or potato powder as a binder. Supplements are molecules that need to be bound together, blended, and then encapsulated. They do sometimes need a binder to hold them together, so you just want to check that this binder is something you are comfortable putting in your body.
Percent Daily Value (DV)
The numbers for percent daily value that you see on ingredient labels are actually based off of a man, not a woman, who eats over 2000 calories per day. At Binto, we focus on women’s health, and our supplements are made for women, so it is important to keep this in mind when deciphering the ingredient facts panel. A supplement that is properly adapted to the needs of a woman’s body may show some values on the ingredient facts panel that seem a little funky. It is okay to see certain ingredients that are over or under the DV, because as a woman, your body needs more of certain ingredients than a typical man, such as folate, biotin, and B vitamins.
A lot of supplements can contain substances like gluten or soy. Make sure you read the ingredients thoroughly to make sure they don’t contain anything you are allergic to.
The Form of the Supplement
We believe that supplements in capsule form are best. However, some can be great as a liquid, like B12. One thing to pay attention is the type of capsule the company uses. For example, for a probiotic to be effective, it has to make it to your gut. At Binto, we use a vegetable capsule shell to prevent the bacteria from being digested on its way to do its job. This is especially important to keep in mind if you are looking at gummy vitamins. A gummy probiotic likely will not work because it won’t make it to your gut before being digested.
When browsing for supplements online, secrecy is never a good sign. Make sure the company you purchase from is open about what goes into their products, if that is something that concerns you. At Binto, all of our products are GMP certified and third party tested. We test all of our raw materials before they are encapsulated. To read more about what makes our ingredients special, and to read our supplement labels, click here.
Supplements for immunity
If your goal is to get your immune system in tip top shape, we do have a few recommendations. First, a synbiotic, or a pro and prebiotic. Your immune system lives in the gut, which is also the epicenter for so many other important functions of the body, so it’s important to make sure you are getting enough good bacteria. We also recommend Vitamin D and Zinc which help your body respond properly to threats. For more guidance on using supplements to improve your immune system, click here.
However, it is important to note that while these supplements can help promote the healthy function of your immune system, they are not going to make your body virus proof. If you see companies promising that a supplement is going to save you or prevent you from getting a virus, be wary. It’s important to be careful about the marketing messages you are reading.
Navigating the world of online supplement shopping can be overwhelming. We hope these pointers will help you get informed about your purchases. As always, we are here to help! If you have any questions or just want to chat, you can reach out to one of our nurses at [email protected], or through the chat portal on our website.