How to Choose the Best Dietary Supplements for You

By Robert Morrison
Robert Morrison
Robert Morrison
September 18, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

Have you taken a look at the dietary supplement section at your local pharmacy or department store lately? If you have, chances are that you have been overwhelmed at the amount of different products that are available. While many dietary supplements are very healthy to use, it can often be difficult trying to figure out which are going to be the best for you, and the healthiest. There are sites like Supplement Critique that can help you make the right decision. You also need to know how to use supplements to get the most benefits from them.

Choosing the Best Supplements

There are a few things to consider when choosing dietary supplements. For instance, they need to be safe, and they need to be legal. Other things to think about include:

  • Are the manufacturer’s claims accurate?
  • Are there studies regarding the products you are interested in?
  • If there are studies, were the amounts used the same as the recommended amount?
  • What are your particular nutritional needs?

Should You Choose Natural or Synthetic Vitamins?

Most of the time, natural and synthetic vitamin supplements have the same effects on one’s body. For instance, there is little to no difference in the benefits of synthetic and natural B-complex vitamins. It is pretty much the same with most other vitamins and minerals, with a few exceptions. For instance, synthetic folic acid is more absorbed by the body than its natural counterpart. Vitamin E on the other hand is much better when taken in its natural form.

Which is Better: Brand Name or Generic?

A lot of people think that the best products are always the brand name products. In many cases, it is actually better to use generic products, because they are much less expensive. The trick is to find generic dietary supplements that offer the same amounts of nutrients as the name-brand products. As a rule, most generic supplements have the basic amount of ingredients, while name-brand supplements may have more or less of certain ingredients. The two main things to consider when choosing brand-name or generic are whether or not you are looking for an optimal supplement, and how much money you want to spend.

In most cases, you will get satisfactory results from generic or store-brand dietary supplements. The only drawback to the generic brands is that the recommended daily allowance (RDA) is much lower than it should be. For instance, most multivitamins don’t provide nearly as much of the B vitamins that we should have, offering only 200-500 percent of RDA levels. Another instance where it may be better to have the name brand supplements is calcium and magnesium. The RDA for calcium is 250-500 mg per day, and we are supposed to have 125-250 mg of magnesium daily. Generic supplements only provide a small portion of what we really need. It is often best to buy separate calcium and magnesium supplements to make sure that you are getting enough. The daily dosage can be as many as four pills per day, and you are definitely not going to get that much from any multivitamin, generic or brand name.

All in all, it is a good idea to take a multi vitamin daily, whether it is brand name, generic, or a store brand. The majority of these products will provide you with most of the vitamins and minerals you need in order to stay healthy, and you can always take additional supplements for those vitamins and minerals that you need more of. If you do want more than the small amounts that are in the generic brands, and you don’t mind spending more money to get brand name products, be sure to get a multi vitamin that has plenty of B complex vitamins, calcium, and magnesium.

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