| Article Summary:
A Simplified Approach To Picking Quality Supplements
Open up any magazine today and you'll find ad after ad for the latest supplements, and you'll also find wild claims of almost every kind. It's sad, but true: it is commonplace for the majority of supplements today claim to be the "cure-all" for whatever ails you.
Unfortunately, almost all of the claims being thrown around today lack substance. Worse yet, wild claims do nothing to demystify the purchase process or to educate the consumer. In fact, the wild hype simply makes the already confusing task of picking a quality product more difficult.
In this article I'm going to show you what you need to do to cut through the propaganda-filled minefield. Fortunately, the procedure is simple: it's about getting back to basics. Follow these basic steps to the letter and you're almost sure to get full value for your money.
The Basic Rules Of The Game...
If you want to pick quality supplements, you need to know the rules of the game, and you need to have a plan of attack. Like anything, picking a quality supplement is about knowing what basic things you need to look for to tilt the odds in your favor. You must have a game plan before you walk into the store, because you'll fail if you're unprepared.
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If You Want To Pick Quality Supplements,
You Need To Know The Rules Of The Game.
Step 1: First Impressions Count...
When you go into a store to make a supplement purchase, it's imperative that you first examine the quality and appearance of the product packaging.
While it's true that inferior products sometimes come in high-quality packaging and that superior quality products sometimes come in low-quality packaging, it's usually true that packaging quality reflects the quality of the product inside. That is, if the packaging is poor, the product is likely to be inferior, and if the packaging is high-quality, chances increase that the product is a winner.
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My rule-of-thumb is: quality is a process, and if the product package looks like it was made with an old dot matrix printer by my fifth-grade nephew, I'm going to avoid the product altogether and not give it much thought.
Step 2: BOL - Read It Or Weap...
The best way to get scammed is to buy the best looking product on the shelf without analyzing the label, simply because you read about it in some magazine "article" or "special report."
Once you've visually eliminated the inferior products from the superior products based on product package quality, it's time to turn the product around and look at the BOL - Back Of Label.
When you do, here are the basics that you need to focus on:
1. Serving Size & Supply:
When looking at a product label, the first two basic questions you need to answer are:
- How big is a serving size?
- How long will the product last me - i.e. how long does the supply last - if used according do directions?
Many low class products only give you a 15 day supply of product, because serving sizes are very large. Other products can give you even less supply - sometimes as low as 7 or 5 days! It's my view that unless you are getting at least a 28 day supply, the product simply isn't worth buying - no matter how much it's hyped.
Large serving sizes are often difficult to take, and getting a short supply not only compromises your results but also increases your expenses. When you run short, you'll have to buy more product, and this hurts your wallet.
Just remember that supplement makers can give you a full one month supply if they really want to, and that the shady companies that give 15 days or less just want to make a killing at your expense so that they can meet their profit margins.
That being said, I don't think that companies should give away products for free, or even give away too much product for too little. After all, the supplement industry is profit driven and needs to make money to be able to survive and continue to make products, but it's just a simple fact 99% of all companies that don't give you at least a 28 day supply are usually out to take advantage of you.
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You can find the serving size and the servings per container by looking at the back label under the section "Supplement Facts." Once again, the rule-of-thumb is: if you're not getting at least a 28 day supply, the product is best left on the shelf.
2. Branded Ingredient Names:
It's important to look for branded ingredient names on the back panel. While each product is unique, branded ingredient names can include names like "lean complex" and "rapid absorption initiator." It's usually a good sign if a product has branded ingredient names on the label as this can indicate that the product is of quality.
However, you must exercise caution here as scam artists looking to make a quick buck can easily make up branded ingredient names in the attempt to puff up an otherwise worthless product in order to deceive you.
In most cases, however, the presence of branded ingredient names demonstrates that a company has put in considerable time and effort into making a quality product that may have some research backing.
And, further to this, even high quality products from great companies may not always have branded ingredient names listed on the label, so use this rule-of-thumb as an indicator that, when used with the other basics, can tell you about the likelihood of product quality.
3. Ingredient Concentrations:
Ingredient concentrations are important because ingredients make products work. For example, if a product contains metabolites like
creatine, how much creatine does the product contain? This should be clearly listed on the label. If it's not, in what order does creatine appear on the ingredient listing?
To be effective and to meet claim, important ingredients should appear as close to the beginning of the ingredient listing as possible. This ensures that you're getting enough of the active ingredients to expect that the product will deliver.
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When it comes to
herbs, standardization is critical as the higher the standardization rate, the higher the concentration of the active ingredient that produces effect. High-quality products contain high standardization rates, and inferior products are usually standardized lower, because the company wanted to save money an elected to use more "filler" than active compound.
4. Proof Of Claims:
Real-world case studies and testimonials are fine, but the ultimate test is this: does it work? This is a question that is best answered by science.
In today's market, there's really no reason why a product shouldn't be backed by science - unless it's just hit the market and academic testing is ongoing. High-quality products will almost always have scientific references listed if label space allows.
However, not all products will have scientific references listed on the label - and in certain cases this is no cause for alarm.
Creatine monohydrate is an example of a product that has been extensively studied, and that the experts unanimously agree is highly effective, so putting supporting references on creatine packaging isn't really needed. But creatine is a rare exception - one of only several examples where no references are needed.
While scientific references can be a sign of quality, this rule-of-thumb is an indicator that points to a trend and is to be used along with the other indicators listed to help you reach a final conclusion.
After all, shady companies have been caught distorting and manipulating scientific studies in the past, or citing animal studies that don't apply to humans, just so they can trick you and hope you don't notice.
In either case, be sure to do your research prior to purchase to see if a product or product ingredient is backed by science. This way you'll be well armed and on guard for any tricks.
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5. Contact Information:
Whenever you do business with someone, it is important that you know who you are giving your money to, and who you can call for help in the event that problems arise. Putting contact information on a product package is a sign that a company stands behind its products and is willing to step up to the plate to give you customer service, should it be required.
Many low-class companies who make inferior products just want to make cheap products without being accountable. These companies don't care about and don't want to deal with any potential customer service issues, so they simply omit contact information.
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This is an unbreakable rule-of-thumb: never do business with someone you don't know and can't talk to. Avoid all supplements that don't list contact information on the label.
Cutting through the hype and picking a quality supplement isn't always easy, but it can be made considerably easier by sticking to the basic rules outlined here. By sticking to these rules and following these steps, you'll tilt the chances of getting a quality supplement in your favor, and you'll get better results.
The information provided in this publication is for educational and informational purposes only and does not serve as a replacement to care provided by your own personal health care team or physician. The author does not render or provide medical advice, and no individual should make any medical decisions or change their health behavior based on information provided here. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information contained herein with other sources. Readers and consumers should review the information in this publication carefully with their professional health care provider.
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