Avoiding Health Supplement Fraud
The health supplement industry can be as fickle as fashion. People hop from one fad supplement to the other, following such claims as cancer prevention and effortless weight loss. But just as fashion trends sometimes fall short of the hype, a lot of supplements don’t live up to their promises. In fact, some are downright bad for you. In a poorly regulated industry, it’s easy to fall victim to manufacturers who market their products solely on hype.
One thing to keep in mind when buying alternative health supplements is reputation. There’s no way a fad company can last more than a couple of years before authorities crack down on them. Companies that have been in business for a while owe their longevity to customer trust, which in turn is built through consistency and long-term results.
A little homework can go a long way. Look for government websites such as the Better Business Bureau, and make sure your sources are unbiased. If you’re reading a review from a website that sells the product or a competing product, it’s always going to be biased. Besides government sites, you can also look for information portals and blogs. Ads are a good way to tell if you can trust what you’re reading; if a site is chock-full of ads, chances are the content is sponsored by one or more companies, or is even owned by supplement manufacturers themselves.
Of course, any information on the internet should be taken with a grain of salt. Even the steadiest companies will have a couple of bad raps from disgruntled customers, and even bad ones might turn up glowing reviews from easy-to-please buyers. It’s not even uncommon for companies to sponsor false reviews praising their product or criticizing their competition. These are pretty easy to spot, though. Instead of relying on what one or two people have to say, get a feel of what the public generally feels about the product, and then make your choice.
The best way to make sure you’re getting the real deal is to have it come from your doctor. Talk to your doctor about taking alternative health supplements and ask what kind would work best for you. Better yet, he or she can recommend products or brands that have proven results in other patients. It may even turn out that you don’t need them–after all, you can get most of what you need from just a healthy diet and lifestyle!