When it comes to choosing vitamins and supplements, be safe by sticking to these tips by Herbalife expert, Andrew Shao. By Dawn Chen
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Gotta catch them all – that seemed to be my body’s attitude towards every germ there possibly was when I was growing up in primary school. I was always the poor unfortunate soul who was out sick by the second day of school term (I’d go to school on the first day and pick up the bug). This continued even though I stuck to a healthy diet and active lifestyle. So once I hit secondary school, my mother decided that it was time to give my immunity a much needed boost, and she started me on supplements like vitamin C.
Supplements have been a part of my life since then, and I appreciate the wonders they can do to subtly enhance my well-being. To benefit from taking a daily vitamin or supplement though, it’s also necessary to properly consider what you’re taking, especially since there has been negative talk about fraudulent and illegal supplements in the news lately. Veer on the side of caution by following these tips from Andrew Shao, vice president of global product science and safety at Herbalife, on choosing a supplement.
Stick to trusted brands
Be very careful about where you buy your products from. It’s best to buy supplements and vitamins from a reputable and trusted retailer (i.e. not always the cheapest option). Choose brands that you trust too. As a general rule of thumb, established brands have more to lose, and tend to subject their products to proper testing and safety standards.
Sniff out misleading claims
If your vitamin promises to treat or prevent a particular disease, it’s probably a good idea to steer clear of it. There are many products out there that claim to cure various illnesses like diabetes, arthritis or Alzheimer’s disease, but these claims are all bogus. Vitamins are not medication, and supplements are meant to complement – not replace – a healthy, active lifestyle. If your supplement promises a drastic, unrealistic benefit (such as a slimming product that claims to help you drop 10kg over a week without dieting or exercising), it’s probably lying to you too.
Consumers also have a responsibility in deciding which products are best suited for them. Play it safe by speaking to your healthcare professional about what supplements are best recommended for you, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition. It’s a good idea to read up on product safety guidelines from the Health Sciences Authority of Singapore too. And do stick to the recommended dosages listed on the supplement bottles.