This post about how to use dietary supplements safely is sponsored by United States Pharmacopeia (USP). All opinions are my own.
The older I get, the more health issues I have to deal with. Parts of my body ache, my hormones are out of whack, and I just seem to be falling apart some days. I prefer to address my assorted ailments with natural products when I can.
This means that I often turn to dietary supplements to support my overall health. As a scientist (or at least that is what my college degree says!) I am very interested in data that demonstrates the safety and purity of the supplements I take. If you are starting a dietary supplement regimen, I encourage you to learn how to use dietary supplements safely before you start.
How to Use Dietary Supplements Safely
Dietary supplements include a variety of products and it is important to understand what you are taking. Vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other botanical products are all types of dietary supplements.
Understanding supplement safety is important before you start taking them. Follow these tips to make sure that your supplements won’t do more harm than good:
- Discuss your supplement regimen with your healthcare provider. They will tell you if any of your supplements are contraindicated (unsafe) for medications and health conditions that you may already be dealing with.
- Take only what the labels suggest. Read the label of your dietary supplement carefully. Take it only as directed on the bottle!
- Start only one new supplement at a time. If you start more than one dietary supplement at a time, it will be harder to measure its positive (or negative) effects on your body.
- The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) mark is important! Not all dietary supplements are created equal. Do not skimp on cost and quality when it comes to supplements. Look for the USP Verified Mark on the bottle. It shows that your vitamins and herbs are the highest quality possible – and what is on the label is in the bottle.
What is the United States Pharmacopeia?
United States Pharmacopeia (USP) is a scientific, independent, and not-for-profit organization. They set federally recognized public standards of quality for medicines, dietary supplements and food ingredients. Their rigorous Dietary Supplement Verification Program rigorously tests and evaluates the quality and purity of dietary supplements. The USP Mark means that what is on the label is in the bottle!
What does the USP Verified Mark mean?
One of the most important things to remember when learning how to use dietary supplements safely is that QUALITY is of the utmost importance. That USP Verified Mark means that the supplement:
- Contains the ingredients listed on the label, in the declared strength and amounts.
- Does not contain harmful levels of specified contaminants
- Will break down within a specified amount of time. This means the ingredients will be dispersed in your body to deliver their intended effects.
- Is made in a facility that follows FDA and USP Good Manufacturing Practices. This ensures that manufacturing is a sanitary and well-controlled process.
Consumers should expect that what the label SAYS is in the bottle, is actually in there but poor quality ingredients, contaminants, and certain fillers reduce the quality of your supplements. The USP Verified Mark ensures that you are taking dietary supplements that meet rigorous quality standards. The analyses they do are rigorous and scientific. They are carried out by USP, an independent party, to ensure their results are accurate.
Where can I buy USP Verified dietary supplements?
So far, over a hundred high-quality supplements have the USP Verified Mark. You can buy them in many major retail locations around the country. Head over to www.USPverified.org for a list of the most recent USP verified products.
I am a firm believer in using supplements to support our overall health. However, supplement quality is something I am very concerned about. Before you begin taking any new vitamin or herb, learn how to use dietary supplements safely. If you struggle to take vitamins because they are hard to swallow, check out my post on how to swallow vitamins more easily for a few tips.
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire and has worked in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging and freelance writing to share this knowledge with others. Learn more about her HERE.