Besides a balanced diet and regular exercise, taking the right supplements can provide that much needed boost and keep you primed for life’s challenges, explains Dr Takeshi Yamashita, from the Research & Development team at AMS Life Science Company, Japan (AMS Life Science is the parent company of AFC Japan). To help you make better decisions, Dr Yamashita highlights five simple things every savvy consumer should know.
Is the company a reputable one?
When it comes to dietary supplements, ensure that you entrust your health to the best. Buying from a reputable company well-known for its high quality and safety standards is very important. Do check that the company has a good history of zero product recalls, and look out for things like GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) compliance, quality control markers and stringent testing for every batch in production.
What does the barcode say?
The expiry date, dosage information and list of active ingredients are three main things to look out for on the bottle. The barcode will tell you where the product is made – the first 2 check digits of the EAN international bar codes represent the country of origin. For example, the bar code of a 100% imported product from Japan starts with 45 or 49 on the packaging. Exercise caution when purchasing products that claim to be made in Japan, but reflect the check digits of another country. Such products could be packed or manufactured somewhere else without stringent Japanese GMP standards. As far as possible, avoid products without a bar code as the source of origin and manufacture cannot be determined.
Supplement size and capsule quality
What does your capsule contain? It is important to know what you are ingesting, as most capsules can contain cheap fillers or colouring. Japanese products tend to have smaller capsule and tablet size. This facilitates ease of swallowing especially for the young and the elderly, allowing for better absorption.
Formula or single ingredient?
Formulas may sometimes be more effective, especially when it comes to specific health needs like vision health and blood glucose concerns. In such instances, a combination of ingredients can help to mutually enhance and reinforce each other’s strengths and absorption rate. Whether formula or single ingredient, the quality is important in determining overall potency and efficacy. For example, a functional Propolis supplement must contain flavonoids, polyphenols and at least 2.5% of Artepillin C, which is important in addressing serious immunity concerns. An effective eye care supplement should contain a high dosage of pharmaceutical-grade Lutein, like FloraGLO® Lutein to address aging vision concerns and preserve eye-cellular structure and integrity. Lastly, an ideal joint suplement should contain top-grade Glucosamine, Chondroitin and natural Herbal Extracts to nourish and lubricate joints, relieve joint pain and repair joint cartiage.
Research and compare
Knowledge is power. As a savvy consumer, it helps to know the difference between pure marketing hype and what the product can do. Product claims and ingredients can be overstated, with the shelf life overextended. According to independent laboratory reports from Consumer Lab.com, certain brands have been found to contain less than what was reflected on the product labels. Or worse, found to be contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides and bacteria. For example, seven out of 13 Ginkgo products selected for testing were of poor ingredient quality and contaminated with lead.