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7 tips for choosing supplements

With so many supplements on the market, it can feel overwhelming when trying to choose the right one for you. Brand, cost and dosage can all play a part but why does it matter? See Nutritionist Sally Wisbey's tips below for on what to look for when choosing a quality supplement.

1. Quality and efficiency

When it comes to vitamins and minerals, there are many different forms but not all brands use the same type in their supplements. Magnesium is a perfect example; this mineral can be sold in the form of magnesium chloride, sulphate, taurate and citrate to name a few. Magnesium sulfate, commonly known as Epsom Salts can be a great constipation aid but needs to be taken with caution due to its laxative effect. Although it is a common form of magnesium, research has shown it is rapidly excreted via the kidneys and therefore difficult to assimilate. A trial by Watkin & Josling showed that transdermal application of magnesium in the chloride form will raise magnesium levels within the body over a relatively short period of time and also demonstrated a beneficial effect in preventing calcium build up in body tissues meaning that the calcium could be correctly utilised.

The sourcing of supplement ingredients is another factor to be mindful of when choosing supplements. Do they come from a non-toxic environment? Are they sourced ethically?

2. Tried and tested

As a practitioner, when choosing supplement brands to work with, I will always ask what research has been done and what type of clinical trials the company has used to prove its efficiency. I also ask the company for information and copies of the trials and look to see if they batch test their products to check the contents on the label are really in the product. For example, all of BetterYou’s ( products are batch tested and if a product falls short on any test, it is not sold. Unfortunately, not all brands follow such stringent testing.

3. Dosage and formulas

This is an important factor to take into consideration when supplementing. More isn’t always better and depending on the supplement, it can make more sense to choose a supplement with a lower dose that can be taken several times a day so there is a better chance of it being absorbed. The ease of application is also another factor to take into consideration. Swallowing capsules is not ideal for everyone especially those with digestive issues or insufficiencies for example, so buying supplements in oral sprays, liquids and other topical methods can be an easier option.

4. Genetically-modified organisms (GMOs)

Always avoid anything that has been genetically modified, including your supplements. Not only are GMO products bad for your health, they are not good for the environment and the community. They can require heavy use of toxic pesticides and herbicides including glyphosate which has been linked to many health conditions including cancer and digestive complaints.

5. Additives, colourings and artificial flavourings

Look for clean and pure products with no added sugars, colourings, additives or artificial flavourings. Keep an eye out for allergens too such as gluten, dairy and soy as these can often be used in supplements.

6. Not tested on animals

Many people are unaware that animal testing can play a major role in the testing of supplements. Look for products that are tested on humans, not animals.

7. Cost

Supplements need to be affordable but cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean better. Some cheaper brands do not use well researched ingredients which can mean their products are not as effective. Always do your research and take all of the above into consideration. Choosing a supplement doesn’t have to be a daunting task if you follow these tips. By choosing a reputable company that uses top quality materials and has good ethical values, your body will reap the benefits and your mind will be at ease knowing that you are using a quality supplement.

For more information on supplementation visit

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