About 90% of the American population has a vitamin or mineral deficiency. An unbalanced diet or eating the wrong foods can impact your vitamin intake. Thankfully, you can start supplementing your diet with the vitamins and minerals you need.
By taking high-quality vitamins, you can improve your micronutrient levels to achieve optimal health.
Unfortunately, many people rush when buying vitamins online. As a result, you could make costly vitamin-shopping mistakes that will impact your health.
Here are 10 mistakes to avoid while you shop. By learning about these potential pitfalls, you can plan for a safer shopping experience. Otherwise, you could buy a product full of fillers (or get hacked).
Plan for a smarter, safer shopping experience with these tips today!
1. Not Knowing Your Body
Before you start buying vitamins online, it’s essential to have a plan. Do you know what types of vitamins you need? Do you have a deficiency?
Taking a vitamin you don’t need could do more harm than good.
Instead, it helps to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Let them know if you’re experiencing any symptoms. How you’re feeling could point to a deficiency.
For example, signs of a vitamin A deficiency include:
- Dry skin
- Poor wound healing
- Acne and breakouts
- Dry eyes
- Throat and chest infections
- Stunted growth
- Trouble conceiving
- Night blindness
Too much vitamin A is dangerous, too. Hypervitaminosis A can cause toxicity and symptoms like dry and rough skin, confusion, mouth ulcers, and vision changes.
Are you feeling tired or getting sick often? You could have a vitamin D deficiency. Like a vitamin A deficiency, not getting enough vitamin D could cause impaired wound healing.
Since some symptoms overlap, your doctor might suggest a blood test.
A blood test will help you determine which vitamins your body needs. Taking the right types of vitamins can help support your overall health goals.
Let your doctor know if you’re planning on any lifestyle changes in the future. For example, do you plan on switching to a vegan diet? You might need to add a B12 vitamin to your routine.
Are you planning on getting pregnant? Maybe you want to run a marathon.
These choices could help determine which vitamins you need.
2. Not Checking With Your Doctor
Once your blood test results are in, make sure to speak with your doctor. It’s not enough to take vitamins you think you’re low in. You should also discuss your daily habits and medical history.
For example, what do you normally eat or drink? Are you getting enough protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables? Your doctor might want to know what you’re eating to determine which vitamins you need.
Does your family have a long-running history of health problems? Are you at risk for a specific condition?
For example, if your family has a history of osteoporosis, you’ll need vitamins that can support your bone health. If your problem has a history of hypothyroidism, you might want to take vitamins A, B, and D to improve thyroid function.
Make sure to ask your doctor about the potential side effects for each vitamin before you start taking them. If you experience side effects, let your doctor know. They might want to adjust your daily intake.
You should also ask your doctor about when you should take each vitamin. For example, you might want to take some before bed and others first thing in the morning.
Should you take your vitamins with food, on an empty stomach, with water, or with milk?
Have a list of questions ready to ask your doctor to avoid vitamin-shopping mistakes before you even head online.
3. Failing to Consider Interactions
It’s important to consider how your vitamins might interact with medications or foods, too.
For example, you shouldn’t take vitamin E with warfarin. Both can thin your blood, which could increase your risk of internal bleeding or stroke. Meanwhile, taking vitamin K with a blood thinner could cause your blood to clot.
About 72 million people in the US take dietary supplements along with their prescription medications. Combining the wrong vitamins and medications could put your health at risk.
You shouldn’t take vitamins that can affect your blood pressure, heart rate, or increase your risk of bleeding before surgery.
Think about what you eat and drink, too. For example, try to avoid drinking milk when you take iron.
4. Never Reading the Label
Once you’re ready to start buying vitamins online, make an effort to read every label. Most labels are designed for marketing purposes. They’re created to draw you in with exciting language and promises.
Instead of focusing on the marketing language, check the nutritional information.
How potent is the product? What’s the dosage?
Do you see any certifications on the label? Keep a look out for the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), ConsumerLab.com, and NSF International. These certifications mean the products contain the ingredients mentioned on the label.
They also indicate the products don’t contain dangerous contaminants.
5. Failing to Determine DRI
Your doctor should let you know the daily recommended intake (DRI) you need for each vitamin. Different factors can impact how much of each vitamin you need. Your age and gender are both factors to consider as well.
For a list of recommendations, you can check here.
However, your doctor might decide you need more or less of each vitamin based on your blood test results.
6. Not Choosing Reliable Brands
As you read the labels on products, make sure to notice the brand names. Chances are you won’t recognize every brand you find. You can differentiate the good from the bad by visiting the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.
This resource provides a list of different vitamins from varying brands. The website also lists any FDA recalls, warnings, and alerts.
Using this list will help you find reliable, trustworthy brands to buy from.
If a brand has numerous recalls, consider removing their products from your shopping cart.
For more information about each brand, consider checking the USP website. They have a list of trustworthy brands that could speed up your search.
7. Never Reviewing the Site
If you want to avoid costly vitamin-shopping mistakes, it’s important to learn how to spot unreliable websites.
First, look for “HTTPS” and a lock in front of the domain name. These indicate the website has an SSL certificate, meaning it’s secure. Otherwise, making a purchase on an unsecured website could put your information at risk.
A hacker could steal your credit card and private information.
Does the website provide a list of references to support any medical claims they make? Are these references from verified resources?
Do they list the ingredients in each product? Does the company seem transparent and trustworthy?
Keep an eye out for outlandish claims, too. If something sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Instead, look for brands that are open and honest.
If you have any questions, look for contact information on the website. Reputable vitamin websites should have nothing to hide. If you can’t contact someone, cross that website off your list.
8. Not Reading Reviews
Another great way to avoid vitamin-shopping mistakes is to trust someone who was once in your shoes. Reading online customer reviews can help you learn more about each brand and product.
Like you, these consumers are buying vitamins online, looking for brands they can trust.
Online customer reviews can help you determine which brands are harmful. Make a note of any scams or dangerous products.
You can learn more about different products by visiting Supplement Reviews. There, you’ll find information about each brand and the vitamins they offer.
Are you looking for vitamins to support your athletic program? Consider visiting Protein Daily. This website can help you find the vitamins you need for your workouts.
Otherwise, learn what you can about each business. Look for reviews on Google My Business and the Better Business Bureau websites. Reading reviews on different sites will help you avoid bias.
Make sure none of the companies on your list have a complaint filed against them.
9. Failing to Read the Ingredients
Many people rush buying vitamins online, which can cause them to buy products without knowing what’s inside.
Make sure to check the labels on products for a list of ingredients. There are a few dangerous ingredients you should avoid, including:
- Bitter orange
- Hydrogenated oils
- Titanium dioxide
- Magnesium silicate
- Sodium benzoate
- Magnesium stearate
Pubmed.com also has information about different ingredients. Meanwhile, the FDA also has a list of tainted products you should avoid.
10. Focusing on Price
Once you’re reading to start shopping, try to remind yourself it’s not all about the price. Instead of choosing the cheapest option, look for reputable vitamin websites and brands. Focus on buying high-quality products that won’t put your health at risk.
Otherwise, you could end up with a product full of fillers. Instead of benefiting your health, they could do harm.
Think about your routine, too. You can choose an easy to take vitamin instead of hard-to-swallow pills.
Considering your lifestyle will help you make the best choice for your routine.
Stay Smart: 10 Online Vitamin-Shopping Mistakes to Stay Clear Of
Don’t make these costly vitamin-shopping mistakes. Instead, focus on your health. Choosing reputable vitamin websites and brands that will support your overall goals.
With these tips, you can plan for a safe, smart shopping experience.
Looking for more helpful health tips and guides? Explore our latest posts for more!