With all the health supplements you see, each promising benefits, understanding which products are right for you can seem very complicated. Whether you're searching online, or looking through the shelves of a health food store, there can be so many options that you feel uncertain about which products will actually help you, and truly deliver on their promises.
If there’s one skill that’s the most essential in your health and wellness journey, it’s the ability to understand supplement labels. With this skill, you’ll easily and quickly be able to compare products, and work out which one is best for you and your goals. It truly is the key to taking control of your wellness journey, as without it you’re potentially exposing yourself to supplements that end up negatively impacting your health, without realizing it!
In this blog, we’ll break down understanding supplement labels into easy steps. By the end, you’ll have all you need to know to compare products, and work out which ones offer genuine benefits vs just generic claims. Let’s delve in!
Generic Terms on Supplement Labels:
Many supplement labels today are packed with generic terms like 'natural,' 'raw,' and 'complete.' While these terms can make a product seem more attractive, the loose regulatory standards and definitions around them create a gray area when it comes to using them on product labels.
Manufacturers are generally allowed to include these terms on labels without having to back up the claims with evidence or research. So while the label might sound good, it's important to check what active ingredients you're actually getting for your money.
But wait- doesn’t Niyama use those words? Yes, it's true that at Niyama, we also use terms like 'natural,' and ‘clean’. However, our point is that when you see a product labelled as these, that should be the starting point of your evaluation and not the deciding factor, and you should always investigate further. Because there are a few ways in which these could be misleading:
- Natural: While 'natural' suggests that a product is derived from natural sources, it doesn't guarantee the absence of processing or the presence of active, beneficial compounds. Look for specifics about the forms of each ingredient.
- Raw: 'Raw' implies minimal processing, but it's essential to examine whether the product's raw status translates into higher nutritional value. Sometimes, processing can actually enhance a supplement's effectiveness!
- Complete: 'Complete' typically suggests that a supplement provides a wide range of nutrients. However, it's vital to scrutinize whether the supplement contains adequate amounts of these nutrients to be truly effective, or whether it just includes a bunch of under-dosed ingredients - called "pixie-dusting" in the supplement industry.
In essence, while generic terms can offer valuable insights, they should serve as a starting point for your evaluation rather than the sole basis for your decision. By delving deeper into the specifics of each supplement, you can ensure that the supplement is really all it claims to be, with more specific things such as..
Quantity of Active Ingredients:
When it comes to your health supplements, it's the active ingredients that hold the key to the benefits you're seeking. These active components encompass vitamins, minerals, and botanical extracts that provide the intended health advantages.
Yet, merely listing ingredients on a label in a simple laundry list of plants and herbs doesn't provide the full picture. This approach lacks specific standards regarding milligram dosages or the active constituents within those ingredients.
If you're genuinely interested in knowing the precise quantities of active ingredients in your supplement, look for the exact milligram quantities clearly labeled as a number followed by 'mg.'
These active quantities are the things in the ingredients that you'll see benefits from, so knowing them exactly lets you do a bit of research on whether what's in that product is actually a good amount, and not under or over-dosed.
In addition to understanding the active ingredients in your supplements, it's crucial to inspect product labels for the presence of common additives such as artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners and preservatives (Niyama products always contain no artificials of any kind). These additives are synthesized ingredients that can potentially harm your body rather than provide any health benefits.
Keep an eye out for high-intensity sweeteners like sorbitol, saccharin, and aspartame. These sweeteners are often added to 'zero-sugar' products like protein powders and protein bars to enhance their taste. However, it's essential to be aware that while they make the products sweeter, they may not necessarily contribute positively to your health.
Artificial colours, flavours, and sweeteners are often included to make supplements more appealing, but they come with potential health concerns, and many have been linked to various health issues.
When examining supplement labels, look for indicators of these additives and prioritize products that do not contain them. Manufacturers are required to list artificial colours and flavours, so scanning the ingredient list for terms like "artificial colour" or "artificial flavour" can help you identify their presence.
If you're concerned about genetically modified ingredients (GMOs), ensure that the label specifies "non-GMO" before making a purchase, like on Niyama products.
Allergen & Lifestyle Friendly:
- Gluten-Free: For those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, it's essential to seek out gluten-free supplements- letting you benefit from the supplement without any adverse reactions.
- Dairy-Free: Lactose intolerance or dairy allergies are common concerns, and dairy-free supplements provide a safe and suitable alternative. These products offer the benefits of supplements without the discomfort dairy can cause.
- Soy-Free: Soy allergies or dietary restrictions require careful consideration when choosing supplements. Soy-free options accommodate individuals who need to avoid soy-based ingredients.
- Vegan Choices: The popularity of vegan supplements is on the rise, reflecting the growing trend towards plant-based diets. Vegan supplements not only meet the needs of vegans but also appeal to individuals seeking ethical and sustainable choices. We’re proud to say that Niyama products always meet these 4 standards!
Made in Canada: A Mark of Quality and Ethics
When it comes to choosing health supplements, the "Made in Canada" label holds significant value. Here's why it's important to consider products (like Niyama's) with this designation:
- Quality Assurance: Canada is known for its stringent quality control and safety standards in the production of supplements. Products made in Canada undergo rigorous testing and adhere to high-quality manufacturing practices, ensuring that you receive supplements of the utmost quality.
- Ethical Manufacturing: Canada is committed to ethical and sustainable manufacturing processes. When you choose supplements made in Canada, you support practices that prioritize environmental sustainability, fair labor conditions, and responsible sourcing of ingredients.
- Regulatory Oversight: Canadian health supplements are subject to strict regulatory oversight by Health Canada, which ensures that products meet safety and efficacy standards. This regulatory framework provides consumers with confidence in the supplements they purchase.
- Traceability: Products made in Canada often come with robust traceability measures, allowing you to know exactly where your supplements come from and how they were produced.
Transparency in Labeling: Niyama’s Commitment
At Niyama, we place importance on transparency in labeling. Here's how we uphold this commitment and stick to everything we've covered in this guide:
- Clear Ingredient Lists: Our supplement labels provide clear and detailed ingredient lists, ensuring that you know exactly what you're putting into your body. We use plain language to describe ingredients, avoiding confusion caused by scientific jargon or generic terms.
- Precise Quantities: We go beyond generic claims. Our labels specify the exact milligram quantities of active ingredients, allowing you to gauge the potency of each supplement accurately.
- No Unnecessary Fillers: You won't find unnecessary fillers in our products. We prioritize active ingredients that contribute directly to your health, minimizing additives that serve no purpose.
- Free from Artificial Additives: We are committed to excluding artificial colours, flavours, and sweeteners from our supplements. Your well-being is our top priority, and we want our products to align with your health-conscious choices.
- Proudly Made in Canada: Our supplements proudly bear the "Made in Canada" label, reflecting our commitment to quality, ethics, and sustainability. We adhere to the highest standards of manufacturing and sourcing to ensure your satisfaction.
And if you ever have questions or seek additional information about specific products, we encourage you to reach out to us!