How to Choose Ethical & Effective Supplements

Whether you are thinking about purchasing supplements or already taking them, it’s important to know what to look out for and be confident you have made the right choice for your health.

Animal skin, bones, tongues and intestines… not quite the ingredients you’d expect to find hiding in your ‘healthy’ supplements perhaps? Unfortunately, these are all common ingredients in typical high street supplements. Not only are they not vegan but they do not provide any health benefit.

This is your guide on how to check the label on vitamins and supplements to ensure they are free from any nasty additives and animal ingredients.

Where do I check the label?

On the back of your supplements you’ll be able to see a nutrition table and a list of ingredients. It’s common to think the nutrition table would tell you everything you need to know about a product, but ingredients cannot be displayed here if they provide no nutritional benefit. Always #CheckTheLabel for any added ingredients to understand the purity of the formula.

What should you be checking supplement labels for?

1. Animal ingredients

Gelatin is a common ingredient, which may consist of boiled animal bones and skin, shellfish cartilage and more.

Lanolin is a common ingredient in non-vegan Vitamin D supplements. Lanolin is sourced from boiled sheep’s wool and is commonly used in supplements as it is cheaper than the vegan form. The most effective form of Vitamin D is D3 from vegan-friendly plant sources, such as lichen. You can shop here for a vegan Vitamin D3 supplement free from any animal ingredients.

We also recommend looking out for Collagen, Caprylic Acid, Glycerine, Carmine and always opting for vegan Hyaluronic Acid.

If you are unsure of a listed ingredient, it’s best to always look it up to make sure. You can read more on which animal ingredients can be found in supplements here.

2. Nasty Additives

Although it’s the law to list all ingredients in supplements, often ingredients such as Titanium Dioxide (a carcinogen), Talc or Magnesium Stearate, can be found in the smaller print of the ingredients list. These are used as active ingredients or bulking, binding or colouring agents in tablets and capsules.

These ingredients can often be hidden within the list of ingredients as companies don’t want you to see them. They provide no nutritional benefit and often aren’t vegan. Don’t be put off checking the label for the ingredients because they’re in a different font or size.

3. Is your formula going to be effective?

Not all supplements are created equally and not all supplements contain the optimal levels of each vitamin, therefore making them less effective.

There’s an easy way to check the levels of each vitamin in supplements, which will always be found in the nutritional table. To check if your supplements contain what you need, you can refer to the NRV. NRV stands for Nutrient Reference Value, which used to be called RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance).

The key is to remember that the NRV refers to the absolute minimum amount of certain vitamins or minerals that an average individual needs in their diet to be considered healthy.

Always check the label, and be aware of fake expert review scams which you can learn more about here: 'How to spot fake reviews for supplements'.

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