Written by Chelsea DeColle, CNP
The world of natural health and supplements has expanded exponentially over the past 10-20 years and its popularity continues to grow. With so many options available both online and in stores, it can be a confusing, and somewhat daunting experience to look for a new supplement. Add to that, the fact that there is a massive amount of variety in sourcing and quality between supplement manufacturers and suppliers.
Not every supplement is created as equal to the next, so understanding what is important to look for in a quality supplement will help to make your decision easier and better for your overall health.
Regulation of all Natural Health Products (NHPs) manufactured, imported and sold in Canada is conducted by Health Canada, and functions to ensure safety, effectiveness and quality.1 As demand for NHPs increase, the number of NHP adulterations also increases.1 NHP Adulteration is defined as a product that contains undeclared substances that are not on the label.1Some substances can even be banned from Canada or potentially dangerous.2 This is one of the biggest reasons to pay attention to what’s in your supplement, where it comes from and how it is made and tested.
Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) as well as internal, and external, third party testing performed by the company manufacturing a supplement helps to reduce the likelihood of an adulterated product or ingredient.2 These practices ensure that standards are being upheld and maintained regularly, and help to improve the standards throughout the supplement industry.
Look for certifications. Third party testing programs provide unbiased review and verification that products contain ingredients as labelled and are safe to use.3
What you put into your body matters, so pay attention to what’s on the label AND inside the bottle. Your quality supplement checklist:
- Sourcing of raw materials
- Type of ingredients used
- Form of the active ingredients (bioavailability)
- Non-medicinal ingredients
- Potential Allergens
- Testing of raw materials and final product
- Reporting and Certifications
- NPN or DIN-HM
- Government of Canada Adulteration of Natural Health products. Accessed Sept 22, 2020 at: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/healthy-living/your-health/medical-information/adulteration-natural-health-products.html
- Government of Canada. Good Manufacturing Practices and Covid-19. Accessed September 8, 2020 at: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/compliance-enforcement/good-manufacturing-practices.html
- Certifications by Nutrasource. How to tell if your supplements are third party certified and why you should care. Accessed Sept 23, 2020 at : https://certifications.nutrasource.ca/blog/how-to-tell-if-your-supplements-are-third-party-certified-and-why-you-should-care