By Dr. Kristy Appelhans
Having a good immune system is vital to enabling good health, and people are increasingly taking responsibility and control of their diets with food that is not only delicious, but nutritious. They are also seeking quality supplements that add essential nutrients to their diet, and meal replacement products that support their on-the-go healthy and active lifestyle. With so many products on the market, there is often confusing information on the safety and efficacy of products. How should consumers decide between product claims, and news that can sometimes contradict them? Or in some cases, medical claims that are erroneous or have been disputed by research. Below are some tips to help you be your best health advocate.
The market is filled with new nutrition products with exciting claims that promise compelling results. Before adding a new product to your diet, take the time to research the company you are purchasing from. How long has the company been in business? Does it have a reputable group of advisors, such as a science-backed advisory board? Do they manufacture the product and themselves and meet Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) or are they just a middleman? Do they stand behind their products with a guarantee? While trying new products is great, it is better to trust products from a company with a long history of results and commitment to quality standards.
Sift through the Noise
If you are a student of nutritional research, or an avid reader of health articles, you may discern that some research studies set out to prove a theory and confirm a supposition that nutritional supplements either lack efficacy or can cause health damage. While it is good to be skeptical, it is also good to keep in mind that sometimes researchers have a predisposed bias, which can be detrimental to a product’s reputation and misinform consumers.
This was the case with a study in 2013 which began with a hypothesis that hepatotoxins would be found in Herbalife Nutrition products. The study debunked this supposition and found no conclusive evidence of causality between Herbalife Nutrition products and liver disease. Since 2005, more than 27 governments around the world have independently investigated this claim and no evidence of any association with liver disease was found. For consumers, sifting through bias and erroneous reports is critical to learning the truth about products.
Invest in Health
Protein shakes, snacks and other nutritional supplements and drinks provide consumers with varied and tasty options to garner essential vitamins and minerals in convenient formats. When selecting from the vast array of product options, take time to explore the company’s level of testing they do with their ingredients, the third-party verifications (such as NSF and ISO) they garner and their manufacturing transparency and commitment to excellence. Sourcing is critical in assuring that your supplements, vitamins and other nutritional products are created with the utmost of care.
The aisles of retailers and e-tailers are filled with products that are designed to help us lead a healthy life with nutrition and supplements that make it easy to consume whether at home or on-the-go. With so many options come the opportunity for much confusion. Take the time to do your homework. Read the company’s website and learn how the company sources its products. Look to see if a company has a reputable advisory board and finally, know that even scientific studies can be biased. Be your own health advocate and live your best life armed with credible information.
Dr. Kristy Appelhans is vice president of Global Consumer Safety for Herbalife Nutrition.