6 Tips to Make Your Supplements Selection Easier

Standing in front of the supplements shelves at a health food store, or any store for that matter, is daunting! What do you choose?!  So many brands offer countless pills, powders, and capsules, all claiming to cure whatever ails you.

Even after working in Functional and Integrative Medicine for 20-plus years, even I can get overwhelmed when looking at supplement company options.

So, how can you feel confident that you’re purchasing a quality supplement that will benefit you?

Choosing a supplement can be tricky. From misleading claims to unnecessary additives, you must do your homework to ensure you get the highest quality supplement. Here is my guide to choosing high-quality supplements and 6 tips to make your supplement selection easier.


Quality Supplements

What is a dietary supplement?

Dietary supplements are products that people use to add nutrients or other compounds to their bodies, including vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other botanicals, amino acids, and probiotics.

Do I need supplements if I eat healthy?

I would love to share that eating a healthy, balanced diet should provide the essential nutrients you require. Yet, eating a healthy diet may not provide the recommended minimum amount of essential nutrients, and adding supplements can be beneficial.

In addition to supporting a healthy, balanced diet with nutrients, there are certain instances where supplements may be indicated, for example:

  • Adults or children who have been diagnosed with a nutritional deficiency
  • Individuals who have malabsorption concerns
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Individuals following specialized diets, such as vegans or vegetarians

Additionally, for those with chronic health issues who may have toxin exposures or detoxification challenges, they often need more nutrients to account for their increased nutritional needs.

Lastly, the levels of nutrients in the soil have declined due to poor farming practices and increased use of pesticides, thereby diminishing the nutritional content in our food, which also increases the need for supplementation.

No matter the reason for adding supplements to your diet, they are intended to help fill the gap so your body can function optimally. So, if you’re concerned about getting adequate vitamins and minerals, please talk with your healthcare providers for personalized supplement recommendations.


Quality Supplements

Are supplements really safe?

It’s estimated that nearly 75% of Americans regularly use supplements. But just because your supplements are available at a health store doesn’t mean they are safe.

Unfortunately, dietary supplements don’t go through an approval process like prescription drugs. Instead, supplements are regulated as food by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA requires supplement companies to follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), a set of requirements and standards by which supplements must be manufactured.

Generally, GMPs help hold manufacturers accountable for guaranteeing their supplements’ identity, purity, strength, and composition. Essentially ensuring that what’s on the label is what you’ll find in the product. In addition, GMPs aim to prevent the wrong ingredients from ending up in your supplements, including pesticides, heavy metals, and unwanted microbes.

Yes, there are plenty of cheap, poor-quality supplements out there. But the good news is that numerous trustworthy supplements are available, and with a few guidelines, it’s easy to decipher the difference.


Ayurvedic herbal pills on a glass plate with flowers

How To Select Quality Supplements

It’s important to remember that while adverse reactions are rare, they occur even in supplements. Therefore, having some general guidelines for how to select quality supplements is essential. Before you purchase your next supplement, keep the following guidelines in mind.

Positive Identification of the Ingredients

Select a supplement that is transparent about what they are putting in the supplement – including both the active and inactive ingredients.

If a supplement label lists blends, natural flavors, or other ingredients, avoiding these options is best because the manufacturer may include less-than-ideal ingredients. And it can be harder to identify if common allergens are included.

Quality and Potency of Ingredients

Low-quality supplements don’t always contain enough of a critical ingredient to be effective. Or, they may include too much and negatively impact your health. It’s best to ensure that the supplement you select contains what and how much of the ingredient you expect.

In addition, it’s common to find fillers, additives, and unusual ingredients in lower-quality supplements. Research the ingredients and ensure the amount included will be effective. And work with your practitioner so that you know what are standard doses of ingredients

Independent Testing

Now that I’ve told you that some supplements don’t always contain what they say on the label, it’s essential to select supplement brands that participate in independent testing.

Independent testing labs evaluate supplements to ensure they are meeting quality, potency, and manufacturing standards so that you can confirm that you’re getting what the label says you will.

Look for supplements with a seal of approval from a trusted third-party lab, such as:


Bioavailability is how well your body absorbs and uses a supplement. The bioavailability of a supplement is important because it increases the amount of nutrients your body can absorb without having to take a higher dose.

Purchase from a Trustworthy Source

Purchasing quality supplements with a trusted reputation and backed by solid reviews from a trustworthy source will help ensure you’re getting the highest quality supplements available.

It is common for large e-commerce websites to sell counterfeit products with questionable ingredients. If you are looking for professional products (usually your best option), ensure it is from a reputable website. Along these lines, price matters.  Not that you have to always pay the most for the best quality, but there is lots of variability in the sources, amount of internal testing, and verification, which may translate into higher costs.

Choosing a Quality Probiotic

One of the most frequently asked supplement questions I receive is how to choose a quality probiotic. Unfortunately, most probiotics don’t undergo testing and approval to ensure they contain the required amount or quality of organisms. Making it harder to ensure that you’re getting the best quality probiotic. So sticking to our guidelines for selecting a quality supplement are even more critical when it comes to probiotics.

Also, the strains of organisms that are used matter. Look for the full name of the organism, both genus and species, and ideally, a series of letters and numbers. This information indicates a specific strain that has been studied.

And if you’re new to looking for a probiotic, I always recommend talking to a practitioner well-versed in supplements to get a dependable recommendation. I recommend these probiotics.


Quality Supplements

6 Tips to Make Your Supplement Selection Easier

Keep these 6 actionable tips in mind when purchasing your next supplement..

  1. Avoid unnecessary ingredients. Many supplements contain fillers, binders, colors, flavors, and additives. Some of these ingredients may be necessary to ensure a pill’s integrity, so instead, go for the supplement with the fewest unnecessary ingredients whenever possible.
  2. Run away from miracle claims. If the supplement claims to help fix something that just sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So run away (don’t walk) as fast as you can!
  3. Opt for plant-based sources when possible. While no hard evidence supports this, I usually choose supplements that contain plant-based nutrients rather than synthetic ones because natural sources are better for our bodies and our planet.
  4. Ask for help. Yes, I’m encouraging you to stop and ask for directions. Health food store employees cannot give you advice on what to take, but they can help you narrow down your choices and explain the difference between brands.
  5. Discerning Probiotic options. Choose products that clearly label how many organisms and which genus and species of organism and ideally ones that indicate a specific strain to ensure higher quality.
  6. Purchase from a trustworthy source. You can purchase supplements everywhere, but you’ll likely find higher-quality, food-safe supplements at higher-end natural food stores. Or purchase directly from your provider.


Selective focus.

The Spring Center, Enhance Your Wellbeing

Even as we strive to use food as medicine, this may not be sufficient for complete healing. Sometimes our bodies require increased nutrients to adapt and enhance our well-being.

Supplements can be a fantastic way to fill those nutrient gaps, balance the body, and help you perform optimally. But quality is everything when it comes to choosing the right supplements.  That’s why I’m pleased to offer my clients access to the highest-quality supplements.

Visit my online supplement store to explore and learn more.



  1. “Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know – Consumer.” 4 Jan. 2023, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/WYNTK-Consumer/. Accessed 11 Feb. 2023.
  2. “Risk of Deficiency in Multiple Concurrent Micronutrients in Children ….” 24 Jun. 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5537775/. Accessed 13 Feb. 2023.
  3. “CRN Reveals Survey Data from 2022 Consumer Survey on Dietary ….” 13 Oct. 2022, https://www.crnusa.org/newsroom/crn-reveals-survey-data-2022-consumer-survey-dietary-supplements.
  4. “Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) for Dietary … – FDA.” 27 Feb. 2018, https://www.fda.gov/food/current-good-manufacturing-practices-cgmps-food-and-dietary-supplements/current-good-manufacturing-practices-cgmps-dietary-supplements. Accessed 13 Feb. 2023.
  5. “Bioavailability of dietary supplements and impact of physiologic state.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11285353/. Accessed 13 Feb. 2023.