Food supplements have long captured the imaginations of many wellness enthusiasts, both in the U.S. and around the world.
Major retailers devote significant shelf-space and often dedicate an entire aisle to this diverse product category which is represents a thriving multi-billion dollar industry.
Many Americans take one or more supplements (mostly multivitamins) either on a daily basis or occasionally, in an effort to get better-balanced nutrition and contribute to their ongoing health maintenance and general well-being.
The massive popularity of this sector is primarily driven by a growing health-conscious attitude among potential consumers who wish to keep their body and mind in great shape, coupled with the implications of an aging population.
As the name implies, dietary supplements are substances taken orally, which are intended to add further nutritional value in addition to one’s normal diet, in order to reinforce it.
These products can be vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, animal extracts, fatty acids, metabolites, probiotics or other dietary ingredients.
While some of them are produced from completely natural sources (like plants), others are manufactured synthetically and come in a variety of different forms, such as tablets, capsules, gelcaps, softgels and powders, as well as liquids and energy bars.
Many consumers take supplements because they feel doing so will help them nourish their body more effectively, correct mineral and vitamin deficiencies, feel better or become healthier.
These substances are often used by people who believe they will provide them with adequate supply of essential nutrients, reduce certain risks or improve their overall wellness.
In terms of U.S. law, supplements are not classified as drugs and therefore their manufacturers are not permitted to make any unsubstantiated or misleading health-related claims and falsely describe them as products that can be used to prevent, diagnose, mitigate, treat or cure illnesses or diseases.
Since some supplements may interact with prescription drugs or have other side effects, it’s important to talk to a doctor for a professional consultation before taking any.
In addition, choosing products that are labeled with a certification seal of organizations such as ConsumerLab, NSF International, USP (United States Pharmacopeia) or UL (Underwriters Laboratory) can help separating the wheat from the chaff when evaluating different product options, before placing an order.
These independent, unbiased, third-party product testing and certification services conduct rigorous product tests in order to see whether they actually live up to their label claims and meet quality standards, in terms of accurate labeling or for verifying they do not contain any unsafe ingredients.
What Do Supplement Websites Offer?
Vitamins, minerals and other types of common nutritional supplements are sold through a variety of typical distribution channels that include pharmacies, drugstores, grocery stores specialty vitamin and health food shops and other points of sale.
Many online retailers have taken advantage of the overwhelming consumer interest in these products, which are perceived as icons of healthy living and offer a popular alternative to the local brick and mortar businesses that sell these goods, in terms of cost.
Discount supplement stores offer shoppers a huge range of products from all major manufacturers, which can be searched by various criteria like a preferred brand, a topical category or a specific health concern or goal.
Here are a few common examples for products that can be found in almost any major supplement shopping website on the web: