Common Mistakes People Make When Buying Supplements

Common Mistakes People Make When Buying Supplements

No! Taking supplements isn't as easy as just popping the pills or chugging the drink. In fact, most people fail to reap the real benefits because they don't take them properly. As supplements are easy to buy, people don't do the proper background check on when and how to use them. People make many mistakes when buying supplements. We will be listing 10 common mistakes down below so you can avoid them.

Common Mistakes People Make When Buying Supplements

Mistake 1: Not Doing Proper Research Beforehand

You need to understand the effectiveness of the supplement you're considering. Not all supplements are created equal. Some may have stronger scientific evidence backing their benefits than others. By neglecting to research, you risk buying a supplement that may not provide the desired results or address your specific health concerns.

Another critical aspect of research is understanding a supplement's safety profile and potential side effects. Each supplement can have risks and interactions with medications or existing health conditions. By failing to do your due diligence, you might unknowingly expose yourself to adverse effects or complications that you can easily avoid with proper research.

Furthermore, researching supplements helps you make informed decisions about the quality and credibility of different brands and manufacturers. It allows you to identify reputable companies that adhere to strict quality control measures and produce supplements of high integrity. On the other hand, purchasing supplements without research increases the likelihood of buying products from less trustworthy sources, potentially compromising their effectiveness and safety.

Mistake 2: Buying Cheap Supplements from Cheap Sources

Like many other things in the world, you get what you pay for. Cheap supplements are often mass-produced and not designed to cater to individual needs. Our bodies are unique, with different genetics, lifestyles, and dietary requirements. Generic supplements may not provide the necessary nutrients or deliver the desired results.

Cheap supplements often compromise on quality. They may contain lower-quality ingredients, including synthetic additives, fillers, preservatives, and artificial colors. These ingredients can trigger adverse reactions in some individuals, leading to discomfort or other health issues.

Furthermore, cheaper supplements may use inferior or less potent forms of nutrients. For example, they might contain synthetic versions of vitamins that are less effective or even cause discomfort. Opting for higher-quality supplements ensures that you are getting the most bioavailable and beneficial forms of nutrients.

Mistake 3: Not Considering Any Allergic Reactions

Some supplements contain ingredients that can trigger allergic reactions in certain individuals. By not checking for allergies, you risk consuming a supplement containing a component you are allergic to. This can lead to several symptoms, like skin rashes, itching, tingling, or even more severe reactions.

Many supplements include synthetic additives like artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors. These additives can be common causes of allergic reactions and other adverse effects. Artificial sweeteners, in particular, have been linked to disruptions in the gut microbiome, an increased risk of metabolic disorders, and gastric discomfort. They can also cause headaches, dizziness, mood changes, diarrhea, gas, bloating, and inflammation.

Some pre-workout supplements contain niacin (vitamin B3) in amounts that can cause a side effect known as "niacin flush." Niacin flush refers to the dilation of blood vessels, leading to redness and flushing of the skin. This reaction can be uncomfortable and may cause hives or rashes.

Below is a list of some supplement compounds and their documented reactions


Potential Side Effects

Methyl salicylate

Bleeding in people taking anticoagulant

Radix Salvia miltiorrhiza

Bleeding in people taking anticoagulant

Licorice root & other herbal and food components

Hypertension, hypokalemia


Cardiovascular/CNS complications

Whey and food extracts

Adverse reactions in people with specific food allergies


Heart problems, shortness of breath


Liver problems, kidney damage


Heart palpitations, cardiac arrest



Beard Moss (Usnic Acid/Usnea)

Damage Liver


Cancer, Liver damage


Liver damage


Besides these ingredients, Caffeine powder is another component you should be wary of. While it's good for you to take the right amounts, don't overdo it. When mixed with certain stimulants, it can lead to heart problems, seizures, and even death.

Mistake 4: Thinking Only Multi-Vitamin is Enough

Relying on a multivitamin as the sole solution for supplement needs is not ideal, even if you're a healthy adult. Individual nutritional needs vary, and deficiencies in specific nutrients can differ from one person to another.

Assessments often reveal that chosen multivitamins don’t always provide enough recommended nutrients. Additional supplementation with higher doses of specific nutrients is beneficial in such instances. But how do you know which supplement is good for you?

Optimal nutrition requires personalized assessments by healthcare professionals or registered dietitians to identify any nutrient gaps. A comprehensive approach considering your everyday lifestyle,  dietary requirements, and targeted supplementation is essential for optimal support.

Therefore, multivitamins should be part of a well-rounded regimen, not a standalone solution. By personalizing your approach, you can effectively address specific nutrient needs and promote overall well-being.

Mistake 5: Not Considering the Fillers In Your Supplements

Many supplements contain fillers. Fillers are substances that bulk up a supplement but don’t have any nutritional value. The only reason several companies add fillers to their supplements is to stretch out the mileage on their products.

For instance, consider the most common supplements that contain fillers – protein powders. Do you feel bloated after consuming a particular protein powder? The likely reason is that you’re taking that extra crap that shouldn’t be there in the first place.

The absence of percentages next to protein powder ingredients on labels is intentional. Some brands blend different protein sources, such as peas, rice, hemp, and chia, without disclosing the amounts of each. This allows them to primarily use the cheapest powder and only include minimal amounts of the others to create the illusion of a complete amino acid profile. Consequently, the protein powder may essentially consist of just one type of protein and have an incomplete amino acid profile.

Furthermore, protein powders are often bulked up with cheap fillers like dextrin (a carbohydrate from starch) and maltodextrin (derived from corn, rice, potato starch, or wheat). Gums like xanthan gum, derived from corn and soy, are also added as thickeners. These unnatural additives can cause bloating and gas.

The misleading packaging and undisclosed ingredient amounts make it challenging to determine the true composition of protein powder. While the ingredient list may be there, the absence of quantity information creates uncertainty about the authenticity and quality of the product. Therefore, always check labels!

Mistake 6: Going for Synthetic Formulaes Instead of Herbal Ones

Choosing herbal supplements over synthetic formulas is a wise decision when purchasing supplements. Herbal supplementations have a long history of use in traditional medicine and have been relied upon for their natural healing properties. Unlike synthetic formulas created in laboratories, herbal supplements are derived from plants, herbs, spices, and mushrooms.

Herbal supplements offer a holistic approach to supplementation by harnessing the synergistic effects of various natural compounds found in plants. These compounds work together to provide unique benefits and support the body's well-being. Ancient cultures have long recognized the power of combining specific herbs to enhance their effectiveness. This knowledge has been passed down to us through generations and is still relevant today.

An example of this synergy is the combination of black pepper fruit with turmeric. The active component in black pepper, known as piperine, enhances curcumin's absorption, the main turmeric compound known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This combo has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and is a testament to the wisdom of ancient practices.

By choosing herbal supplements, you can tap into the natural healing properties of plants and benefit from the accumulated knowledge of traditional medicine. Herbal formulas offer a more natural and balanced approach to supplementation, allowing you to support your health and well-being in a holistic manner.

Mistake 7: Not Considering Artificial and Suspect Sweeteners

Your favorite supplements may be hiding artificial sweeteners or excessive amounts of sugar, even if they claim to be natural. Some natural sweeteners can also cause issues for certain individuals.

Sugar alcohols like erythritol, xylitol, sorbitol, and maltitol are commonly found in nutritional powders. While small amounts are generally fine for most people, they can cause digestive discomfort in some individuals. If you are prone to digestive issues, avoiding supplements containing these sugar alcohols is advisable.

Gummies and syrups, like elderberry supplements, are often packed with hidden sugar or harmful artificial sweeteners. This is particularly undesirable in products that support immune health and provide essential nutrients.

Mistake 8: Overlooking fermentation

Fermentation isn’t just limited to yogurt. In fact, it goes beyond yogurt and extends to supplement ingredients. Therefore, seeking out fermented ingredients is a wise choice, as fermentation enhances the availability of vital nutrients and compounds.

By fermenting whole-food ingredients, supplements are transformed into a more easily digested and utilized form, harnessing the power of nature's food preparation technique. This approach elevates the quality and effectiveness of supplements.

Therefore, if possible, always go for Whey proteins or any other supplements (where applicable) that contain fermented whole-food ingredients.

Mistake 9: Believing in Misleading Claims

Supplement manufacturers often make misleading claims. Below are some common examples:

  • “Pharmaceutical Grade”

The term "pharmaceutical grade" is generally meaningless for most imported supplement ingredients in Pakistan. However, if such standards exist, a U.S. manufacturer can state that an ingredient meets the standards set by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP). Therefore, paying more based on this claim is totally unnecessary in Pakistan.

  • “Clinically tested ingredients”

This claim lacks meaning for several reasons. First, clinical testing of an ingredient does not guarantee its effectiveness. Even if a component has been proven to work, the product may not contain the appropriate amount or dosage. Moreover, a supplement may combine ingredients that have never been tested, making it uncertain if the combination will be effective, even if individual components show promise.

  • “Tested by DRAP Approved Laboratory”

Claims of being tested in a "DRAP Approved" laboratory should be met with skepticism since the FDA does not approve laboratories. However, laboratories can register with the FDA, and there are other reputable laboratory accreditations that hold significance.

Mistake 10: Believing In Claims to Cure a Disease

Supplements cannot be marketed as drugs, and are prohibited from making claims related to treating, curing, or diagnosing diseases. Therefore, you should be cautious of products that make such assertions.

Authorized health claims are limited to specific circumstances where there is substantial scientific consensus. Currently, these claims are restricted to a few supplements, including calcium and vitamin D for osteoporosis, folate for neural tube defects, stanols/sterols for heart disease, and soluble fiber (such as psyllium husk) for heart disease risk reduction.

In cases where scientific evidence is limited, supplements may make qualified health claims after the DRAP (Drug Regularity Authority of Pakistan) review, accompanied by disclaimers about the level of evidence. For instance, psyllium husk may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes based on limited evidence. Likewise, EPA and DHA may lower blood pressure and potentially reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, despite inconsistent and inconclusive evidence.

Supplements can also make general claims about maintaining the structure or functions of the human body. However, the manufacturer should have evidence supporting the claim and notifying DRAP. Remember, DRAP does not always evaluate these claims or the supporting documentation, even though they are commonly found on supplement labels.


So, these are some of the common mistakes we see people making when purchasing supplements. Avoid these mistakes to make informed and beneficial choices for your health. Relying solely on marketing claims or exaggerated promises can lead to disappointment and wasted money. Instead, take the time to research and educate yourself about the specific supplement, its ingredients, and the evidence supporting its efficacy. Look for reputable brands, consider third-party testing, and consult healthcare professionals or registered dietitians for personalized guidance. By avoiding the pitfalls in this article, you can make confident decisions and find supplements that truly support your well-being. Remember, health is wealth. If you're healthy, you can make better choices for yourself and your family. Good luck!


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