Tips for choosing supplements

Choosing the best supplements can be confusing

Written on August 19th, 2019

What You Should Know Before You Buy Another Supplement

Learn the tips for choosing the best supplements from an expert who researched and purchased supplements for a living. These are the tips you need to know and may prevent you from buying dangerous and bogus supplements.

Choosing The Best Suppelments From Big Retailers

#1. Some Stores Sell Thousands Of Inferior Supplements: Some big supplement retailers brag about selling 5000+ products and some even claim they have up to 30,000 products. Selling this many supplements means they could potentially have thousands of inferior or useless products on their websites. 

It’s not uncommon to find hundreds if not thousands of products that really don’t have any substantial scientific proof that they work. 

We agree that having a great selection is good when it comes to products that might have different flavors and tastes like protein powders, energy drinks or bars, but when it comes to products that come in a pill or tablet we believe all you really need is the one best formula that works. 

If it’s as simple as selling the one best formula on pill and tablet type supplements why then did we find over 390 options when we searched for the popular supplement Turmeric on one of the large supplement websites? Why do they need so many different versions and honestly, how many of those 390 options would be considered the one best one? We looked into it and after careful comparisons, we decided that over 95% of those supplements we wouldn’t use even if they gave it to us for free! Unfortunately having hundreds of different formulas from different brands like this is common on internet supplement webistes.


That’s why we spend hundreds of hours comparing thousands of products and scientific literature before we settle on that one best supplement that we feel comfortable and confident selling and using!

The FDA And Supplements

#2. The FDA

The FDA does not regulate the manufacturing or the sale of most supplements. This means anyone can slap together a bunch of ingredients in a powder, capsule or tablet without prior proof of safety or effectiveness and then start selling it. 

Because the FDA does not require regulation of manufacturing processes or regulate the sale of supplements this opens up the supplement industry to thousands of inferior, fake counterfeit and possibly harmful products. It’s a buyer beware type of market and consumers could be at risk. 

Generally the only time the FDA looks into a supplement is if they get enough complaints about it.

The FDA has even reported over 800 supplements found to contain illegal, banned or unsafe substances and that is after they’ve been on the market for undisclosed amount of time. See that story HERE . . .

The FDA also cannot keep up with all the fake and counterfeit supplements showing up and some reports claim that in some cases 1 in 3 supplements are fake and even big retailers like Amazon have been found to be selling fake supplements.  See story HERE . . .

Preventing people from buying these inferior products is one of the primary reasons we started SmartWays Health.

Manufacturing Of Good Supplements

#3. GMP and cGMP Manufacturing:

What is GMP Certification: GMP means Good Manufacturing Practice and is an FDA regulated system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards set by the FDA. It is designed to minimize the risks involved in any supplement or health food production that cannot be eliminated through testing the final product. Unfortunately companies are not require to be GMP certified to sell supplements legally.

cGMP means Current Good Manufacturing Practice which means these companies are up to date with their certifications.

GMP covers all aspects of the production from the raw materials, the premises, and the equipment and even as far as to the training and personal hygiene of the staff. Detailed written procedures are essential and must be followed for each process that could affect the quality of the finished product. There is also systems to provide documented proof to the FDA that the correct procedures have been followed at every step in the manufacturing of the product each and every time a product is made. The FDA does GMP inspections on these manufactures and if they pass they become an GMP certified Facility.

WARNING! Any company can put a GMP symbol on their product and say they follow GMP procedures even if they don’t especially counterfeiters and scammers.. If a company claims they follow GMP guidelines or claims the use GMP procedures that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are actually GMP certified. It may mean that they do or they try to follow the same procedures that an actual certified cGMP facility would follow but it does not necessarily mean their facility or their products are actually GMP certified and that they are regulated by the FDA. 

Testing Supplements

#4. Third Party Testing: This means after a product is manufactured it is sent to an unaffiliated testing company for label accuracy and purity.

Smaller and new supplement companies don’t usually do this because it’s expensive, often being over $3000 per product.

Other companies don’t do this because they know most consumers don’t know to look for this or know the importance of this anyways so why spend $3000 when they don’t need to, right?

Companies that use cheap raw ingredients and cheap supplement manufactures won’t do this because it’s likely their products wont pass the test and if they market their products well enough they’ll sell regardless.

It’s often only the big reputable companies that care about their customers and have the confidence in their products that get 3rd party tests done.

Products not tested by a 3rd party company could have little to no active ingredients, or have more then the label claims or could have other ingredients or impurities in it that you don’t want to ingest. 

Check out one of our favorite websites who is an independent testing website and see for yourself how many brand name supplements they found that had inaccurate labels. 

Not being GMP or 3rd Party Tested might be why big companies like Walmart, Walgreens, Target, GNC and Amazon have been caught selling bad supplements. Read that story HERE. . .

Supplement Marketing

#5. Misleading Marketing: We have seen many number one selling supplements on big retail websites that we believe are not actually the best supplement based on the effectiveness of their formula. How are these supplements getting to number 1?

Cheap Low Quality Products, Bigger Marketing Budget: In today’s world it’s never been easier to start up a supplement company and start selling products. Unfortunately there seams to be a trend of more companies choosing to spend more money on marketing then they do on the quality and manufacturing of their products. These companies know that they can save money using poor quality ingredients from cheap production companies and use that savings to sell their supplements at a cheaper price and put more into their marketing budget and still sell thousands of supplements to people who don’t know any better. 

Tricky and misleading Marketing: Some supplement companies use tricky and misleading marketing on their labels, on their websites, and on their advertisements because they know the majority of people either won’t know any better or won’t spend the time researching and comparing products anyways. 

Some of the legal misleading marketing tricks they use:

  • Big Numbers, Big Word Tricks: They put big numbers like ” 1500mg” Or “Super 2000″ Or Maximum 1000” on the front of the labels to make you think it has more then their competitors when often it doesn’t. As an example, we just reviewed a supplement that had a label called “Curcumin 10,000mg”. Anyone shopping for a curcumin product would think that sounds like a lot since most curcumin supplements are showing numbers like 1000mg to 1500mg on their bottles. After further inspection we found out the 10,000mg meant that they were using a 95% concentrate formula (which many do anyways), but they say that it’s the equivalent to 10,000mg of regular un-concentrated curcumin so that’s why they put 10,000 on the front of the label leading people to believe they have more then a competing brand. The reality was this brand had less active curcumin then many other formulas on the market yet is being sold at a popular and trusted retailer.
  • Bigger Serving Sizes: They use bigger serving sizes so they can use bigger per serving size numbers on their labels, which makes them look like they have more than their competitors who may actually have the same amount or more per bottle but who just have smaller serving sizes. Sayings like “3000mg Per Serving” is great, until you find out you have to take 6 capsules to get that much.
  • Proprietary Blends: Companies are required to list ingredients by the most abundant ingredient first and then in order down to the least amount ingredients. Proprietary blends allow them to lump and bunch of ingredients into a blend so they don’t legally have to disclose how much of each ingredient there is.  
  • Misleading Words: A company can put contains 100% WHEY ISOLATE in large in a starburst or in bold on their products front label to attract consumers. To someone looking for a Whey Isolate product this could be perceived as the whole bottle is 100% Whey Isolate and a great product but by using the word “contains” it could mean that there is 100% Whey Isolate in the formula but doesn’t necessarily mean 100% of the bottle is Whey Isolate itself, and in reality the Whey Isolate could be only 1% of the entire bottle. 
  • Bait and Switch: Companies often use big numbers claims like “1500mg of Curcumin”  on the label and marketing and and use a popular more concentrated or better form of an ingredient like “we use 95% curcumin” to confuse you into thinking that it’s 1500mg of 95% curcumin when in reality part or most of what your buying is a lessor or cheaper version of curcumin. Buy saying “1500mg of curcumin” and “we use use 95% Curcumin” in two seperate lines it doesnt have to be 1500mg of 95% curcumin. A common example of this would be to claim 1500mg and say they use of 95% curcumin extract on the front of the bottle, on their website or on advertising, but when you look at the label you’ll see 1300mg of the cheaper or non-concentrated ingredient and only 200mg of the 95% concentrated ingredient that they brag about on the front of the label. For some products, including #1 best sellers on many big supplement retails this is a popular and misleading way to confuse people and sell more products.
  • Additional Ingredients: It’s not uncommon for companies to add 3 or more great or popular ingredients to their formulas to attract more buyers. An example would be to have a joint formula with one or two primary active ingredients and adding 4 other ingredients to make them look like they have a lot of great ingredients all in one product. But after inspecting the label and seeing that the pill sizes and serving sizes where not any bigger then normal, the additional added ingredients where is so low a dose that they would do literally nothing for you and because they were there there was less room for the primary ingredients making them less effective then another similar product without the added extra ingredients. 


The supplement industry is a buyer beware industry.  It’s unregulated and full of scams, useless products, fakes and dangerous products if you don’t know what to look for. The good news is there are legitimate companies making and selling useful supplements that could work for you.

At SmartWays it’s our pleasure to put our many years of knowledge in the supplement industry to work by sorting through, comparing, finding and selling only the best products proven to work to our customers. 

It’s time to stop researching and comparing hundreds of products and let us do the work for you. Shop our best products now.