According to the founder of Muscle and Strength India, “The country has seen a surge in demand for dietary supplements in the last decade.” However, most people fail to realize that this surge is not just for the genuine supplements, but there has been a simultaneous growth for the fake supplements as well.
Also, the supplements imported are expensive, so people tend to buy the cheap ones without checking if they are fake products. Most people don’t know the difference between the two, which can lead to significant health problems.
Therefore, it is essential to know the difference between the two supplements to spot the fake supplements in the market. We will be discussing the same in this article.
A Brief Idea About Food Supplements
The idea behind food supplements is pretty simple and straightforward – they provide the beneficial nutrients that the person lacks due to an improper diet. Having a well-balanced diet is crucial for overall good health.
When a person does not have a well-balanced diet, they might have to resort to supplements in pills, syrups, energy bars, drinks and powder. However, we can never wholly substitute supplements for a healthy diet.
Not only do supplements provide us with the lacking nutrients, but it is also filled with antioxidants that reduce the chance of diseases. It also improves our cognitive function, immune system, performance, thinking, logical reasoning abilities and so forth.
Who Can Consume Supplements?
You can consume food supplements if you are diagnosed with any deficiencies, i.e., lack of vitamins, minerals, or any other nutrients. Bodybuilders and exercise enthusiasts consume some of the best whey proteins like Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard, MuscleBlaze Whey Gold Protein, MuscleTech NitroTech Performance Series, etc.
Listed below are specific categories of people who can also consume supplements (after consulting a doctor) –
- Pregnant women and women who just gave birth or are breastfeeding
- Men and women over their 50s
- People with allergies to certain food products
- Children below the age of five
- People who do not consume any meat, egg, or milk products
- Anyone with little to no exposure to sunlight
Before consuming any supplement, ensure that you have consulted a doctor, or it can lead to even more significant health issues. Sometimes our body automatically flushes out the excess supplements.
But if the amount of supplement intake is exceptionally high, it can cause severe problems like cramps, nausea, diarrhea, hair loss, nerve damage, etc. It is best to avoid them before surgery as it can cause side effects and complicate the procedure.
To keep in mind – Never do self-diagnosis (or follow the trend or be peep-pressurized) as it can cause further damage to your body.
How to Distinguish Between Fake and Genuine Supplements
1. Check The Barcode
The barcode can be considered a sign of authenticity and something we can cross-check as ordinary customers. You must be wondering how we can cross-check the information about the supplement and whether it is a genuine one?
Well, did you know most of the phones have a scanner that can scan your barcode/ QR code? So, once you scan the barcode, you will be taken to a valid website with all the product details. Voila! You know whether the supplement you buy is from a reliable source.
2. Packaging And Sealing Are Important
Whatever the product may be, check the seal on the container and the inner side of the lid. Most companies endorse their brand name on the seal, so this can be your next clue. Tampered, damaged, or even low-quality seals should be returned immediately. Even if the seller does not accept the product back, please do not consume it.
When we say fake supplements are cheap, we mean that the quality of the supplement is bad, and the quality of the packaging and seal is low. Packaging mistakes can be in the form of spelling errors, the font that is not standard, wrong ingredient information, different logo etc. If you find anything wrong with the packaging or seal, return it or dispose of it.
3. FSSAI Approval
Food products that come into the market undergo various processes and tests to check their quality before being released. Food Safety and Standards Association of India (FSSAI) is the regulatory body to check the quality of the product. So, while purchasing a supplement, check for the FSSAI approval.
4. Holograms/Logos Play A Crucial Role
The most reputed brands opt for 3D holograms, which is hard to replicate, especially since fake supplements aim to create a higher market at a low price. The technology used is quite expensive, so we understand if it is an original product or fake by closely examining the hologram. You can also compare the logo with the one given on their website.
5. Check The MRP Label
Supplements that are not fake have MRP tags with their hologram, while the fake ones usually have an MRP sticker on them. This makes it easier to find if the supplement is original or fake.
6. Test It In Water
So far, we have discussed how to check if it is a genuine or a fake product without opening the product. Now, if everything looks alright but you are still doubtful if it is a fake product, then you can do a water test. Dissolve the supplement in water; if it completely dissolves without leaving any residue, then it is a genuine product. However, if it leaves some residue or has a rough texture and nasty smell or taste, then you might have bought a fake product.
7. Location And Lot Number Verification
Always buy supplements from reputed outlets or online stores as they sell good quality products. If you want to cross-check, you can also verify the lot number given on the product by calling the company’s customer service. If the lot number is a valid one, then you are not using a fake supplement. Avoid buying supplements from people you do not know, especially if they give them for cheaper rates.
8. Side Effects
Look out for side effects like acne or hair fall, as they also tell if the supplement is fake. Generally, people do not experience side effects if it is a genuine product.
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With the food supplement market booming, numerous fake supplements are entering the market. Consuming fake supplements is extremely dangerous, so it is crucial for us to spot the fake ones. Some ways to do it are by checking the barcode, MRP tag, FSSAI approval, logo, and so on.
Have you ever come across fake supplements? Do you know another other technique to spot the fake ones? If so, please mention them in the comment section below.