By Dr. Levi Harrison
“Dr. Levi, how do I choose the best supplement?”
“Dr. Levi, are all supplements safe and good?”
“Which supplements do you take Dr. Levi?”
These are the most common questions that my patients ask me on a daily basis. They truly want to know what supplements they can use to optimize their health and athletic performance. Often, these patients are concerned, confused and fearful about using nutritional products.
They simply do not know how to choose supplements for their health and fitness goals.Their concerns are appropriate because there are so many choices available. The nutritional supplementation market is a multi-billion dollar industry which uses intense media bombardment to remind potential buyers why they “must have” a product. The truth about a product can be elusive.
Here is an easy mnemonic I pass along to my patients to assist them in choosing a nutritional supplement. Please note that, I remind them to use food as medicine. Eating a vitamin enhanced, minerally balanced and fiber rich diet can alleviate the need for extensive supplements. But when it comes to supplementation, I prescribe the following pneumatic: S.A.F.E.
Is this product safe?
Does my doctor or health care provider agree that I need a supplement?
Does this supplement have interactions with my current medicines or supplements?
A (Advertisement/ Allergy)
What do the FDA guidelines state about this nutritional aid?
Am I allergic to any items in this supplement?
Does the supplement truly provide the benefits as advertised?
What are my friends, and bloggers saying about this supplement?
What are the nutritional consultants and on-line medical sites saying about this supplement?
F (Frank/ Fillers)
Are there fillers, dyes, animal by-products, sugar, salt and other synthetic chemicals added as binders in this supplement?
Where (which country) was this supplement made and processed?
Frankly, what are the risks to my kidneys, liver and other organs, if I take this supplement?
What is the shelf life of this supplement?
How efficient and effective is this supplement?
When will I see realistic results?
What are my goals for taking this supplement?
Do I have the financial means to continue to take this supplement for an extended period of time?
What is the effective purity and quality of the ingredients?
What are the side effects of this supplement?
My “S.A.F.E. Test” is meant to guide patients down a more appropriate and concise path so they can choose a supplement for your current physique and fitness goals. It’s up to you whether or not your product makes the cut.