Natural Health Products (NCPs) are found all around us in forms like vitamin/mineral supplements, herbs, probiotics and more. Although they are common, they are often marketed with misleading claims. Here are some tips into identifying the more reliable NCPs:
1- Find resources that will provide you with evidence-based information about the NCP’s ingredients, quality, and effectiveness. You are able to search for the product’s name and brand on websites like Consumer Labs, Natural Medicines Database and Examine. Those that are labeled with Natural Product Number (NPN) or Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) indicate that it is authorized for sale in Canada and is safe and effective according to its instructions for consumption.
2- Use third party testing companies to double check a NCP’s quality. There are several reliable third party testing companies that test the quality of NCPs consistently and those with certification labels from them usually indicate good quality. Here are some examples of certification labels from several reliable 3rd Party Testing companies:
Tested for Quality and Purity: Contains what it claims & Tested for contaminants
Tested for Quality, Purity, and Sport: WADA testing & Quality testing
Tested for Quality: Accuracy of label claims & Tested for contaminants (pathogens, heavy
Tested for Sport: WADA banned substances
Tested for Quality and Purity
3- Be cautious of certifications that look falsified (e.g. blurry photos). The use of unregulated terms like “natural” or “pharmaceutical grade” do not necessarily guarantee the product’s quality. If the claims are too good to be true, be extra cautious. Some common risky products are weight loss, sexual enhancement, and muscle building related products.
4- When buying NCPs online, be mindful of the credibility of the website. Products that are sold online are more likely to be counterfeit, expired, or unlicensed. If you are not sure about the quality of the NCP you are planning to take or whether the NCP is suitable for you, make sure to check with your Registered Dietitian before using it.
In conclusion, if you are interested in taking NCPs as part of your diet, be wary of the products and research thoroughly before partaking in it.
Reviewed by Annie Tsang, RD