Were you baffled the first time you heard about cleansing, digestive enzymes, probiotics, essential oils, or a new vitamin supplement? Looking for a place to begin? Most people today turn first to the internet, then to their local supplement or health food store. If you’re seeking the most current information and the best health products, however, health food stores and even specialty shops that sell supplements are not the best place to go.
There are three reasons that a health food store may not be equipped to help you:
- who they buy from
Price Affects Quality
Supplement stores and health food sections are not usually able to carry the best quality products, simply because they cost too much to move quickly off of store shelves.
The products you’ll find in most health food stores – and especially those that are advertised for beginners – are almost exclusively the lowest quality and the cheapest. Someone who is not fully committed to a cleanse or to a new vitamin protocol will not want to commit a lot of money to it. Neither are they going to realize that a product is inferior quality if they have nothing to compare it to.
The price of a supplement is a good indicator of its efficacy. Compare the prices of different supplements that are supposed to do the same thing – note especially the prices of those sold by reputable companies that are not carried in stores.
When it comes to supplements, you really do get what you pay for.
How Knowledgeable Is the Staff in a Health Food Store?
The staff in health food stores varies from extremely knowledgeable to total novices when it comes to giving helpful advice on supplements. Some health food stores hire off the street; others make sure that their staff includes a naturopath or nutritionist who can answer customers’ questions – and ask customers the right questions to avoid unpleasant reactions and interactions.
Most health food store staff will be somewhere in between, knowledgeable on some products but totally ignorant about others. Keep in mind that most of their information has been provided by the companies selling the supplements and other products to them.
It’s always useful to ask a salesperson why they recommend a particular product. Have they used it themselves? (MLM health products should be considered by the same standard – is the networker trying to sell you on a product they have only read about, or have they tried it themselves? How did it work for them?)
The Best Companies Won’t Sell to Stores
Some of the most reputable companies in the natural health industry simply won’t supply their products to stores. Instead, they only allow their supplements to be sold to expert practitioners, who have the training and expertise to know when supplements are appropriate and to match products to the right people.
One company that operates this way, NutriWest, does so to ensure that their powerful supplements – containing bovine organs and other ingredients that support the thyroid, adrenals, hypothalamus, and other glands and organs – are used appropriately and safely.
On the other hand, some supplements aren’t carried by stores because they are too pricey or too finicky to ship. This is the case with many of the better supplements sold by MLM (multi-level marketing) companies.
Some of the best and worst natural health products are sold by various MLM companies. Stores generally prefer to avoid dealing with MLMs, which means most consumers never hear about these supplements. Yet the essential oils sold in stores, for instance, have a fraction of the potency or purity of those from Young Living Essential Oils, an MLM company whose products are not carried by most health food stores because of their “prohibitive” cost and the sometimes negative reputation of MLMs.
The best supplements not available in stores may be sold by holistic practitioners, naturopaths, homeopaths, and other health and wellness professionals.