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Is It Safe to Buy Vitamins Online?

General Health | June 15th | By J.S.Chang, RD

We used to buy our groceries and other necessities in a physical store, but how the times have changed!

We started to buy lots of things online, from furniture to electrical appliances to food on our table, the online platform has been a booming industry since then.

And with people getting more health conscious, they are more inclined to take vitamins and supplements as well, and with the convenience online shopping provide, many of them have started to look towards this way of buying supplements. A study from 2014 by the Ministry of Health showed that almost one third of Malaysian adults are taking dietary supplements, and that further fuels the online supplement industry.

In 2017, vitamins and supplements alone contributed almost RM2.4 billion in revenue.


But Why Should It Matter to You?

Well, being a growing industry means there will be competitions, and therefore tons of choices out there which may or may not be genuine in nature.

To be honest, supplements are not really the same as medicine and drugs, where they are regulated tightly by enforcement simply because drugs if fallen into the wrong hands, would bring a negative impact to people’s health, even death.

Supplements on the other hand, have some leeway because in most cases, counterfeit of said product or the rare case of overdosing do not cause as much of a ruckus compared to drugs and medicine.


What Does It All Mean Then?

Personally, I think supplements should receive the same scrutiny and regulation as drugs as it is important for us as consumers, to get the best for what we pay for.

Money aside, you might be offered a certain supplement which made several claims that are not true. For example, it might not actually contain the ingredients that is listed, and in the best-case scenario taking them will simply have not much an effect. Worse, the substituted ingredients might cause some allergies or even harmful to those unlucky chaps.

What I mentioned here are just some of the consequences, but in truth, there are many more hidden dangers that we all should look out for.

So, are you sure that you are really getting what you pay for?

Are you sure this product is genuine and not a counterfeit?

And are you sure you are even taking the right vitamins for yourself?


Here Are Some Tips for You to Buy Vitamins Online, Safely.

1. Look for Reputable Websites or Channels

Yes, the simplest way for you is to buy only from websites that is well-established, or which you already bought from before and know that they are trustworthy.

There are too many fishy online stores and websites popping up like mushrooms and there are no signs of slowing down. Therefore, with you being a smart consumer, you should try your best to look for such websites sources to buy your vitamins online.

It won’t take up a long time for you to do some research before buying them, after all, it’s your health we are talking about!


2. Buy Only the Vitamins You Really Need

Let me explain.

I think a lot of us are constantly on the internet and receiving new information every day. Sometimes, it’s not necessarily a good thing.

We tend to believe a certain news or piece of information is true given that a large portion of people are sharing and talking about it.

That said, besides finding the correct source of vitamins online, it is important for you to find the right vitamins for you, too.

For instance, fish oil had long received a reputation for being an all-rounded supplement that is capable of providing various health benefits. Although it is true that fish oil are a splendid source of Omega-3, but there are actually some who can’t take fish oil due to some underlying medical conditions and taking them would actually worsen their condition.

All I am saying is that you should always consult a medical professional before you decide to add on any vitamins to your regime.

Check out this feature, which is designed specially by medical professionals to provide you with a personalized vitamin regime, helping you to eliminate any vitamins that you don’t need.


3. Look out For Over-discounted Prices

When it is tempting to purchase items at the lowest price possible, sometimes it may very well backfire on yourself.

Some prices you knew that are just too good to be true and they are.

After all, who doesn’t want to get the best deal out of what they buy?

Some unethical sellers may use this as a bait to lure unwary consumers to buy the vitamins but in the end what they get is a counterfeit or adulterated product.

Hence the saying “You get what you pay for”!


4. Customer Reviews Can be Helpful

Reviews are a good way of determining whether this particular website or product is trustworthy or otherwise.

We, as consumers often choose to believe the words of others over the seller’s own comment, and this is known as word-of-mouth.

I mean, when you want to look for a good restaurant to bring your family, surely you would Google them up and look at the reviews before you go “Wow, I think this might be great restaurant for me”, right?

Well, the same applies to any e-commerce platform such as Shopee, Lazada and other websites.

Be cautious though, there are plenty of fake customer reviews to mislead consumers.

But I’m sure you can spot them out easily, the fake ones they just don’t give out that genuine feeling!


Final thoughts

The bottom line is always to be careful when choosing to buy vitamins from the internet.

The most important thing though, is to buy only the vitamins you need and always seek medical advice if you are unsure whether it suits you or not. We all want what’s best for our body, right?

Happy shopping!


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