How Supplement Bottles Are Fooling Some Shoppers

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Man taking a supplement
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Those who take supplements might not get the proper dosage if they don’t look closely at the number of capsules or tablets that constitute a serving.

Recently, on the website, consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky raised the example of woman who bought some calcium supplements with a bottle labeling the dosage inside as being 1,000 milligrams. After she realized there were 90 capsules inside, the woman inferred that she had a three-month supply of calcium.

However, as it turns out, the serving size listed on the back of the bottle was four pills. That meant the woman had to take four tablets — not one — to get 1,000 mg worth of calcium. Thus, if she needed 1,000 mg daily, the 90 capsules would only last her 22.5 days, not 90.

As Dworsky noted, it would be nice if the supplement sellers explained on the front of the bottle what constitutes a serving size. Even better would be to clearly mention the number of days of supply the bottle contains.

Some supplement makers do one or both of those things. But other manufacturers don’t do either. So, the next time you shop for supplements, consider yourself warned: Looking closely at the serving size is a crucial way to determine the precise value of the supplements you are thinking about buying.

If you’re looking for a supplement-free way to boost your health, check out “7 Daily Habits That Could Extend Your Life.”

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