Whenever you buy health products or services, you might think that the brands have your best interests at heart. They're advertising themselves as good for your health, after all. But it may not be that simple, particularly for health products that don't require a prescription. From multivitamins to alternative health products, you should know a thing or two about the companies that make and sell them.
For me personally, I try to choose organic brands and all natural brands. Nature is always better than synthetic when it comes to nourishing your body. I'm also very aware that many companies, including huge pharmaceutical companies, are just trying to make profits to please their shareholders or make the CEOs richer. That's why it's important to protect your family from unexpected medical expenses by signing up for family health insurance coverage. These plans are designed to allow us to sleep easy at night and not worry. Unlike our American counterparts -- who have to worry about insurance, HDHP vs PPO and a whole lot more -- our medical system is efficient. It's sad, but often true. Do your research and choose brands that seem to care for you, their suppliers and the environment.
Evidence for Their Claims
If you're going to use something for your health, it's always a good idea to see if they can back up their claims. One thing to keep in mind is that although they can't claim things that are untrue, they can use words like "helps to" or "is designed to". Resources like the NHS Behind the Headlines page can help you make sense of the science (or lack of it). I also regularly read Natural News and Authority Nutrition for evidence backed articles. Don't believe everything you read in the mainstream media.
Can You Get It Cheaper?
An extremely valuable thing to know is that many branded health products contain exactly the same ingredients as their generic/own-brand counterparts. And unlike your favourite crisps, a packet of paracetamol isn't going to taste any different if it's Boots own-brand instead of Panadol. You could end up paying just pence for what you need, instead of pounds. Nurofen, for example, is ibuprofen, so save a few pounds and buy the supermarket's own.
As for natural supplements, things might differ. You may want to pay more to ensure you are getting organic high quality supplements from a reputable source.
Who Owns Different Brands
It's important to know what interests a company might have in different areas. Is what appears to be a chirpy, independent company actually owned by a huge, multinational corporation?
Maybe that company selling stop smoking aids is actually a subsidiary of a tobacco company...
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