These days, people have become extremely cautious about their health, and many even take diet supplements to keep themselves fit. However, with so many supplements available in the market, how can one make out the fake ones from those that are genuine? “Fake supplements usually contain banned substances such as steroids, harmful chemicals, and spurious ingredients, but are similar to authentic ones in colour and texture. These can, however, cause permanent damage to the body. Also, given that the country has seen a surge in demand for dietary supplements in the last decade, both genuine and fake supplements have thrived,” said Praveen Chirania, Founder, Muscle and Strength India.
Also, many high-quality health supplement brands in the market today are imported which makes them expensive (taxes, customs and overheads on imports), especially for young adults who form a sizeable chunk of the target market. “However, they are not completely informed about how these health supplements work, thus creating conditions for fake supplements to enter the market,” he told indianexpress.com.
Given all these factors, it is important to make the distinction between genuine and fake supplements. There are many ways by which this can be done. Here are some:
Look out for the barcode: Most mobile phones today support apps that can read barcodes and QR codes. A quick scan of an original brand will lead you to its website where you can read the details of the brand, adding to the authenticity. Barcode is one of the surest signs of authenticity.
Check packaging and seal: As a consumer, you should look out for awkward mistakes in spellings, unfamiliar fonts, errors in information on nutrition and logos that are different from the regular look. Look for the seal and in case you find that it is tampered with, you can return the product. “Typically, products coming from companies with poor infrastructure will not have high-quality seals,” he said.
Check FSSAI approval on the packaging: It is important to know whether the product has the approval of the Food Safety and Standards Association of India (FSSAI), which is the regulatory body responsible to check the quality of health. Note that supplements undergo rigorous testing and multiple quality checks before it finally reaches your doorstep.
Watch out for the hologram: “A sure-shot way of making the distinction between a genuine and fake product is to examine the brand’s hologram. Not every company has the right technology to make and replicate the hologram. Worldwide, holograms are used as a sign of authenticity,” he shared.
Look out for MRP sticker: Fake supplements usually have an MRP sticker pasted on them. Original supplements have an MRP tag, which has their hologram on it. Owing to the combination of MRP tag and hologram, it would be easy to identify the product as original when compared to a fake product that does not have both the tag and the hologram.
Dissolve and test in water: The supplement you have bought can be tested by dissolving a spoon of it in water at room temperature and stirred for a few seconds. “If it is fake, the product will leave behind powder as residue in the glass. A genuine product would not. This may look like a very simple test, but it is very effective. Original supplements are smooth in texture whereas fake ones have an irregular texture and moreover, fake supplements have a pungent smell and a bad aftertaste,” he explained.
Buy from reputable outlets: It’s advisable for consumers to purchase supplements from reputable outlets, whether it’s a retail store or the Internet. A reputable retailer always takes necessary precautions to sell good quality.
“In conclusion, it can be said that awareness about well-being and health is increasing amongst fitness enthusiasts who should consult experts to confirm whether they can maintain a particular supplement dietary regimen. This is crucial as the latter would be aware of the content of the supplements and advise whether it is right to consume them. Detecting the intensity of chemicals and steroids will help make the distinction between genuine and fake supplements. Always buy supplements from genuine dealers of reputed brands because investing in health is a top priority,” he said.