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Buying supplements: What to look for

When choosing a supplement, the assurance that it is ethically sourced and regulated by Good Manufacturing Process is just as important as the price.

What should you look for when selecting a food supplement? Potency and freshness, plus the purity and consistency that comes from taking a pharmaceutical-grade supplement. But you'll likely also want the comfort of knowing the product you are taking is sustainably sourced, so the benefits to your health don't have a negative impact on the health of the planet or the survival of marine animals.

A Friend of the Sea flash on the packaging, for example, confirms a fish oil supplement is ethically and sustainably sourced, which is just as important as the price. Here's what to look for.

Friend of the Sea

Friend of the Sea is an international, non-profit organisation dedicated to conserving the marine habitat. Only omega 3 fish oil and cod liver products that originate from sustainable fisheries and aquaculture are awarded the coveted Friend of the Sea certification. This shows the products are ethically sourced using selective fish methods that do not over-exploit fish stocks, threaten the marine food chain, or harm the seabed or coral reefs.

Looking for a Friend of the Sea certification on the fish oil products you take helps to ensure the future of our oceans. Learn more at Friendsofthesea.org, and browse our collection of Friend of the Sea fish oils here.

The Marine Stewardship Council

The Marine Stewardship Council is an international, non-profit organisation that, like Friend of the Sea, addresses the problems caused by unsustainable fishing, and works to safeguard seafood supplies for the future.

Their programme certifies the sustainability of wild capture species such as krill, a shrimp-like, Antarctic crustacean, which is a rich source of the long-chain omega 3s EPA and DHA. Krill also contains two powerful antioxidants, astaxanthin and canthaxanthin, which gives it its distinctive red colour. The combination of omega 3 and antioxidants make krill a popular 'super-supplement' for reducing inflammation.

Good Manufacturing Process (GMP)

The best quality food supplements are carefully tested and processed according to a pharmaceutical standard known as Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), a regulation managed by the US Food and Drug Administration, that protects customers when it comes to purchasing products that aren't what they seem on the packaging. If a company adheres to GMP, they must take steps to ensure their products are safe, pure and effective. All suppliers of Healthspan tablets and capsules are externally certified as following GMP.

A quality approach has to be applied to the making of products from ingredients, through to manufacturing and packaging. Adhering to GMP minimises the chances of errors such as product contamination so that, when a customer orders with a company, they can be safe in the knowledge that they have chosen a reliable, safe and effective product. GMP enforces trust between a company and their buyer(s).

By following a quality assurance program based on the international standards of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), we prevent problems occurring during manufacturing that could cause safety or quality problems in the finished product. The program includes supplier approvals and external accreditations, as well as continuous product improvement. The BRC Global Standard for Food Safety is a product and process certification standard known for compliance to industry best practices.

BRC certification is an internationally recognised mark of food safety and quality. Certification is achieved by undertaking a third-party audit against standard requirements by an accredited certification body. BRC rates these certification bodies on their technical performance and efficiency in customer service. Healthspan CBD drops, topicals and food products are cHACCP or BRC accredited, or both.

Our promise

Every Healthspan supplement is made to the pharmaceutical standard GMP. This ensures every stage of the process is documented and double-checked, samples of all raw materials are tested to confirm their identity and purity, and finished products are tested to ensure they contain the stated amounts of each ingredient, with no contaminants. To ensure quality, make sure to opt for a GMP product. Even a supplement that includes 'patented' ingredients will not necessarily provide consistency of dose, or purity, if not manufactured to GMP standards.