The sea of supplements can be a bewildering display. It is no wonder people are confused when they try to look for the products that are right for them. I started this series as way to answer the common supplement questions we get asked regularly. Here are the answers to a few introductory questions that you may perhaps be wondering about.
Do we need to take vitamins every day?
In a perfect world, with an ideal diet, you would get all the nutrients you need. However, the reality is that we live in a multi-tasking world, where we are busy and where our diets are all too often full of processed, nutrient deficient foods. Therefore it is very important for general wellness, energy and to slow the aging process over the longer-term that you take a comprehensive multi-nutrient product that provides the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and other essential nutrients that we all need for optimum health. This is your nutritional insurance for your long term health.
What should you look for when choosing a comprehensive dietary supplement?
Choosing a product that is particularly targeted to your stage of life and gender is an important step in making sure you are getting the vitamins and minerals and other essential nutrients that are right for you. It is also a good idea to be aware of your nutritional ‘gaps’. For instance, if you are elderly, have a food allergy or are a vegetarian, you may be missing out on entire categories of food. Recognizing your ‘gaps’ will help you with your supplement choices.
Is it be okay for me to eat poorly so long as I take my supplements?
While supplements provide much needed nutrition – especially if your diet is poor – it does not counteract the intake of saturated fat, preservatives, additives and other chemicals you ingest when you choose to eat low quality, processed foods.
Remember - supplements should not replace healthy food. They should ‘supplement’ a healthy diet.
Do I need to blow my budget to ensure a quality supplement?
There are many supplements on the market and the prices and quality of the products do vary greatly. While there is certainly no need to blow your budget, it is important to remember that you will get what you pay for. Basically you need to be aware that if you go for the cheapest supplement available, chances are you won’t be getting good quality ingredients in that supplement (more to come on this subject in later blogs).
Quality supplements should not cost the earth, but they will cost you, as they do contain quality ingredients which are often rare, hard to manufacture and therefore expensive. Cheaper supplements often contain many fillers which are basically large amounts of unnecessary cheap vitamins and minerals, many of which have negative health consequences. Manufacturers use these to bulk up their product, allowing them to cover the costs and sell product to you cheaply.
Another thing to consider is what you are wanting out of your supplement. Are you someone who wants a product that ticks all the boxes or do you instead have an overflowing supplement cabinet? Supplements that contain a variety of different blends in one will cost more than a standard multivitamin.
It is important to ensure that you use a comprehensive supplement as a foundation, and then only add more targeted products for specific purposes. This can avoid overloading on certain ingredients, wasting money and having unintended consequences.
Learn to understand marketing jargon
Avoid marketing claims such as ‘all natural’ or ‘pharmaceutical grade’ on the label. ‘All natural’ is not an official term that is regulated by the federal government and does not offer any guarantee as to the product's safety. Instead learn how to read your supplement label and recognize forms of ingredients that you should look for. Likewise, there is no such thing as ‘pharmaceutical strength or grade’ for dietary supplements.
I hope by the end of this series, you will feel better equipped to supplement smartly.
In good health.