Do you need supplements?
Supplements are incredibly popular in today's world of convenience, uncertainty of nutritional needs, and requirements to achieve fitness, aesthetic and health goals. But do you need them?
Supplement sales are driven by the desire to improve or change, but also the inability of the public to know what creates these changes, and what doesn’t.
Supplements are just that, they are supplemental to your nutrition and lifestyle habits.
There are a lot of great supplements out there, buuuut there’s also a lot of stupid, scammy, trendy, do nothing and give you diarrhea supplements out there. General rule of thumb - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is (*cough* fat burners, ACV pills, raspberry ketones and testosterone boosters).
I’m not just talking about sports supplements either. Vitamins, minerals and any supplement falls under this same concept.
If your diet isn’t in check, you aren’t exercising (or exercising properly for your body & goals), you’re sleeping like crap, you’re chronically stressed, you have body pain from imbalances or immobility, you don’t drink water, eat vegetables or poop every day, supplements won’t be the missing piece to your puzzle.
Supplemental forms of nutrients are not as bioavailable or absorbable to the body. So although you think you’re getting a good amount, if your body can’t use it properly, how much are you really getting? Investing in what we buy is also super important. Cheap supplements may be low-quality or synthetic junk that the body can’t utilize/absorb efficiently. You’re worth more than a cheap supplement.
In 2013, researchers banded together and tested 44 bottles of popular supplements sold by 12 different companies. The majority weren’t what they claimed to be. Supplements were either super diluted or full of junk. Meaning your bottle of “B Vitamins” could just be a capsule full of cheap fillers (like rice, wheat, or soybeans) with zero B Vitamins. Of the 44 supplements tested, 1/3 were “an outright substitution” – meaning 0 of the advertised supplement was present. Some companies still have lawsuits against them today due to their false representation or filler ingredients.
Cheap supplements can also mean bad and ineffective sources. A cheap vitamin D bottle for example, may land you a bottle of lanolin, I.e “sheep grease.” Seriously. Sheep secrete lanolin to protect their coats from the environment. While this grease makes them water-resistant, it also contains Vitamin D. Some supplement companies extract this waxy substance, heavily process it, and then pack it into a pill for consumption. You also find sheep grease in products like baseball mitt softeners and shoe polish. Cool, right?
Whole food versions on the other hand, come with other nutrients that help with digestion, absorption and overall health. Beef comes with protein, amino acids, iron and B vitamins. Salmon comes with Essential Fatty Acids, protein, B vitamins, selenium and manganese, Berries come with antioxidants and fiber. Oranges come with vitamin C, bioflavonoids, fiber and antioxidants.
Where supplements can be useful is in terms of a nutritional deficiency, an existing health concern, or if there are gaps between nutrition and goals... IF efforts have been made to increase dietary intake of the missing nutrient/vitamin/mineral.
I love things like a B Complex for women, Magnesium Bisglycinate for most people, and a Vitamin D because we live in Canada. I also recommend protein powder for anyone who struggles to get their protein in, an EFA capsules from Fish Oil or Primrose Oil if someone struggles to get dietary Essential Fatty Acids, and I often recommend supplemental digestive supports with a Digestive Enzyme for short-term use.
Outside of that, I base my nutritional requirements on individual needs, health and goals but always encourage my clients to aim for dietary intake of nutrients.
Want to learn more about supplements that can ACTUALLY help? Set up a FREE meet n greet with me and let’s chat!