Supplements

Supplements are great additions to your diet as long as you do your research and know what your body needs. Supplemental needs can be due to a various amount of reasons and be fulfilled in multiple ways. The most common way is to introduce a daily multivitamin into your diet. However, there are many options above and beyond a simple daily multivitamin that may be right for you.

As with everything you do while you are starting or continuing your healthy lifestyle choices proper research and professional advice is a must. Supplements can be great additives to your nutritional needs if indeed you need them. Make sure you know your diet well, track your intake, and monitor this over a period of time so you can get a greater understanding of what your body is digesting. Once you have done this you can gain a greater perspective on what, if any, supplements you may want to add to your overall diet.

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Tips for choosing and using supplements

Check the label

Read labels carefully. Product labels can tell you what the active ingredient or ingredients are, which nutrients are included, the serving size, for example, capsule, packet or teaspoonful, as well as the amount of nutrients in each serving. (1)

Avoid giant doses

In general, choose a multivitamin-mineral supplement that provides about 100% of the Daily Value (DV) of all the vitamins and minerals, rather than one which has, for example, 500% of the DV for one vitamin and only 20% DV for another. (1)

Check expiration dates

Dietary supplements can lose potency overtime espeically in hot and humid conditions. If a supplement doesn’t have an expiration date, think twice about purchasing it. If your supplements have expired the best bet is to discard the. (1)

Watch what you eat

Vitamins and minerals are being added to a growing number of foods, including breakfast cereals and beverages. If you’re also taking supplements, you may be getting more than you realize. Taking more than you need can be expensive and be illadvised. (1)

More tips for choosing and using supplements

Supplements vs Whole Foods

Supplements are additions to your daily diet and should not be put in place of healthy whole foods like proteins, vegetables, fruits and healthy carbohydrates.

Protein shakes and diet drinks

There are a lot of protein, diet, and meal replacement drinks out there. If you are incorporating this into your daily diet be sure to check the ingredients, reviews, credibility of the company producing them, and valid your findings with multiple sources.

All natural vs processed

Adding supplements to your diet are commonly introduced in two different forms. All natural ingredients like herbs and minerals are optimal sometimes the convenience of processed supplements takes precedence. Find what works for you and of course do your research.

Supplement fads

As with most things, there are “fad” trends and supplements are no different. If you hear something about the latest or newest supplement to include in your diet simply do your research and due diligence. Talk to your physician, check your facts and validate before making changes to your diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Supplements aren’t intended to be a food substitute because they can’t replicate all the nutrients and benefits of whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. So, depending on your situation and your eating habits, dietary supplements may not be worth the expense.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) keeps a list of dietary supplements that are under regulatory review or that have been reported to cause adverse effects. If you’re taking a supplement, it’s a good idea to check the FDA website periodically for updates. (1)

Who needs supplements

If you’re generally healthy and eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, low-fat dairy products, lean meats and fish, you likely don’t need supplements. However, the dietary guidelines recommend supplements — or fortified foods — in the following situations: Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant and adults over the age of 50. 

When are supplements necassary?
If you aren’t eating well or consume less than 1,600 calories a day. Being a vegan or vegetarian that eats a limited variety of food. Having certain medical conditions that affect how your body absorbs nutrients. Had digestive surgery and are not able to digest and absorb nutrients properly.

Should I take supplements?
Adding a general vitamin and mineral complex to your daily routine is a good idea. This can ensure your body gets the additives it needs if your diet is not always 100% they way you would like it to be. Going above and beyond that for supplemental nutrition is something you would want to talk to your phyisician about to see if they recommend this for you.

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*The Content of this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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