To Supplement or Not, That is the Question…

Walk into any supermarket and you can see an entire section of supplements that you can take for anything from minor colds to heart disease. Or, a simple google search for home remedies will often yield results about which supplement (vitamin or mineral) can be taken for any given condition. But is taking supplements enough? Are supplements just as powerful as food? Are supplements the way forward for health and wellbeing? Did you know that most people take a multivitamin, even though they don’t need it? And did you also know that most people who take vitamins and minerals are often releasing most of the nutrient through their urine because their body can’t absorb it?

First of all, the most obvious case is that supplements won’t satisfy your appetite. In all honesty, supplements are not food and nor will they ever be food. Food has a way of synergistically providing the nutrients we need, where as supplements do not always provide that same level of synergy unless they are taken as a specific combination. Our bodies do not work on one chemical at a time, but rather, there are a countless number of chemical reactions occurring in the body at once.

Therefore, when taking supplements, more than often, you need at least two combinations together to make the supplement work for you. For example, certain types of iron supplements are best absorbed when also taken with vitamin C. Then, there is vitamin D, which can be taken alone, but calcium should not be taken without vitamin D because vitamin D helps to absorb the calcium. There are many “rules” like that out there, but the bottom line is that vitamins work when taken together and not separately and they work best with a balanced nutrition plan. Taking too many supplements can also hinder the effects because your body ends up becoming dependent on the supplements, which will impair your digestion and metabolism over time.

Taking supplements do have their benefits, but like I tell my clients, they should only be used short-term (unless there are severe medical needs), because ideally, you do not want to be dependent on a supplement for the rest of your life. You can get all the nutrients you need through food alone. I have worked with cases from prevention and staying healthy to autoimmune conditions with children and adults and my success comes from having my clients balance their nutrition through what they eat and I rarely ever have my clients take more than 2-3 supplements at a time. I’ve seen clients who are on at least a dozen supplements before they come to me and that just boggles my mind because its not a natural way to get your nutrition. More than often, sometimes those individual supplements can be combined into one single supplement as well.

All in all, my personal belief (which science backs up), is that you can get all your nutrition through food. Although, sometimes, it is necessary to use supplements, but even then 99% of the time, you shouldn’t have to use supplements for a long period of time. Using too many supplements and becoming dependent upon them can also place a burden on your pockets. No matter what your dietary needs are, you can get adequate nutrition through foods. If you reflect back a few years, there was controversy that vegetarians weren’t getting enough omega 3s because it was “only” found in fish. But guess what, many vegetarian sources of omega 3s has come to light through olive oil, flaxseeds, and other nuts and seeds. I always say that the Power of Health lies in Nutrition.

The best way to use supplements is when you are working on reaching your health goal and it should be used so that it works in conjunction with the other healthy changes that you are making so that it gives you support and a boost. Supplements were initially designed to actually “supplement” your healthy living and not to take over eating the right foods. As with any healthy living and changes, its all about finding the right balance that works for you.

If you need help with supplements or would like to learn more about supplements and how they may be helping or not helping you, please simply reply to this email or give me a call on 07867 383748.

In the meantime, Have a great weekend and remember, you can get all the nutrients you need from food as long as you make the right food choices 🙂