With so many supplements out there, where do you start? Taking supplements can vastly improve your life, alleviating pain, boosting energy, and aiding in many other ways.
Beginning Your Supplements Journey
How can you move towards that healthier lifestyle and create a supplement plan that works for you?
Well firstly, supplements must be taken seriously. Although multi-vitamins are a great source of nutrients for the average person, in all seriousness, there is no true one-size-fits-all. Everybody’s biochemistry is different, everybody’s absorption is different, and everybody might need different variations of vitamins, minerals, or herbs. So where do you begin? Let’s break this into a three-step process.
Step #1: Determine Your Body’s Needs
Step number one is to determine what your body needs. The best way is to get nutrients is through the food you eat. High-energy, live, raw foods will provide a lot of the good vitamins and minerals your body needs. However, creating a diet that provides 100 percent of what you need is almost impossible. Tracking the foods you eat is one place to begin to reveal what your body is getting and what it’s not getting.
Other important factors to consider are your state of health, age,energy level, and any medical conditions. These can greatly impact the type of supplements you may need. Someone who has osteoporosis for example, may need to pay attention to calcium and vitamin D, while somebody with thyroid issues should pay attention to selenium and iodine. Medical conditions can also provide warnings against certain supplements. For example, someone taking blood thinners should avoid certain herbs and vitamin K.
Although we just talked about some factors to consider, it’s valuable to do your own research, to look online, or even get a professional health consultant, like a doctor, naturopath, or chiropractor, to help you along your journey.
Preparing Your Body for Optimal Absorption
What I recommend — and what I’ve seen is the most successful way to kickstart your body’s health, is to cleanse the body first.Many times, I’ve had patients or individuals that have come in with bags full of supplements they bought from the pharmacy or supermarket. When you take all these supplements into your body, but haven’t cleansed or detoxified first, you might not be able to utilise these vitamins and your body might not be able to break them down effectively.
So, I always recommend, before starting any supplement program, to take two steps back and clean your gut, intestines and liver of harmful organisms, chemicals, and heavy metals. Once your body is clean and functioning, then you’re going to be able to benefit and get the maximum use out of the supplements you choose.
Step #2: Explore Your Options
Step two is exploring your options. That means when you’re buying supplements to be cautious. Unfortunately, not all supplements are good and safe supplements. Some contain ingredients that aren’t even listed on the label and can be toxic to your body.
How do you determine whether a brand is reliable? You’ll have to check the certifications and the ingredients closely in the product.
The one thing I usually look for is the ‘other ingredients’ section. I can tell if a supplement is good or bad almost instantaneously by looking at the other ingredients. If it has magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide, toxic fillers, binders, or excipients, that would mean that the company is most likely not going above and beyond to create a supplement product with 100 percent safe ingredients.
Another thing I recommend is to go directly to the company and research them. Are they are a reputable company? Read the supplement company’s content. Are they transparent about sourcing? Are they using certified organic herbs? Call the customer support line and asks them about the supplements, quality control, and ingredients. Are the ingredients responsibly sourced, organic, GMO-free, vegan-friendly, dairy-free, and soy-free?
In addition to evaluating a reliable brand, read the label on each bottle thoroughly. The nutritional information on supplement labels is typically divided into two sections – the active and other ingredients. Active ingredients are what support your health. The other ingredients are the inactive parts of the supplement. Those can also include dyes, films, glues, anti-caking agents, and other things that aren’t necessary. Not all of the other ingredients are bad, but a good rule of thumb is the fewer the better.
It’s smart to get comfortable with the information on labels. It’s important to understand the serving size, suggested use, key ingredients, and percent daily value.
A lot of the supplements that you’re going to purchase from pharmacies, cheap online stores, or grocery stores are going to contain synthetic nutrients. I don’t even want to call them nutrients because a lot of times they’re actually toxins to your body. Just because you might be able to find a cheap supplement brand, that doesn’t mean that, for example,calcium is going to be good for your body. Calcium carbonate can actually take calcium from your body.
So you want to choose and spend your money wisely on efficient, nutrient-dense, bioavailable supplements — the ones that the body can actually use versus the nutrients that may be synthetic that harm the body. Just because you see an ingredient on the label doesn’t mean you’re going to benefit from it. Quality is always the biggest factor. It’s better to just spend more for that quality to make sure that it’s going to be absorbed and utilised by your body.
Step #3: Implementation & Best Practices
There are so many different supplement brands and herbs out there, but once you secure the supplement you want to take, the story isn’t over. It just brings us to step three, which is implementation. You’ll learn the best practices on how long you need to take it, how to take it, and whether you should increase or decrease doses. It’s basically you figuring out what you need!
Everybody is different, so when it’s time to take your supplement, follow the instructions completely. If you’re taking the correct dosage as directed, you can check with your healthcare provider. They might want you taking a bit more or less. So after taking the supplement, be on the lookout for any changes that happen in your body or, for that matter, changes that don’t happen in your body. This will give you a good feel of whether the supplement’s working or not. Just pay attention to any signs like:
- Are you getting a little bit more sleep at night?
- Is your energy coming back up?
- Are you having better digestion?
All of these things will cue you in the right direction for if that supplement is working for you or not.
The next stage is how you store your supplements. I personally recommend storing your supplements in a dark, cool, dry place. Make sure that your supplements are not accessible to your children and pets. Some vitamins last longer than others, so check the expiry dates regularly and be sure to avoid supplements past this date.
With all this in mind, here’s my number one secret. Listen to your body and cleanse your body on a regular basis. Keeping your body clean and listening to your body’s symptoms will help you decide what supplements you may need.
No supplement is a substitute for a healthy diet. A well-designed, organic meal plan with a balanced approach to essential nutrients will do more good than all the pills, powders, tablets, capsules in the world. Supplements just fill in any gaps in the plan.