How important are supplements?

How many times have nutritionally supplements popped up into conversation with you and a family member / friend or perhaps your instructor or PT?

Perhaps you’ve been into Holland and Barrett or picked up some multi vitamins from Sainsbury’s or Tesco’s as you’re waiting in the line to pay but not really known what is in it or WHY you’re taking it… but because it tells you it’s an ‘immune booster’ it should naturally lift the cold/flu that you’re feeling.

Most people expect to get enough vitamins and minerals from their ‘healthy diet’ – but realistically who eats the perfect diet? What even IS the perfect diet?

We’re all so different genetically – some people have a higher need for certain vitamins for specific pathways to work optimally, which we could never get enough from a specific food group.

If we all lived in an unpolluted world, all ate a rainbow of colours with fruits and vegetables – all which were locally grown, a mixture of both plant and animal based protein and good quality carbohydrates – then indeed we should naturally get enough variety of minerals and vitamins from our diets. However, we don’t. 

We live in a world full of stress, a lot of people are on some sort of pharmaceutical drug, air pollution, pesticides put on our foods to help grow and increase its shelf life…all things reducing our vitamins and minerals!

Our eating habits also have changed dramatically over the past 50 years. It was routine for the family to sit and eat home cooked meals with freshly picked veggies and fruits from a local farm or allotment. Today, the tradition is not quite the same – many children and people grabbing foods on the go, whether at college or working – where the choices are not always ideal.

So you can see the need for certain supplements may be of benefit. 

However, there are certain things to remember before start taking supplements! For example the pharmaceutical drug ‘Warfarin’ thins your blood…but so does full spectrum Vitamin E and the herb gingko biloba. Making sure your GP or healthcare practitioner has advised this or given you the all clear before taking specific supplements is extremely important.

  • Supplements are not magic pills. Do not expect massive results over night. They work specifically on hormones, but our hormones are so delicate it can take 8-12 weeks sometimes to see a positive change – so definitely do not think it’s not working just because you’ve not seen a change within the first week.
  • You get what you pay for. Some of the lower priced supplements on the market don’t really have the levels of nutrients you need to see a positive change within your body / they don’t always use the active form of nutrients – so sometimes the conversion in your body is not 100% effective.
  • If you’re using herbal supplementations then make sure to take some time off. Herbs are powerful. Most pharmaceuticals are based on herbs. Generally, do not take any herbal supplements for more than 12 weeks then take a month off before re taking it.
  • Most supplements absorption is better with food, unless stated. Amino acids and probiotics are generally better on an empty stomach – so always check the labels.
  • Make sure to check the sell by date on the supplements you’re buying. It’s easy to go ‘in and out’ of taking supplements – so make sure by the time you’ve gone back to them, they’re still in date!
Supplements at this time of year can be something which are quite important.
Vitamin D, a Greens powder, Magnesium and a good quality multi vitamin are my go to ‘base’ supplements I take routinely. 
Vitamin D, the Greens and Multi Vitamin are perfect to help keep immune system up through out the year and great all over health check to make sure that we’re getting a good base of nutrients.
Some of my favourite brands are Nutri Advanced; BioCare; Viridian; Higher Nature & Nature’s Plus – if you’re taking any of these brands I think you’re on to a winner!

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