Everywhere you look these days, there is some new article telling you which minerals to supplement, a new company claiming to provide the perfect supplement cocktail tailored to your specific needs or your friends are raving about this new vitamin they can’t get enough of.
But should you also be jumping on this supplement train? Supplementing certain minerals or vitamins when you may not be getting enough in your diet can be helpful but not all supplements are made the same. Let’s consider a few things before jumping in…
To Supplement Or Not To Supplement?
Why do you want to take a supplement to begin with? If this was recommended to you by your physician or naturopath, listen to them and jump to the next point! If you are simply curious, have self diagnosed or your best friend convinced you that a certain mineral will cure all your sleep troubles, take a pause, do your research and consult your trusted medical professional. Not only can certain supplements react negatively with prescribed drugs, even things like gender and lifestage can make supplementing certain minerals unnecessary. A great example of this is Iron – generally speaking, men most likely would not ever need to supplement Iron and neither would post-menopausal women. This is a great time to check the ingredients in your multivitamin!
Digestion – Yes, Digestion Is Important Here Too!
In order for our bodies to break down and absorb nutrients from food, we need to be digesting our food properly. The same concept is true when supplementing nutrients, if we don’t have optimal digestion, we can take all the supplements we want but that doesn’t mean that our bodies are even absorbing them. Think of it this way, if you take a supplement but they aren’t digested properly, you are essentially paying for very expensive bowel movements. Not ideal, is it? Make sure to work on your digestion as well, not only will it help you absorb nutrients from your supplements but also from your food – if your digestion is optimal and you’re absorbing all the nutrients from your meals, you probably won’t need to rely on supplements!
Sometimes Brand Names Do Matter
Not all supplements are created equally. When you first dive into the exciting world of buying supplements, you may notice how expensive some of them are and be drawn to the cheaper brands. A cheaper supplement can indicate cheaper ingredients, and when you’re filling your body with vitamins and minerals, you definitely want high quality ingredients. Take some time to do your research, talk to professionals (physician, naturopath, pharmacist) and identify brands that will help you fulfill your health needs.
What Type Are They?
Yes, the type of supplement you choose is also important! Some forms of supplements are easier to digest than others, and as we know, digestion is key. Unless you have absolutely optimal digestion, large hard pills are very difficult for our bodies to digest. This goes back to the idea that you may end up paying for expensive bowel movements – just because you take it, doesn’t mean your body can break it down and use it! Look for supplements that come in liquid form or gel capsules with liquid or powder inside.