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Should You Be Taking Supplements? Here Is What You Should Know

By Nadia Murdock

When it comes to increasing your nutrient intake, the subject of supplements naturally comes up. A general rule of thumb is food first, supplements second, but there is a time when supplementation makes sense. Whether including them in your wellness routine is a way to compensate for minerals that you may be lacking in your daily diet, or using them as a preventative measure, the need can depend on the individual. “Mineral supplementation is a crucial part of living a healthy lifestyle because our modern food supply is seriously depleted of minerals due to production farming methods.  This is well documented,” shares Caroline Alan, an expert on Mineral Supplementation and  co-founder of Keto-BEAM

If you are thinking about adding supplements to your daily routine, you may want to consider a few key things before purchasing supplements you might not need. Continue reading to discover what some of the leading experts in the field have to say about supplementation and how it can aid a healthy lifestyle. 

Does everyone need supplements?

Jason Kam, VP Business Development, Purity Products explains “First, not everyone requires supplements. For healthy individuals who follow a varied and nutritious diet, supplements may not be necessary. But for many, if not most people, certain supplements, especially essentially vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids and others, are nutritional stopgaps necessary to prevent or fix deficiencies their diets may not be adequately addressing.” According to the National Health Service of the United Kingdom, many people that opt for supplements in actuality are taking too many of them or taking them too long. As a result this can be harmful and lead to hazardous results. For example, too much vitamin C can cause nausea, stomach cramps and diarrhea. If you are digesting too much selenium that can result in hair loss, fatigue and/or nerve damage. 

Kam suggests looking at supplements as a health-promoting or rescuing agent. This means it can protect or enhance your health, well-being or performance. Going beyond is just covering deficiencies or filling in gaps. It’s important to note you don’t necessarily need to be lacking in something to take supplements. “Even perfectly healthy or well-nourished people may choose to use supplements to improve their lives.” Jason reveals. A good example of this is the use of Creatine or Whey Protein to build muscle and strength. This is an act of improvement that can foster an overall healthier lifestyle. Another example would be taking probiotics to promote a healthy gut microbiome.

What are the benefits of adding certain vitamins and minerals to your diet? 

Although not everyone needs supplementation, there are certain vitamins that can enhance your lifestyle. They are considered essential nutrients because of how they perform in the body.  Vitamins and minerals help to support bones, heal wounds and boost your immune system. “If you don’t eat foods rich in Omega 3’s, fish oil or krill oil supplements are a very good idea. If you avoid the sun, you should strongly consider vitamin D supplements, since eveIn a balanced diet may not supply enough.” says Kam. 

In short, it’s important to have an understanding of what your body may need more of and make your selection based on the information you discover. 

Once you have narrowed down your concerns you can decide between fueling your body heavily through your diet versus supplements.The biggest deficiencies are Vitamin D and Magnesium. The foods that help to support the lack of vitamin D include salmon, tuna, lean beef, fortified orange juice and egg yolk. To get adequate amounts of magnesium through food you will opt for spinach, kale, other dark leafy greens as well as legumes. 

What does a consumer need to know when making a supplement selection? 

You will want to quality, type and dosage. Even if you are getting enough vitamins in your day to day lifestyle, it’s still a good idea to include quality Vitamin D, Magnesium, Vitamin K2, Omega 3’s from either Krill or Fish Oil, Pycnogenol, Astaxanthin, Curcumin, Zinc Carnosine, Lutein. A tip Jason suggests: “Make sure the dose provided on the label matches the doses used in the clinical studies. It’s also very important to work with brands that stress quality, because there are many dubious products on the market that may make fantastical promises but lack in quality or efficacy,”

Whether you are in need of supplementation or curious about adding it to your lifestyle, there are several avenues that you can take that will allow you to explore this safely and comfortably. Speaking with a medical professional or functional doctor could help in determining if there are certain deficiencies you are dealing with to get a clearer picture on your needs.

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