Supplementation

Should I be Supplementing?

I am going to talk about a question that I get asked all of the time- “Should I be supplementing” and “What should I be supplementing?”.  Well my short answer is you should ask your doctor.  And what I mean by that is you should have blood work done- every year or as frequently as your doctor recommends- and then supplement based off of these results. 

Full disclosure, the only things I supplement are Vitamin D and protein.  I get a lot of people that ask me what I take- like it is the secret sauce or something…my secret sauce is a healthy lifestyle, and NO pill can create that.  The Vitamin D is because my doctor told me too- it came up as low on my bloodwork, and the protein is because I don’t eat enough in my daily diet and it’s a delicious lunch/snack for me.  It’s pretty hard when you have so called “professionals” every which way you turn promoting supplements to help you lose weight, feel better, make your skin feel like a babies butt again, etc. Most of these products have no science behind them, and quite frankly, it scares me that people so readily take these things.

 For starters, I am super picky about what I put in my body, and I encourage others to be cautious.  Secondly, our society wants an easy fix for everything… example, you have a headache and immediately reach for the ibuprofen.  You have a cold and immediately start loading up on cold medicine.  You want to lose weight and you ask for a pill.  I am not saying you should unnecessarily suffer or stop taking your medications, by any means, so please do not do anything silly here, but I want to FEEL my body… I want to know what is wrong.  If I load up on anti-inflammatories, I cannot FEEL what is going on in my body.  I am simply masking symptoms.  If I keep taking medications to treat symptoms, but not solve the problem, maybe I am not actually letting my body go through the process it needs to in order to make me better. 

So, back to supplements, I personally think that your best bet of getting all the vitamins and nutrients you need is by eating fresh, whole foods.  Eating a variety of different foods- fruits and vegetables of different colors helps you get lots of different nutrients as well.  I like to take it a step further and try to eat foods that are in season.  With our food production, we really have the ability to eat most foods year round, but there is something to be said about eating foods when they are in season- there is research that shows they are more nutrient dense during these periods.  Berries taste way better this time of year!!

Here are some interesting facts about supplements and how they are regulated:

  • ‘Dietary supplements’ are regulated by the FDA, but they are tested as foods and not drugs.
  • Federal law does not mandate that supplements be proven as ‘safe’ before they are marketed.
  • Marketing claims do not have to be proven to be on the label.
  • Dietary supplements hit the shelves BEFORE safety is determined.  The FDA does not really get involved until they are already being sold.
  • Supplements can have interactions with your current medications and conditions. 

What am I getting at here?  Do your research here people!  Talk to your doctor…if you feel like your doctor is not open to discussing natural alternatives or supplements that may help with conditions you are experiencing, find a different doctor!  There are some great naturopathic doctors out there these days- and they typically focus more on the root of the problem, not just the symptoms.  Advocate for yourself and your health, because it matters more to you than it does to anybody else.  Do not be afraid to ask questions! 

Ask yourself why you are considering supplementation as well- is it because all of your friends are doing it? That is probably not the best reason. Is it because you have “heard” it does great things? That is maybe not the best reason either. Is it because this supplement has been scientifically proven to help improve some aspect of your health? That is a reason I can get behind!

So, while I do think there are some really great supplements out there and they can have some amazing benefits- educate yourselves and please be careful!  Consult a medical professional! Remember, good things take time and a healthy lifestyle does not happen overnight or with a pill. Marketing can be super tricky, so do your research! 

Also, please remember, nothing in this article is meant to be taken as medical advice… just saying😊  Oh and side note- when you are seeing your healthcare professional (medical, dental, whatever)- tell them all of the supplements that you are taking… I know you think that it does not matter, but trust me, it does.  You would be surprised at some of the side effects and interactions even supplements can have, and these are important things for your healthcare professional to be aware of. 

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