Are supplements good for you?

Supplements can be a great way to add more nutrients into your body if you are unable to get enough vitamins and minerals from diet alone.

I am a big fan of using supplements as exactly that. Meaning that it is a great way to help boost an already healthy diet and lifestyle. There is absolutely no way that any supplement can make up for a poor diet. They aren’t magic pills, they are meant to support our good efforts in healing and improving our health.

With that said, here are three reasons why your efforts with supplements may not be working in your favour.

Bad Quality 

There are thousands of supplements out there that are contaminated with unnecessary fillers, binders, coatings and flow agents. Some of the gummies and chewable vitamins have more sugar in them than beneficial ingredients. The body will priorities filtering and removing unrecognisable chemicals before it will focus on absorbing nutrients from our supplements. This means more energy goes into removing the sugar from the supplement before it gets to the ‘good stuff’ and it might be too tired by then to be able to absorb the nutrients. The body then excretes the nutrients with the sugars and there is no benefit received. It might as well be a packet of sweets.

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Some ingredients to look out for and avoid if listed on packaging:

  • Carrageenan - can cause digestive distress as well as an inflammatory response

  • Potassium sorbet - may lead to nausea and indigestion

  • Titanium dioxide - may be a possible carcinogenic

  • Artificial colours and flavours - harmful to the body

  • Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) - linked to liver toxicity and certain forms of cancer

  • Magnesium silicate - linked to stomach cancer and lung inflammation

  • Sodium Benzoate - may damage the cells and DNA

  • Sweeteners - chances are we are getting enough sugar from our diet, we don't need them in our supplements!

Top Tip:

Most supplements are synthetic. The body was built to get its nutrients from whole foods, therefore it may not recognise synthetic pills as nutrition. Ask your health care provider to suggest supplements that are made from whole food sources.

 Poor Gut Health 

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Supplements are often seen as a magic pill that will fix undesirable symptoms. They can seem very alluring when advertised on T.V. by “experts” as a miracle cure to any illness or symptom. What if I told you it’s possible that you aren't even absorbing the vitamins and minerals?

Leaky gut is a very common issue that Western society is collectively facing. Also known as intestinal permeability, this is when our gut lining develops small tears that allow nutrients from food/ supplements to leak through. When nutrients leak through the gut before they are fully broken down, the body may identify it as foreign molecules and start to attack them. This can lead to skin rashes as well as further digestive issues and discomfort. 

If you suspect you have any gut issues that need healing it is best to work with a practitioner who can modify your diet and put you on a protocol that will actively heal your gut. Your health care practitioner will be able to recognise when your body is healed enough to effectively absorb vitamins and minerals from supplements. You will also end up saving money in the long run by avoiding expensive pee from unabsorbed nutrients!

Top Tip:

Taking supplements in powder or liquid form without a coating as this can be easier for the body to digest since it doesn’t have to break down excess coatings.

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Are you following instructions?

It is important to read the label to see if your supplement needs to be taken with or without food. Certain vitamins and minerals require fat and protein in order to be absorbed. Some must be taken away from other supplements or medication. This will be on the label.

Blindly taking any vitamin or mineral that your body is not deficient in can actually lead to having toxic levels in your body. Carefully read the label to ensure you aren’t taking more than you need. There may be times that your practitioner may tell you to take more than the suggested dose. In this case, as long as you don’t develop unwanted symptoms, it is safe to do so.  

Supplements are not meant to be taken long term. Usually after a couple months you should start weening yourself off of them and rely on your diet and lifestyle to keep unwanted symptoms away. Of course there are some exceptions and you may need to be on certain supplements for an extended period of time. 

If you are taking several supplements and feeling overwhelmed, your nutritionist can help you with creating a protocol. They can help you with supplement timing and eliminate any supplements that may not be necessary for the time being.

Want to find out what supplements you should be taking, if any?

The best way to a healthy body is to know what is going on with your body. This often means a specialist is needed for tests and reading the results properly. Our nutritionists have lots of experience in how to review your situation and health needs, to help you select what supplements, if any, you should be taking.

Contact Megan for a free initial consultation to see if she is the right nutritionist for you.

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