Supplements can be incredibly helpful tools in the world of health and wellness when used correctly and to your advantage; they can also be harmful and a waste of money. But before we talk about all things supplements, let’s understand what a supplement is meant to do – add something that is missing. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbs, mushrooms, protein powders and more.

The idea behind supplementing is to enhance what you’re not getting and to only turn to them if it’s truly needed, with a splash of convenience. But here’s the thing: supplements are not monitored by the FDA. Since the DSHA (dietary supplement health and education act) was passed in 1994, we’ve known this. But have you? 

Understanding that supplements are not monitored means that just like with food, you have to be a detective – reading the labels to see ingredients (ex: Are there fillers, gums, preservatives, sugars, etc.?), understanding quality (Is this a professional grade product?), looking at the standards (transparency included), third party testing (things good manufacturing (GMP) approved, results from lab testing regarding claims, etc.), and your personal absorption ability (Is your body able to get the potential benefits of the supplement?). I mention this because I really feel called to highlight the idea that you have to do your research and/or work with someone who has done it and is experienced in the area. And the research (unfortunately) never stops, as you might see ingredient and quality changes if brands start to make shortcuts, which is very common.

MAKE THEM WORK FOR YOU

Another important concept to consider is what the recommendation is for you. Individualized supplementation instead of just blindly supplementing is crucial in the realm of healing and optimal health. Consider the RDA (recommended dietary allowance, which looks at nutrient level needs for ‘healthy’ individuals) on the back of the supplement label; it is often the bare minimum recommendation and might not be “optimal.” Once again, these are not individualized recommendations for you. They can even cause a misinterpretation when picking the right supplement – examples like thinking you’re getting too much of a supplement for instance; or confusion in regard to absorption of water vs fat soluble vitamins and how the body uses them.

Simply put, taking a good quality supplement that you actually want to include in your routine can be much more complex than you might think. Lab work can be your best friend here so that you can “test, not guess,” but even when you are guessing it’s naturally preferred to have an educational guess…

PROTEIN POWDERS, BCAAS, ETC. ARE SUPPLEMENTS!

In regard to sports nutrition and muscle composition: supplements are about 5% of the equation. So, protein powder, BCAAs, pre-workout (a discussion), are not everything. In fact, they’re so little but get so much attention and $. Whole food sources are somehow becoming underestimated in this equation that turns to ease in the form of add-ins. I often ask if that supplement (ex: protein) is truly needed when you are looking at your total consumption from your diet. Food for thought… 

HOW TO CHOOSE WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU

You can spend months googling or listen to your favorite influencer. With that, you might get some positive results. You might get harmful ones. Please be responsible with your decision, don’t just do things just to do them, don’t waste your money. Are you truly getting what you paid for and need? I encourage you to stop throwing spaghetti against the wall. Reach out to a health professional who knows what they’re doing to save time and money, and get the potential remedies and/or results that are needed. 

Kind notes: Supplements (especially if you’re taking them without consulting a practitioner) can only get you so far. Yes, there are benefits, deficient or not. But they are not everything. They can be needed, supportive, or even a bandaid at times. Please don’t dismiss the importance of diet, movement, stress management, toxic load (people included), adequate sleep, sunshine, time in nature, etc. 

Interested in diving more into adopting a healthy lifestyle with individualized supplementation? Click reply to learn more about my 1:1 nutrition services or fill out an application to work together. I’m here for expertise, support, and accountability for those looking. Please know that I’m invested in your health and the experience of figuring out what works for you and makes you feel your best. I’ll meet you where you’re at and will always encourage sustainability; but this also means that you have to be ready to do so, otherwise I truly want to be respectful to both of us – time, energy, and finances/the investment. Kind reminder that health is wealth. 

FAVORITE SUPPLEMENTS RIGHT NOW 

Some of my favorite products and brands, from gut health to immune health to overall health are uploaded under this protocol. I created this favorite supplements list per request, for those of you who don’t work with me 1:1 and are looking for quality brands and supplements. The options below were asked about on Instagram stories. 

The main supplements that come to mind are quality, professional, and wholesome brands of the following. Based on importance, diet, and deficiencies, here’s what I see for general recommendations for many people to address insufficiencies or deficiencies, for overall health, and to fight inflammation and support gut health:

1). Omega 3 (essential fatty acids — our bodies can’t make them, so we need to consume them somehow via food or supplement)

2). A good quality multivitamin (specifically if your diet is not adequate, varied, or focused on seasonal produce consumption)

3). A probiotic (I rotate CFU counts, brands, and probiotic-rich foods)

4). Vitamin D (or sunshine) for immune health, gut health, bone health, and overall health 

5) Turmeric (Curcumin) for lowering inflammation and “nature’s Advil.” Absorption, ingredients, and quality truly matter with this one… 

5). Magnesium for sleep and/or constipation. Magnesium is a cofactor in over 300 enzymatic processes, so it’s an important one (and over 50% of people are deficient). This one gets a lot of attention because of poor quality soil and inadequacy in many people’s diets. Also, the type of magnesium matters, friends. 

6). Beef liver for low mineral counts, it’s a nutrient powerhouse

To access my favorite brands for these products and more, check out my protocol list of tried-and-true brands from NOW Foods to Nordic Naturals to Smidge to Claire Labs to Designs for Health and more. I include a variety of brands that are non-allergenic and have a variety of price tags. Regarding pricing, please know that it’s typical for a quality supplement to be $1/ serving (based on what I’ve seen). 

Note: You can shop for any brand on Fullscript, even if I don’t have it in my recommendation list!