How to get the most out of your supplements
Let’s chat about supplements for a hot minute. Have you ever taken a stroll down the isles of a health food store and been completely overwhelmed by all of the different products lining the shelves? Have you spent countless dollars on the “latest and greatest” products, only to see minimal results? Have you started to accumulate a “supplement graveyard” in your cupboard of products you have tried and then decided to put out to pasture? If so, then this one is for you.
The supplement industry is like the “wild wild west”. There are millions of different products out there backed by massive marketing teams, making it difficult to assess which products are the highest quality and the most effective. There are many factors that need to be considered when selecting a product to help you with your health goals, which is why it is extremely important to consult a member of your healthcare team to ensure you are taking the appropriate things for your individual case. Supplements can be used as secret weapons in your treatment plan, but only when used properly. Check out the main factors that need to be considered below.
FORM. Making sure that the nutrient or supplement you are taking is in its ACTIVE form is super important. This ensures that your body can actually absorb and shunt the ingredients to the target areas. If it is not in its active form, your body may not be absorbing the product properly, so instead of seeing results, you just have really expensive pee.
DOSE. Having a health care provider take your case and determine your specific needs is imperative. Making sure you are getting the THERAPEUTIC dose is a game changer. Depending on what you are using the supplement for and what condition you are targeting will determine the dose.
TIMING. Knowing when you are supposed to take the supplement and how is also super important. Do you take it with or without food? In the morning or evening? Away from other medications or with certain ones? This helps with maximal absorption and body utilization.
QUALITY. Knowing how the product is made is also something that needs to be considered. Does the company do quality assurance testing? Does the supplement brand undergo third party testing? It is jam packed with a bunch of fillers and crap?
DURATION. How long do you need to be taking this supplement? Is it actually needed for your specific health concern? Is there a measurable and specific health outcome you are trying to achieve? A member of your health care team can analyze your case and determine the appropriate duration of supplementation based on your symptom picture and what the current research is showing.
COST. Not all effective high-quality products are super expensive. But a general rule of thumb is if the product is super cheap, chances are they are a lower quality and have not been third party tested for quality control. Remember, you get what you pay for. A qualified member of your health team will be able to investigate which products are best for your case and give you access to professional grade supplements. Professional grade refers to a variety of brands that are held to a high standard by regulated health professionals.
Supplements are an investment and you want to make sure you are getting your money’s worth and getting the results you want. Don’t get bogged down with company marketing schemes and an overwhelming amount of information when it comes to supplement research. Reach out to a reputable member of your health care team to help establish an individualized treatment plan that actually works so you can get the results you looking for. And trust me, it will save you money in the long run.
Dr. Denise Patterson, ND
Note: This blog entry is for general informational purposes only, and does not constitute practice of naturopathic medicine or other professional healthcare services including the giving of medical advice. No doctor patient relationship is formed. Use of this material is at user’s own risk. Readers should not disregard or delay obtaining medical advice for any medical conditions they may have and should seek assistance from a trusted medical care professional for any condition. This blog entry does not speak on behalf of naturopathic medicine and does not represent the profession as a whole.