To Supplement or Not to Supplement

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The supplements industry is huge and it continues to grow. The reason for that is quite simple – humans want to find the fastest way to the best health with the least amount of effort. In fact, it’s the same for everything in life. We want shortcuts because we know that we don’t have a long time, time is precious so we don’t want to waste it with unnecessary actions. But this is a topic for another, more detailed post as it goes deep into the human psyche.

Supplements

Vitamin PillsIt’s possible to walk down any high street or shopping mall and find vitamins, minerals, protein powders, herbal remedies and all other kinds of supplements you can buy to help heal, cure or prevent every kind of ailment known to Man. The government find it hard to keep up with all of the new releases of supplements so it’s very hard to regulate. In fact, a lot of the supplements available are classified as foods so they do not have to meet the same standards as any kind of drug.

Do They Work?

It’s debatable whether supplements work or not mainly because it would be difficult to see how a person was without the supplements in the first place if they are now taking some. There have been many tests carried out on patients who have particular symptoms and are trying to treat them. Some have been successful, others not and most return an inconclusive result.

The bottom line is we cannot be 100% sure most of the time.

Something else to consider is the impact of taking a particular mineral or vitamin in isolation. Our bodies have been used to getting vitamins such as Vitamin C through our diet which means that they are digested with other vitamins and minerals at the same time. It’s believed that when a particular vitamin is taken in isolation it can have a different effect on the body when compared to it being digested with the other parts to the fruit, vegetable or whatever it is that you are eating.

Best Ways to Avoid Supplementation

In my opinion, supplementation can be of benefit but there are more natural ways to achieve the same result. Here is a list of some of ways in which I think it’s best to do this:

  • Maintain a balanced diet eating fruits, vegetables, meats and fish
  • Don’t rely on one food source too much for your source of vitamin X – mix it up
  • Eat raw food as much as possible because cooking can reduce the efficacy of the minerals inside the food
  • Cook using an oven, water and a frying pan rather than a microwave
  • Eat good fats like nuts, seeds, avocados, oily fish and avoid saturated fats wherever possible
  • Allow yourself to eat badly sometimes, like the occasional pizza and chocolate bar
  • Exercise regularly, particularly something like yoga
  • Remove processed foods from your diet like breakfast cereal full of sugar
  • Try to eat little and often, allowing yourself to snack on healthy nuts, seeds and fruits
  • Be careful of eating too much fruit as it contains a lot of sugar – replace with vegetables where possible
Fresh Vegetables

Eat vegetables instead of pills..

Still Want to Supplement?

I can totally understand why you would still want to use supplements. In today’s world the fruit, vegetables and meats are not what they used to be. I say that in all seriousness because things have changed over the past 100 years. We are now farming more intensively than ever, with pesticides and fertilisers being used to get the best crop from the least amount of work. This leads to a substandard mineral and vitamin content in the foods that we produce.

If you have a look on YouTube you will find hundreds of videos dedicated to this topic. Here is just one that I found:

Which Ones to Buy

This is the toughest question of all. There are so many health supplements companies today and it is forever growing. As more and more people want to use supplements, this is only going to continue to increase. So who do you trust? Each one has their own “unique” formula which is the “best on the market”…In truth, I find it’s about trying them out and finding what works for you. Not every one is the same, just as not every vitamin is the same so they will have different effects on each person.

At the moment I am taking several vitamins and supplements. First up I always use Protein Powder after a workout or just for a snack between meals instead of a high calorie snack. I use a simple one from MyProtein. I have a Holland & Barrett store just down the road from me so it’s easy for me to pop in and pick up some CoQ10 (supposedly this helps with energy and brain function, something I think everyone wants more of…). This is the one I use. You can usually get a better price when they have a penny sale on so wait out for that and stock up!

For joint health I use Glucosamine & Chondroitin from these guys. I use this because I have a history of knee problems and I am trying to prevent the onset of arthritis. It’s a good quality product from what I can tell and they deliver fast so when I forget to order it arrives quickly.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully that has given you some food for thought in terms of whether you should use supplements or not. Or maybe it has just confused you some more…Sorry if it has! The truth is that not many people know exactly whether many supplements work or not. If they don’t harm you then the only problem is that you might be passing them straight through without any benefit and throwing your money down the toilet…