Do you need to take supplements to be healthy?

Supplementation is often misunderstood by people who are beginning a health and wellness journey. Supplementation should be used exactly as it sounds: to supplement a healthy diet and lifestyle. All supplements are meant to fill in gaps not covered by consuming a diet rich in vitamins and minerals essential to bodily functioning and to also aid in the body in optimal functioning alongside exercise and daily healthy habits. 

How do you know if you are missing things in your diet that you may need to supplement?

With most vitamin and mineral deficiencies, you will have symptoms that make it apparent that something is going on. Like many illnesses, if you are having symptoms for something you should make an appointment to talk to your provider about your symptoms and they will likely help you narrow down what may be causing the problem. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are easily detectable via blood work and having a deficiency show up on blood work is a great reason to start a supplement. If you are lacking something in your diet that is not causing major symptoms, but you have noticed you get little to none of it in your diet, like protein for example, you can likely start a once a day, healthy protein powder supplement without any negative consequences.

How do you know what supplements to get if you have determined you need one?

There are many reliable and many unreliable companies that put out supplements and it is sometimes hard to tell what brand will actually give you what they say they are selling. The best supplements to look for are supplements that have been Third-Party Tested because the FDA does not regulate supplements in the United States so if they are tested by someone it typically is more reliable. Also, small business supplement brands are typically more reliable than large, grocery-store brand supplements and often these are used by many professional athletes and bodybuilders that work closely with companies and know that their ingredients are accurate. Lastly, the most important thing you can do is read the ingredient label on everything. If the list is EXTREMELY long and has many ingredients you cannot pronounce aside from the active ingredient, it is likely not an optimal supplement choice.

-Samantha Miller ZDC


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