There’s been a huge rise in people taking supplements over the past few years. More than 170 million adults in the US take dietary supplements, which is 67% of the population, according to the CRN 2017.
Whilst some people argue that you can get all the body needs from diet alone, but in many cases that’s not true. Most people don’t eat the recommended amounts of certain nutrients for great health each week, and government guidelines suggest supplementing.
Reasons to Take Supplements
You may have a Zinc deficiency because of a poor diet
Zinc is essential for immune function and plays various essential roles within the body including helping with wound healing, treating the common cold, fertility in men and effects on learning and memory. Zinc is also crucial when you’re stressed, because it helps to ease feelings of anxiety, and a lack of zinc can cause physical symptoms of stress too. The most common cause of a zinc deficiency is not eating enough foods which contain zinc, such as oysters, shellfish, meat, dairy and legumes. Vegetarians find it hard to consume adequate amounts of zinc because it’s not readily available from a plant-based diet and might want to consider supplementing.
You may have a Vitamin D deficiency because of lack of sunlight
The UK government advises supplementing with vitamin D in winter. During the winter months, there is insufficient sunlight in the UK to make vitamin D in the body so Public Health England recommends all adults should take a daily supplement of 10mcg vitamin D.
Improve energy & brain health
Most people would agree that they’d like more energy and better brain health whatever their age. Taking certain supplements that include B Complex Vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D and curcumin can all help to improve energy and brain health. Some people also take cordyceps supplements and powders for energy, it is known as the “Olympic mushroom,” because a winning Olympic running team from China famously supplemented with cordyceps while training.
Get healthier skin, hair & nails
You can improve your skin, hair and nails by supplementing with zinc, vitamin E and selenium. Another popular supplement for beauty is ground pearl which is seen as a superfood and contains calcium, magnesium, and amino acids which are all beneficial for your skin’s health.
Support your immune system
To work efficiently, the immune system thrives on a cocktail of vitamin C, D plus selenium and zinc, but amino acids and omega 3 fatty acids all help with immunity. Government guidelines suggest supplementing with vitamin D for immunity.
Protect against oxidative stress
Oxidative stress is a process within the body that scientists have identified as responsible for ageing badly plus many chronic conditions and diseases. There’s some research that suggests that certain nutrients such as coenzyme Q10, melatonin, vitamin C, and vitamin E act as antioxidants and could help protect against oxidative stress.
You have heavier menstrual cycles
Research suggests that supplementing with magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin B12 can all help ease period pains and a lack of energy during your period.
Reasons Not to Take Supplements - The Myths
There’s lots of myths surrounding supplements, so we’ve taken a closer look at the ones we hear the most often.
I already have a healthy and balanced diet
In an ideal world we would get all that we need from food, but unfortunately the rise in mass production, paired with modern farming methods which are geared at lowering costs to generate mass production of inexpensive convenience foods, means that our food is not as nutritious as it should be. Vegetables and fruit are often pumped with chemicals, so they have a longer supermarket shelf life and with so much of what we consume coming out of packets that were made in factories, it’s no wonder that many of us have vitamin deficiencies.
Stress, lack of sleep and exercise, plus our high-octane lifestyles burn up the body’s stores of key nutrients and a lack of sunshine in winter mean that many of us need supplements.
Eating a balanced diet is always a good idea but supplementing wisely means you get all your body needs to function in optimum health each day.
I am pregnant or breastfeeding
When women are trying to get pregnant, are expecting a baby or breastfeeding, doctors advise supplementing with certain nutrients to ensure good health of mother and baby. Postnatal and prenatal vitamins that mothers supplement with include folate, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, ginger and fish oil.
It’s crucial to seek advice from your own doctor before supplementing if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, as there may be underlying medical conditions that only your health professional can advise on.
I am on medication
Certain medications can deplete the body of nutrients so you may want to supplement, but micronutrients in multivitamins and supplements might decrease or increase the absorption rate of your medicine, so always consult with your doctor before embarking on a new supplement regime if you’re on strong medication.
Cheap multivitamins do the job
The price of vitamins and supplements seems to fluctuate wildly, but although they may look like they contain the same type and amount of vitamin they can be very different. More expensive supplement formulations are often more absorbable, plus contain higher quality and ethically sourced ingredients.
It’s a placebo
Whilst the placebo effect is very real, it can often work differently to the way people think it will. If you assume that your supplement won’t work then you may not see any differences, but that doesn’t mean it’s not working. Quality supplements have clinical trials which show that a group taking the supplement had very real benefits such as better skin, increased energy and better sleep, while the group taking the placebo had none.
If you haven’t been eating a full, varied diet, have been ill or avoid certain food groups, a balanced high-quality supplement could really help your health.
If you feel supplements would be a good addition to your daily health routine, take a look at the benefits of our morning & night supplements.