DO WE NEED DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS? I recently read that in “2009, Americans spent >$26 billion on supplements”! (Readers Digest Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal, 2018).
How do you know what supplements are good and which ones can harm you? Who needs to add a supplement to their dietary plan?
The best way to answer the questions above is, there is no one size fits all. The need for dietary supplements depends on your current health. Do you have a disease process that limits the absorption of the nutrients you are already ingesting?
Not all supplements are created equal. Just because they are sold over the counter, without a prescription or by a company that claims to “have the answer for your ailing health”, does not mean you should invest in them.
The word supplement means to “enhance something else” (Oxford dictionary).
Most healthy adults do not need to take added supplements, they get the vitamins and minerals they need form their diet as long as they eat healthy and are not on a restricted diet.
That being said, there is a place for “supplementing” your current health. There are many different supplements that can protect and treat your mind and body.
Dietary supplements can be an option for:
- people that may not be able to take a prescription medicine due to side effects.
- someone looking to add extra nutrients they are not getting in their diet due to dietary restrictions
- a person looking for an option other than medication to treat a symptom or disease
- someone with dietary restrictions that limit them from getting enough nutrients from the food they ingest
There are many different types of dietary supplement on the market today (2020)
Vitamins– the most recent data show that taking a multi vitamin is not always the best for people. If a person is already health a well balanced diet, they do not need to add extra vitamins that may build up in their body and cause harm.
Minerals– you get enough minerals from the diet you eat each day. Adding extra minerals unless you are deficient can be more harmful than beneficial.
Protein/amino acids– you get the recommended amount of protein in your diet. Adding extra means your body will have to use it or store it. Extra protein gets stored as fat. Extra protein over time can stress the kidneys out causing them to not work as well.
Essential fatty acids– dietary restrictions may limit the amount of fatty acids such as omega 3’s in your diet. Adding fish oil can be very beneficial to your overall health.
Body building– This is a huge topic that is not my specialty, I will defer to a specialist.
Natural products– these are from nature! Plants, herbs, animals, algae, fungi. I have seen these add huge benefits to people’s overall health, however there is no “scientific” benefit.
Probiotics– live bacteria to provide a positive impact on the large intestine and help with overall gut health.
There is so much controversy on the topic of supplementing the diet. There are limited studies that support the use of supplements. The studies available have limited data.
I, myself, take supplements for health reasons. After I received a couple autoimmune diagnoses, I did not want to take prescription medicine since there was insufficient evidence of those medications having a benefit on my symptoms and overall health. And, medications cause side effects. When I was already so sick, I did not want to add something that may have made me more sick. Dietary supplements seemed like a great option for me and they proved to be extremely beneficial.
When the medical community could not answer my questions and improve my health, turning to a natural based lifestyle has proven to be the most effective thing I could have done for myself. Over time, it has saved me money, decreased negative symptoms, increased my energy, decreased pain and inflammation and really got me back to a balanced lifestyle again.
Just because they worked for me does not mean they will benefit you. There are so many different supplements out there, how do you know which ones are right for you? How do you know if they will react with your current prescription medications? You probably won’t have an answer to these questions. You need to seek guidance from someone that specializes in natural health and healing, someone who understands alternative forms of treating a disease, someone who looks at your whole body not at just one organ.
Receiving a diagnosis and prognosis then needing to develop a treatment plan is very individualized and can feel overwhelming. Incorporating new strategies to your lifestyle can be very beneficial but also scary. Having a Health Coach by your side can help while you are exploring other options to improve your health. A Health Coach can help you design a plan that is specific for you and your needs.
Connect with me if you want to schedule a complimentary action call to see how I can benefit you in your health journey!
Tina Butt, Health and Wellness Coach
Qualified Wellness Solutions, LLC