How to Weigh the Pros & Cons of Supplement Use
Supplement advertisements are everywhere, and it feels like every week there's a new product on the market touting amazing results with ease.
Athletic Greens, Ritual, Seed... this is undoubtedly one of the hottest wellness topic of 2023.
Let's talk about the truth behind the fad really quickly here because there's more to consider than you may think:
As a nutritionist, I believe that supplements can be a convenient, beneficial addition to a healthy routine.
I get a lot of questions about this subject and the truth is that the word "supplement" is losing some of its meaning.
According to the Oxford dictionary, a supplement is "something that completes or enhances something else when added to it."
In other words, a mineral, vitamin or nutrient supplement is best taken in conjunction with a thoughtful, healthy diet.
A supplement is not a replacement for food or a quick fix for ailments.
That being said, it's easy to argue that there are some great benefits to trying supplements.
Let's say you're an extremely busy parent who's low on energy and looking for something--anything--to get you headed in the right direction.
While I'd like to suggest you follow a food-first approach, that may not be where your head's at just yet (and that's okay!)
Here are some general PROS of leveraging supplements:
they're easy & convenient
this can fill a gap in our diet
deficiencies are common these days, so supplements make sense
even when we eat very health foods, they're still not as high in nutrients as they used to be (why? decrease in the quality of our soil!)
they can help you form healthy habits
they can help you feel more empowered
Unfortunately, it's becoming increasingly challenging to see through the hype and not be completely swayed by these new & convenient ways of improving your health.
Let's go over some of the lesser-known facts about supplements to help you make safe & informed choices:
selecting the right product takes quite a bit of research (beyond what you see on social media)
you should be aware of some of your blood levels before supplementing (especially for fat-soluble vitamins and minerals such as iron)
not all products/types are created equal and many on the market are low-quality
they're not all safe/ideal/necessary for everyone, it really depends on the person
some supplements are more beneficial in the morning, while others are more supportive at night
they can be tough on the stomach
you can have TOO MUCH of certain nutrients
they can take your focus away from actually eating well
To wrap this up, I think supplements can definitely be part of a healthy routine, but they shouldn't be the focus of your efforts and you should proceed with caution.
If you are thinking of including more/new supplements, have a plan.
Talk to you doctor, consider any underlying health conditions, investigate any deficiencies you might have, and always consider the bigger-picture, including your current diet & lifestyle.
Thanks for reading!
If you're looking for inspiration on how to easily incorporate nourishing, whole foods into your diet, please come find me on Instagram!
Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN), real food advocate, toddler mama