As a pharmacist and nutritionist you can imagine I get asked A LOT about supplements. And, to be honest, I am very happy to answer all types of supplement queries, to help clear confusion and guide people to what could be suitable for their needs.
I want to start with my general ethos on supplements, to clear that up from the get go. There are way too many supplements on the market, in my opinion, and far too many that are in all honesty, trying to convince people they need something they could probably live without, while costing them some decent cash along the way.
But, in more positive news, there are also a lot of vitamins, minerals, herbs and supplements that are actually useful for health, and when selected appropriately, and guided by experts, they can help optimise your health and wellbeing. I am a strong believer in health being multifactorial – what we eat, how we move and feel, and the way we nourish our bodies and minds is so important in the overall picture. In some cases, properly formulated vitamin and herbal supplements available over the counter, may help you with certain conditions. Even better, you can speak to a qualified health professional who can help prescribe you higher potency practitioner only vitamin and supplement products, which are formulated with the correct dose based on evidence, so they are more likely to have a therapeutic benefit. I can help guide you with these, as part of my 1:1 integrative nutrition coaching services.
Does everyone need a multivitamin? Does vitamin C always fend off those pesky colds?
Sorry to break it to you, but the answer in most cases is no. But, if you have poor gut health, sluggish digestion, seasonal allergies, skin health concerns or even trouble sleeping for example, there are some products that could help you. The trick is, working out what ingredients you need, the correct dose based on science or traditional paradigms, and how you need to take these products to best achieve results. Do you need to take them forever? Just for a few weeks? Do you take them before or after food, morning or night time?
It is really confusing for most people, and often, people can buy something based on the marketing messages on pack, or in advertising, and not based on the recommendation and guidance of a qualified health professional.
So, in a nutshell, do your research before you go off and spend your valuable dollars on vitamins and supplements. Even better, invest in your health and speak to an integrative practitioner, who can guide you and prescribe products that are more likely to work for your individual health needs. It will also save you some pennies in the long run!