There are thousands of supplements on the market today all claiming to do something good for your body. How do you choose which supplements to buy? I'll just give you a few simple rules to hold any supplement up to so you can decide whether or not it's a good quality supplement.
1. Is it third party certified? There aren't many supplements out there that have a third party test their products. The 3rd party should test to make sure the ingredient label matches what is actually in the product. Nothing more. Nothing less. (If you think companies are probably generally honest when labelling their products, check out this article.) I prefer NSF certifications on my supplements but since their testing is so stringent, not everyone has NSF certification. Often NSF is used for "gluten free" certification only. The U.S. Anti-Doping Association has this to say about why they chose NSF for their 3rd party certification agency:
"USADA, in collaboration with the Uniformed Services University (under the Department of Defense), UFC, Major League Baseball (MLB), and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) put forth a consensus published by the American College for Sports Medicine on the essential criteria of third-party certification programs for drug tested athletes.
In brief, the program must have appropriate accreditations, be free from conflicts of interest, and must conduct testing for substances prohibited in sport. The NSF Certified for Sport® program currently meets the criteria set forth in the consensus statement. USADA recommends that athletes who choose to use supplements despite the risks can reduce this risk by using supplements that are NSF Certified for Sport®."
2. Will your body absorb the supplement? Any supplement with mostly chemically derived ingredients will not be absorbed well by your body. If you can find what you're looking for in a plant-based formula, that's your best bet. Your body knows how to handle food waaaaay more than it knows how to utilize isolated chemically based nutrients. Does your pee change colors after you've taken your supplement? That's a good indication that you're eliminating much of what you just tried to supplement.
3. Are there any studies on the product? This is another REALLY HARD standard to meet but it's the only way you KNOW that the supplement is going to do good things for your body. It'd be ideal to have studies directly on the product itself like pharmaceuticals have to study their medications but if that's nowhere to be found then attempt to find "borrowed research." Find somebody who has studied the name of the supplement you're taking. For example, if you're taking B vitamins but the specific brand of B vitamins you want to take haven't been given to humans and studied for absorption, side effects, benefits, etc. then find a study about B vitamin supplementation in general because...well, it's better than nothing.
If you find something that meets all three of these criteria you've struck gold. Hang on to that product because it's likely one of the best you'll ever find. They're out there but they aren't easy to locate.
Have any questions about the supplements you're taking? Or want to know what I take that meets all of the above criteria? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
So many people take multivitamins to help make up for the nutrition they don't get through their diet. After all, very few of us are actually meeting the recommendation to eat 7-13 (minimum) servings of raw fruits and vegetables every day.
If you're a health conscious person you may remember not that long ago the recommended amount of servings per day was only five. Why has it gone up? Experts are realizing that produce is losing its' nutritional value. For example, UCLA did a study measuring the amount of iron in a bowl of spinach. Using the same plot of land, they compared the spinach grown in 1953 to spinach grown in 1997. They found that the spinach grown in 1953 had 43 times the amount of iron as the spinach from 1997! And that study is over 20 years old!!!!
So you may think the answer is to take a multivitamin because who can chew more 43 bowls of spinach in a day? And even if you could chew that much, who can afford to buy that amount of spinach?
- do not protect against heart disease
- do very little to protect against cancer (some show up to an 8% risk reduction)
- do not protect against mental decline
- can cause harm if body cannot properly process certain vitamins
- do not decrease risk of stroke
- do not decrease risk of premature death
- often don't contain what the label claims (very little regulation)
Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can do ALL those things that a multivitamin can't. All these reasons are why it made complete sense for me to start taking a supplement that was simply fruits and vegetables turned into powder form. The capsules are batch tested and NSF certified to only contain what the label states. Nothing more and nothing less. There are also nearly 40 clinical studies showing the benefits of powdered fruits and vegetables for your body. WOW! I'll be taking these capsules for LIFE.
Have you ever looked at an aisle of supplements in GNC or even in your grocery store and felt completely lost? Allow me to summarize a few of the most common supplements-
1. Protein powder- there are several different kinds of protein powders. Vegan, gluten free, no artificial sweeteners, quickly absorbed, hydrolyzed, slow absorbing... even the options for such a basic supplement can get confusing. In fact, there are sooo many options, I made this freebie for you to help you decide what protein supplement would be best for you to use.
2. Collagen- a type of protein; claims to help skin, hair, nails, joints, digestive tract, inflammation. So many people have taken this supplement with great results so I think collagen is worth a try!
3. Omega 3/Krill Oil- Healthy fat that decreases inflammation & cholesterol and is great for your heart! I take this one every day. This supplement is well studied and likely benefits your health with little risk of adverse effects.
4. B Vitamins- used for energy, to treat nausea during pregnancy and can help wound healing. B vitamins are important for your nerves to function properly and can play a role in mental health. It's important to have enough of the B vitamins but having more than enough doesn't really benefit you. So don't feel like you need to supplement this unless you've been told to do so by your health care provider.
5. Bromelain- One of the lesser known supplements that claims to help with inflammation. It's naturally occurring in pineapple. This is another supplement that has little risk associated with it but may actually help. If you have an inflammatory process such as inflammatory bowel disease or some sort of arthritis, it's worth a try!