“You can’t out supplement a crappy diet.”
Today, our industrialized society offers many messages about supplementation with vitamins and minerals. It is interesting to know that the word supplement comes from the Latin verb Supplere, which means to fill up or to complete. We derive our modern word, supplement from that root. When it comes to nutritional supplements, we want the word to convey the same meaning – to complete. Yes, the proverb is true, no matter how good your supplements are, they will never replace what nature has to offer. Supplements were meant to add to a healthy diet, not take the place of one. This short article will explain when supplements are needed, how should you go about getting them and what are the different types of supplements.
When are supplements needed?
There are many different instances when supplements are needed. For instance, to restore metabolic pathways, to support GI function, and to help bind harmful toxins from being reabsorbed in the intestines. Whatever your need, you can bet there is a supplement to help with the condition. To determine if a particular supplement is right for you, you should speak to your health care practitioner. Supplementation should be decided upon after you have given a full history of your illness and dietary habits. The correct supplement can bring the desired balance. Moreover, supplementation should be reviewed on a regularly with your healthcare professional; to make sure they are still actively benefiting you. The body makes adjustments and so your health practitioner will have to adjust your supplementation to fit your current needs.
Where should you purchase your supplements?
–Online vs. Practitioners office
Of Course there are many ways you can get supplements. You may choose to purchase them directly from your practitioner’s office or buy them from a reputable pharmacy. The other option, which is not always the best option, is to purchase them online. Amazon or other online herbal dispensaries sell supplements to consumers. These are not necessarily the same supplements found in your doctor’s office. Often these online companies will sell them to the consumer at a marked up rate. The reason for this has to do with the manufacturer. Good supplement companies prefer their products to be sold in a practitioner’s office, in which they know their product will be given under the guidance of a qualified health care practitioner. Also, it has been reported that some supplements found on Amazon or other online dispensaries do not mark all the ingredients that are found on the bottle. This has happen on more than one occasion to more than one patient. When the supplement arrived, it was not the original product sold by the manufacturer. The take home message it to purchase your products from reputable, known sources.
A second reason why it is best to get supplements from one’s doctor has to do with good manufacturing practices or GMP. Your practitioner is educated on which companies use good manufacturing practices. This is an important part of understanding how supplementation will impact one’s health. Companies who use GMP are held accountable for what they put in their products. When shipments of raw product arrive to be used in supplements, it is first quarantined, and later tested to make sure it is the actual substance. Also, it is tested for chemicals, heavy metals and other environmental toxicities. Supplement companies go to great lengths to keep records of this information, because they are audited regularly for safety practices.
Types of Supplements
When it comes to supplements there are many different types. Some are manufactured with a whole food matrix, others are single remedies, and others are propriety formulas.
-Whole food matrix
These supplements are created from whole foods. Usually the foods are juiced and the pulp is dried and compressed into tablets or placed into capsules. What is beneficial about this type of supplement is that it contains many of the co-factors needed for the absorption of the nutrient. Talk more to your doctor about the benefits of whole food supplements.
This type of supplement is usually a single remedy. For instance, tyrosine, 5-HTP (Tryptophan), magnesium are to name only a few. These single remedies are used to drive a pathway in a particular direction. A good example has to do with nutrition genomics. A practitioner will often use single remedies to help replenish depleted pathways and improve function.
Typically, these are a combination of vitamins, minerals and sometimes herbal remedies all in one. For example, to support adrenal function the supplement may contain vitamin C, some of the B vitamins, particularly B5 and some herbal remedies such as Ashwaganda, Eleuthero, or Ginseng. Together, these create a specific synergy that often supports the adrenal gland. Formulas are common; in fact, there is a formula for most body systems.
In this very brief commentary on supplementation we discussed the need for supplements, how you should go about choosing their supplements and the different forms of supplements. The take home message of this article is that supplementation should never stand alone, meaning you can’t out supplement a poor diet. Furthermore, when determining what supplements are best, you should consult your healthcare professional and should have a discussion on the type and length of the therapy. Lastly, exercise caution when probing the Internet for supplemental answers. Not all supplements are created equal.