4 things to ask before taking a supplement

They could be doing more harm than good.

supplements, pills, vitamins, protein powder, training supplements, health supplements
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As women, our bodies can do some pretty amazing things. We create life, raise children, support our families and try to look after ourselves. But sometimes, the latter can be easier said than done. Without proper nutrition, we can cause deficiencies which leave us tired, stressed and not able to perform at our best. This is where supplementation can help. Many women underestimate the benefits of supplementation for optimising overall health and wellness. From boosting energy and improving weight loss to preventing disease, supplements can allow our bodies to work efficiently and effectively.
But before you go popping a multivitamin just for the sake of it, there are a few things to consider. Women have specific nutritional requirements and health concerns at different stages of life. It’s ideal to select supplements that target those needs. Choosing a good health supplement should be an informed and wise decision.

What Your Need To Know Before Taking A Supplement

Do I need the supplement?

Have you assessed your diet? Are you deficient in a particular nutrient? Have you had your levels checked by your doctor or naturopath? Before starting supplementation, it’s a good idea to get blood tests to decide if you even need anything. Once determined, you will be able to target any deficiencies you may have. Plus, blood tests can uncover any underlying health conditions. It’s also good to know the correct balance when taking specific supplements to make sure that they work as effectively as possible.

Is the supplement safe for me?

Do you take other medicines? Do you have any health conditions? Many supplements contain active ingredients that have strong biological effects and their safety is not always assured in all individuals. Taking a combination of supplements or using products together with medications (whether they are prescription or over-the-counter drugs) could under certain circumstances produce adverse effects, some of which could be serious. In addition, many people are not aware that taking too much of certain vitamins or minerals can actually do more harm than good. It’s important to consult a doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure about the implications of taking a particular product.

Are the ingredients evidence-based?

Is there evidence that the supplement is effective? If not, don’t waste your time and money! When choosing supplements, make sure they have an “open label”. This means the label will contain the ingredients in the product, and their exact amounts. It will also state the form of the ingredient used, the batch number and the expiry date. But before taking anything, do your own research and ask the advice of a practitioner or pharmacist.

Is the brand reputable?

Has the brand been established for a significant amount of time? Do their products have good reviews? These are important factors to consider before purchasing. The label on the product is also a good tool for evaluating a good health supplement brand. This includes current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) compliance, and pharmaceutical grade production, as well as quality control measures. The supplements should be tested and analysed independently for their effectiveness, purity, and potency. This information can be obtained by contacting their customer service.

Words by Holly Vogt, pharmacist, personal trainer & expert at Body Science

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