💊Discover The Supplements You Should be Taking
If you read any nutrition or health magazine or follow any fitness enthusiasts on social media, you are likely being bombarded with advertisements or product placement for supplements. Dietary supplements are a broad term that encompasses items such as vitamins, minerals, herbals and botanicals, amino acids, protein, and enzymes, among other products and these come in a variety of forms such as pills, powders, beverages, and bars. The supplement industry is massive with more than 90,000 products on the market generating more than $30 billion every year in the United States alone.
The most commonly used supplements include multivitamins, vitamins C and D, vitamin B12, fish oils, iron, protein powder, creatine, and branch chain amino acids. Depending on your dietary choices, you may not be obtaining enough of a certain vitamin or mineral. For example, those who ascribe to a vegan diet, likely do not get sufficient vitamin B12 and should supplement with B12. Iron deficiency can be a result of not consuming enough iron rich foods such as meat, eggs, leafy green vegetables, and iron-fortified foods.
Are supplements worth taking?
There is no magic pill that will result in weight loss or improved health. Supplements do have a place in your diet to do just that, supplement vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that you are not consuming through your diet. Supplements should never be a substitute for a balanced, healthy diet and should be used to help you achieve certain fitness goals or to ensure you are consuming and absorbing enough of the essential vitamin and minerals that you may not get through your diet. Nutrients consumed through fruits, vegetables, and other healthy food are superior to those found in pill form.
There is evident to support that dietary supplementation, such as taking a multivitamin, can lower risk of some chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. There is other evidence to support that supplementation is beneficial for those who suffer from conditions that make it hard for the body to absorb certain nutrients such as crohn’s disease and celiac disease.
While dietary supplementation can improve your overall health if you are deficient in certain nutrients, there is no substitute for a well balanced diet. There should be a specific purpose for taking any supplement and you should have a good understanding of what you are putting in your body. Otherwise, you are wasting money and potentially causing harm.
A word of causation against supplementation and over-supplementation, as this can negatively affect your overall health. If you are lacking in a particular nutrient, consult with a health care professional.
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EP Health Wellness Team
 Harvard Health (September, 2018) Do you need a daily supplement? Harvard Health Publishing; Harvard Medical School. Retrieved from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/do-you-need-a-daily-supplement
 Jaime J Gahche, Regan L Bailey, Nancy Potischman, Johanna T Dwyer, Dietary Supplement Use Was Very High among Older Adults in the United States in 2011–2014, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 147, Issue 10, October 2017, Pages 1968–1976, https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.117.255984