Our Nutritionists Lisa and Jennie break down everything you’ve been wanting to know about supplements!
We understand that health supplements can be a confusing topic for many people.
From working so closely with so many clients in our private nutrition practices we have heard lots of the questions that you might have about supplements:
- What health products are right for me?
- Do dietary supplements actually work?
- Are supplements safe?
- When should I take my supplements?
The list goes on! We are going to walk through the answers to these questions, so you can feel more empowered when it comes to making decisions about these health products and your individual needs!
Why do I need to take supplements?
First things first,
It's important to point out that taking nutritional supplements is not a substitute for a healthy, varied diet. We always advocate for a ‘food first’ approach when it comes to nourishing your body.
The right supplements can have a powerful impact on your health and wellbeing but ensuring that you’re eating a nutrient dense diet from whole foods, getting regular exercise and managing your stressors are fundamental to your overall health.
We recommend striving for a Mediterranean style diet that provides a wide variety of nutrients. It focuses on lean proteins such as fish, poultry and eggs, healthy fats from avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil and complex, whole grain carbohydrates such as potatoes, brown rice, peas, beans and lentils.
But, let’s be honest, none of us have a perfect diet and this is where taking health supplements can be very helpful in terms of supporting our body in getting optimal levels of certain nutrients or to bridge any gaps in your nutrition. For those who are following a more restricted diet, by choice or due to a health condition such as a vegan/vegetarian diet, low FODMAP diet, dairy-free diet, celiac diet etc. supplements can be almost essential to ensure you are reaching required or optimal levels of essential nutrients.
There are other external environmental factors that have led to the increased need for supplements such as a depletion in the nutrient quality of the soil that our food grows in due to mass agriculture practices. And our daily stress levels can also cause the depletion of some vitamins and minerals from our diet.
Do supplements work?
The short answer is, yes! But the quality of the ingredients in the supplement is critical to seeing the potential benefit from health supplements. If the quality of the ingredients in a supplement are low, the body will simply excrete them without them having a positive impact on the body - so, it’s a waste of your hard earned money!
This is one of the reasons why we set up Your Wellness Collective! As nutritionists, we wanted to select all of the highest quality products from what we considered to be some of the very best brands on the market and put them all in one place. So, our customers, clients and community could shop with ease and comfort knowing that we have done all the work in terms of finding the best quality ingredients for them!
What supplements actually work?
The dietary supplements that will actually have a positive impact on your health are the ones that contain highly absorbable forms of the nutrients in them. If we take magnesium as an example; there are so many different forms of magnesium, from magnesium oxide, to magnesium citrate, to magnesium glycinate and the body will break down and absorb these ingredients in different ways. In this instance, magnesium glycinate would be considered one of the most superior forms of magnesium on the market because it causes minimal gut irritation and is well absorbed by the body.
What supplements do I take for overall health?
We are big advocates for tailoring a person's supplements needs to their unique requirements based on their diet and lifestyle (this is why we offer free Personalised Supplement Plans), but this is a question that we get asked all the time!
So, generally speaking if you are looking to give yourself some all round support, we would recommend a good quality multivitamin as your first step. This is great as it acts as an ‘insurance policy’ for your health and ensures you’re getting a good dose of all the essential vitamins and minerals to keep you feeling good!
These are some of our favourite multivitamins:
Most people don’t get enough omega 3 fatty acids in their diet. If you’re not eating lots of nuts & seeds and two portions of oily fish per week, we recommend that you take a fish oil supplement.
These are our favourite fish oils:
The most important supplement that anyone living in the Northern hemisphere needs to be taking during the winter months (October - April) is vitamin D. This fat-soluble vitamin is so important for so many functions in the body including immunity and fertility but our body makes vitamin D from sunlight, so in the winter months we don’t get enough and need to supplement!
This is our favourite vitamin D by an Irish brand called Somega:
What health supplements should I take?
You need to be taking supplements that are targeted to the aspect of your health that you are trying to support. So, this is where our Personalised Supplement Plan comes in. Our team of nutritionists create a completely bespoke supplement plan that is tailored to your personal needs! The cost of which is completely redeemable against all products on our shop - so the service is essentially free!
What time should I take supplements?
This will vary depending on the supplement, for example it is best to take zinc supplements after you have eaten as zinc can cause you to feel nauseous if taken on an empty stomach or if you’re taking magnesium glycinate to help your sleep, it’s best to take it about 40 minutes before you go to bed.
There are other supplements where it doesn’t really matter when you take them, as long as you do - consistency is essential when it comes to supplements! They only work if you take them daily!
So, best to ask your healthcare provider how you should take your supplements for your needs!
Why is my urine bright yellow after I take supplements?
For anyone who is new to taking supplements, this is a question we always get 😂this is very normal for some supplements and your pee has not turned radioactive! This is just the b vitamins mixing with your urine and excreting what your body did not need at that time.
Are health supplements safe?
There are strict regulations and restrictions in place for the sale of health supplements and in Ireland and the EU under the EFSA. In the EU, food supplements are regulated as foods. These rules protect consumers against potential health risks and maintains a list of substances which are known or suspected to have adverse effects on health and the use of which is therefore controlled.
Some nutrients can interact with some medications. This is why it is very important to see professional advice before introducing dietary health supplements into your routine. For example, it is not advised to take an omega 3 fish oil supplement on blood thinning medications. When you get a Personalised Supplement Plan from Your Wellness Collective, we check any of the supplements we are recommending for you against any medications you may be taking to ensure they are totally safe.
We hope that answers a lot of your questions but if you are still unsure, feel free to send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions and we will get back to you very shortly!