How to choose supplements and vitamins

Monday, January 19, 2009

Today I want to share some advice I often give to people about trying new vitamins and supplements.

First of all, people usually want to know how to tell if a vitamin is a good quality or not.
Low-quality vitamins and supplements usually have a large number of fillers, starches, and often even aspartame. Look at the ingredients first to see what the non-nutrient items are that are included. If you see a lot of them, you might want to keep on looking for something else. You also want to weed out the ones with aspartame right away. (Children's vitamins usually have aspartame in them--horrible and poisonous!) MSG and its various forms are also sometimes in vitamins. I recommend the site MSG Myth to learn more about the many ingredients that are derivatives of MSG.

You want to get a vitamin that is affordable and easily absorbed into your body, and in a form you can easily remember to take. You can have the best vitamins in the world, but if you hate to take them or forget all the time, it isn't going to do you any good.

When it comes to vitamins or supplements that you are expecting to experience a result from (like energy from Bee Strong),
I recommend that people start out with just 1 or maybe 2 items at first and see how you feel after a couple weeks of just using those. That way you know what's working and what's not. Did it give you the energy you were looking for? If yes, do you want to adjust the dose a little higher or lower? I tell people to just take the smallest effective amount that helps them. No need to go overboard.

Now obviously, for something like a calcium supplement (for instance) you probably aren't going to feel any different from taking them, but you know that absorbable calcium is very important for your bone health, so you want to find a good source for it that you can afford and be consistent about, and continue on. Don't *not* take supplements like calcium just because you don't *feel* anything.

However, if you start taking a new calcium supplement and you notice that it makes you feel sick, now you know that maybe you need to try a different one. If you had tried it along with 6 other new vitamins, you won't know which one is the likely culprit. Get it? :)

If someone wants you to buy a whole bunch of stuff at once, it is going to make it hard for you to tell what to attribute any success or problem to a particular item. By taking it slow you can find what truly works well for you, and not waste money on products that aren't going to be a help to you.

Yes, eventually you will probably want to take a good multi-vitamin, a calcium supplement, and possibly several other items to address your unique needs. Just take it one step at a time when getting started, and work your way up to all of the items that you want and need. (Obviously, this is not meant as contradictory advice to something that a health professional may have told you. This is just a general rule of thumb that works for many people.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely excellent, wisdom-filled advise. I had been through this some years ago, when a HEALTH food store owner had suggested about 5 or 6 different things for me, but did not suggest I try adding them one by one slowly. I had a bad reaction, and then could not even begin to figure out to what. A lot of frustration was then had. So, I learned the hard way, that introducing even good vitamins and suppliments slowly one-by-one is the best way!!
EH, South Carolina