Should you supplement? And what should you take?
A big question and a big industry so what do you really need to know.
Firstly as a Holistic and integrative wellbeing expert I do think supplements can be beneficial but there are a few things to consider before investing a tidy sum into the latest fad or promised super pill. I have been working in the filed of holistic health for 10 years and have crashed from chronic fatigue syndrome a few times over the years so have my own personal experience to share as well as a professional one.
When I first collapsed from CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) I saw various experts in this field and was very quickly prescribed a cocktail of supplements, at that time I didn’t know anything about quality or about gradual introduction so I just took all that was suggested. Alongside this I was making other changes in my life, diet and mindset but I can honestly say that the hundreds of pounds I was spending on supplements didn’t seem to make much of a difference and I was reliant on a number of supplements which I felt I needed to take but didn’t really know if they were working or not and when I wanted to pull back on the amount I was taking I didn’t know what to stop taking – it was a very confusing time for a very foggy headed me and that is with a fair bit of knowledge at that time.
The problem I see with chronic stress / fatigue is that your digestive system is compromised so I question how much of the nutrients from a supplement is absorbed. Plus a lot of supplements on the market are synthetic vitamins and minerals so the quality isn’t great meaning that you can be taking a lot of stuff which in theory should have you feeling like a super hero but in reality might not being living up to the expectation or giving you very little of low quality vitamins and minerals.
So quality and quantity really are key – look for natural supplements and food state rather than synthetic.
I also recommend gradual introduction of new supplements into your lifestyle so you can start to notice any small changes and shifts. To feel empowered about your body and health you need to know that what you are taking makes you feel better.
These days I limit the amount of pill based supplements I take and vary with liquid tinctures and vitamins (vitamin C and D are better absorbed if they are in an oil base for example) powdered superfoods which are naturally abundant in nutrients and IV’s. This is a much more effective way to get deliverable nutrients directly into your system.
Then comes the big question about what exactly should you take?
There are 1000’s of options on the market and new products being launched on a daily basis with big marketing budgets that make you think YES I NEED THAT. Before long you have a list as long as your arm of things that you need and have spent a fortune to fund the health fad. I call it a fad as the advertising plays on your pain points to make you think you need it and promises that you will feel XYZ with this super product, you buy the product and you feel disappointed and said promise and fantasy of radiant health didn’t come in the form of the magic pill you were sold and bought into.
My holistic and integrative approach with my clients explores our well-being as a whole and I believe that we find our radiant health when we invest time into making improvements in our diet, mindset, exercise, stress, relationships and self care. However the fast paced stress fuelled world we live in plus lower quality food that is available to us means that even if we do all the work as above we can still be deficient in vital nutrients that really help us to feel that radiance that is lacking. I personally recommend and have relied on home deficiency testing to identify what supplements I need to take. As mentioned fatigue is one of my problem areas so I keep on top of my cortisol levels, Vitamins B12 and D. But minerals are also vital to our optimum health with zinc being key for immunity, selenium for thyroid and magnesium being a key player and needed for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and depleted by too much sugar in the diet.
Understanding what is going on in our body puts our health in our hands which is empowering and connects us to what we really need rather than what we think we need. From this place we can start to slowly introduce targeted and high quality supplements that work more effectively for our overall health and wellbeing.