Now that you know supplement shopping doesn’t mean scooping up every last bottle on the shelf (catch up), we’re popping in with this breakdown from our friends at Food Matters to help make shopping for those basic daily needs much easier. Here are some guidelines…
Everybody is different, and everyone has varying needs. What your body requires to reach optimal daily health can be totally different to someone else. But there are a few things to keep in mind when selecting which supplements are the perfect fit for you.
As a general guide, we make sure to tick these 6 boxes before trying anything new:
Natural Or High-Quality Synthetic Ingredients | When it comes to choosing your day-to-day supplements, always do your best to find natural food-derived options instead of those that are separated from the other life-giving nutrients. Opt for organic when possible and make sure to choose a reputable brand. If you’re unsure where to start, we’ve listed some options that we personally use and recommend below! Remember, as stated above, synthetic supplements may be important for high dose chronic conditions, but for day-to-day supplementation, natural whole-food forms are best.
Scientific Evidence To Support Health Claims | This usually takes a little bit of exploration on your part, but if the supplement is making outrageous claims, or promises you a miracle cure without any research behind those statements, then you should be cautious about whether or not it’s the best choice.
Check the label | Head over to the manufacturer’s website for resources including links or references to journal articles to show that you’re getting the best supplement for your health.
What You Are Looking To Treat | If you are supplementing to treat a particular condition, then it may be necessary to take very specific types of supplements and sometimes synthetic supplements, for a shorter duration of time, to achieve high enough doses for the desired effect. If you are just looking to maintain great health, however, natural supplements are your best option so that they can be absorbed, metabolized, and used by the body as if they had been ingested as food.
Your Requirements | If you are vegetarian or vegan, check that the supplement also is, even the capsules used for certain supplements can be animal based. So it’s best to mention this to your practitioner or lookout for any indications on the packaging and ingredients list that it is free from animal products. Plus, some vitamins are of higher strength than others. And whilst you may assume that the higher the dose the better, your needs should dictate the levels you require. When choosing a lower dosage, you have the flexibility to boost your intake when needed, rather than consistently taking large doses, which in some cases, can cause toxicity or interfere with other medications (even natural ones!).
Any Drug Nutrient Interactions? | As we stated above some supplements, particularly herbals ones or high doses of nutrients may have different drug-nutrient interactions with certain medications. It may mean that you need to avoid a certain supplement or need to plan what times you take them to avoid any negative interactions. In fact, it’s best to consult your integrative doctor or naturopath for specific doses and recommendations prior to trying the supplement.
The Ingredients | The ingredient list is very important and should never be overlooked, it holds the information as to whether or not this product is suitable for you. This is where you can determine if the product is natural or synthetic, animal or plant-based, what form of vitamin or mineral you are getting, the dose per individual tablet, and info on any added ingredients that you might or might not need.
Supplement Shopping Breakdown: The Daily Fab 5
Over the past 8 years, we’ve connected with everyone from GPs, nutritionists, naturopaths, osteopaths and everything in between, sourcing you the best advice across the globe to support you on your journey. During this time, five supplements continued to come up in conversation, so we’ve nicknamed these key supplements, the Daily Fab Five!
A High Quality Multivitamin To Cover The Spectrum | When considering a supplement program, the first step is choosing a high quality, high dose multivitamin. It’s important as it forms a solid foundation of high-level health upon which you can build and tailor the rest of your supplements. A multivitamin helps to fill the gaps of vitamins and minerals that may be missing from what you eat so that you’ve got your base nutrition covered each day. The multivitamin should include the recommended daily levels of iron, vitamin A, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin D, chromium, magnesium, zinc, copper, and selenium.
A Natural Vitamin C To Look Great, Boost Your Immunity, And Prevent Chronic Disease | Vitamin C specialist Dr. Ian Brighthope swears by vitamin C to help cure a whole manner of diseases, from flu to cancer. A powerful building block of the immune system, vitamin C has antiviral and antibacterial properties, and is also a dynamic antioxidant, helping to prevent the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease, as well as support healthy skin and collagen production. It’s incredibly important to consume enough each day as your body doesn’t actually produce it!
Essential Fatty Acids To Help Keep Your Brain Sharp And Your Body Nimble | Essential fatty acids are incredibly important to keep you, (and especially your brain, skin and joints) functioning at top performance. The three key fatty acids include ALA, EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA come from fish and animal products. They are the most effectively absorbed and ready to support your body’s health, whereas ALA, mainly from plant foods, needs to be converted by the body into either EPA or DHA. All three forms can be taken orally via oils or capsules.
Essential fatty acids are necessary for:
+ Maintaining healthy hair and skin
+ Elevating your mood
+ Nourishing the brain
+ Supporting a healthy pregnancy
+ Increasing energy
+ Helps to regulate blood sugar
What to buy:
+ Quantum Nutrition Labs EPA/DHA LEARN MORE
+ Quantum Nutrition Labs Plant DHA LEARN MORE
+ Premier Research Labs DHA LEARN MORE
+ Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA LEARN MORE
+ Foods Alive Chia Seed Oil LEARN MORE
A Multi-Strain Probiotic For Improved Digestion, Immunity And MooD | The word “probiotic” is a compound of two Greek words: “pro,” to signify promotion of and “biotic,” which means life. Their very definition is something that affirms life and health. Ultimately, how we look and feel depends a lot on the nutrients that we eat, digest, and absorb.
Each of us has more than 1,000 different types of bacteria that live in our digestive tracts, helping us to break down food and absorb nutrients, improve our immunity, reduce risk of urinary tract infections, ward off colon cancer, and may even reduce our risk of common allergies!
But when we take antibiotics—medicine that is designed to kill destructive, illness-causing bacteria—the drugs can also kill the healthy intestinal flora, causing our health to suffer.
A standard Western diet and poor lifestyle choices can also cause the ratio of healthy vs harmful bacteria to be thrown out of balance, resulting in a whole range of conditions. You can purchase probiotics in many forms, including powders, tablets and capsules.
Look out for a multi-strain probiotic, the more strains the bigger variety of bacteria and more likely you are going to target your health concern. This is important because different strains of probiotic bacteria have their own roles in the gut and target different parts of the digestive system. We also recommend picking one with a higher dose of bacteria. Essentially once inside of you, the probiotics are designed to grow and multiply but the more you get to begin with can help boost this step along.
Other Important Supplements | Just because we think the ‘daily fab 5’ are great, it doesn’t mean we don’t think there are any other supplements that are important. For some people, there are some supplements that are essential in their daily regime for different health concerns and conditions and this is completely dependent on the individual and their circumstances.
Speaking with your health professional about what supplements are going to benefit you the most is important, rather than just taking a whole lot of different things because everyone else is. They might require you to take blood tests or a hair analysis test to find out if there are any nutrients you are particularly low in.
We commonly get asked about Vitamin D, B12 and iron supplements, some of the common nutrients that people around the world are struggling to get enough of or are suffering from deficiencies. Follow these links to articles that provide info about Iron, Vitamin B12 and vitamin D. We highly recommend having a blood test first before taking any of these supplements to determine if there are any nutrients that you are particularly low or high in.