Having a well-balanced diet backed with regular exercise is something we all strive for, but more often than not, a lot of people can’t spare the time to shop for the freshest groceries and visit the gym more than once a week.
Eco-friendly ingredient sourcing is slowly becoming the norm when it comes to self-care. Herbal scrubbing is slowly replacing chemical-based lotions and creams, while the trend of plant-based supplements is gaining more traction.
In that light, today we’ll talk about how to properly supplement your body in the most organic way possible, so let’s start from the top:
First of all, do you even need supplements?
The shortest answer to this question would be “healthy people do not.” A person who is eating healthy, catching sunlight every other day while exercising from time to time, in most cases, does not need supplements. However, quite a bit of people would welcome a boost of probiotics, vitamin D, magnesium, and so on.
Pregnant women, for instance, share both nutrients and vitamins with their unborn children, in which case they should boost their immunity with folic acid. To expand on that, infants and young children can only benefit from supplements that contain Vitamin D, iron, or both. Older people need vitamin D more than most, as their bodies gradually lose the ability to absorb it.
If you’re on a diet (or a very limited diet for whatever reason), you should probably consider taking calcium supplements, especially if you are allergic to dairy products.
Furthermore, vegans should use supplements that they can’t get from plant-based meals, such as Vitamin D, Iron, Calcium, Iodine, Omega 3, Iron, and Vitamin B12. Plant-based protein powders also work great in this particular case.
There are also numerous cases when the body can’t absorb nutrients efficiently due to a specific health condition, such as cystic fibrosis or Crohn’s disease. Finally, people who’ve had a history of alcohol or substance abuse usually struggle with nutrient absorption, which means that they could significantly speed up their recovery process with a healthy punch of multivitamins.
Pick the supplements your body needs
Randomly emptying the “supplements” rows in any drugstore thinking that you may need as many vitamins, proteins, and minerals as possible will get you nowhere fast. While some supplements can go well together, most types tend to fall hard on the stomach even when taken individually.
For example, a combination of Vitamin C, Selenium-rich shakes, and whey protein will cause most people to either vomit or spend the day in the toilet.
Generally speaking, anyone can get a solid quantity of vitamins simply by eating well. Obviously, eating junk food disrupts the equation quite a bit, in which case you’ll need supplements to compensate for the lack of vitamins, fiber, and protein.
Multi-vitamin supplements are typically “whittled down” in the sense that the concentration of vitamins in the powder/pill is significantly weaker in comparison to individual Calcium or Magnesium pills.
Stick with prescribed/recommended doses
In fact, vitamin and supplement overdose can lead to some serious side effects, depending on what type of vitamin you’ve absorbed in larger quantities.
An upset stomach (stomach cramps) is the first signal that you may have taken too many supplements or vitamins, which will be followed by nausea or diarrhea if you continue to absorb the vitamins/supplements of the same type.
If your doctor recommended a certain type of supplement, you’ll also be advised in terms of dosage. Generally speaking, you should stick with the prescribed dosage to the best of your ability. However, don’t fret about taking an extra pill of Calcium as much as you should try to avoid absorbing more protein or Omega-3 acids than you need.
On the other hand, consumer-grade supplements are widely available in a variety of places, from grocery shops to bodybuilding and fitness stores. As these can be purchased without a doctor’s prescription, you should ask the vendor for recommended doses and check the labels/instructions on the particular model yourself.
Time your supplement intake properly
Some supplements are best used before meals and some after, but some are particularly hard to break down and need to be taken a couple of hours before bedtime. The “potency” of the mixture dictates when a particular supplement needs to be taken, but you should obviously factor in the health and efficiency of your digestive system as well.
Certain supplements, especially protein-based ones, tend to have hastening effects on the metabolism, which basically means that you will probably need to readjust the eating schedule. This will, in turn, require you to also readjust the timing of taking other supplements.
Avoid supplements that are hard to digest unless you absolutely need them
While the vast majority of supplements are generally easy to digest and can’t cause us serious harm, there are a few vitamins and minerals that can be harmful if taken in excessive doses.
Iron, for example, is as important as it can be dangerous when consumed at high levels. Iron intoxication can cause mild fatigue, joint pain, as well as severe depression, and in the worst-case scenario, coma or even death.
Vitamins A and E should also be used with care, as they are fat-soluble. The surplus of these vitamins will be stored in fat tissue, which means that they are prone to building up higher levels of toxicity in much shorter spans of time. The vast majority of other vitamins are instead water-soluble and will not form pockets in our system.
Store your supplements properly
Supplements can turn bad, just like any type of medicine, unless they’re properly stored. Each type of supplement requires a different type of storage. For example, vitamin pill bottles need to be kept away from direct sunlight while in a specific kind of atmosphere, while powders need to be kept in a dry environment.
Any exposure to water can quickly ruin a supplement batch, regardless of the type, so make sure that your vitamins, proteins, and minerals are sealed tight every time you use them.
We hope that this guide was useful to you and that you have learned something new today on how to properly supplement your body. Finally, make sure you are staying safe in times like these and take care!