There is a lot to think about in today’s world and a lot going on in everyone’s lives, so to have to add one more thing like “should I be taking a supplement?” can be overwhelming to some. And that is okay. We wanted to shed some light on this topic as it can be controversial and even cumbersome.
To start, dietary supplements in the United States are defined by the FDA as “products taken by mouth that contain a ‘dietary ingredient’”1. This includes vitamins, herbs, protein powders, and even energy bars. However, it is also important to note that supplements sold in the U.S. are not FDA approved. To help educate the public, there are third-party companies that are dedicated to testing the legitimacy of these supplements, which we at Restoration Hope can investigate for you, but there certainly is a real concern to be wary of certain products on the market. That being said, there most definitely is a time and purpose for them, but how do we know?
Well, first off, every person is different and deserves individualized treatment. So what might be right for your friend, might not be right for you. And there are a few reasons for that, but it is mostly because the main use of dietary supplements should be to help alleviate any deficiencies we might have that cannot be solved with diet. Additionally, certain supplements can interact with various other medications or be counterintuitive to a person’s health.
However, depending on your needs, taking a supplement could be a great idea. One example that we love to reference is vitamin D. There are very few foods that contain substantial amounts of vitamin D in the diet and arguably, during those dark winter months, it just is not enough. So, we often find many clients needing to supplement their daily nutrition with a vitamin D supplement, especially during the winter. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. So what is the best way to find out? Blood work and working with a healthcare professional like a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Having lab work done is immensely helpful as it is a great peek into what is going on below the surface and it can help to answer a lot of questions.
At the end of the day, deciding on whether we should supplement or not, should not be of your top concern. It is very likely that if you are eating a well balanced diet full of variety, that you are receiving the appropriate nutrients. However, everyone is different and there certainly is a time and a place for dietary supplements so if you have questions or concerns, send us an email or give us a call. We’re here to help you.